evolution of the game over the last 20 years
I've been watching a bunch of classic games recently on espn classics and nba tv. And I'm curious to hear what you think has been the single biggest evolvement in basketball from 20 years ago?
some options I would consider:
individual and team defense
or anything else. What do you guys think?
I think Ball Movement has changed the most over the last 10-20 years.
Everyone of those has diminished besides athleticism.
i disagree, i think all of those areas have progressed. There used to be only so many good perimeter shooters on each team, and defenses would play off of guys and sag in the lanes to help on the post players. Now guys all must be able to shoot from the perimter to last in the league. Plus defenders can't sag off as much. Just look at pg's in the '80s who would dribble all the way to the top of the key and his man would be back by the free throw line trying to take away the pass. You can't get away with that now adays.
There are much better defensive big men. Guys 20 years ago didn't help out nearly as much on screens out on the perimter. They didn't rotate nearly as fast or get up as high to contest shots.
the foreign expansion is a no brainer. It has gone light years in the last 20 years.
coaching and ball movement, like nomoney said, has improved. Guys used to run the pick and roll to death or they would just throw it into a big man. Offense's are much more creative now to counter the improved defenses.
skill has obviously gotten better. Guys are better ball handlers. Better shooters. Gone are the days of just being 7 feet with no real skills. Now you have to defend and keep defenses honest by at least being a capable scorer, even if you are just a role player.
Look at guys like Dr J, or Larry nance or james worthy. All great players, but none of them were good ball handlers or perimter shooters. The game has evolved in every aspect. How anybody who has watched the game for the last 20 years can disagree with this is beyond me.
Sure Jordan and Malone and olajuwon and some others would translate well. But do you honestly think guys like Mark Price or dennis johnson would be all stars today? Or that Magic and Bird would win multiple mvp's over guys like Kobe, Lebron, Paul, and Wade?
Every generation the game improves.
I think foreign involvement has developed most. Look at how many nationalities play now. its more of a global game than 20 years ago. South Americans and Europeans are really improving.
I don't know if I'd say that ball movement has INCREASED... i mean, the NBA is soooo much 1-on-1 nowadays and that can make it sorta boring/more exciting depending on who u ask. to some extent LBJ taking his guy 1-on-1 is ok to watch, but when it happens every time down the court, it gets a little tedious.
Also, I think just the sheer size of the players now-a-days is ridiculous. people were so dam skinny back in the day~ it seems like they all looked like austin daye! lol now he's getting questioned for his size all the time...
I think the basketball game degradeted into a basketball show, I am extremley happy when the least fan loved team wins (San Antonio) and Orlando wins against Cleveland, cause it makes me think Stern doesn't control everything.
Athletisism and creativity have sure gone up, everything else gone done, to much for the fans, not enough for the game, soon there will be a fan voting for MVP and guys like AI will be MVP all the time...
players look alot bigger now..i cant say overall they are better because most of the platyers then were good and knew the fundamentals. most today have more potenial though. i also tink they players back then were smarter on the basketball court and thought the game more instead of using sheer athletisim. big men were more skilled( not the point foward big men of today but better then the classic big man of today)
when people refer to Larry Bird as "unathletic". No, he couldn't jump, but for 6'9" he was very quick and could get out on the break as well as anybody. He was also an excellent defender with great footwork.
All due respect to Bird, but if he played sf today, do you honestly see him staying with guys like Lebron, Carmelo, Granger, Durant etc.? I watched plenty of Bird, and he rarely dunked, rarely blew by defenders, didn't have hang time, and was not a speed demon in transition. He was not a great athlete.
i think bird would have trouble with them liek most would but some of there offensive effectivness would be lower since they would waste alot of energy trying to check him also. none of them could check him. he was a great player as well as being very smart. its always hard trying to check shooter great shooters who can also get there shot off even if they arent great athletes. esspecially one who is 6'9. jordan even said he had a hell of a time checking bird even though he was faster and more athletic . said birds shot was so good and he was so smart knowing how to use pump fakes and get to the spot he wants to go and jab steps. and jordan is one of the best defensive guards to ever play..i never particularly liked bird but i do respect greatness
Larry Bird now would be a young Peja Stojacovic, with great defence, good speed and extreme hustle, he would win a couple of MVP's
The SF and SG positions have become stronger, the PG, PF, C have become way worse (especiallythe C) probably this is because the best showmen are SF's and SG's
i think thats pretty close although bird wuld be better then a young peja. id say a better dirk
Yep, I think Bird would be Dirk with better ball handling skills
I think a lot of people are forgetting the late 90's when the NBA brought in their 3 point line. That had a great impact on the game and I'm glad they not only took it back to where it was, but brought it out a little further from there. When they brought it in a foot I think it was in 99 or so, Big men started jacking more 3's guards, stopped penetrating as much, and players who shouldn't have been relying on 3's started to. This was an attempt to increase scoring( in my opinion to gain interest in the immediate post Jordan era), but It really just had a negative impact on shooting percentages, and the overall flow of the NBA offenses. I'm glad they moved it back.
joewolf-it was like '95 that they did that for one year, they brought in to 22 feet from 23'9. And your right, it didn't work becuase it just meant more guys shooting threes that shouldn't have. Also, it didn't help scoring because a shorter 3 point line just meant less room to space the court and the lanes were even more clogged then normal.
The game has obviously evolved in all of those ways llperez22 mentioned, but I also agree with quincey hodges... I think the players back then had better fundamentals and higher basketball IQs. Like quincey hodges said, "They thought the game more instead of using sheer athleticism." I also agree with him about the big men being more skilled on the block. Most big men today are lacking post/back to the basket moves.
As for the center position, the elite centers like olajuwon, Karrem, Robinson and Ewing were better then what we have today. But the center position as a whole has gottne better because there were a lot of complete stiffs back then as well. Guys like jon koncak, Danny schayes, james edwards, manute bol, bill wenington etc. they would get killed by most centers today.
Lol... Man... I'm really getting tired of getting negative points for MY opinion. It's not that I necesarily care about the points... It's that whoever's doing it doesn't even step up and say why they did. It's just annoying.
llperez22... I didn't say the centers back then are BETTER than the ones today. I just said that I feel they had better back to the basket moves. Obviously Tyson Chandler would dominate Bill Wennington because of the obvious physical/athletic evolution of the players today... Doesn't mean he has better moves on the block. I think the big men back then were more comfortable on the block/in the paint.
yeah I wasn't neceassarily disagreeing with you, just expanding on what I thought about the position and how it has evolved. And I don't play the points game, so don't worry about it being me.
Yea, I know it wasn't you lol. I've had this little "honey bee" taking my points for the last couple of days. It's not that I care about the points. I just wish the person would step up and say what they disagree with... Then we can debate about it.
llperez, all those 90's centers you listed were bench warmers. i don't think Bill Wennington would get killed by a lot of 2nd string centers, which is what he was. He averaged 13 minutes per on his career. He would have gotten killed if he started and played 30 plus minutes in his era. A lot of those stiffs could actually play, Bill had a sweet 18 foot jumper, and Koncak and Edwards were fundamental rebounding oriented big men,and just had extremely limited athleticism. Today the position of back up center had been taken over by "projects" guys with length and athleticism, but just kind of run around and block a shot or two and give up a couple fouls. I'd take Wennington over Zaza Pechulla, Brian Scalabrine (who was listed as the backup for a 50 plus wins Celts team) Hilton Armstrong, Stephen Hunter and others any day
Shayes, Edwards, Koncak and Bol were all starters and I thnk guys like Bynum, Okafor, Bogut, Kaman, barganni, Biedrins, chandler and a bunch of other current starters who are not all stars would easily out play a lot of starters from the early 90's who were not all stars. As for the guys I mentioned from the '90s, I was just throwing out some examples. I could add Longley, Kleine, Olliver Miller, Mark West, Jim Mc Ilvaine and many more that were starters who would not hang with todays starters.
Yeah, but to me Bynum, Okafor, Bogut, and others are 2nd teir centers in today's era and Koncak, Schayes, Bol, and Edwards were manily bench players, with the exception of Edwards those other guys just started when the guy ahead of them was injured. The guys you mentioned like Bynum etc. would be compared to the Rik Smits, Jayson Williams, Kevin Duckworth, Hot Rod Williams, Arvydas Sabonis, post injury Brad Dougherty and guys like that, and in my opinion are pretty even
Lebron, Carmelo, Granger, Durant etc.? How many guys in the league now could consistently stop these guys? Not too many that I can think of. Of course Bird would have trouble with Lebron James. I don't think that I have ever seen anyone that could consistently stop James from scoring, including MJ.
Also, whoever said that Mark Price wouldn't be an all-star now is just wrong. He could have easily replaced Devin Harris or Mo Williams on this year's east team.
well if you look at the best non allstars from the early '90s, you have to count out daugherty, and duckworth because they played in all star games. You also have to count Jayson williams and Sabonis out since they were not early '90s. So some of the best starting centers in the early 90's who did not play in all star games would be hot rod williams, vlade divac, rony seikley, and maybe a few I'm forgetting. But if you look at my list of non all star centers from today, it is much deeper and more talented imo.
I just remember like half the league had a relative stiff starting at center close to 20 years ago. I mean even Chris Dudley and an injured Sam Bowie and olden polynice and eric montross and felton spencer were starters for a number of years.
I'm not saying the top guys like Robinson, Ewing and olajuwon aren't better then today's guys. But the overall depth, talent and expectations for todays starting centers is much higher.
I hear what you are saying llperez, but I bet Bynum, Okafor, Bargs, Bogut and the guys you listed are all young, and probably not all of them, but one or two will make an all star game or two by the time their career is over, so i'd guess you'd have to hypothetically count them out in the future too. You are right about expectations being higher now, potential is emphasized so much more these days, but as for the over all talent level I think they are pretty equal, with an exception of the top notch centers (90's gets the nod there). But going down line, I think the second tier guys are pretty equal, bench warmers are pretty equal. In different ways yes, todays big men ARE more athletic, but the fundamentals and bulk the 90's guys had would probably make it pretty even. I mean Koncak would match up pretty well against a Collins twin or Hilton Armstrong, Hot Rod Williams would compete pretty well with Bogut and so on....
This is a great topic.
Larry Bird would be a 4-man in 2009. There are so many more perimeter-oriented 4's now, and the big-boned, good rebounding Bird would fit right in as a great one.
Emeka Okafor and Dwight Howard would strictly be 4's in 1989. Okafor reminds me a lot of Buck Williams and Dale Davis.
Ewing, Olajuwon, and David Robinson would be better than the Centers today, but the thing is, with the 5-second back-to-the basket rule, would their games be negated some??
Seems like it was generally a "taller" game circa 1989. I remember a lot of 6'5" to 6'6" PGs. And of course there was Magic Johnson. The Lakers had some ridiculously tall lineups.
I think the referees have a wider interpretation of what constitutes legal ballhandling now. Maybe that has allowed for more creativity in the current era.
Circa 1989, SF's could star without much of a perimeter face-up game:
James Worthy was a mid-range shooter at best, who simply scored off great athleticism. Adrian Dantley, Mark Aguirre, and Xavier McDaniel were effective 6'5" to 6'7" SF's with strong back-to-basket games. 6'5" Dantley would methodically dissect the defense out of the post. This was partially allowed by the absence of a 5-second back-to-the-basket rule. They used to say you learned something about basketball every time Dantley touched the ball. More recently, Glenn Robinson reminded me a little of Aguirre and Dantley.
I just wanted to re-iterate: Larry Bird would be a straight-up 4-man in today's game, and darn good. Quincy and ItsDwightHoward are onto something.
This is one thing that is quite different from the late 80's early 90's game is that, NCAA didn't even introduce the 3 point line until I think 84 or around then, so a lot of young players hadn't played games that had the 3 point line and as a result a lot of guards didn't have the range that today's do. There were a lot more guards like Mo Cheeks and others who didn't have an outside shot. Jordan didn't develop a decent 3 point shot until a couple years into his career, because he never played with a 3 point line leading up to his time in the NBA. Point guards like Derek Rose and Rondo are knocked because of their lack of an outside shot, but in that era they would just be classified as slashers. I think the introduction of the 3 point line in general has raised the expectations on guards to be more complete players and hit the outside shots. You could argue the introduction of the European style jump shooting big man paired with Larry Bird has done the same for both forward positions.
Joe Wolf, that is a good point.
The 3-point line was introduced in high school my senior year(1987-88), and while I considered myself a solid "outside shooter", I didn't have the leg strength or wrist strength to hit 3-pointers at all. This strength is not developed overnight in players. I played the game for many more years and never developed a solid 3-point shot. A 28-year-old guy in 1989 would've played without a 3-point shot his entire life until around the age of the age of 22, depending on what college conference he played in. Different conferences had different 3-point/shot clock rules around 1982-83. (Interesting tidbit: A player's Conference-recognized statistics could be different from his NCAA-recognized statistics, because for a stretch the NCAA wouldn't recognize 3-pointers for individual stats, supposedly. I'm not sure if that got changed or what.)