February 20, 2005

The NBA All-Snores

by CHRIS LYNCH , American Digest Sports Editor

TODAY IS THE NBA ALL-STARS GAME. The game has special meaning for my wife and me. Our first date was to watch the NBA All-Star game so today marks our unofficial anniversary.

Back in college I met my future wife at a dance. We hit it off and found we had similar interests. Among those interests was basketball and specifically the Boston Celtics. This was the mid-80's and the Celtics were riding high with Larry Bird, Kevin McHale, Dennis Johnson, Robert Parish and Danny Ainge. That night at the dance we agreed to go out on a date. The date was to meet at my dorm room the next day to watch the NBA All-Star Game.

Many things have changed in our lives since that first date. We've been married for close to fifteen years and we have four kids. Many things have also changed in the NBA but those changes don't seem to be as positive.

Nothing shows the changes to the NBA better than the All-Star game. The action today will be all dunks and three pointers. The focus on those two things at the expense of all else has all but rendered the NBA unwatchable.

Back in the 80's the slogan was "the NBA - its FANtastic." Today's slogan should be "the NBA - its not FUNdamental." Somehow along the way NBA players have forgotten how to throw a bounce pass or shoot a bank shot. The fundamentals are missing from today's game and that makes the NBA difficult to watch. A game of nothing but dunks and three-pointers gets boring quick.

There is no better percentage shot in basketball than a bank shot but yet the only players who seem to use a bank shot today are Tim Duncan and some European players. It is the lack of an accurate mid-range shot by the players today that has depressed scoring in the NBA. Games with final scores in the mid-80's are the norm today and those games are boring.

My wife is representative of the fans the NBA has lost. She used to be able to name every player on the Celtics and she knew the name of each member of the All-Star team from both the East and West. Today she'd be lucky to name two players for the Celtics. The NBA no longer holds her interest because its boring.

I just hope that she still finds life with me interesting.

AMERICAN DIGEST SPORTS EDITOR Chris Lynch serves his own brew daily at A Large Regular, and contributes to SportsPages.com. Lynch can be reached at chris.lynch@gmail.com

Posted by Vanderleun at February 20, 2005 8:06 AM
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"It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood." -- Karl Popper N.B.: Comments are moderated and may not appear immediately. Comments that exceed the obscenity or stupidity limits will be either edited or expunged.

I totally agree, but let's extend it college basketball as well. Back in the late 70s and early 80s, I was a big fan of ACC action -- Terry Holland at UVa, Dean Smith at UNC and the rest of the gang. Those coaches could recruit smart, average kids who could play, teach them the fundamentals and turn them into an intelligent, strategizing team that was fun to watch. Now look at the state of college ball -- it's just like the NBA: run down the court, dunk, run back up the court, dunk, run down the court ... you get the picture. That type of streetball is just plain boring. And the kids play that way because that's all they know. The only coach out there coaching REAL basketball is Duke's Coach K -- and Duke's the only team that's really interesting to watch these days. It's sad ... truly sad.

Posted by: J.L.Anderson at February 20, 2005 8:36 AM

The ESPN highlights, the NBA paying so much attention to the dunk contest, all contribute.

In college - it has become tough to teach fundamentals to NBA caliber players because by the time they're a sophamore or junior - they declare for the NBA draft. That's part of the reason why the only players that seem to have a grasp of fundamentals are the Europeans.

BTW - you could even extend this to high school where the best players just dunk over the opposition. They don't bother learning fundamentals in high school either.

Posted by: chris at February 20, 2005 10:09 AM

Not like hockey, which is exactly the same game it was 30 years ago.

Yeah right.

Posted by: Cobb at February 20, 2005 11:28 AM

Cobb - for 15 seasons from 1954 to 1972 every team in the NBA averaged over 100 points per game. Now the team who averages 100 per game is really the exception not the rule and that 15 season stretch was before the 3 point rule.

Hockey was better in the 70's too if you ask me. The trap and all the clutching and grabbing was destroying fan interest even before the lockout.

Posted by: chris at February 20, 2005 12:03 PM

I think that much of the problems with the NBA can be traced back to when the 3 point shot was added to college basketball.

Prior to the 3 point shot, teams worked on post play to get the ball in low to get higher percentage shots. This helped develop good post play and good guard play. With the 3 point shot in effect, teams look more for shooters and guard play. For a lot of teams at the college level, they seem to expect defense and rebounding from their big guys, but not offense. You see very few great forwards or centers in the college ranks these days, hence the dearth of solid forward and center play in the NBA.

Couple that with the highlight mentality of the players and their publicists, the all sports networks, you end up getting a lot of individual play for the camera, but not a lot of great team play.

Posted by: RandMan at February 20, 2005 9:08 PM