The NBA rules are designed to enhance scoring — and lots of it. But how much is too much?
Along with that, the league and its fans love 3-pointers and lots of them. Nothing wrong with that. The American Basketball Association of the 1970s brought today’s style of play to life. So today’s NBA owes the old ABA a lot of credit. It made the 3-point line and wide-open play major parts of the game.
Let there be no mistake, the NBA is fun.
That could be exemplified by the Bucks’ 150-130 hammer job of the Pistons on Monday. Or the Trail Blazers’ 147-127 rout of the Spurs. Used to be that when you scored 130 points, you won. You sure didn’t lose by 20, anyway.
But the rules also make it extremely difficult to defend. Or at least defend really well. Players aren’t only not allowed to clutch, grab or give themselves an advantage with old-school hand-checks, but they can barely breathe on an opponent without being whistled for a foul.
That is especially the case on the perimeter. Sometimes, defenders are too scared to even close out on opponents who are shooting a three. It’s not that they don’t want to, it’s just that the rules give a major advantage to the shooter.
“A good closeout is often called a foul. Not a reckless closeout, a good one,” one NBA wing player told Hoops Wire. “Sometimes it’s even a flagrant. All we are doing as defenders is what we are coached to do, but the league has changed the game.”
That’s true. The NBA has changed the game in that every clear advantage is held by the offensive player. The recent “freedom of movement” rule is one example. In short, it has removed physicality of any sort.
“It gives perimeter guys a lot more freedom,” Warriors star Steph Curry once said. “A lot more opportunity for creativity and obviously challenge defense in terms of schemes and how you approach that end of the floor.
“But for the most part, the level of skill of the guys that are playing in today’s age would’ve been able to adapt to pretty much anything.”
That is true. So why do they need so many advantages, so many opportunities to score, so little defense permitted by the rules?
Now, no one is pining for the days of final scores in the 70s and 80s. But there has to be a middle ground, no?
“It always makes me laugh to see fans or the media complain our about (their favorite team’s) defense,” the player told Hoops Wire. “The league doesn’t want us to defend. We’re just trying to play by their rules.”
So, what do you think? Is the high-scoring, non-defense game of today just fine as is? Or does the league need to tweak the rules to at least give defenders a little help, man?
Let us know by voting in the poll, and leave your comments at the bottom of this post.
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It’s the enforcement that is inadequate. The inconsistencies of the refereeing have still not been addressed, and it looks like the league avoids accountability on that front. Regardless of whatever efforts they make to do a good job, it’s still a significant problem. The player arguing calls is a manifestation of this as well. Eventually all these ref-related problems will be recognized for what they are. Until then, there will be a manufactured list of ways to “fix” the “problem” that inconsistent refereeing has created. And speaking of creating problems, how did this discussion even get started? What “problem” tipped this off? We’re talking about scoring “too many points” in a basketball game. Huh? That sounds like a manufactured “problem” from people needing to have a problem with or control over something.
Agree with P on the enforcement issue. Yes, I know there will be some inconsistencies, you expect that form differing viewpoints of the officials, but when the replays CLEARLY, & I mean CLEARLY shows the disparities something needs to be addressed. Your whole article of giving the offensive player a significant advantage is well done, and that should be addressed as well, but one can’t be unless the other is too.