To the avid basketball fans that have continuously stayed loyal to the game they love for at least the past decade, it’s hard not to notice certain elements of the game that continue to evolve.
Whether it’s the dying role of the prototypical big man (the back to the basket, brute forces that dominated the NBA for the past three decades…you know, the Patrick Ewing, Hakeem Olajuwon types), or the change in shot selection (name me a team that utilizes the mid-range shot nearly as frequently as in years past…that’s right, you can’t), the NBA is changing, for better or for worse.
Today’s NBA now favours those nifty guards that can hoist three-pointers at will and beat their defenders off the dribble with ease. Sounds familiar? It should, given how for the past season and a half we’ve bared witness to one such player, Stephen Curry, doing just that at a remarkable level…sorry, a historic level.
When else have we seen something remotely like this? Sure, we’ve seen great shooters (Ray Allen, Reggie Miller, and a near-retirement Jason Kidd come to mind), but has the league ever seen a talent that can shoot off the dribble quite like Curry? The answer is simple: never.
Curry’s ability to not only shoot off the dribble, but to get the ball out of his hands from his shooting motion so quickly is ushering in a new age the NBA has never seen before. I’m sure the majority of kids who grace the court at a young age nowadays no longer look to refine their post games or work on their mid-range game…the first thing they surely do is run out to the 3-point line!
Naturally, a game will evolve as players find new ways to combat certain tactics, hence why the big man isn’t what it used to be. My question is this: given the increased utilization of the 3-point shot in recent years, do you think once (and if) defenses learn to contain the 3-point shot, we’ll see a shift back to the dominance of previous trends, such as the traditional big man?
Personally, I think this could be the end of the evolution in terms of the way the game is played. Unless Curry is a once in a lifetime talent, or the rules change, I don’t think it makes much sense to change the tendencies of the game. In terms of effeciency, utilizing the 3-point shot frankly makes the most sense.
Then again, if a 3-point shot heavy team like the Warriors ever does have a weakness exploited (never know, it could happen!), this entire narrative could change. It’s only natural that things evolve.