NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has chimed in on the debate over how much success Golden State Warriors superstar Stephen Curry would have if he played in a different era.
During an appearance on CSN's SportsTalk Live, via CSN Bay Area, on Friday, Silver said Curry has what it takes to be great against any opponent at any point in NBA history:
You know the great ones when you meet them. They have a certain swagger. They have a certain mental approach to the game. They have a certain way, a laser-like focus. You know, Michael [Jordan] would have been great at any time, and Steph would have been great if he had played back in the day. And Bill Russell, if he were still playing today, would still be winning championships.
Certain NBA legends, on the other hand, have contested that Curry's success stems from rule changes that make it easier for players to score in the modern-day NBA.
Hall of Famer Oscar Robertson generated controversy last week during an appearance on ESPN Radio's Mike & Mike, via Randy Miller of NJ.com, when he said Curry's greatness is due to the incompetency of today's NBA coaches:
If I've got a guy who's great shooting the ball outside, don't you want to extend your defense out a little bit? I just don't think coaches today in basketball understand the game of basketball. They don't know anything about defenses. They don't know what people are doing on the court. They talk about analytical basketball and stuff like that.
Robertson also said defenses don't pressure players after they hit a shot from outside: "But now they don't do that. These coaches do not understand the game of basketball, as far as I'm concerned."
One thing Robertson neglected is Curry's seemingly unlimited range, as he famously showed during his team's overtime thriller against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Feb. 27:
Given Curry's ability to hit shots from almost anywhere inside half court, Silver also addressed the topic of possibly moving back the three-point line:
I don't get a sense that there's really a high-volume concentration of discussion yet about moving the three-point line. ... It's not something that our competition committee has even discussed. It's not something that our Board of Governors—the owners, who would ultimately need to vote to change the rule, so I don't think there's any serious interest in moving the three-point line right now.
Silver added that the NBA is flourishing in terms of popularity, so "the last thing" he wants to do is shake things up right now.
The NBA is in an excellent place under Silver's leadership. There is more money in the league now than at any point in history, the Warriors are putting together one of the greatest seasons in NBA history, and stars such as Curry, LeBron James and Kevin Durant are great ambassadors for the sport.
Making a change just for the sake of change serves no purpose. Silver learned the tricks of the trade under David Stern but is also forging his own identity as commissioner. It's still early in his tenure, but the NBA's future looks bright.