NBA Today: Much Different From the 1980s

An'dre TriplettCorrespondent IJune 27, 2008

Do you remember any of the pictured players?  Now that the NBA draft has concluded, I've been thinking about what the NBA has become and what the league used to be.

I'm not one to spurn or dismiss the talents of today's NBA stars but the league has become watered down.  The players are younger, the draft classes are getting weaker year by year, and the cohesiveness of a TEAM is rarely seen until the playoffs.

I can remember when NBA players had to EARN their way onto a team and were not given a roster spot based on potential. 

The lottery picks are going to make nice guaranteed money and hopefully pan out for their respective teams.  In the "One and done" age of collegiate hoops the teams are paying for a prospect they HOPE will be a star in the coming years. 

There aren't many employers across the country that are willing to pay for potential.  The lottery picks should be thankful for having the privilege to play in a well organized league such as the NBA.

Getting back to the point.  This isn't my daddy's NBA!  There are no great rivalries like there used to be.  In the 1980's, there were two dominant teams,  they were the Los Angeles Lakers and the Boston Celtics. 

The teams were polarizing in the athletes that played for the teams and the cities in which they were located.  If you lived on the east coast you probably rooted for the Celtics and if you were on the west coast the Lakers.

Well, I grew up in Chicago, so I didn't really care for either team.  Reggie Theus and Orlando Woolridge were the main stays for the Bulls at that time.  And the Detroit Pistons and the Milwaukee Bucks were giving the Bulls all they could handle.

These rivalries were what made teams so good back then.  You had to dominate your division opponents in regular season play and then crush them come playoff time.  The regular season now is a race for playoff position and rarely will you see a "playoff type" atmosphere in January or February. 

My daddy's NBA players, while not as talented as today's players, had the all around game that the players of today are lacking. 

The "old school" players used the glass, the guards were not afraid of grabbing a few boards, and the role players knew their place.  The athletes of the new millennium jump higher, and are stronger. 

However, the role players of today, in general, have forgotten how to get a "floor burn" diving for a loose ball like Vinny "The Microwave" Johnson of the Detroit Pistons used to.  Or how to come off the bench and shut down the opposing team's best player like Michael Cooper of the Los Angeles Lakers used to do routinely.

The players of today should watch old footage of their forefathers that came before them to learn how to have a "career" in the NBA.  If not, they will just turn into a "flash in the pan" type of player that will be forgotten five years after their playing days are over.