July 7, 2017
July 7, 2017
June 28, 2017
June 27, 2017
Dave is a writer-at-large for Bleacher Report and B/R Mag and hosts the Roundball Rock podcast—a comedic look at the NBA. Prior to joining B/R, Dave wrote for Grantland, The Guardian and VICE.
You dance around the edges but, like the rest of those that get their paychecks directly or indirectly from the league, you are unwilling to go down the rabbit hole. Answer the simple question: "How did Steve Kerr change the Warriors from a 51 win team into a 67 win powerhouse in just 4 weeks (one preseason)?" There we no major talent acquisitions, no major changes to sets. We know that improving defense takes years. What was it?
As a fan of basketball in general and pre-2014 Warriors in particular, I dropped $200 every year for League Pass just to watch them play. By the end of the 2014-2015 season, I had cancelled my subscription.
The start of beautiful "man movement - ball movement" basketball that began under coach MJ began to die and be replaced by "man movement - illegal screens". Idiots still talk about what a great passing team they are yet they have the worst pass to assist ratio in the league. If I wanted to watch football, I would watch the NFL. It is painful to see every single Warrior plow into defenders like they are pulling guards. The NBA rules are very clear here:
Under no circumstance can the screener contact the defender while moving. Ever.
This is killing basketball as a sport. The only way to counter the uncalled illegal screens is to switch everything on the perimeter. But that means you end up with Patti Mills guarding Kevin Durant. Or Steven Adams guarding Curry. Every single time down the court. And the result? In the 2015-2016 season, Curry averaged 7.2 open or wide open 3 point shots per game. Can you possibly imagine that happening if the Warriors set legal screens? What team would say "It is just Curry, we will leave him wide open from 3 to make sure we guard Green." Pick any game, isolate Curry's wide open 3 point attempts and in most cases, it is easy to identify the illegal screen that produced it.
The worst part is that the path forward doesn't look good. When your defense absolutely has to switch everything on every possession, there is no place for the Isaiah Thomases and Marc Gasols of the world. There will be some unicorns that make the league, but likely by 2025 you will see every team with five 6' 3" to 6' 9" players on the court at all times. It will be something, but it will not be basketball.