Everyone has heard the old adage, “There is no I in team”. Well nowadays, folks are having trouble with their spelling. The game is shifting towards a different style of play than previous eras and a lot of today’s stars don’t share and don’t play well with others. When you were a kid, if you invited your friends over how do you think they would feel if they just had to watch you play with all the toys and then when you couldn’t figure out how one worked you gave it to them to fix but then they had to give it right back and watch you play and have fun? They still come because you’re the popular kid and they can brag about it at school on Monday but damn, I know they didn’t enjoy themselves.
So in that very roundabout way what I’m trying to say is in today’s NBA, this is the age of playing by yourself. The “I” in team stands for isolation. The game is kinda stagnant offensively and everything is way harder than it has to be. “Drive and kick” has moved “pass and cut” to the back of the bus. And before y’all get started, let me warn you that the first person that says “But THE SPURS………..” is literally going to get punched in the face (not really, I’m not a fighter). If you keep bringing up one team as a rebuttal to the iso nature of the game, one team out of 30, then guess what………..
There’s a few reasons why this one man band approach doesn’t work. The first reason is it promotes a lot of standing around on offense. Watching one guy do all the work and wait for the ball to come to you is boring. It’s boring for the people playing and it’s boring for the people watching. It makes it easier to play defense. When five people only have to be concerned with one person at a time, that might be problematic. If the ball is moving and all five bodies are moving then maybe we might get something easy. But heavy lifting is always easier when more people are involved. Next, it results in a lot of bad shots and mucks up the game. Guys either put their head down and try to finish at the rim over two and three people or end up jacking up a long three pointer. We saw a lot of this in both Game 7’s of the Conference Finals. Really choppy, ugly games with a lot of ill advised shots. Also, it’s a lot of hard work to score consistently this way. And it’s not like these guys are picking their spots and scoring effortlessly. It’s a lot of pounding the basketball, initiating from the three point line and it shows how hard it is in late game situations. It’s nothing methodical. It’s more often than not some desperate heave or forced action going towards the rim. There are hardly any finishers in the league today. A lot of guys like to win by decision. Need some more knockout artists.
Basketball is played 5 on 5 for a reason. I used these 500 or so words to say that these guys need to brush up on their spelling. Share the rock and learn how to play with others. If you guys think that this style of play is cool, please don’t ever invite my kids to a play date with your kids. They’re probably selfish and don’t let the other kids play with the toys until they absolutely have to.