Not to reminisce, but the NBA has definitely changed since the mid 90's, and most of the changes are negatives. Just look at the changes that are in today's league compared to the league not too long ago (mid-90's for example):
1. Softer Rules: These days, the defensive rules are much softer, giving the offensive player more of an advantage. Offensive players get to the hoop with ease, and don't pay for getting to the hoop like they did in the 90's or even 2000. Basically, every touch is a foul these days.
It wasn't like that before. The exception to giving the offensive players the advantage is one major thing—flopping.
2. Flopping: This has really ruined the game. With the influx of European and South American players (it's far more common there), flopping has become so prevalent in today's league. From Ginobili to Harris to Fisher to Varejao to Oberto to Horry and even Raja Bell, flopping is a sad reality.
Why is it sad? Because I would rather see a big time block or hard-nosed defense rather than someone faking a fall like that. Basically, there are far more whistles than in yesterday's game.
3. More three-point shooting, less mid range shooting: This has really changed on the offensive end.
It might have come about because of the rule changes for zone defense. Although I do enjoy the three-point shot as much as the next fan, I am missing that mid-range jump shot which was more common in the past. The only guys I see who still have it are Dwyane Wade, Kobe Bryant, Richard Hamilton, and Luol Deng.
Back then, basically everyone had a mid-range game. The mid-range jumper for all the young players out there is definitely an advantageous move because it basically gives you another option so the defense doesn't know what you're going to do (take it to the hole, shoot a three, or the mid-range game).
4. More individual game, less of a team game: Of course, there are exceptions, but predominantly, the game has become a little more one-on-one as opposed to team ball.
LeBron James on the Cavaliers is a prime example. Coach Brown just gives it to LeBron and lets him go one-on-five instead of having a good offensive scheme—it's awful to watch.
Also, the game advertises superstars a lot more than great teams. This really ticks me off. Why doesn't the league advertise teams like the Spurs, the Suns, Lakers, Hornets, Celtics, etc.?
5. The small ball game: As a point guard-type player, I really like this part of the game that's changed. Basically, teams have gone to more small ball. Point guards and shooting guards are dominant in our league today compared to yesterday, where the centers dominated. Just look at the best guards now compared to the great big men back then:
Kobe Bryant - SG
Chris Paul - PG
Allen Iverson - SG
Dwyane Wade - SG
Deron Williams - PG
Steve Nash - PG
Gilbert Arenas - PG
Tracy McGrady - SG
Caron Butler - SG
Tony Parker - PG
Manu Ginobili - SG
Chauncey Billups - PG
Hakeem Olajuwon - C
Shaquille O'Neal - C
David Robinson - C
Patrick Ewing - C
Karl Malone - PF
Charles Barkley - PF
Teams are running more, but we have still yet to see a running team win a championship. San Antonio, Detroit, and Miami were all half-court teams.
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