I am not a big NBA (Not Basketball Anymore) fan and only then if the San Antonio Spurs of the Western Division and the Boston Celtics of the Eastern Division are playing and not until it gets to the quarter-final round of the conference playoffs.
How many NBA fans today will say that it is harder to make and to play in the NBA now? Do the facts really say that?
When the league first started it was like major league baseball’s American or National League, there was only one division and it only had 8 teams compared to the 30 of today and no teams west of the Mississippi River.
That means that with 15 player rosters of today there was a maximum 120 player positions to fill compared to the 450 of today.
With fewer teams and players it was harder to make a team’s roster and there was not as much of a watering down of overall talent in the 40’s, and 50’s and as the league started to add teams the talent basketball overall has gotten less and less, as the athletic talent has increased.
Granted the players today are far more athletic then the ones of yesteryear overall, but they are not as good as pure basketball players who were not as good athletically but better playing the game from the shoulders up. Basketball players playing basketball vs. athletes playing basketball of today is actually seeing a comeback of some degree as basketball players playing basketball as the NBA now has over 100 international players of the 450 on the rosters and the international game is less athletic than the American game.
Also it is easier to play today as the equipment and facilities are better today as is same of the rules, travel, training, conditioning and health programs, etc.
Let’s take a look at some of the records that were set that will probably never be broken. Wilt Chamberlain who in the late 50’s and 60’s holds 3 records that probably never be broken. The 7’2″ Chamberlain despite being a poor career foul shooter still holds the record for most points in a game at 100 and the next highest is Kobe Bryant’s 81 and the highest single season scoring average at 50.4ppg and second is Kobe Bryant’s 35.4ppg. The career rebound record by Chamberlain is over 23,000. The second is current player Dwight Howard’s 11,133.
The most assists in a career is by John Stockton with 15,806 and the next highest is current player Chris Paul with 7,688. Stockton also holds the record for most career steals 3,265 and Paul is next at 1,793.
This shows that there is much more one on one play today then there was in John Stockton’s era as look at his total assists which is more than doubled the highest of Chris Paul’s total. The NBA definition of an assist is the last player who passes the ball to teammate who immediately scores a field goal from the pass (player may dribble to basket after receiving ball. Offensive player movement which means there is more movement of the players and not one player dribbling and the other four players standing still as non moving spectators. In John Stockton’s era just look at his total assists which is more than doubled the highest of Chris Paul’s total. The NBA definition of an assist is the last player who passes the ball to teammate who immediately scores a field goal from the pass (player may dribble to basket after receiving ball. Offensive player movement which means there is more movement of the players and not one player dribbling and the other four players standing still as non moving spectators.
The NBA player with the most titles is Bill Russell of the Boston Celtics with 11 and the current player with the most is LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers with just 3.
The record for most wins in a season are the Golden State Warriors with 73 set several years ago.
The most consecutive wins in the regular season is 33 set by the Los Angles Lakers in the 70’s.
These records may never be broken because the game has changed so much from being a basketball ballet to a wrestling match and to an athletic track meet both on a wooden floor since the time most of those records have been set.
In the late 50’s and 60’s you had the Celtics with Bill Russell, Bill Sharman and Bob Cousy and the Philadelphia 76’s had Wilt Chamberlain and Hal Greer.
Then you had the Lakers with 6’9″ Magic Johnson and the Celtics with 6’9″ Larry Bird as they battled for NBA championships as probably the two least athletic players ever to win NBA championships and both being considered the best players in their era at the same time.
Then came the athletic Michael Jordan who once he talked with Magic Johnson during the 1992 Dream Team in the Olympics of how to put his athleticism playing from the shoulders down to playing like Magic and Larry the non athletic game from the shoulders up to become the greatest all around player in the history of the NBA on both sides of the ball offensively and defensively.
The game today features 33 year old LeBron James as the best player in the league, although, many today feel that Kawhi Leonard is the best two way player.
The 24 second shot clock came in for the 1954-55 season which changed the game completely and then it was changed again as much in 1979 when the 3 point shot was installed into the game.
The game today is an athletic 3 point shooting contest vs. the game prior to the 3 point shot coming into the league in 1979 when it was an inside game and dominated by BIGS like Chamberlin. Russell, Jabbar, O’Neil, etc. and a controlled fast break running game, which had good shot selection, less one on one, fewer turnovers, less physical, more ballet game featuring finesse instead of the physical athleticism of today.
I believe that people that did not see the NBA from 1946 thru to 2000 play it is harder for them to make comparisons of today’s game to yesterday’s game.
With the records listed above not probably ever going to be broken and 22 more teams from the start shows that it probably was easier to play in the league as the league added teams 8-1946-54, 9-1961, 14-1967, 18-68, 22-76, 27-1989 and finally 30 franchises in 2002 and got easier and easier as the league continually added franchises.
This is just my opinion and opinions are like noses everyone has one.
It is just a question of “Different basketball strokes for different basketball folks”. Many fans of yesteryear think it was harder to play back in their/our time and many fans today think it is harder today.
Several things are still very much the same today as they were yesterday and yesteryear. The baskets rim is 10 feet from the floor and is still 18 inches wide, the ball is 9 inches in diameter, the foul line is 15 feet from the backboard so the target has been the same since the NBA started in 1946.
No playyer from Maine who played high school basketball in Maine has ever played n the NBA. However, a player named Jeff Turner was born in Bangor and moved out of state as a very young boy did play in the NBA for 10 years.
Several Maine high school basketball players have had NBA tryouts after their college careers, but did not make the NBA.
1. Which is the only basketball skill that any player at any level can compare themselves to others at any level from middle school to the NBA yesteryear, yesterday or today?
2. Name the only out-of-state college players that played college basketball in Maine that actually played in the NBA?