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Has Steph Curry changed the NBA for better or worse?
A.J. Reilly: We were talking about the product of the NBA, right? Yes. And Kyrie and the drama and all. This is what sparked this conversation, Eric, Friday night. Normally on Friday nights with my oldest son, we have what we call guys' night, right?
Where I sneak him outta bed and we watch sports, right? And he falls asleep on the couch and then I put him back to bed. Well, it's a slow sports time, right? So yes, we, I let him watch a movie, and then the movie was over and he's like, aren't we supposed to watch sports? Which was cool. But the only thing that I could turn on was the Dallas Mavericks versus the Golden State Warriors
Oh yeah. And when I turned it on, Golden State was up 20. And I'm like, bud, like this, is not a, he's like, no, let's watch. So we watched for a little bit and I watched for a little bit and then eventually fell asleep. And the reason why I was so uninterested in this game is one pass, three-pointer, two pass, three-pointer, one pass, three-pointer, right fast break stopped at the three-point line to shoot a three.
Tim Hardaway Jr., I was like, oh my gosh, you have gotta be kidding me. Go to a wide-open lane. What is going on? And it, and it, and it got me thinking because obviously playing in that game and being highlighted in that game is Steph Curry. And there's a lot of people who. This Steph Curry has changed the game of basketball.
Mm-hmm. Which I think is undoubtedly true. My question though, and it immediately sparked in my mind that I wanted to talk to you about is, has that changed for the better or has that changed for the worse?
Eric Vincent: If I had to divide it, and I don't like doing this, but I think it's most applicable, I think it's done damage and I think it's helped it.
But if I had to say what's done, more of it's done. More damage. Okay. For sure. Okay. It's definitely done. More damage. I'm gonna start with the good Steph Curry has given, he's given hope to players that don't look like LeBron James. Okay. You see a lot of kids now coming out huge chiseled, looking like 20-year-olds as 12-year-olds.
The Watchability Of NBA Games Has Severely Diminished
It's insane. Steph Curry has made it, he's opened a door for kids that maybe can't jump out of the gym, that maybe don't have Uber athleticism. Now I can just practice my skill at the three-point line, and in today's NBA, that's gonna keep you in the league with longevity. Now with that said, the watchability has gone down the toilet.
Oh. Even with the awful, even with the logo threes, which I love, I love seeing them pull up from half-court. I love seeing those, you know, all-star game-type shots. It doesn't make for good basketball for two reasons, because they're, everything is predicated on what you just said it.
Come to cross half court, one pass, couple dribbles, pull up three. Everything is the running gun Phoenix Sun's offense of their early two thousands. And now it's making it unwatchable because you got guys that are pump-faking for three-pointers and trying to draw contact instead of running plays.
Instead of trying to take advantage of situational matchups, they're just coming down trying to find a way that they can get a three. Or go to the free throw live for three shots. It's, it's inflated, the three-point and one for a four-point opportunity. Unbelievably, it's made guys like James Harden, MVP caliber players when he's unwatchable 90% of the time, like it, it's even making bigs like Joel Embiid that are multi-talented, but they just stay focused on the three-point line and it, it really becomes unwatchable after a while.
Like, yes, it's opened a door and has created a new brand of basketball to watch. But it ain't for the better. I don't think so. That's me, I don't think it is.
A.J. Reilly: So I, I'm with you and I agree with you on how it's made it better. Okay. In the sense that, you know, it's opened the door for kids that are not as athletic.
Mm-hmm. The problem is there isn't a single kid that's not going to admit that they're not athletic enough. Right. So they're not going to take the time to sit there and work on the skill of shooting a three-pointer. Right. They're just gonna go and just start tossing stuff up. Picking up. Yeah. Yeah. And I know this firsthand cause I coached middle school basketball and I was in a middle school for the last eight, nine years of my life.
Playing in the gym, all those kinds of things. And I saw this firsthand, where do kids go? There's not anymore, you know, between the like dribbling and, and getting, crossing a guy over and making a guy fall and taking his ankles, right? It's, well, lemme take a step back. Lemme take a step back further. Lemme take a step back further.
Right? And I get it that like analytically it makes more sense to jack up as many threes cuz you get more points than just going to the rim and making layups. Mm-hmm. especially when you shoot it at a high percentage like Steph Curry does. Right. But Steph Curry is also the greatest shooter in NBA history
Eric Vincent: of all time. Yes.
A.J. Reilly: And nobody is really close to him. Ray Allen was pretty close. Ray Allen was a great shooter.
Eric Vincent: Love Ray Allen. Yep.
Steph Curry Trickle-Down Effect Hurts Basketball Future
A.J. Reilly: But it's hurting & changed the game of basketball, like you said, in watchability, but in the trickle-down effect as well. Because now to the college game, people are gonna jack up.
Eric Vincent: Yep.
A.J. Reilly: That goes to the high school game and it goes to the middle school game, not learning the fundamentals of actually dribbling a basketball.
Of how to get to the lane and make layups. Yes. When I coach middle school and listen, I'm, I'm not saying that like I'm an authority on this because I coach middle school basketball. Like I understand I'm in the basement of my house, but I don't live in the basement of my house. Okay. Right. Like, I'm not one of those kinds of guys.
But I can see it firsthand where it's, I, I'm Steph Curry. I gotta jack this up. I gotta jack this up. I got, I, I, I don't know how to cross somebody over. I don't know how to make a left-handed layup or a right-handed layup for that matter, but I can shoot the ball six feet behind in three-point line, and I'll make one outta every 30 of 'em.
Right. Right. And in that way, it's ruining the game. Look, I will readily admit I am not an NBA fan. For many reasons, but mainly because the Pistons trade away, Chauncey Billups. And after that I was like, no, I'm so mad at the NBA, I'm so mad at basketball. I'm not watching it for a while, and I haven't,
Eric Vincent: it's a good reason, a really good reason to unplug. I'm not mad at that,
A.J. Reilly: that's legitimately when I stopped watching the NBA, I was all in on those go-to-work Detroit Pistons. I loved them. I wouldn't miss a game. Great era. But when Chauncey was gone, I was done with basketball because the game was changing and you know, having a three-point specialist, like a, like a Bojan, right.
Bojan, yeah. How like the guy that can post up and you're driving and kick it, he can change a game by one shot. Right. Yep. Now when all the players on the floor are doing that, it's not really special anymore. No, not at all. And it, and it takes away from the excitability and the excitement in the game.
I mean, watching that game on Friday night. I was like, oh, this is so boring. There's, there's nothing happening right now. It's literally, get the ball to Steph, everybody clear out. Steph Curry's are gonna go one-on-one to the basket, which is a very underrated part of Steph's game. Yes. Which he does not get credit for.
Eric Vincent: Not at all.
A.J. Reilly: Is his ability to get to the rim and score.
Eric Vincent: Yes.
A.J. Reilly: He's not just a shooter. Yeah, he is not. He is a phenomenal basketball player. Mm-hmm. But nobody's watching that. Nobody's trying to, if, if kids would emulate his entire game or try to emulate the entire game, that would help in a lot of ways.
Eric Vincent: Mm-hmm.
A.J. Reilly: because he's very fundamental in the way that he dribbles the ball. He's very fundamental in the way that he passes the ball and gets to the rim. And then he is obviously very fundamental in the way that he shoots. He is an all-around basketball player. Yes, but anybody, all, all anybody wants to do is just shoot the three.
Eric Vincent: That's it, man. It's terrible.
A.J. Reilly: And that's the problem. It's awful. I, I'm telling you, there was a fast break on Friday night in the third quarter where Tim Hardaway got an outlet pass up the court and stopped at the three-point line. Yep. There was one defender, like, okay. It wasn't a breakaway, there was one defender at the foul line.
I get it. But go get that guy in foul trouble. drives in the lane. Put him on a poster. Go to the foul line. Don't jack up a three. And miss,
Eric Vincent: that's, that's, that's, that's outta here now.
A.J. Reilly: It's, it's the worst, Eric, it's the absolute worst. And I just like, it's not a good product. It is not a good product. And I don't know how you fix it, cuz you're not gonna tell people, Hey, stop jacking up threes,
Eric Vincent: right? Yeah. That's, that's not happening.
Pure Domination Is Nonexistent In NBA Today
A.J. Reilly: Can't do that. but you miss, you miss the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's and the pure domination of a Shaquille O'Neill because I tell you, it's nonexistent.
Eric Vincent: I'll tell you the part I missed the most. For me. When I played in high school, I was a mid-range shooter. So you just talking about Chauncey being your favorite Rip was my God, yeah, sure. Running off of screens, being able to play methodical basketball, eating in that mid-range. And even outside of Rip, like I just told you, I love Kobe. Yeah, Jordan, like KD all time great, they're predicated in that mid-range area.
Kawhi Leonard like the best. It doesn't exist anymore and it doesn't exist anymore. One thing that I think it has created, and maybe this is a good thing, it's either a good or a bad thing. 20-point leads now are not safe because of the three-point line. Now that's good because it maybe creates and keeps you watching longer, but it's also ruining the integrity of the fundamentals of protecting a lead and playing smart basketball in the fourth quarter.
Well, yeah, you don't see that
A.J. Reilly: because nobody can play team defense anymore.
Eric Vincent: Facts. Facts.
A.J. Reilly: You can't, like when you watch the NBA, there's no help side defense anymore. No, because everybody's spread out around, you know, it's five wide, and if you got the opportunity for one-on-one, you're getting, like, it does, it happens occasionally.
Like maybe I'm being hyperbolic that it's not happening at all. But at the same time, I'm sitting there watching, like, there's not a defender with his foot on the paint, like mm-hmm. , there's not a, you know, on. The whatever area. I know they can't stand in the paint cause they got a defense at three seconds.
But like, you had to have a foot on the block at least to help protect them, like I understand the fundamentals of team defense, right? Mm-hmm. , where's the backside help? Where's, where's the off-ball coverage? Right? All of these things need to occur and it's like, That's what our kids are watching. That's what younger basketball generations are watching and they're like, I got my guy.
That's it. I got my guy. Yep. I don't need to help you.
Motor City Cruise Games: Methodical, With Higher Upper-Level Talent
Eric Vincent: No sagging, low, none of that. It gives me a big appreciation and it makes me excited about these Motor City cruise games. You guys have not checked them out at Wayne State. Check their schedule, and get there because they are very talented, but they stress the importance of what we're talking about.
It's basically, I don't wanna be insulting when I say it because college plays a lot of methodical basketball, but the G League plays methodical, but with higher upper-level talent. So they're not just, again, they're not just running gun trying to shoot threes. They set plays, they, you know, writing screens, they play team basketball.
It's not just, all right, how can I get, you know, 40 by the end of the night and maybe get on a sports channel or go viral on Twitter? Like, it's not gonna happen. I appreciate the methodical ways of coaching. It strips the ability of coaching as well. Like it just does, it takes away so much, like three points, just bail things out and you analytics bums who have acted like it's a good thing for the league.
It ain't, and I blame y'all a hundred percent.
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