The National Basketball Association has gone through many generational changes in terms of eras of basketball. With each newly implemented era of basketball, it seems as though the style of basketball changed.
For example, the 1980s were headlined by the battle between Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and the “Showtime” Lakers who were all about pushing the ball in transition and the Boston Celtics Dynasty that was all about defense and half-court execution.
Subsequent years saw the game evolve from the defensive-minded ‘Bad Boy’ Detroit Pistons, to the superstar-focused attacks of Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls and the Shaq-Kobe Lakers, to the run-and-gun style we see today. The latest evolution has caught the eye of Abdul-Jabbar.
In an interview with Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe, Abdul-Jabbar elaborated on how the evolution of NBA players has changed the mentality of the game:
“Most young people don’t care about playing with their back to the basket in close, they want to shoot 3-pointers,” he said. “It’s changed the game. It’s made the game more popular. I think the game is evolving. In 1985, the Los Angeles Lakers won the world championship. That whole season we made 90 3-point shots. The Golden State Warriors made 1,077 3-point shots [last season]. I think that’s an indication how the 3-point shot has affected the game and the mentality of the young people playing the game. They want to go out there for all that money.”
Mike D’Antoni and the Phoenix Suns, along with Steve Kerr and the Golden State Warriors, have changed the thought process behind the NBA. Teams have begun relying heavily on the three-point shot, attempting to create more of an up-tempo style play on a consistent basis.
When NBA players have a tremendous season, especially with a deadly three-point shot, teams will throw money at them in hopes of catching up with the new trend of basketball.
The comparison made between three-point field goals made is astounding, as Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson have taken the moniker of the “Splash Bros”. In the end, the 20-year veteran also reiterated that the three-point shot doesn’t guarantee championships, as the Warriors eventually blew a 3-1 series lead because of their inability to finish off the Cleveland Cavaliers.
The Lakers seemed to have moved on with the recent trend, as head coach Luke Walton has brought forth some schemes from his tenure with the Warriors, although the Lakers are still getting acclimated to the system.