There is an ongoing debate among NBA fans today on which era was the best, and there is a certain nostalgia among the same fans on how players were better. Alongside that notion comes the idea that players today lack the effort and passion, especially when it comes to playing defense because of the number of points teams score in a single game. According to former NBA player Gilbert Arenas, that is the wrong way of looking into things, and he gave a very interesting perspective on this matter.
Arenas argues he isn’t one of those guys that thinks his era was better than the current one because he has a lot of respect for the players that are in the NBA today. Players today are more athletic and skilled offensively than ever before, while the defensive schemes haven’t advanced to such a degree. Arenas, who was a great scorer in his own right, believes players in the ’90s, for example, weren’t great scorers, and that is why there was so much emphasis on defense.
I’m not one of those older players that pretends my era was the best. Evolution makes everything better for the most part. I wouldn’t say let’s add something to the game because, in reality, it doesn’t exist. The past doesn’t exist in this future, so when people say hand-checking, they need to bring back tougher defense; it doesn’t exist. You have to remember, the defense was great then because the offense wasn’t that good back then. You had a few players that were great, but for the most part, but most of your guards weren’t scorers, they were playmakers, which means they weren’t in attack mode.Gilbert Arenas, via Fubo Sports
The game is constantly evolving, and we are now living in an era of great shooters, capable of scoring from anywhere on the floor. Players like Curry, Klay, Lillard, and many others have an unlimited range on top of their incredible ball-handling skills and athleticism. Arenas believes no defense can stop these guys from scoring 30 plus points per game unless they have a terrible shooting night, which rarely happens.
There is no defense that controls this new offense. It doesn’t exist, and that is what people don’t pay attention to. I don’t care what rules you put in, because the offense evolved so far from where the defense was and where the defense can go.Gilbert Arenas, via Fubo Sports
Some may agree with the arguments Arenas made, and there are valid because if you look at players today, they are incredibly versatile like never before. The league also made some adjustments by changing the rules to make the game more attractive for the fans. It’s hard to say whether teams and players would score fewer points if they introduced hand-checking again, mostly because players are skilled and would find their way to the basket. Whether you agree with Arenas’s opinion or not, it’s good to talk about this because there is a growing belief that defense is no longer played in the NBA, which is far from the truth.