The game of basketball is continually evolving and changing. The trends are constantly changing, and they are predominantly introduced by players themselves and in some minor degree by the league front office when they are implementing new rule changes. In a recent interview for The Rich Eisen Show, Jerry West, who has been in the NBA for the past six decades, talks about the main things that changed the league and what kind of impact it has on the game as a whole.
Jerry West, who was one of the best shooting guards in NBA history and the architect behind several championship teams, believes the invention of the three-point line is the main reason for this change. The other exciting component is the addition of numerous analytics that impact the strategic decisions coaches make in every game. West thinks the amoung of three-point shots that are taken on a nightly basis is absurd, and it’s not watchable at all.
“The three-point line has completely changed the game. All the analytical people have changed it a lot. I watch the games sometimes, and I see 80 some three-points shots, and I say to myself, how can you be a great defensive team unless you have some kind of a balance. I think the defense gets compromised, but the analytical people have got so involved today that it’s not a game as pretty as I like to see it. I am more of a purist. Because of a three-point line, we see more players taking those shots, but I think when they’re taking it is the most important thing to me.”
However, despite his criticism of the style of basketball that is played today, West thinks the players are more talented than offensively than they were in the past. He also thinks some games tend to be more exciting because the lead is never safe. Even though a team is down by 20 points, the chances of getting back into the game increase dramatically if a team starts making threes.
“On the other hand, it creates excitement because, at the end of the game, the lead is never safe. It also created a different type of players. We are seeing incredibly gifted ball handlers today, like James Harden, who is an unbelievable offensive player. It’s beautiful to watch when you can shoot it like that.”