Five-time NBA All-Star John Wall is entering his 13th year in the league, and ever since then, he has seen significant changes happening all across the board. He admits a big difference is a switch-everything mentality that now prevails across the entire NBA, which makes it easier for everyone and is in some way the most prominent sign for the "positionless" basketball that everyone started talking about a few years ago.
The NBA is easy now
In a recent interview for the Tidal League podcast, Wall, now a member of the Los Angeles Clippers, talked about numerous things from his All-Star career ever since the Washington Wizards drafted him up until now, when he is probably on the most talented team in his entire career. Wall has seen it all during his time in the NBA and noticed the change in how basketball is played, where versatility is the key attribute most coaches and GMs are looking for in players on their team.
Wall doesn't take anything away from the players from this era but believes things are much easier for them nowadays than for his generation. In that sense, he is not only reflecting on the NBA players but college players as well, who are just copying what they see from the pros, and both of these systems are aligned more than ever before.
"Don't get me wrong, these young motherf***ers in the game now is nice, I'm not taking nothing away from them, but..…the NBA and College.. it's so easy now… it's switch everything 1-5, find your worst matchup and go at him….we had to go through real systems."
The trends in the NBA change every decade
The players' mindset has changed as well, and most guys, according to Wall, couldn't adapt if they had to sit on the bench and get limited minutes on the floor. Everyone wants to play, and now teams use more players per game, unlike before, when coaches would play 8,9 players max.
"Imagine a lot of the motherf***ers that struggled to get into the league or didn't make the league they came in this era. This is the era they play, this is how they used to play. If you couldn't accept being the sixth man or seventh man, you were out of the league, they wouldn't stand a chance."
Wall is definitely on to something regarding the switch-everything mentality that teams employ in today's NBA. If you regularly watch the games, you can see that players often ask for a pick-n-roll to get a favorable matchup because that gives them the biggest chance to exploit the defender. Even teams that have good defenders often just decide to switch everything because it's much more manageable.
That brings us to the point of why some fans believe defense is no longer played in the NBA, and there is a notion that it's much easier to score now than ever before in the league's history. Trends in basketball change every decade or so, and it will be interesting to see how long we'll see this system in place before something else comes along that will switch the paradigm that is now in play for most teams in the NBA and college as well.