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There has to be some sort of fear going in the paint


Do defenders stand any chance in today's league? The points explosion will go down a bit as the long-term fatigue kicks in, and teams don't play as fast as they do, but we still see a lot of rule changes that are making it easier to score points.

Now, you can always say "Well Draymond Green can still defend!" and while that is true when changing rules and projecting the effect of such changes, you should project the impact on your average defender. Did removal of all the physicality put your average defender at an unfair disadvantage? If you ask Crish Bosh, it did for the big men trying to defend the paint. Players see things that we don't, and Bosh gave a fascinating example. This was his answer to the question what would he change if he were the commissioner for a day (via Open Court):

Never thought of it that way, but I have to say I agree with Bosh. I'm not saying players should be able to elbow and maimed in the paint, but flexing your muscles when you finish through contact made sense in the '90s. Today with all the rules and physicality out of the league? Get out of here! Keep in mind that Curry only became Curry when he developed his inside game. Even the best of shooters need versatility to shine fully. There is a cascading effect this change would have, and potentially give defenses a better chance to compete.

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Bosh wasn't the only one in the episode that pointed that out. Both McHale and Hill also suggested changes that would allow defenders to play more physical defense, and mind you, McHale and Hill were prolific scorers. We're not talking about Tony Allen saying it's not fair. While more offense is good for ratings short-term, if it comes to a point where defenses don't have a fair chance, it will not be good for the game.

Bosh changed my perspective on all the flexing. If it's not a challenge, there's nothing to brag about. Thank you very much, Chris, that's just another thing that will make me sound like an old man when I watch games.

photo by Keith Allison

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