It's no secret that the NBA game has changed drastically from its beginnings. It is only normal and natural that each era brought some new aspects to the game and also removed a few. That has led to today's game being faster than ever, oriented on perimeter players and three-point shooting, making it perfectly catered for scoring guards. Kenny Anderson is definitely one of those guys that would have thrived even more in today's NBA.
Kenny Anderson might not be the biggest or most recognized name in NBA history, but "Mr. Chibbs" is a legend of the culture. Becoming a star in his high school days at Archbishop Molloy in Queens, committing to Georgia Tech, and becoming one of the most coveted players in the nation, all the hype was around Kenny Anderson, who became a legend in the city of New York.
As the second pick, Anderson's NBA career turned out to be a bit underwhelming but still pretty respectable. In 14 years, Anderson averaged 12.6 ppg, 3.1 rpg, and 6.1 apg while having the most notable stints with the Nets, Celtics, and Blazers. Kenny even managed to notch one All-Star appearance in 1994, when he was averaging 18.8 ppg and 9.6 apg in the best season of his career.
Although the hype coming out of high school and college never delivered, Anderson still became a fan favorite with his explosive style of play, presenting a rare scoring point guard for that era. Many would say Anderson's game would fit better in today's NBA, where those scoring guards are dominating the game.
Kenny recognizes that, as he applauds the talent level the NBA has today, but also thinks the game has become softer due to that:
"It's a lot of pick and roll game, and the lane is wider, and it's a three-point game...and now the guards, if you got handles and things of that nature, you're just pulling up, the lane is wide open. It's a lot softer game, let's call a spade a spade you know it's a lot softer, and it's fan-friendly until now, the playoffs, it gets more physical."
Kenny Anderson, BasketballNews
Although it may sound like a diss towards the game and players today, it's the truth. Players don't bang down low like they used to back in the 80s' and 90s'. But that is simply because that style doesn't equate to winning basketball anymore. Having shooters is a must to spread the floor and open the lane, as big men have become less valuable than ever.
Obviously, a lot of fans, especially the old-school ones, share Anderson's opinion and consider the game today too soft for their taste. Although I can see their point, there is a charm in today's game and talent level that is unmatched compared to any other era. Although we would all like to see some more balance and implementation for the mid-range/inside game, it's hard to imagine teams and players would differ from what's working.