Originally posted by Hoovtrain:
^You def bring up good points, but i think we are still going to disagree. I firmly believe that todays D is so much softer than that of the Jordan era. Yes, players may be bigger and faster now, but that does not equate to being a better defender, imo. I think the reason everyone scored back then had more to do with them being far more fundamentally sound than todays players. I thought these were good articles.
With all due respect, the "more fundamentally sound" thing kills me. I'm curious...what are the exact fundamentals that you're talking about? What exactly did they do better 20 years ago?
Any halfway decent prospect gets sent to scores of specialized skills camps, most of which either didn't exist or were in their infancy 20 years ago. This is an enormous industry. I get 5-10 emails/snail mail every week on the subject. PG camps, big men camps, shooting camps, etc. And this is reflected in the play. The fundamentals on today's players are vastly ahead of what they were 20 years ago. Between these camps and the proliferation of AAU ball, by the time a guy is 21 years old, he's played so much more basketball, under so much more supervision than a guy from 20 years ago that it's not even comparable.
I can't help but think of the Olympics that are on right now and compare. In every
single measurable sport, records from 20 years ago might not even get you past the prelims today. But basketball...which has enjoyed MASSIVE international gains in popularity and revenue in the last 20 years has taken a step backward? C'mon, man.
Furthermore, you have so much more time & assets being poured into making your squad better. One of my favorite quotes to this end is from Hersey Hawkins.
"I can think about my first year in the league and how detailed scouting reports have become about stopping other teams. By the time I retired (in 2001) I was getting books--15-20 pages on the other team, their sets and what my player likes to do."
Here's another one from Johnny Bach, who was essentially Phil Jackson's "defensive coordinator" on the first 3 Bulls title teams. He said this in 2005.
"I think scouting is far better than it ever was...we have it on DVD and we have it edited. I don't think players had as much information as they have now and I think it contributes to playing the scorers better--deciding who are the scorers and really concentrating on how we're going to push them out a little further (away from their favorite areas). You have so much information available--the statistics alone, then you have the pictorial review that I can produce to a team. What we call 'criticals'--out of bounds plays, what they do after a timeout, what they do when the score's tied, what's the last shot of the quarter--all these things are broken down now."
And both of these quotes were from before the internet & advanced statistics had really taken hold in the NBA. Every team has at least 2 video coordinators, and with the couple of clicks of a mouse, you can get all of the footage of Dwyane Wade on the pick & roll when the big man is showing high, for example. And then, that footage gets sent to Thabo Sefolosha's iPad, who can study it for hours if he wishes. In Jordan's day, that was a VCR & team film sessions.
That, along with the rule differences that I mentioned in the last post make defenses so much better today that I'm of the opinion that saying otherwise can only be justified as romanticism. Just watch that video. Jordan spends most of it being guarded by Jeff Hornacek, Reggie Miller, Kevin Johnson, & Dan Majerle. He posts up in exactly the spot he wants to every time. That's not how it works anymore.