The National Basketball Association continues to find ways to reinvent itself. The NBA has made the game more entertaining by leaning into an offensive explosion.
Some of that is due to emerging technology and the way the game has changed. That includes getting even more data to make NBA picks and parlays somewhat more predictable, but still not an exact science. But the data and tracking are changing other elements of the game that have all sorts of players – current and former – speaking out.
Anthony Edwards does not understand why players are sitting out games to rest. Obviously, injuries happen, and medical teams put together treatment and rehabilitation plans, but load management is still a real thing.
But Edwards said if he is healthy, he wants to suit up for every game. Edwards played in 72 games each in his first two seasons and played in all 63 games to date in 2022-23.
“Just play, man. If you 80%, you gotta play,” he said. “I don’t like all the sitting, missing games stuff. These people might have enough money to come to one game. And that might be the game they come to and you sitting out.”
NBA veteran Draymond Green said he understood where Edwards was coming from, but the young Minnesota Timberwolves wing could not speak for Green’s situation. Green, who turns 33 on March 4, has won four NBA championships and battled injuries. But he has averaged more than 28.4 minutes per game when he does play since 2014-15.
Edwards’ comments, though, have sparked other rants by veterans, notably Charles Barkley, who do not understand why players are sitting at a higher rate since modern players cite the best data and medicine. The rebuttal is that the players should be most prepared because of that emerging technology and data.
There have been a variety of rule changes that have allowed for more offense in the NBA. Simply the argument that three points are worth more than two points has proven valid, and teams have sold out to shoot more 3-pointers in what has essentially eliminated the mid-range game.
Those who ran “the system” back in the day, where 3-pointers and layups were the only options, were analytically ahead of the game. The difference is it is now the best players in the world shooting those 3-pointers and layups.
Sure, there are still some mid-range shots from time to time, but the NBA has such high-scoring games because of this offensive philosophy. The rules, such as hand checks on the perimeter, have also been modified for less contact so that players are healthier and getting better looks on their jump shots.
No team has taken advantage of this better than the Warriors. Green has operated inside and been a valued screener for sharpshooters Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, two of the best to do it. It led to a dynasty in the 2010s and 2020s.
But some think the game may revert back to a post center in the frontcourt to give a dominant rim protector. The Utah Jazz had some success doing it with Rudy Gobert, and the two-time reigning Most Valuable Player is Nikola Jokic, a big center.
End Of An Era?
It is possible the clock will shut off in extra periods. The Elam Ending, which was popularized during The Basketball Tournament, is an alternate ending in which teams will play until one reaches a target score with only a shot clock and not a game clock.
This has been tested in the NBA All-Star Game, and it has created some great finishes. The Basketball Tournament created some of the best finishes as teams have come back from historic deficits.
While the NBA is incredibly offensive – in a good way for entertainment – it could post a priority on the defensive end, particularly for the losing team. Getting stops is paramount in order to cut into the deficit, and there is no time that will run out, just points.
It will bring an important element back into the equation that a lot of older fans miss about the older days of basketball.
Interesting to see how the game has changed as the cycles turn.