NBA or YMCA? – The Dumbing Down of Pro Basketball

Of course, things were always better back in the day and you come off sounding like an old fuddy duddy when you bemoan the fundamentals (or lack thereof) in today’s NBA.  But the real basketball purists – Charles Barkley and Kenny Smith –  have had enough. And so have I.

The comedy of errors in the last minute of Oklahoma City’s win over the L.A. Clippers was mind-boggling, especially since a number of them were committed by arguably the best point guard in the league, Chris Paul.  We’ve come to expect unorthodox plays from The Human Torch, aka Russell Westbrook or Dum Dum Number One, according to the Chuckster.  However, when CP3 (Dum Dum Number Two) pulls not one, not two, but THREE bonehead plays in the final minute to help lose the game, it’s time to reflect.

Throughout the years, new things come into vogue.  For a while, it was headbands – still championed by Lebron James and the resurrected Al Harrington.  Then it became shooting sleeves.  And now, apparently, it’s fouling guys taking three point shots. There have been an unprecedented number of fouls committed on out-of-range shooters in the playoffs and an equally unprecedented number of three-and-one plays as well.

Last night, Paul may have flicked Westbrook’s elbow on a likely unmakeable three, but the bigger sin was even coming close enough to get called for a foul. Repeat after me.  You should never foul a jump shooter.  Especially when he is five feet beyond the arc.  You deserve whatever happens when you do.

And I’m not even going to get into the Reggie Jackson bail out, when he ignored the obvious dish opportunity on a three-on-one break and tried to be the hero.  Why Matt Barnes was reaching in made no sense, whether or not it was the worst call in playoff history (Doc Rivers) or if it was the proper call per the suddenly read by everyone on the planet NBA rule book (highly unlikely). It was a stupid play all around.


Some people consider the Thunder-Clippers matchup a great series. Right now, I consider it a battle of half wits, which is better than no wits, I guess. The winner of the series?  The team that doesn’t go completely brain dead down the stretch like both have done in games four and five.

2 thoughts on “NBA or YMCA? – The Dumbing Down of Pro Basketball”

  1. “Showbiz” basketball has become the norm at all levels now. Fundamentals have gone out the window for Rucker Park type hoops. While not as entertaining, I enjoy watching the women’s college game just to see fundamental basketball again. Anyone remember running set offenses, multiple passes, screens,
    even making lay ups? Thanks for calling out dumb.


    1. Have to disagree with you somewhat, MIke. Women can’t make layups half the time, they commit twice as many turnovers and they really have a hard time cleanly grabbing a rebound. Even with the small ball.

      While the top teams like Connecticut and …. well Connecticut… do play good fundamental ball, women’s basketball can’t be compared favorably with any men’s hoop. Just a fact.

      Guys in the NBA can make incredible moves off the dribble, the Clippers last night and the Spurs every night do an incredible job of passing the basketball; however, it has become primarily a pick and roll league, which is pretty boring yet effective. The Thunder really don’t have that in their game to a great degree. They use screens to set up long jumpers


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