“The Winds of Change”

unnamedAs a basketball fan, I am in a constant state of evaluation in regards to the game. I’m giving you a fair warning here, I’m about to go full out “GET OFF MY LAWN!!!” guy in a second.

If I had to give hoops a grade right now…………let’s just say basketball would have to go to summer school. To be quite frank the game sucks right now, on all levels. My opinion is not the end all be all, nowhere near it. But as far as I’m concerned, the game needs a makeover.

Let’s start at the bottom. Youth basketball is a complete mess. For a lot of people, it’s become more about helping adults than the kids. It’s a business and the kids are commodities. There is not a lot of development happening, which is extremely odd seeing as how gyms are crowded with trainers working with kids on their game. I just find it puzzling that everybody is working and fundamentals are so sloppy and underdeveloped. I’m not going to get into this re-classing nonsense. Neither you nor I have the time.

The high school level isn’t any better. There are some programs out there that are doing it right but some folks are taking advantage. There doesn’t seem to be a lot of teaching going on. A lot of kids are living off of their athleticism. That is not a formula for long term success. Some coaches are bending the rules for personal gain as well. Sure the coach may get a sanction, maybe even fired but the person that ultimately suffers is the kid. The coach can get another job at another program the next year while the kid just can’t play. Also, with AAU seemingly taking precedence over the school teams, the re-classing negatively effects the high school programs. Kids are losing years of eligibility because someone wanted them to play 13U for an extra year. I could also do without all these “mixtapes”. They really don’t display much. If you want to do a kid a favor show them running an offense, moving off the ball, diving on the floor, rebounding or playing defense. Useless crossovers and a bunch of dunks isn’t getting anyone into college.

Speaking of which, the college game is just all backwards. Far too many “one and dones”. If you’re a JR or SR the assumption is you weren’t good enough to go to the league. Maybe just maybe some kids want to graduate. Some choose to skip college altogether and go overseas until they meet the NBA’s minimum age requirement. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. To be perfectly honest, Women’s college bball might be the best basketball being played on earth at this very moment.

Now on the the NBA. I can’t even begin to express my disgust. Fundamentals are lacking, laziness is abundant, it’s just sad. It’s so media driven that casual fans are being misled as to what basketball truly is. I’ve never seen so much traveling, so many right handed layups on the left side, so many open jumpers being missed, so much horrible defense. Teams don’t even move the ball on offense anymore. Half of the league’s offense is dribble, dribble, dribble, shoot. When drive and kick is considered ball movement we really have to sit back and look at what we’ve become. Pass and cut has become pass and stand. People closing out of defense standing straight up and getting blown past waiting for a rotation that never comes. It’s hard to appreciate any offense when the game is played with the intensity of a walk through.

All in all, the game is just in pretty bad shape. I want to just stop watching but I can’t. I’m waiting for a renaissance, an awakening. It’s bound to happen. History usually repeats itself. Just wishing I had a fast forward button to speed up the process.

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