This story first appeared on ClutchPoints.
Los Angeles Lakers legend James Worthy spent lots of this season criticizing his former team as an analyst on Sportsnet in LA. He is truly an old head and was a staple of how the game used to be played. That’s why it wasn’t surprising to hear Worthy put the modern-day NBA on blast.
Worthy jumped on the Stoney & Jansen Radio Show in Michigan and expressed his true feelings about where basketball has ended up over the years. Via Uproxx:
“I mean, Kareem had four years with John Wooden, Michael Jordan and I had three years with Dean Smith, Isiah (Thomas) had some years with Bobby Knight. So you learned the fundamentals,” the Lakers icon said.
“Not only that, you learned how to live. You learned how to balance your freaking checkbook in college, there’s a lot of things. When you don’t get that, guys are coming to the NBA who are not fundamentally sound. All they do is practice threes, lift weights, get tattoos, tweet and go on social media. That’s it.”
“So you don’t have that sound player; you have an athletic player. And that’s what’s happening to the game. It’s a lot of ISO and looking for mismatches. Bill Russell told me one time, they had five options off of one play. You don’t see that anymore.”
Worthy makes a very good point. The NBA essentially has players now who specialize in one or two things, especially when it comes to shooters. There are countless guys who are strictly relied upon to get to their spot in the corner or at the elbow and just drain three-pointers. Sure, the league is more athletic now, but there aren’t the same versatile skill sets as years passed. Even Kevin Durant agreed with the former Lakers big man:
Aside from how much the sport has changed in the last 20+ years, it’s also softer. But the officials are to blame for that. Whether the NBA is better or worse off now, well, that’s for the fans to decide. James Worthy clearly has his opinion, though. – Rappler.com