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Between the Uprights

November 7, 2014

The NBA season has begun. LeBron is back in Cleveland, Kobe isn’t getting any younger and the Knicks are still an utter disappointment. I figured I’d take this week’s column to debunk a myth about the greatest display on hardwood on this planet or any other.

The Myth: NBA players do not play defense.

This is usually the purist basketball fan talking who remembers the Jordan years fondly. Where getting a choke slam resulted in a travel for the player with the ball and Bill Laimbeer was dealing out beatings on the daily.

But the truth is, in those days, players couldn’t score with the relative ease they can in the modern NBA. To be an NBA player now you HAVE to be able to score. There isn’t room for a guy who can just guard a center and make lay-ups (see Greg Ostertag).

I’d like to see those who accuse players of playing zero defense to chase Steph Curry around for 46 minutes. Actually, I’d like to see them do anything as difficult as stopping a guy who is in range anywhere in the city limits for 46 minutes.

It can’t be done; sort of like getting microwave popcorn exactly right. You don’t lock down hard enough and get 40 dropped on you/the popcorn is half popped or you invest too much and pass out at halftime/the popcorn get burnt. Either way everyone hates you. Weird example, I know, but for all intents and purposes it makes sense.

If you want to see defense, go to Europe and watch soccer. I like the beautiful game as much as the next sports fan, but Americans like dunks and three pointers. I’m not paying $75 for a ticket to see the score end up 84-78. I want a point for everyone in the building like they are giving them out as souvenirs.

They play defense everyone, it’s just not the kind your high school coach screamed at you about.

Ace Henricks

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