|I can't take the position that SportsCenter has not had an impact on the way NBA players play. I think that, over the years, we have had an effect.
We show dunks and long-range 3-point bombs a lot more than we show outlet passes or crisply executed layups. However, if we started showing only midrange jumpers, that shot would not take over the game. The NBA is a young man's game. Young guys have watched SportsCenter, seen all the dunks and want to outdo the last one they saw. They are probably not thinking too much about the give-and-go.
The problem with the NBA, though, is that it has become a two-man game. There are a lot of guys standing around.
Watch a women's game. See how many times different players touch the ball each time down the floor. Then, watch an NBA game. See how many times the ball gets passed before it is shot. It's stand around, dribble, shoot.
The 3-point shot needs to be abolished. It has created this inside-outside, two-man game. That's the problem, not all the dunking. Turn on ESPN Classic to see an old NBA game. Watch the ball move around. If you don't have a shot, you pass it on -- and quickly. I noticed the same thing while watching the Tennessee-Connecticut women's game last weekend. There is ball movement. Actual ball movement. There are real fast breaks. Transition points.
I don't know when the fast break died in the NBA. I missed the funeral. And I miss that old style of play.
Dan Patrick is an anchor for SportsCenter and also writes for ESPN The Magazine and ESPN.com.
|The kids see Vince Carter soar to the hoop and immediately want to do a better dunk of their own.||