As March Madness heats up it reminds me of why Professional Basketball is the no longer the game it used to be. I simply can’t get excited when a man 7 feet tall and 300 pounds charges his way to the net and jams the ball through the hoop. That may impress some people but in all honesty, it’s not impressive. I am not, nor have I ever been impressed with LeBron James’ skill on the court. He’s huge, tall and strong. But skill? Of course this is just my opinion but in order for the game to be interesting to a true and long time follower, three changes need to be made.
1) Dribbling. Most of the players have either not been properly taught how to dribble or simply disregard it. They run around the court much the way Adrian Peterson of the Vikings runs around the gridiron. I completely understand that in this offense is everything, minded world, basketball followers find dribbling overrated but it’s part of what makes the game more challenging and skillful. Without it, the game is like lacrosse with a bigger ball. Dribbling is intended to add a dimension to the game that is lost when players simply disregard the rule. Worse is the fact that referees rarely call traveling in the modern game. Yet it happens everyday in every game around the league. The game has been dummied down.
2) Raise the basket by one foot to eleven feet. Every player in the NBA can now jam the ball through the net. Obviously the game has become too easy and that needs to be rectified. While some think it’s great, I think it detracts from the game. It’s a sad state of affairs when players are shooting line drive free throws at the basket and still they too often miss. Through all of the steroid years in baseball, how many players hit over 40 home runs? Not many. That’s because, there are line drive hitters and home run hitters. Not everyone can hit 40 home runs a year. It’s what makes baseball intriguing.
3) The length of each quarter needs to be increased to 15 minutes from 12 minutes. Since the inception of professional basketball, the quarters have always been 12 minutes. Players today are bigger, stronger, faster and better conditioned than ever before and each game should therefore be more physically demanding. As player conditioning has improved, the league should demand more from each player. Stamina would become a larger factor in determining outcomes. It would ensure that every player on the court would need to be in perfect shape in order to compete. A change that I would welcome.
While I suppose there are many who will disagree with me, each year, basketball becomes less interesting. The professional game has simply become too easy for the players who participate. So rule changes and enforcement of the rules that exist are the only way the game will continue to improve. Otherwise it will simply continue down a path that at some point someone, other than I will recognize. Until then, I will not be spending my money to watch a bunch of athletes play a game that more resembles a high school kid shooting balled up paper into a waist paper basket.