Rolling Out

The NBA has a huge problem

How the world’s most competitive basketball league began to lose its luster
The NBA has a huge problem
Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard. (Photo credit: / Keeton Gale)

Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard scored 71 points in the team’s 131-114 win over the Houston Rockets on Feb. 26.  The performance comes nearly two months after Cleveland Cavaliers guard Donovan Mitchell scored 71 points in a win on Jan. 2.

It marks the first time in NBA history multiple players in the league scored 70 or more points in a game. Lillard’s performance comes the same weekend the Sacramento Kings defeated the Los Angeles Clippers 176-175 in overtime on Feb. 24, which was the second-highest scoring game in league history. On Feb. 8, LeBron James broke the all-time NBA scoring record.

Defense has become a lost art in the league, and by design. When teams grab offensive rebounds, the shot clock goes down to 14 seconds, which ends up in shorter, and more, offensive possessions a game. Hand checking becoming illegal on defense was greatly enforced in 1995.

Defensive three second rules and one defensive strategy enforced at a time, so teams couldn’t play man-to-man on one side of the floor and zone on the other side anymore. These rules were enforced to make the game a more entertaining product.

As three-point marksman Steph Curry changed the game offensively after being drafted in 2009, defense has slowly evaporated. All-Star Game scoring finals and individual scoring performances are also at an all-time high.

International superstar Luka Doncic has said the NBA has been the easiest professional league for him to score in because of the space on the floor. Other players who have played overseas and in the NBA repeated the same sentiment.

While the three pointers and fast-paced offenses have taken over the modern game, it blurs the historical perspective of the game.

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