Fans cannot defend NBA’s lack of defense


By Alex Wise / Staff Writer

I do not like the NBA — at all.

I’d rather watch paint dry or grass grow or any other clichéd, boring thing you can think of than watch professional basketball. Basketball’s competitive nature makes it one of the most popular sports, as it highlights individual performance and one-on-one dominance.

How, then, can a collection of the world’s best athletes be so non-competitive? How have we let the NBA become more of an entertainment industry than a sport? How could anybody take such a beautiful game and make it entirely one-dimensional?

If you need me to say it explicitly, I will: there is no defense in the NBA.

Showing me a video of a do-or-die possession with eight seconds left of a playoff game doesn’t constitute an argument that defense exists. I’d work my butt off for eight seconds, too, if my playoff bonus was on the line. The majority of plays in the NBA consist of one pass before a one-on-one situation ending with a shot.

Of the 30 teams in the NBA, 14 average more than 100 points per game. The top five scoring teams in the league – the Golden State Warriors, Los Angeles Clippers, Phoenix Suns, Dallas Mavericks and Toronto Raptors – score more than 100 per game while also giving up more than 100 points per game. These teams are only five of the 13 NBA teams that surrender a triple-digit average.

Is this due solely to the fact that NBA players are lazy on the court? Absolutely not. The rules of the game at that level set up for a high-scoring affair every time out. A 24-second shot clock doesn’t provide adequate time to set up and run a legitimate offense, which explains the single-pass-and-shoot strategy that so many teams employ.

To counteract the interjection that usually happens around this point in my argument – “dude, I don’t think you understand how good these guys really are” – yes, I do understand how good these guys really are. Their skill and athleticism are unmatched anywhere around the world, and it’s a damn shame to see their talents go to waste when eight of them stand outside the 3-point line and watch their teammates go one-on-one as some cheesy stadium rock song plays in the background.

What’s worse? The NBA’s all-offense format is beginning to trickle down to the college level.

Last year the NCAA instructed its officials to enforce seldom-called rules, including those pertaining to hand checks.

These are soft fouls. Nonsense.

But these fouls put teams in the bonus more quickly, providing opportunities to score without running off any clock. A few months into the season, the NCAA issued a statement describing how pleased it was with the new rules because scoring was up.

But why did scoring need to be up?

And what is the need to experiment with a 30-second shot clock in preseason play, instead of the usual 35-second clock? College basketball is incredible for a number of reasons. Game atmospheres, even during the regular season, are superior to perhaps any other sport. The competition is intense because every game matters. Most importantly, college basketball is a team sport, played as a unit at both ends of the floor. Who wants to ruin this intensity and passion?

Those of you who love the NBA and insist that defense exists probably won’t change your mind. I don’t even know the purpose of writing this. I just needed to get it off my chest, I guess. But there are still things any fan or NBA nemesis can agree on. For example, searching Google Images for “James Harden no beard” is the best thing ever, defense or no defense.

Now that I’ve already tackled one universal league issue, join me next week, where we’ll finally put an end to the LeBron James vs. Michael Jordan argument.

That was a lie. I’m not doing that.