The Yin and Yang of Basketball – 99% Invisible


Will Truman

Will Truman is the Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. He is also on Twitter.

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18 Responses

  1. As you might recall, dunks are not the safest subject to bring up around these parts.Report

  2. Avatar Tod Kelly says:

    Interestingly, with the 3-point shot added, something else is taken away. Mid-range jumpers are just terrible in this modern era.Report

    • Avatar Chris in reply to Tod Kelly says:

      Statistically, mid-range jumpers are inexcusable anyway.Report

      • Avatar El Muneco in reply to Chris says:

        Nothing new under the sun – I remember Omni-Play Basketball on my Amiga c. 1990 (unlike other PC BB games, you didn’t control the movement of the player with the ball, but had fine-grained control over his passing instead). The optimal tactic was a 4-corners offense trying to bait the defense into trying for the steal and leaving an open three, combined with a big guy posting up for an easy layup if he won the wrestling match.Report

  3. Avatar Will Truman says:

    Why hasn’t Kazzy commented on this yet?Report

    • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Will Truman says:

      Ha! There were too many angles from which to attack this.

      There is undoubtedly a racial component to the way we analyze, interpret, and talk about sports. This is undeniable and anyone arguing to the contrary is just wrong. Flat out.

      In just the time that I can remember seriously understanding basketball, the game has been lamented for…
      1.) Being too physical
      2.) Having too little defense played
      3.) Being too flashy
      4.) Players not caring
      5.) Players teaming up to win championships
      6.) Players being selfish
      And more.

      This all completely ignores the contradictions inherent to many of these criticisms. And the fact that many of these particular criticisms are of actions that either A) were exactly the same as what happened during the timeframe complainers romanticize or B) are better today than they were then.

      538’s Hot Take Down podcast is great at calling out this sort of bullshit. Recently, I believe the Milwaukee Bucks owner decried the Millenial generation for ruining basketball. They showed that, statistically, the vast majority of the production in the NBA resides in folks that could be lumped into the Millenial generation AND that as more Millenials have taken to the court, the quality of the game has improved.

      Now, there is room to critique their numbers and methodology, but nothing that could make that guy’s ridiculous statement true.

      But when you combine the allure of “Kids these days!” and “Damn minorities!”, you get a lot of ridiculous bullshit.

      The game today is as good, if not better, than it has ever been.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Kazzy says:

        The game today is great because of ball movement and team play on both sides of the ball. One-on-one while eight guys stood around watching was boring as hell.Report

        • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Mike Schilling says:

          Agreed. There are undoubtedly styles of play that are more aesthetically pleasing than others.

          But when critics condemned the NBA for being too physical AND lamented lazy players not playing defense, well, that was just incoherent. Also, look at the scores from the 70s and 80s and try to tell me that those teams were playing defense.

          The Spurs and the Pistons won with defense that didn’t rely on the grit and grind of the 90s Heat and Knicks teams. They were called boring. The new Spurs and Warriors win with ball movement, spacing, and the three-point-shot and are criticized for being gimmicky.

          There are very real criticisms that can be levied at individual players, styles of play, and trends in the game. But too often the criticism turns into what I said above: “Kids these days!” and/or “Damn minorities!”

          I mean, for crying out loud, we had a guy try to make an American whites-only league… which he of course named the “All-American Basketball Alliance” and emphasized how it would be focused on “fundamentals”.Report