That very play will always be remembered and not simply because he crossed over the best player of all time like he was just another below average defender. It was because that move permeated courts across the world. From that point the “Iverson” cross over was born and nearly every amateur player in the world was adding it to their game. You couldn’t walk into a gym or onto a court without at least one person trying to recreated what they had seen. Even before Iverson we saw Michael, Larry, and Magic. All these players changed the game from an individual’s standpoint.
The flip side of this is team game. Of course we as fans acknowledge great teams like the Bulls, Celtics, and now the Warriors. But from a player and fans perspective little attention is paid to the style or coaching these teams were and are built upon. We see Kobe but not the triangle. Yet these offenses, conceived at the highest level, trickle down to college to high school and even middle school. Although simplified in relation to talent and experience level, the team aspect affects every player, even if they don’t recognize it. Whether it’s a team or a player the game is always changing.
As we watched this season the Warriors did just that. A few weeks ago an article was released by the New York Times which presented a movie style story of success. If you’ve seen Moneyball you know what I am talking about. A seemingly unimportant and unsuccessful team in years past somehow becomes a success, seemingly over-night. The article focuses on the success of the Warriors not at the hand of a pair of great shooters and fiery swing man, but from the front office. Story goes some Silicon Valley guru’s bought the losing franchise (not including the “We Believe” season of 06-07) and turned it into the best team in the world in a matter of years; not just with money or luck but strategy. In a way they perfected what Billy Beane was attempting to do next door years earlier.
These nerds realized the almost forgotten truth experienced coaches and players just took for granted. Three points is worth more than two. Instead of doing what most teams do like drafting to fit the position (i.e. a big man, a defender, a point guard, and a shooter) the tech junkies sitting upstairs in Oracle, or where ever the offices are located, sought to change the game. They drafted on the basis on a simple but profound principle, positional versatility. For the layman this means draft or trade for a player who can play their position but also can shoot three’s.
At a professional level these strategies work. They have the talent to make them effective and they translate into positive things like championships. Even more so they inspire other teams to follow; look up the recent article on the rise of the Hornets and their transition from a losing team to a playoff team on ESPN.com. The 72-9 season isn’t just a historic mark for the record books, it’s an evolution of the game. What you might not have realized this year is you didn’t just watch history happen, you watched a transformation of the game.
If you have kids or plan to, expect this; their little league team will now be based on one thing, shoot three’s. Maybe it’s not now but it’s coming. If you don’t believe me walk into any 24-hour fitness or a college recreation gym. Kids aren’t taking it to the rim like Jordan, they aren’t crossing over like Iverson, they aren’t even yelling “Kobe” as they fade away from 17 feet. They are pulling up from 30 feet with confidence.
Most of you would look to blame Curry, heck even I did at one time. But if you do your research you see this is the style of offense created by a group of rich San Jose residents utilizing the greatest gift to basketball, the three-point line. Curry isn’t at fault here, he is merely the best personification of this new, and simple style of offense.
Listen I am not bagging on the Warriors. I am not bagging on the ingenuity of the men responsible. I am not even bagging on Curry. I am merely pointing out a simple truth, the game is changing again even if you can’t see it.
What’s the moral of the story? Start practicing your three. Maybe even throw in a “Curry” here and there.
Featured image credit: Google, labeled for reuse