When I was growing up a point guard was someone who makes his teammates better, you know? He takes 8 shots and makes 5. You know what I mean? Whereas nowadays we realize, why would we take the ball out of the point guards hands if he’s causing the defense this many problems? So, I think this is the nature of the game. If I played today, obviously I would have been influenced by those that came before me, and influenced by what the trends are. So, I would have been slightly different, but at the same time, I don’t want to giveaway what made me unique, and that was–a little bit like Jason Kidd–we used to get the ball and not be afraid to throw it ahead, to push, to create early opportunities for our teammates, to probe, to try to control the game with our vision and tempo, and without having to score necessarily. That was a different time, and there aren’t as many guys like that per se. But it’s not a judgement, its because the trends, the circumstance and the context of the way the game is played today is different.
This is the modern NBA; guys don’t box out. It’s just the way it is. Every night on League Pass, I see the same thing. Players let guys come in from the weak side, and they think, ‘I’ll just get the rebound.’ It’s a disease that’s rampant in the NBA. The problem is, if you’re a real small team like us, then it’s going to hurt you more than it will hurt other teams.
Most of these guys didn’t have a high school and college coach yelling at them for a combined eight straight years. It’s a different world today. And players grow up in a different way in terms of their basketball background. The detail is often the thing that is lacking.
Players have never had more skill than they have today in my mind. I’m amazed by the skill level. But the little things, getting back in transition — every night on TV, I see teams let a guy run past them in transition for a layup. We do it; every team does it. If you did that 25 years ago, your coach would take you out and he wouldn’t play you again. Now everybody does it, and as a coach, you can’t take everybody out. So there are certain parts of the game that are just different; players aren’t as locked in on those things. I think just because it’s a different time.
It’s not even like a college box out or a high school box out. In the NBA, it’s more about locating the guy and just putting your hand or your forearm in his chest, letting somebody else go chase the ball. So we were staring up at butterflies, up in the air just looking up and guys were coming right by us. That doesn’t matter what kind of possession it is, what kind of shot it is, it’s just the awareness to go hit somebody.