If anyone can speak to the evolution of NBA basketball over the decades, it's Jerry West. A legendary player, coach and general manager throughout the past 50-plus years, few people have been involved with the league's emergence as much as West.
Because of the respect he's earned, people listen when Jerry West talks. So when BBallBreakdown spoke to him recently about how the league has changed, it wasn't remotely surprising to hear some intriguing takes. For instance, while most people laud the increased emphasis on ball-handling in 2013, West seems to lament it:
"The game is really evolving, and I think dribbling has achieved that more than anything. To me, the players that really prosper are the ones who have the ability, but more important, they have the skill ... Footwork, balance, some of the things that seem so elementary, really are taken away because people dribble the ball so much."
When discussing the practice of bringing the ball up slowly to drain the shot clock, West wondered why offenses don't exert more pressure:
It really makes it easier for teams to defend and really limit the other players. I've always felt ball movement and body movement, that's the thing that gets you good shots. And particularly, people who can shoot the ball and shoot the ball from range.
Speaking to West's words of wisdom, you already see many of the top teams in the league doing these things -- moving with and without the ball, finding open shots, covering the floor with effective long distance shooters. Clearly, West hopes this begins to influence players at the lowest levels, such as AAU.
Additionally, "The Logo" touched on a number of other topics, including the importance of body control, the increased emphasis on wing players, changes in fastbreak strategy and the dependence on playmaking ball handlers. It's worth checking out the video to hear from a true Hall of Famer.