Sunday, October 15, 2006

clyde...still cool and still right...

Clyde: NBA doesn't have game anymore

BY MICHAEL O'KEEFFE

To many basketball fans, Rucker Park is hallowed ground. But to Walt Frazier, the uptown streetball haven is a symptom of everything that is wrong with today's NBA.

Flash, not fundamentals, wins applause at Rucker Park, the legendary Knicks guard turned broadcaster tells The Score. That emphasis on entertainment crept into the NBA long ago, Frazier says, and the league is worse for it: goaltending, double dribbles and the death of defense have become a fact of life.

"Rucker is a precursor to the NBA today," Frazier says. "Most New York guys can't shoot. The rims are no good, the backboards are no good, so New York guys learn to penetrate. The mid-range jumper is the biggest thing missing in the game. Nobody can shoot from 10 to 15 feet anymore."

Frazier isn't a big fan of today's NBA.

Shoe money and a marketing strategy that emphasizes individuals over teamwork are destroying the game, Frazier says in his new book, "The Game Within the Game," scheduled to hit bookstores tomorrow. Players are encouraged to put their own interests first, he says. Teamwork is a thing of the past.

"Nobody wants to interview Tim Duncan. He's the best player in the league, but people say he's boring," Frazier says. "The league has gotten away from promoting a positive image. The league caters to kids. It's all about merchandising and video games. Now it's all about hoopla."

Frazier is optimistic about one thing, however: The Knicks will be improved this year. "They can't get any worse," he says with a laugh. "They were not as bad as their record. I wonder how it would have been if they would have done one thing each game differently. What if they committed one less turnover? One less personal foul? One more defensive stop? They would have been back in every game. They could be a dominant team and fall apart completely five minutes later. It's difficult to explain, but there was something awry there."

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