Long Shot

The Golden State Warriors sweep of the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA Finals has many in the media throwing around the “d-word”: Dynasty.

With their third title in four seasons, the Warriors definitely deserve to be in the conversation surrounding basketball dynasties. Many point to the Celtics of the ‘60’s, the Lakers of the ‘80’s or the Bulls of the ‘90’s, but today’s game is different. Players don’t stay in one place anymore. Free agency has changed the complexion of the league and allowed the idea of a super team to become possible.

Here is what else has changed about the game… it is no longer a league controlled by big men. The days of Kareem and Shaq are over. As much as some people out there may not want to admit it, there is really one reason for this: Steph Curry.

When you think about the players that have been transformative in NBA history – who changed the way the game was played – the names of these are few: George Mikan, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Pete Maravich, and Julius Erving.

And Steph.

It was less than a decade ago, Sports Illustrated lamented the fact that the jump shot was a lost art. That NBA players could no longer shoot from beyond 15 feet away. That the game had become a dunkfest with offense only being played close to the basket.

How times have changed. The NBA is now a shooters league. Offenses are built to win with the outside shot.

Why? Because of Steph.

What the Warriors have done over the past 5 years has revolutionized the league. Fans watched at the crucial moments of the NBA playoffs as the Warriors had no player on the court taller than 6’7”, other than Kevin Durant, who is a shooter, not a post-up player. The Cavaliers played their most crucial moments without a center.

The true big man is practically an afterthought today. The days of Shaq, Hakeem and Duncan are over for now. Steph Curry rules.

Think about it. The Warriors have pretty much dominated the NBA the past four years. If not for the ejection of Draymond Green, they likely would have won four titles in a row. And they have done it through the long-range shooting of Steph, Klay Thompson and Kevin Durant.

Steph Curry, all 6’3” and 190 pounds, has changed the game. And the coming generation of young hoopsters are not only taking notice, they are following his lead.

*You can find hundreds of fun sports facts in my new book, The Average Joe’s Super Sports Almanac: https://steveriach.com/products/the-average-joes-super-sports-almanac

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