NBA legend James Worthy doesn’t hate today’s NBA, but he cannot exactly associate with it either, due to differences in the game itself, compared to when he was playing.
Worthy, who joined Grant Hill, Charles Barkley and Steve Smith before G3 of the NBA finals between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Golden State Warriors, explained his point of view.
“When we played, it was a lot more physical. Two referees, you could hand-check. And you played the game tough. So it is different now,” said Worthy.
“I am not familiar with what I am watching – it’s a small ball, you can’t touch a guy. And I’ve played against guys like Sydney Moncrief, Michael Cooper – guys who could defend. So, it’s different,” he added.
When asked how the current NBA players would fit in the NBA of the 80’s and 90’s, Worthy said “I don’t believe the guys would be able to execute the way they are [if they played by old rules].”
Worthy went on to add that he likes that a team like Golden State Warriors is utilizing its talent.
“It’s the lack of defense that disappoints me. You don’t see enough defense. But I do like the trend of fast ball, similar to how we ran the fast break, isolating your special players. And the 3-ball…it’s something I am unfamiliar with.”
Worthy, a Hall of Famer and 7-time NBA All-Star, played all of his 12 NBA seasons with LA Lakers, winning 3 championships with the team (in 1985, 1987 and 1988).
Worthy is considered to be among the best forwards in history of the NBA, never averaging below double-figures in scoring during his entire career.
He averaged career-high 21.4 ppg for the team in 1990-91. He played in total of 926 NBA games (starting in 717), averaging 17.6 ppg, 5.1 rpg and 3.0 apg in 32.4 mpg.
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