There are typically two major differences cited when comparing NBA basketball today to what it was 15-20 years ago. One being the increased reliance on three-pointers and the other is how friendly the players are to their peers, especially the superstars.
As a result, we've seen fewer rivalries like the Celtics vs. Lakers, Pistons vs. Bulls, Wizards vs. Cavaliers and an increase in the frequency of star players courting each other to build super teams.
Whether that has hurt the NBA is up to interpretation, but Wizards point guard John Wall isn't particularly a fan of the "buddy-buddy" nature of the league.
“A lot of guys be too friendly now,” Wall said on the No Chill podcast with Gilbert Arenas. “[Arenas'] era, they weren’t friendly. They were trying to rip each other’s heads off. Now it’s like guys [are] buddy-buddy.”
Wall's point in this context was that in the offseason, he's not interested in meeting up with other players to just have an easy-going pickup game. His objective when he meets with players like Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant, is to go directly at them to improve his game.
"If you don't have nobody telling you to get out of that comfort zone, you're gonna go back to what you always do," he said. "If it's game-point and I'm getting mad, I'll do what I do best. "No, you should be trying to prepare for next season and get better, so I was shooting a lot of threes. You go under the screen, I'm gonna shoot it so that they know next season they can't do that."
Wall's never been one to dial down his intensity on the court, and the offseason habits he describes here show exactly why that's been the case. He doesn't have time to build friendships with his opponents when winning is at stake.
“I ain’t got no friends,” he said.