2022’s key NBA skill: the pass
3 pointers dominated for a while, now it’s physical defense. Passing is next.
BY DAVID THORPE
The NBA is overloaded with talent–athletic, shooting, ball-handling, coaching–all kinds. Scoring has been exploding because of people who shoot like Stephen Curry and coach like Steve Kerr. That kind of offense has defined success in recent years. This year, though, is the revenge of the defense, thanks to changes in personnel (long, mobile athletes all over the place), tactics (I could go on all day), and importantly, a bold new “let ‘em play” approach from referees.
This has tilted somewhat who wins and loses in this league, and–I predict–sketches out the shape of the next winning skillset: passing. The way things are going right now, the future is going to hold a crazy rich set of opportunities for players who know how to deliver a killer dime.
An example: now that it’s harder to find clean looks in the halfcourt, fastbreak opportunities are precious gold. Or, they should be. While a two-on-one or three-on-two is reliably money in high school and college, to my eyes …