fact is both sports got faster in both sports the refs became more lenniant towards the big stars and both sports have become way softer...
Also in both sports the average player has become better and more versatile...
It's an interesting thing actually and there's no real correlation to prove that.
In fact, athleticism levels peaked in the 80s in the NBA and have remained rather constant. What changes a bit is that the players are becoming lighter (thus faster) at the expense of strength. And also endurance.
Players cannot keep up with the 82 game system anymore and they are also advised against that. Despite having better medicinal technology and diet to recover faster. Fitness coaches advise against playing so many games yet we still see this being the case at the top international tournaments, so it's not really that big of a thing. Players should be able to play more nowadays but they do not.
As for "better", when it comes to football I may agree because the players are drilled from an earlier age, but the previous peak isn't reached anymore. Talent is suppressed at the expense of mechanical players that follow a specific set play. Creativity is drained from these kids which is why you see more Gagliardinis (ie physical ability) and less Lautaros (ie talent & heart). The game has changed so technical ability is overall higher, but you don't have as many sublime players anymore because many are casted out early on. Even goalkeepers have higher technical level than older generations' full backs, so there's definitely some improvement but it comes at an overall expense.
Fouls are far more soft now, which is due to the televised nature. In both sports. In the NBA they've grown far softer than their FIBA equivalent since the turn of the millennium, so there's also that.
But as for a better basketball player nowadays? In Europe, probably. In the USA? Not really. Average US players are focusing on a couple of skillsets and that's it. Europeans/internationals are more all around and I can't say that the top players are better than their predecessors. The most hyped European players tend to fail at the stage where it matters the most for them, which is the international tournaments. Only Doncic has done stuff but he was mostly second fiddle as a teen to Goran Dragic when they won it.
You can be a very good shooter and/or a very good man defender and/or a very good passer and make in the NBA [as an American player] when every other skill you possess is subpar. They even picked up a baseball term for players that can play on both ends
The so called "two way player", a concept that was alien in the NBA until the late 90s but was reserved for a few special players that were elite on both ends. Now you're a "two way player" if you're decent enough on both ends.
You used to have to be elite at something in order to get to be a role player. Now you can get a max contract if you're great at one thing, and you can definitely get a roster spot if you're a good shooter, you don't even have to be very good.
As I mentioned earlier, the US basketball mentality is watering down their previously enormous talent pool. You'll still get elite talent because how can you not. But the setup is making things extremely easy so the judgement isn't or shouldn't be equal to previous eras.
Also i dont really care about scoring numbers in either sports everybody with eyes can tell you that scoring 30 now vs scoring 30 in the 90s are two different beasts does not mean that 90s Basketball was better.
That's coz you're not stupid. Most people unfortunately are either that, or are not really thinking in enough depth to realize some things and just follow the narratives.
Lebron scored 50 a night, wow. He must be the best. But no one checks how those 50 came to be. They just follow the narrative.
Cristiano Ronaldo scored 50 a season for a few years, he must be the best scorer ever. No one cares that he played in the era of stacked top teams and in the CL he featured mostly in the post-Platini rules system.
People are dumbing down everything by simply looking at numbers. Heck it's happening in football still. You've been here for years so you must remember how players were judged in the past. Now it's all about goals + assists because the Fantasy mindset took over, even for players that were never meant to be part of the attacking phase.
Imho what you are describin is just you liking 80s/90s basketball better than todays which is absolutely legitimate i too get annoyed by the travels that dont get called and by the weak defenses. That being said i still think overall we re seeing a better basketball than we saw bak in the 90s atleast on average.
While I loved those NBA eras, my favorite was the post-Jordan early 2000s because it was proper basketball and the spotlight was shared amongst various players.
Shaq, Iverson, Tmac, Duncan, Garnett, Kidd, Kobe, Webber, Vince Carter etc and you still had players that were leaving their prime (Payton, Reggie Miller, D Robinson, Karl Malone) and new blood entering theirs (Nowitzki, Ray Allen, Marbury, Pierce etc) and obviously a ton of other great players. And still, the best European players couldn't cut it and to an extent it was due to lack of trust by the coaches. But even when given a chance, the previous generation in the 90s struggled to leave their mark. Very few were important players for playoff teams and superstars like Dino Radja were playing for bad teams with limited prospect of trading up.
Also while i think the 90s bulls is the greates BB team ever and MJ the GOAT i m not sure they would win against the current GSW... I think it would all come down wether they play with 90s or with todays rules.
Yeah that's fair. It's a different game.
I don't think they're the greatest team ever though because that's very hard to judge. Maybe the greatest starting five in a Finals appearance, but team is a concept that involves the bench as well and they weren't as great there apart from the 96-98 years with Kukoc and Harper on the team.
For best team ever candidates I like the early 80s Sixers a lot, obviously the mid 80s Celtics and the mid 80s Lakers as well, who are a tricky one because the Kareem/Magic balance changed over time and their depth increased when Kareem was out of his prime (but still more than good enough).
From recent teams, the GSW with Durant deserve to be mentioned there obviously and I'd put the 2005 Spurs and 2001 Lakers there, too. Not too sold on the Heat with Lebron and Bosh, I consider them failures.
And of course you have to include the 60s Celtics there, but from the 70s I don't think any team should be rated as high. I'd say you can find teams that didn't win during their year that are scarier than those Lakers, Knicks and Bucks teams that dominated the early 70s and late 70s it was pretty much like the late 2010s/early 2020s.