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InsideHoops NBA [HOME] Dec. 10, 2003

Brent Barry Interview




Seattle SuperSonics guard Brent Barry, a former NBA Slam Dunk champion, has always been a versatile player capable of excellence on both sides of the court. editor Jeff Lenchiner met with him for an exclusive interview in New Jersey's Continental Airlines Arena and discussed the NBA game and how things have changed. How has the league changed over the last few years on the offensive side of the floor?

Brent Barry: I think you start to see a tendency in our league that there's not so much of the isolation, the NBA isolation plays, where two guys are playing on one side of the court, and, it's like going to watch a play with two actors. That's the way the league kind of used to be, and it's getting back to the kind of basketball that I think was played really in the 70's. A lot of team movement, man movement, ball movement, and teams have been very successful, most notably New Jersey and Sacramento. Other teams have really initiated that, and I think a lot of teams are trying to catch up. And zone defenses now being legal, how does that impact into this?

Brent Barry: I personally always felt that at the highest level of basketball, no matter what kind of team you're made up of, you should never handcuff any coach to find a way to stop an opposing team. That's what the game of basketball is about. It's about one coach with his players combating another coach with his players and doing anything he possibly can to shut them down. So, I like the zone. I think it's made some guys a little less effective as individual players, but it's made the teams have to think and play the game a bit differently. Now, scoring might go down because of that, and you might not see as good shooting, but it's a part of the game that I feel is legitimate, and we've seen that in the league the last few years. You're coming at this from a basketball purist point of view.

Brent Barry: Yeah, that's what I grew up around. But, that's the way the game should be played. There's rules and regulations for a reason, and I've always felt like, you're in the league for a long time because you couldn't zone or do certain things just took away from a lot of the guys who could think the game and play intellectually. It was just about the guy who could jump higher and fun faster, and do certain things as an individual talent, and now you have to do a lot more team things and get guys involved and I think fans appreciate that as well. They appreciate the ball movement and seeing other guys be able to do certain things on the floor. As for the zone, some players feel it's harder to play than man-to-man because you have to be more aware of everyone else on the court even more than before, where other guys think it's easier.

Brent Barry: Yeah, it's making a lot of guys go back to what they were taught in grade school. For a few years they might have forgotten that. The fundamental part of a zone, about guarding certain areas, and you know it's interesting to see how the offenses of the NBA have changed, and how different teams attack the zone, to see if they attack it going baseline, or attacking to the inside, and depending on personnel you have coaches coming up with creative ways as to how they're going to attack the zone.

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