We Talked Starcraft and Basketball with Celtics Player Gordon Hayward

During PAX East 2018, Waypoint's own Joel and Rob sat down with Celtics forward Gordon Hayward: himself a competitive League of Legends player—to talk about esports, basketball, and using games as a healthy, competitive outlet while injured.

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This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://waypoint.vice.com/en_us/article/8xkdvz/we-talked-starcraft-and-basketball-with-celtics-player-gordon-hayward

Being from Utah, seeing this episode while scrolling through my Twitter feed made my heart twinge a little.

So the point guard is the primary ball-handler and is highly mobile, and the centre hangs around the hoop for dunks and rebounds, and the other 3 players on a basketball team sound like they fall into a spectrum between these two extremes? Gordon’s description of the different positions were sort of just, “X is like the previous position but with a bit of Y” and even as someone who played basketball, I kinda had trouble following it.

what i got out of it was that in the current NBA there is less difference between the 2/3/4 spots than there used to be.

Yeah, Gordon didn’t do the greatest job of explaining it (though it’s practically impossible to do so in a quick soundbite; it’s a topic with enough meat on its bones to fill an entire podcast) but he was eluding to the fact that basketball positions/roles historically have been fairly rigid and well defined. The point guard was your primary ball-handler. Your shooting guard was your main shooter/scorer. Your center was a big, slow guy who would clog up the paint on both ends of the court. Etc.

But in the modern NBA, roles/positions are much more fluid and dynamic (google “positionless NBA” and see how many articles come up). You have 7-footers who can shoot threes, “power forwards” who can act as primary ball-handlers, guards who are great rebounders… it’s a much different game today than it was 10-20 years ago.

Having players who are versatile enough to fit into different roles allows a team to dictate mismatches and create problems for their opponents. That’s really the name of the game in today’s NBA. (Well, that and having shooters all over the floor in order to stretch out the defense and create open space. But that’s another topic, albeit a related one.)