After the most recent debacle of the Team USA at the 2019 Basketball FIBA World Cup, everyone started to realize the NBA stars are human beings as well. Team USA didn’t win the medal, as expected, and assumed the seventh spot on the list. Leaving European teams like Spain, France, Serbia and even Czech Republic above them.
But does this mean that European basketball is finally catching up to the NBA?
Not likely! Team USA was comprised of NBA players but they didn’t bring the best of the best. If the likes of LeBron James, Anthony Davis or James Harden were competing, we would have had a different story on our hands.
So is Euro basketball ever going to catch up to the NBA?
NBA vs EuroLeague
The NBA and the EuroLeague are probably the best and most quality leagues in the world now. Nevertheless, the NBA is still light years away from the EuroLeague. That said, European basketball has really been catching up in recent years which can be seen with the change in the format.
The EuroLeague is now played in a league format where 18 plays against one another with the Final Four to determine the winner at the end. They are also making strides of making it a closed league which would only invite the best of the best. This format will allow for more competitive games and quality matchups. The talent might rise.
However, the quality still stays on the side of the NBA where massive contracts are being dealt with players who perform day in and day out.
Entertainment vs Gameplay
What makes the NBA unique in some sense is the level of entertainment. Each game lasts around three hours and it is not only because of the commercial breaks but because of all of the bells and whistles that come along with it.
Furthermore, players what to put on a show for the fans. Attractive moves, power dunks, ankle-breaking crossovers, and impressive alley ups and are what your typical NBA game is comprised of.
On the other end, European basketball focuses more on the actual result than on show boding. Fancy plays are usually disliked by the coaches and they try to avoid them at all costs as scoring the basketball is the priority. This does not leave much room for beautiful gameplay but effective gameplay.
Which Would You Choose?
The margin between the NBA and European basketball is getting thinner. It is clear that the teams from Europe are getting closer and closer to NBA standards. However, it is still a big show in the US and the NBA is not going to lose its quality over entertainment. Europe still has a lot to work on.