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Since hand-check rule change, NBA has become a perimeter player’s league

BY MIKE BALDWIN, Staff Writer, Modified: March 10, 2010 at 5:45 am •  Published: March 10, 2010

even point guards were drafted this past season. Three point guards — Tyreke Evans, Brandon Jennings and Stephon Curry — are the leading candidates for Rookie of the Year.

"The rule change allowed coaches to let their point guards have a little more responsibility,” said Denver point guard Chauncey Billups. "There’s no question that’s where the game is going. Point guards now have a big impact.”

Utah’s Deron Williams and Paul, young point guards like Chicago’s Derrick Rose and the Thunder’s Russell Westbrook and this year’s rookie crop represent the future.

A dominant big man is a rare commodity that can help a team win a championship, but Spurs star Tim Duncan, in his 13th season, said there’s little debate the game changed.

"It’s definitely a perimeter player’s league. That’s not good for me,” Duncan said. "But the league wanted more scoring. As long as the league is consistent about what they’re calling, players adjust to the way the game is called.”

A decade ago, Sacramento was the only team to average 100 points. And the Kings barely made it, averaging 100.2. This season, 16 teams, more than half the league, are averaging 100.

Often times the smallest player on the court can often have the biggest impact.

Mike D’Antoni, now with the Knicks, is the coach who helped Nash take his game to another level. D’Antoni said the rule change has improved the quality of play.

"Back then you needed guys who were disrupters,” D’Antoni said. "They didn’t have a lot of skills. They came in just to beat guys up. That’s where the game was. I’m glad we got the game back to where it’s more fun to watch.”