I'll have to disagree with your sentiment on the NBA. These last 6-7 years have been some of the best I've ever seen. This year was a bit down because the east was weak, but the western playoffs were phenomenal. There are so many good franchises right now, and it is fun to watch these different styles going head to head. The league probably bottomed out in the late 90s/early 00s*, but it is definitely back IMO.
*Granted I wasn't around to watch the "product" that was getting played in the late 70s/early 80s, back when playing defense was a waste of energy that was better spent finding a quality coke dealer during road trips.
I grew up watching Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Hakeem Olajuwon, Magic Johnson, Patrick Ewing, John Stockton & Karl Malone, Charles Barkley, and David Robinson.
You'll find that MOST of those players, in addition to their offense, were great defenders.
Then you had next tier guys like Gary Payton who would exploit matchups in the post. Players had many different skills instead of just hoisting 3 pointers and having no court sense to understand matchups. If you can't beat your guy off the dribble, shoot a 3 mentality. Then there's the Clyde Drexler's to the Scottie Pippen and Kevin McHale types. Elite defenders and multi-faceted offensive games as well.
I played and coached some form of basketball since I was 5. This is a horrible stretch of NBA talent. Wasted 1st round picks and very few elite players who can pass, defend, and exploit offensive matchups.
People forget that Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Olajuwon, Ewing, Malone, etc...even little John Stockton - they all shot over 50% from the field. They all could pass - they all could defend. Bird, with no knees, and possible the slowest player in the league, still averaged 2 steals per game. To go along with his 26-10-5 and his 50-90-40 from the field.
LeBron got smarter in MIA....saw his FG% rise, but take out the Spurs and Kevin Durant, maybe Kevin Love and Steph Curry - what kind of NBA did you have last year? or even the past 6-7 years.
FG is about 4-5% lower on average versus when those players played and the irony is the blocked shots are way down. (worse defense)
It's basically why a team like the Spurs, older, not overly talented, can DESTORY (14+ ppg) a team with three "Stars" on it like the Heat. The Spurs also averaged 10 ppg more than the Thunder (the other NBA star).
The Spurs are probably the only team that can play with title teams of the 90's and early 2000's IMO. The heat would have been smoked for 20+ ppg by many of those teams.