Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here… highlighting the big story line. Because there’s nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.
NEW YORK – NBA referees will be able to call flagrant or technical fouls on defenders who dangerously close on jump shooters without allowing them space to land, as Zaza Pachulia did on the play that injured Spurs star Kawhi Leonard in last season’s playoffs.
Officials will also make sure jump shooters are in their upward shooting motion when determining if a perimeter foul is worthy of free throws, which could cut down on James Harden’s attempts after he swings his arms into contact.
I know, these days, it’s popular to hail the NBA as being at the forefront of all things good in sport.
I’m here to dump a bit of cold water on all that.
The NBA rulebook is a disaster, rules enforcement is ridiculous, reviews are a colossal waste of time, and the league is oblivious to all of this.
Check out this small piece from later in the article above:
The NBA had made the freedom to land a point of emphasis for officials a few years ago, because of the risk of injuries.
The NBA made such a big deal about ‘freedom to land’ that they’re having to do more of the same nonsense they’ve been doing all along: Coming up with stuff that feels like fixes but which, in reality, will do nothing at all to alter a style of play that’s become entrenched in the league.
Take Mr. Aggressive Close Out himself, Zaza Pachulia, do you think for a minute that these ‘interpretations’ and the possibility of ‘extended review’ are going to fundamentally change the way he plays? I’ll give you two guesses, and the first one doesn’t count. What does the league think is going to happen here? All of a sudden, while he’s in the midst of his slide under some unsuspecting forward’s feet, Zaza is going to pause briefly and reflect? “Oh, wait, this is a point of emphasis–they may spend ten minutes looking at replays if I do this, and I might get a super duper extra bad foul instead of just an ordinary foul, even though they’re basically the same. I’d better reconsider.”
And if the only outcome is imposing a slightly harsher in-game penalty, how does that address the underlying issue: That people are getting injured on these stupid/intentional/careless/reckless plays.
Players are getting injured on these plays in part because they’ve been taught to ‘draw contact’. Markieff Morris kicked his feet way forward to connect with Al Horford on that play where he got injured, and that affected his ability to land square.
That’s going to continue. In fact, if anything, it’s going to increase as players try to take advantage of this new ‘interpretation’ for however long the league’s attention span lasts.
The league is also going to try to crack down on players trying to draw contact while gathering the ball for a shot attempt. According to new directions from the league, “officials will focus on the sequencing of the play. The player with the ball must already be in his shooting motion when contact is made.”
Sounds really nice and clinical, doesn’t it? And do you know how difficult it’s going to be to enforce any of this? I expect a flurry of ‘no calls’, predictable whining by stars, various crumpled grimaces and exaggerated contact, and within a few months, everything will be right back to normal. Just like, oh, hey, remember how the NBA was going to do away with flopping?
Yeah, how long did that last? I bet you couldn’t even buy a Mustang with the money the league’s collected in flopping fines over the few years that rule’s been in existence. Heck. You might not even be able to buy a Geo Metro.
Why does the NBA have such a huge issue with officiating?
- Not enough officials on the court. Ten players, three refs. You can’t find a lower ratio of officials to players anywhere in professional sport. Except soccer–and we all know how well officiated soccer is.
- The game moves too quickly for a complicated/outdated rule book. Good luck with this one. The whole NBA rulebook needs to be more or less scrapped and rewritten from scratch. Like why is there even still a rule against palming? When was the last time that was called against anyone, anywhere, for any reason? All the league does by keeping a set of rules in print that are subject to wild interpretations by individual refs and confidential league memos, is foster a persistent belief that the game is rigged.
- The league thinks there’s nothing wrong. For the NBA, inconsistent officiating is a ‘feature’ not a ‘bug’. When things were starting to get out of hand in the Wizards/Celtics series, what did the NBA do? They sent in the prickliest, quickest triggered officiating crew they had available. League execs apparently never bothered to ask why other officiating crews couldn’t keep things under control. Why be thoughtful when you’ve got a solution ready at hand: send in three guys that love their whistles and, voila, problem solved.
What the NBA does about its officiating is comparable to what the NCAA does about its rules: They walk a fine line between appearing to do something and not actually doing anything at all.
And now for something completely different
Ok, I’ve got that rant out of my system. Enjoy this video of Paul Pierce reading to his kid. Can’t believe he fits in there.