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Time for a rant. Does anyone remember a couple of years ago when the NBA passed down an edict to the refs that they should make complaining about calls a "point of emphasis?" Think hard, because it lasted about 1 week. For 7 days, give or take, every time a player made a face at a ref for a call, or non-call, he got a technical. Then, on the 8th day, the point of emphasis was gone. Completely. Players not named Rasheed Wallace were again allowed to do everything but insult the refs' mothers without compunction. Like most initiatives that start with the commissioner's office, it was pointless and more of a PR move than an attempt to improve the game, long term.

Well, two days into the season and I've already been inundated with this year's "point of emphasis," traveling. Give the refs some credit, though, they aren't merely picking on rookies and scrubs, I saw LeBron called for a questionable travel on a crucial possession against Boston the other night. Of course, it was in Boston so there's no telling if it was a "point of emphasis" call, or just a home town call. Either way, at least they're making an example of everyone.

Here's my problem with the stupid, arbitrary, text-book enforcement of certain rules which have been altered in the NBA for the past 25 years. They don't accomplish anything. In a week or two at the most, the NBA game is going to be exactly the way it was last year. Guys are going to take 3 steps on their way to the hoop, they're going to shuffle before starting a drive, and the refs will once again swallow their whistles. Everyone plays this stupid game at the start of the season, then they slide into their old rhythm once the season gets going. The only ones who really suffer are the fans who have to sit through two and a half hours of bullshit whistles which won't be whistles in a couple of weeks. Personally, I don't care how you call it, as long as you're consistent. I've learned to live with a certain amount of leeway on traveling violations, my eyes have been trained to catch when someone oversteps what has become the minimum for a whistle. Now I'm watching guys make what were completely legal moves last season and get whistled. They shake their head, run back down the court and then do the exact same thing 5 minutes later.

If David Stern really wants to fix something, start working on the CBA now before more players start to bolt to Europe because no team in the US can pay him what he's worth.

/end rant.
by Brian on Oct 29 2008
Tags: Basketball |