After 7 seasons, the OKC Thunder parted with way with former head coach Scott Brooks. Were they guilty of not giving him a fair chance after an injury plagued season? Our two judges try to reach a verdict.
It happened again last night. With his Portland Trailblazers team trailing down by 8 points with about 4 minutes to go in regulation, head coach Terry Stotts elected to intentionally L.A. Clippers center DeAndre Jordan for the next two minutes of game time. In fact, the Blazers had to commit three consecutive fouls in order to get themselves over the limit before they could send Jordan to the free throw line. Stotts’ goal – send a notoriously bad free throw shooter in Jordan to the foul line with the hopes that he would miss and give his Blazers team a chance to come back and win the game. One could hardly blame him for employing this strategy. Chris Paul had just made 4 of his last 5 shots and the Blazers had trouble guarding him the whole game. Why not take advantage of a miswritten rule (we’ll get to that shortly)?
Jordan would miss all 6 of his free throw attempts until he was subbed out at the 2:38 mark. Portland would go on to win the game in overtime. Interestingly enough, they were still down by 8 when Jordan was taken out for Spencer Hawes. Sparked by Nicolas Batum, the Blazers went on a 10-2 run to send the game in overtime. Stotts’ strategy worked – sort of. Clippers’ head coach Doc Rivers have a deal with each other. Whenever teams intentionally foul him, Rivers will leave Jordan in the game as long as he’s making at least 1 of 2. Jordan missed 6 in a row, Rivers subbed him out and the Blazers went back to playing regular basketball.
The NBA returned from this season’s All-Star break with a double-header on TNT. Jordan’s Clippers were featured in the second half the double feature in a game against the San Antonio Spurs. A game in which Jordan attempted a career high 28 free throws. Since February 9, Jordan has gone 46-116 (39.7%) from the charity stripe. A large number of those attempts are strictly due to opposing teams intentionally fouling him. Of course, this has reignited the debate around coaches using this strategy and whether or not the NBA should do something about it.
You’ve heard all of the arguments, as well as some proposed solutions by now, so we won’t rehash them here. Well, most of them at any rate. One argument against the NBA taking action on this issue goes as follows – rules don’t need to be changed simply because players are bad at something. This line of thinking is supported by Charles Barkley and Reggie Miller among others. They’re right to a certain extent. Changing the rules because a few players (Jordan, Andre Drummond, Dwight Howard) are so tragically bad at shooting free throws that this weakness can be exploited would be a violation against the wishes of the Basketball Gods. Weaknesses and miswritten rules even are meant to be exploited. Thus is the nature of competition.
Here are a few reasons why the NBA should resolve this issue once and for all:
- It isn’t entertaining to watch – All sports are a form of entertainment with basketball being the most enjoyable in my opinion. Watching Jordan or any other player being paraded to the free throw line isn’t fun to watch. It isn’t why casual fans or even die-hard ones tune in.
- For the sake of the game – There is precedent for new rules or rule changes being made to improve the game. Think of the league adding the 3pt line, taking away hand checking or issuing warnings and fines for “flopping”. All of these changes were instituted to make the game better. For the most part they have.
- Speeding up the game – NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has said that he’s would like to shorten the real time length of games. In fact the NBA experimented with a 44 minute game during the preseason. The 103 seconds of last night’s game when Jordan was being intentionally fouled probably last 10 times that in real time. I was able to make egg salad during that time.
There’s a quick, easy solution to fixing this problem. Remember that miswritten rule was referred to earlier? Here it is: Section X—Away-From-The-Play Foul
a. During the last two minutes of the fourth period and last two minutes of overtime
period(s) with the offensive team in possession of the ball, all personal fouls which are
assessed against the defensive team prior to the ball being released on a throw-in and/or
away-from-the-play, shall be administered as follows:
(1) A personal foul and team foul shall be assessed and one free throw attempt shall
be awarded. The free throw may be attempted by any player in the game at the
time the personal foul was committed
It boggles the mind that this rule isn’t in play for the entire 48 minutes of an NBA game. There’s no logic behind the way the rule is currently written that I can see. Imagine the NBA allowed double dribbling except in the 4th quarter. Makes absolutely no sense. Why is the Away-From-The-Play Foul rule written in such a way that allows coaches and teams to exploit it? All the NBA would have to do is eliminate the “last two minutes of the fourth period and last two minutes of overtime” part of this existing rule. Voila. Problem solved. No more watching DeAndre Jordan getting fouled while he’s standing out of bounds. No more listening to the crowd boo when it happens. No more of people struggle to use the “Hack-a-Shaq” nickname for this play when it gets used. Most importantly, no more listening to the argument over it.
Fellow basketball snob Tim Adkins joined The Court to wax poetic about the 2014-15 NBA playoff picture. Have the Cleveland Cavaliers finally turned the corner? Who will win out in the 3 team race for the #8 seed in the Western Conference? Can the Los Angeles Clippers finally breakthrough this May and make it to the Finals? And finally, will the Chicago Bulls find some consistency down the stretch? We do our best to answer all of those questions. You’re welcome.
Back in January, Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson scored 37 points in the 3rd quarter of a game against the Sacramento Kings. In the process he broke the previous record of 33 points set by Hall of Famer George Gervin in 1978. During a phone interview with Bleacher Report, Gervin stated that should the Guinness Book of World Records list Thompson as having the record it should have an “asterisk by it.” Does Gervin have a case?
Last week the 2015 NBA All-Star reserves were announced. As always several deserving players were left off by both the fans and NBA coaches. Our esteemed judges and jury dive in deep to see which players the coaches were guilty of snubbing.
Part 3 of my Hoops Exchange series has us taking a quick detour to the NFL. With the Super Bowl approaching in a few days, I made the comment that it might be the last football I ever watch. My good friend, The Journalista asked me why. Read below to see my answer.
Lamont Peoples: Watched League of Denial on Netflix last night. Think I’m done with the NFL after the Superbowl.
The Journalista: What is it about, and why does it make you not want to follow the NFL anymore? Continue reading
Forbes says that the average NBA Team is worth a record $1.1 billion. Are they guilty of valuing the franchises too high? The NBA might think so. Our esteemed court room takes up the case.
Kevin Garnett won his first title in 2008, after spending twelve seasons with the woefully mismanaged Timberwolves. He was the NBA’s tragic warrior, an intense competitor whose teams never found success despite their stalwart leader. Since then though, he’s devolved into an aging, senile, bombastic prick. I don’t know what’s gotten into him, but his on-court antics just this season include blowing in David West’s ear and pretending to bite Joakim Noah. He’s turned into a 38-year old mash of Metta World Peace nee Ron Artest, JR Smith, and Lance Stephenson. A player I once admired and respected is now one I can’t stand. The only thing I “like” about it all is that gives me an opportunity to go Buzzfeed and present: 7 Times Kevin Garnett’s Gone Wild. Continue reading
On December 23rd, Detroit Pistons General Manager/Head Coach waived Josh Smith. Since then the Pistons have gone on a 8-1 streak without him. Adam even has a bold prediction for them. Enjoy!
The other day, Myles Brown tweeted out his basketball version of the now famous “fuck, marry, kill” game. Today Triangle Offense posted their first round of said game “max, trade or amnesty” with the following rules – given a list of 3 players which player would you give a max contract, which would you trade and which would you amnesty. Oodles of fun was had.