Category Archives: Articles

In Free Agents We Trust

This is a guest post by Tim Adkins.

It’s here.

We are mere hours away from the most precious day of next season for all the teams who did not win a championship two weeks ago: the first day of NBA free agency.(*)

If you’ve spent any time perusing the NBA rumor-sphere, you have no doubt heard many interesting ideas regarding which players may or may not be changing jerseys. We’d like to consider a few of them—along with their plausibility. Continue reading

My Favorite Things (2015 Playoff Remix)

“Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens
Bright copper kettles…”

Wait, stop. This is the 2015 NBA Playoff Remix

Ujiri curses and first team All-Defense
Head coaches fired while Rondo is sitting
Rivers gets flowing only in Spring
These are a few of the playoff things
Paul Pierce has daggers is Tim Duncan leaving
Al Horford finishes the Warriors are splashing
Game winning bank shots Lebron is still King
These are a few of the playoff things
When the fouls come, when the game stops
And DeAndre’s hacked
I simply remember the playoff things
And then I don’t feel so bad

Eliminating Intentional Fouling – #HoopIdea

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.

Hoops Exchange 3 – A trip to the Grid Iron

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

7 Times Kevin Garnett’s Gone Wild

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

The Frustrations of Having Drafted Drummond

Andre Drummond vs Wizards 2014This year I drafted Andre Drummond in the second round. Last season Drummond was a beast on the boards and put up great numbers in the paint off of easy put backs and alley-oop dunks, and I kicked myself all season for having passed on him. This year coming into the season more mature with a better coach he looked like a sure thing. I couldn’t have been more wrong. His first 12 games have been foul-plagued nightmares, the only silver lining of which has been the clear potential he’s shown in his nose for rebounding. Continue reading

Hoops Exchange: How Good is Jimmy Butler?

Guest writer Tim Adkins joined me for an impromptu email exchange for some random observations about the first month of the 2014-15 NBA Season. Topics included best shooting guard, franchise players and the improved Eastern Conference.

Tim Adkins: Completely unrelated–but because I’m seeing your recent People’s Court post on the right of the screen–I was meaning to ask if y’all had started including Jimmy Butler in the best two-way two-guard conversations. I think it was last Thursday he put in work on the first half of a national doubleheader before Klay Thompson rec’d all the fawning in the second game. Made for an interesting juxtaposition.

Lamont Peoples: We’ve not had any discussions on best two-way shooting guard. Though Butler has certainly added himself to that very short list. Thompson got off to such a hot start that he got all that attention. I don’t think he can play at that high of a level for the whole season. Butler seems to be taking advantage of the opportunities given to him by a roster that’s loaded offensively. His defense is all-galaxy. If we do a segment on this would you care to weigh in? Continue reading

New Season, New Format

I am pleased to announce that, along with the debut of the 2014-15 NBA season, The Peoples Court has a new format! You’ll still get to enjoy the views and opinions of Adam, Lamont, myself, and our guests, but rather than waiting until the end of the week to get those to you, we’ll be sharing them in shorter clips throughout the week. That means more TPC in smaller doses. Don’t worry, we’ll still bring you longer episodes when the situation calls for it, but we wanted to give you more consistent content. Hope you enjoy!

When Your Team Doesn’t Matter Pt 2

The 2014-15 NBA season is just around the corner.  There are a lot of things to be excited about this season even if you’re team doesn’t matter.  For the record, if a team doesn’t have a realistic chance of advancing past the second round of the playoffs they don’t matter.  Last year, I gave a list of 5 ways you can still enjoy the season if your favorite team doesn’t matter.  Here are 4 more:

  1. Practice your announcing – There are a few teams around that employ bad announcers to call their games.  Clyde Drexler with the Houston Rockets, Sean Elliott with the San Antonio Spurs and Mike Smith with the Los Angeles Clippers are a few those bad announcers.  They all either engage in homerism to the extreme, laugh at an unfunny joke they just made or utter some statement that befuddles the mind.  Drexler manages to do all three.  I’ve learned to mute the TV whenever I’m watching a game these guys are calling.  Instead of playing music this season when the TV sound is off, I’m going to try calling the games myself.  You should too.  We can’t do worse than these guys.
  2. Keep stats – Stat keepers are probably the unsung heroes of the NBA.  Whether it’s the basic stats or the more advanced ones, someone has to keep track of them.  There’s plenty of stat keeping software available for download.  Pick one and test it out for a few games.  You’ll probably gain a much better appreciation for how hard the official stat keepers have.
  3. Tour the NBA – This is admittedly expensive and most of won’t be able to do it.  Wouldn’t it be great visit all 28 cities that have an NBA franchise and see a game in all 28 arenas? It’s a basketball junkie’s dream.
  4. Gamble, gamble – Having a rooting interest in games only adds to the fun.  When your favorite team doesn’t matter the games are somewhat less fun to watch.  Another way to have fun is to get involved in sports betting.  There are a variety of things you can bet on for a particular game – the winner, total score, over/under, etc.  Putting money on a game will definitely give you something to root for.

New Rule Suggestion – NBA Should Give High Schoolers ‘Red Shirt’ Option

nerlens-noel-76ersWatching Philidelphia’s Nerlen’s Noel in summer league and remembering how well Blake Griffin did in his first year playing in the league I think that the NBA should offer talented high schoolers the ability to ‘red shirt’ their first year in the league: be drafted and paid by an NBA team, but not suit up for games until they’re at least a year out of high school.

Advantages

  • Salary – Young players start getting paid earlier without having the stigma of the D-League attached to them.
  • Adjustment – Young players get psychologically adjusted to a grueling 82 game season before they’re asked to preform
  • Maturity – Gives the kids a chance to mature in an actual working NBA environment, let them learn from the veterans on their teams
  • Practice – We talking about practice? Let them learn the sets, get much closer to NBA strength

Complications

  • Pricing – How do you structure the red shirt contract? Which contract is considered the “rookie” contract? Does the draft order still count for that first “real” NBA contract?
  • Injury – What if the red shirt is injured during their first year in the league? There would need to be some sort of insurance or compensation given for any injury during the red shirt year.
  • Negative Influence – Not all locker rooms are great incubators for emotional and moral development. Then again, neither are all college campuses.
  • The Player Doesn’t Perform – Essentially, what if the draft pick doesn’t wow in the red shirt year like the team that drafted him thought he would? Would he become a free agent? Would he hurt his salary chances? The fear of damaging their draft value (and ultimately earning compensation) might lead many high schoolers to opt for college rather than the red shirt route.

But wait, isn’t this what the D-League is for?

Absolutely. I realize that having an actual Development League would go a long way to ameliorating this situation, which I fully advocate for. I’d love to see a tiered basketball league system similar to what the UK has for soccer, but right now the D-League until there’s some money or enthusiasm behind it, the ‘red shirt’ idea might be a good stop gap for ambitious players who want to forego the college route and get right into being pros.

This doesn’t seem like a terribly radical idea, and it’s likely to prepare younger players for the NBA far, far better than a 28-45 game college season does now. The NBA should offer a red shirt first year at decent compensation to talented high schoolers to help them adjust to the game without the pressure of having to perform and ultimately provide its audience with a better product