Posts Tagged ‘rules change’

Getting a grip on rules ‘change’

I go back and forth on the new rule that puts a muzzle on players who feel they’ve been shortchanged by the refs. On one hand: They really should shuddup and play. On the other: It’s hard to bite your lip in a tense, emotional moment. Somewhere, there’s a compromise that should satisfy everyone.

But that’s really not the point here. I wonder if eventually, say in about a month or two, this new “rule” will suddenly grow old and quickly vaporize. You know, like the NBA’s supposed crackdown on palming violations 10 years ago. Whatever happened to that rule?

Back in the Allen Iverson days, the league became alarmed with the evolution of the dribble. You can blame it on Tim Hardaway, the unofficial inventor of the crossover. Hardaway’s sleight-of-hand was perfectly legal, if you saw it in slo-mo, because he was that good at pulling it off. But it spawned millions of poor imitators who lifted the ball underneath while changing directions. That’s a palm, or a carry, as they called it back in the day.

It got so bad that today, they actually teach “palming” (ahem, crossover) to little kids. Yes, pretty soon, an entire generation began lifting the ball, pulling the ball, dragging the ball, everything but legally dribbling the ball. And the high schools and colleges looked the other way. Eventually, so did the NBA, for a while.

When Iverson violated every dribble rule in the book to gain an unfair advantage on his defender, the NBA decided to crack down. The “Iverson Rule” was put to test during the preseason and, just like now, players protested. The rule was enforced for roughly two months. Then, it was back to business as usual. Only once in a while, when a palm is just too obvious to ignore, does the whistle blow. Never with two minutes left in a tight game, however.

Basically, the players took ownership of the dribble and rewrote the rule book, and the NBA essentially allowed it to happen. Jamal Crawford, the Sixth Man of the Year, owes his career to palming. So does Dwyane Wade and countless others. And it’s even gotten worse: Now players are lifting the ball for a split second, and just as the defender thinks the player is about to stop dribbling, that player continues his dribble, clearly gaining an advantage because the defender is now off-balance. Phil Jackson calls it the “discontinue dribble” and it is rarely enforced.

The league really needs to uphold the basic rules Dr. James Naismith created. Send a message to teenagers that palming will not be allowed on the highest level. And while you’re at it, clean up traveling, too (the two-steps-and-bunny-hop is especially insulting to the memory of Dr. James). And treat these obvious violations the same, whether the game is a minute old or there’s a minute left. The game will survive, because players will simply adjust, if they want to get paid.

And just think: calling players for palming will really get them steamed at the refs.

New Rules?

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — The gap between the NBA game and the international game of basketball continues to shrink at a rapid pace.

FIBA instituted NBA-style rule changes earlier this year (including the dumping of that trapezoid lane, the no-charge zone under the basket and the extended 3-point line). Now comes the NBA’s move towards closing the gap from the other side.

The NBA D-League announced today that is has tweaked its goaltending and overtime rules, the goaltending rule will now mirror the FIBA rule that allows a player to knock the ball away when it is on the rim. Since it serves as, in the words of NBA D-League President Dan Reed, the NBA’s “Research and Development” department, it’s reasonable to assume that it’s just a matter of time before this new goaltending rule is implemented in the NBA.

NBA Commissioner David Stern has been a vocal supporter of changing the rule for years. “As far as I’m concerned, FIBA has it right: It’s in play and the only thing the referee has to judge is, Did it hit the rim? That’s it,” Stern said told Sports Illustrated’s Ian Thomsen last year. “To me, that’s a sensible rule, and it would make foul shooting more fun too.”

The NBA D-League tested the adidas-developed NBA Revolution 30 uniforms you will see on your favorite NBA players this season. So this wouldn’t be the first time the “R&D department” delivered the goods.

If the new goaltending rule is a success in the D-League it could pave the way for one of the most significant rules changes the NBA has seen since the 3-point shot was adopted in the 1979-80 season.

Seriously, can you imagine how crazy it would be to have guys like Dwight Howard, LeBron James, Gerald Wallace, Josh Smith and even an aging but cagey veteran like Kevin Garnett going after the ball while it’s on the cylinder?

Talk about a potential game-changer for some of the league’s elite athletes and craftier players, a new goaltending rule in the NBA could revolutionize the game for some teams and players (the difference in rules go a long way in explaining why some NBA players flourish during international competitions and other struggle, same for the international players that thrive in their game and don’t always make a smooth adjustment to the NBA).