Wednesday, October 11, 2006

The 'Rasheed Wallace' Rule is Now in Effect

I'm pretty sure the NBA would prefer suit-wearing robots to actual real-life players.

First the L hits the players with The Dress Code - which they had every right to do, but still. Then their over-the-top suspension in last year's playoffs left more than a few people scratching their heads (I still don't get how Reggie Evans can grab some one's cookies and not get suspended). Now they are threatening the players with technicals if, after a questionable call, they "curse, throw their hands up, or make other gestures that show disgust."

That's a little steep, no?

Here's a suggestion for the NBA, if they are sick of player's reactions after "questionable" calls: hire some refs who don't suck. Hire some refs who don't want to dominate the games, and let the player's play. And do something to dispel the increasingly strong belief that the NBA wants certain teams to do well at the expense of others (also known as "the NBA rigs its games"). While you're at it, quit giving stars all the calls - if its a foul, call it. If it isn't, don't. Eliminate the star treatment.

You wonder why players flip out all the time. They're playing in a system that is in a large part rigged against them. If you aren't a "star," you aren't getting the call. So basically 99% of the league walks into a game knowing they are already getting the short end of the stick. The league creates an unfair environment, and is now going to punish the players for reacting to that environment. Seems logical.

Imagine guarding Dwyane Wade, for example? Even if you are getting a fair shake, its a damn near impossible task. Throw in the fact that if you so much as sneeze in his direction, you are getting rung up and it becomes an exercise in futility. I'd say throwing your hands in the air once or twice a game is more than acceptable.

You know what this rule is going to do? Its going to turn the NBA into the biggest group of smartasses ever. Now that they can't flip out, they're going to go in the complete opposite direction. Rasheed Wallace - who thinks this rule is aimed directly at him (not so, probably, but he's certainly a catalyst) - is going to plaster a huge fake smile on his face and obnoxiously clap 'til his hands bleed. How many times do you think he'll slap a ref on the ass and give him the old "good job, ref, keep it up" routine? I'm setting the over under at 164.5 for the season.

So the NBA is going to get either genuine reactions or fake, smart ass ones. Whichever they want is cool, I guess, but if they think players are going to turn to the scorer's table and raise their hand after each foul, they're nuttier than Reggie Evans' palms.

That said, even in a perfect system, players are going to bitch and whine. But you know what? Its really just part of the game and its something that could never, ever be stopped. These are spur of the moment, unplanned, spontaneous reactions. You really can't help it. Its the same on every level of basketball - pros, international, college, high school - hell, watch some of the over 40 guys in summer league games. You'd think the Larry O'Brien trophy was on the line.

There's really nothing you can do about it. So why not do this: make the technical worth something. Right now, it's possession and a free throw. So if you're playing defense, foul someone, and then flip out, basically your opponent gets to shoot a free throw and then keep playing. Yea, a point's a point, but c' doesn't even count as a personal. Why not give the team two free throws - or at least a one-and-one (that would be fun, wouldn't it?) - and count it as a personal?

This would have an effect on the bigger stuff, I think. The major meltdowns, the relentless bickering, the cursing, the pushing. Stuff that really can be helped - premeditated stuff. Throwing your hands up in the air is about as planned as actually committing the foul you were just whistled for. Stalking a ref up and down the sideline while cursing out his (or her - sorry, Violet) mother is planned - T 'em up.

I really, really think the NBA is getting to uptight about things. I understand it wants to eliminate stuff "that has no place in basketball," but I really think they are going to far - almost, maybe even tampering with the competitve edge you need to play with at the highest level. I'm not saying you can't compete without reacting after a call - you can, obviously - but if a player has to think about how he's going to react to every foul call, now he's not concentating on the task at hand. And if you're guarding Dwyane Wade, that's hard enough as it is.

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