Posted on: January 31, 2010 2:42 pm
Edited on: February 5, 2010 3:32 am

I take issue w/ basketball's blocking rule

Here is the NBA's description of the Block/Charge rule:

A block/charge foul occurs when a defender tries to get in front of his man to stop him from going in that direction. If he does not get into a legal defensive position and contact occurs, it is a blocking foul. If he gets to a legal position and the offensive player runs into him it is an offensive foul. In both situations, if the contact is minimal, no foul may be called. To get into a legal position defending against the dribbler, the defender just needs to get in front of him. On a drive to the basket, the defender must get to his position before the shooter starts his upward shooting motion. For most other cases, the defender must get into position and allow enough distance for the offensive player to stop and/or change direction.

I'm watching an NBA game right now between the San Antonio Spurs and the Denver Nuggets. There is no team in the NBA more skilled at forcing an opposing team into a "Charging" call than the Spurs. But I take issue with this rule.

The rule should be eliminated for several of reasons:

First, it seems like an unnatural act, as a defender, to plant himself in between the basket and the offensive player who owns possession of the ball. He is not moving his feet, but is planting them. It's what my middle high school coach used to refer to as matador defense. The defensive player is not defending the offensive player, but is in fact looking to force the offensive player into a penalty by creating contact with him. Basketball is suppose to be a non-contact sport, but yet the philosophy behind a charge is to unnaturally instigate contact.

Often times, it seems as if the offensive player isn't looking to create contact. In fact, he's looking to avoid contact by either moving slightly to the left or right of the defender. Typically, the defender will slightly adjust his position to what is described above as a "legal position" in order to force the penalty. I just disagree with the philosophy. I think it's unnatural and it slows down the pace of the game.

Second, there is inconsistency with the Offensive Charge call.

One example of this is when an offensive player takes a jump shot or drives to the basket for a lay-up attempt. Often times, a defender will wedge his way underneath an offensive player after the player has jumped. More often than not, in my experience, the penalty will be called on the offensive player. According to the rules above, the defensive player has to establish a legal position prior to the offensive player taking flight in theory, but the call is inconsistent in practice.

Another example is when an offensive player receives a pass in transition and then runs into a defender. The offensive player will be called for the penalty, but I don't think it's fair because he doesn't have enough time to adjust his dribble in reaction to the defender. Sometimes, the offensive player is oblivious because he's not even looking ahead, he's looking behind. I guess the offensive player, in theory, needs to be aware of where all the defenders are on the court, but the cards are stacked against him when he's looking to catch a pass and establish his dribble, while also attempting to adjust his body to the defender.

Third, the "Charging" call promotes cheating. European and South American players have perfected the flop and now it has clearly become a common strategy in the NBA and College Basketball. The flop is when a defender has attempted to establish a legal position but then flails his arms and overaccentuates contact between the offensive player and himself. This one frustrates me to no end.

My solution is that if an offensive player is clearly trying to create an advantage for himself by running over or into a defender, a penalty should be called on him. But if the offensive player is clearly attempting to avoid contact, a penalty shouldn't be called, regardless of whether the defender has established legal position. I firmly believe it would improve the flow of the game, keep the action moving along naturally, and ensure integrety in the rules of the game.

Category: NBA
Posted on: August 15, 2008 7:46 pm

U.S. Invasion of Europe

Jannero Pargo is the latest in a host of NBA players -- U.S.-born and otherwise -- who have opted to play professional basketball in Europe. The others include Josh Childress, Earl Boykins, Carlos Arroyo, Nenad Krstic, Carlos Delfino, Bostjan Nachbar and Jorge Garbajosa.

A couple of thoughts:

1. I laughed when Jannero Pargo's agent, Mark Bartelstein, said that his client was one of the "higher profile" players to go over. That was spoken like a true agent. So Jerry McGuire-ish!

2. Obviously, this has to do with the weak American dollar. So, we can either blame the current administration on the current plight of our economy, or the Fed. Either way, the money marginal players like Pargo can earn in Europe is more lucrative than the money he could make in the NBA.

3. I think this is a good thing. David Stern has been vying to expand and promote basketball throughout the entire world. His master plan has been aided or facilitated by the weak American dollar, but the expansion of high quality professional basketball world wide was inevitable. Let me say "is" inevitable. 

Eventually, being a world champion will indeed mean exactly that. I venture to say, with great certainty, that the winner of the NBA will enter into the basketball equivalent of a Champions League at some point in time -- hopefully sooner than later. I envision it being a month-long tournament matching up the very best teams in the world.

4. We've seen by way of recent World Championships and the Olympics, that the world has caught up. LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Kobe Bryant and the very best the United States has to offer can no longer breeze to victory. It requires practice, dedication and heart to win.

I look forward to the day in which this basketball version of the Champions League holds the attention of the world similar to Euro 2008 last summer. We'll see what happens.

Posted on: June 5, 2008 11:30 pm

Van Gundy cracks me up

Jeff Van Gundy and Mark Jackson, the two analysts paired together during this postseason, continue to provide great entertainment.  

Early in the postseason, Jackson made a statement about Allen Iverson being pound-for-pound the best player of all time. Van Gundy couldn't believe his ears and called Jackson on it. I'm not quite sure what Jackson was really attempting to say, but it was refreshing to have someone question him on that statement.

These NBA broadcasts, which team the two analysts with play-by-play guy Mike Breen, are highly effective because an analyst can't say something silly without it being questioned. Van Gundy rarely lets a Jackson statement go by without questioning it, and vice-versa.

Tonight in Game 1 of the NBA Finals, Jackson became frustrated with Van Gundy, who once again questioned a Jackson statement in a loud voice. Jackson, it appeared to me, seemed angered by Van Gundy's tone. I do think they like each other, but it's a love-hate relationship.

Van Gundy, if you remember, strongly endorsed Jackson for the Knicks' head-coaching opening last month. That suggests the two have a certain amount of respect for one another.

Van Gundy has admitted he's a novice, but his raw comments and self-deprecating humor make for quality television.

Category: NBA
Posted on: February 1, 2008 5:03 pm
Edited on: February 1, 2008 5:03 pm

Kobe and Pau ... what a duo

Upon further review, the whole complexion of the NBA shifted with this Pau Gasol deal, which gives the Lakers a viable chance to compete with all of the great teams in the Western Conference. I've always loved Gasol's frontcourt prowless and ability to take a game over. He shoots very well, he can grab rebounds and is a competitor.

The Lakers gave up those two first-round picks but they were also able to move Kwame Brown, who has been one of the NBA's biggest busts. Memphis may eventually find a gem with one of those two picks, but right now this deal favors the Lakers, who should see immediate returns from its investment.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or