C.J. McCollum has been suspended for the Trail Blazers' season opener because he walked off the bench during a preseason altercation. The NBA's rule is clear: If players come off the bench, they get suspended. It's a bummer for McCollum, but considering it's one game of 82 Portland should be fine.
However, McCollum is less than pleased with his suspension. He understands the rule, why it exists, and how it applies to him. But he doesn't think it needed to be fully enforced in this moment.
"They could have suspended me for the preseason game," McCollum said. "They could have fined me more money and allowed me to play in the regular-season game. It's the intent and it's usually up to them, it's to their discretion. So they had a choice. They didn't have to suspend me."
The real issue for McCollum -- really with this rule in general -- lies in how it's enforced across the NBA. The rule might be clearly defined, but the NBA isn't always so stingy with how it's enforced. Paul George after a similar display, as was the case last spring for at least two Wizards players.
"I think it's interesting that ... there's a rule in place, but it hasn't always been enforced," McCollum said, adding later, "obviously, I wasn't trying to escalate the situation. I was trying to look out for a teammate. But they decided to suspend me."
The NBA has to enforce its rules. If not, they either become ignored or frustrating in the moments they are enforced. McCollum by the rule had to be suspended, but he's right about the NBA's lack of history as of late when it comes to enforcing players not stepping on the court.
And if the NBA sees the rule as too harsh for certain moments, then re-write it.