Archive for January, 2007

The Crumbling Legacy of Vlade Divac?

Posted in Uncategorized on January 25, 2007 by maxairington

Urban Dicitionary.com: Vlade Divac 1.The most profilic flopper in the history of all sports. His ability to flop is only surpassed by his inability to jump. He also has the sweatiest and hairiest armpits known to man. Shaquille Oneal’s arch nemesis. To pull a “Vlade” means to intentionally fall down after even the lightest of contact. A.K.A. The King of Flop, Floppy Divac, Sir Flops Alot, The Serbian Flop Monster

ex. ‘The crowd erupts after Vlade Divac drew the charge once again after being touched by Shaq’s shoelace.’

Today’s Bloomberg News: “National Basketball Association players who fake fouls might soon be penalized themselves, a league official said.

The NBA is studying how often feigned fouls, known as “flops,” occur and whether officials can consistently tell the difference between actual fouls and embellishments, said Stu Jackson, the executive vice president for basketball operations.

“They’re really difficult to determine in real time. They’re meant to fool an official,” Jackson told reporters today. “Are we going to be wrong more times than not? It’s tough, but we’re looking at it.

FIBA, the governing body for international basketball, allows referees to impose a technical foul for flopping, a penalty that Jackson said the NBA is considering. Other sports, including soccer and hockey, also allow officials to penalize players who embellish fouls.

“We have so many more plays than you do in a football or soccer game and in a more intimate environment,” said Jackson, who didn’t offer a timetable for a decision.

Jackson met with reporters in New York to discuss the league’s officiating program.”

Many, if not all of the recent NBA rule changes have been met with a deserved skepticism. The dress code, and the ‘no whining rule’ both appeared to have, um, ‘aesthetic purposes’, but this seems to be a revision in the best interest of the game. The flop has to be my biggest pet peeve in the NBA. I can look past the carrying and traveling because they aren’t tallied. Players can’t ‘travel out’ of a game.

Like most folks, my first vivid memories of the flop center around an aging Vlade Divac-who was never the spryest of cats to begin with-tumbling to the floor after contact with a quicker & stronger opponent. It was certainly an understandable tactic, Vlade was not athletic enough to deter an elite post player (i.e. Shaq.), so he realized that the most effective way to slow them down was through the refs. If the whistle blew in his favor even a couple of times per game, it enabled him to weaken opponents through doubt. Any degree of hesitancy from the opposition helps balance the scales and can even alter their game plan if enough offensive fouls are called.

(Foulshots.com: Vlade himself admits to the flopping: “I probably do it once every six games. It’s just timing, like any other move you have to work on. A lot of times it comes when the official has been missing calls, and you know that they know they’re wrong [and they owe you one].”)

What Vlade may not have realized was that he had propped open the door for a faithful legion of floppers to masquerade as good defenders. I respect the awareness and determination needed to continually sacrifice yourself. Charges aren’t for pussies. But in essence, it’s still a crutch. It is almost unilaterally used by the disadvantaged player, the smaller, the slower, the weaker, the player who is getting beaten to the basket. Who leads the league in charges taken? Steve Nash. Whoever your favorite player is, he has probably benefitted from-and also been fucked by, the charge call. There was a period in my lifetime in which this call went largely ignored and bodies were strewn about the paint as play continued, but now it’s as common as, well, traveling. For this I cannot hate the player, but the game. Why such a commonly subjective rule was allowed to be exploited for this long is beyond my understanding, especially since it blew up during a period where rule changes were made to increase scoring. But I’m not worried, Stu Jackson is on the case and Lord knows he can’t screw this up. Right? Farewell Vlade Divac, unwitting pioneer. I bedgrudingly salute you…

P.S. Just a thought, are the “Stop Bitchin’” & “Stop Floppin’” campaigns the NBA’s way of acknowledging that last year Finals were fucked?

The Steering Wheel of a Maybach….

Posted in Uncategorized on January 9, 2007 by maxairington

I already touched on this in my top ten list, but the sound of Nash slurping these days is deafening, so allow me to expand on my distaste for Canada’s greatest export. In the summer of ’03 practically every basketball pundit was dumbfounded as to why the Suns would offer Steve Nash a max contract. Four years later he’s working on his third straight MVP? Ridiculous.

The historical significance of the award is being tainted by naive and biased voters. Of course there are those who will claim that the MVP is decided upon on a year by year basis and that historical context should not be a deciding factor. The previous winners obviously don’t reflect that rationale, but I digress. By either definition-best overall player or most irreplacable player-Nash is not MVP. He’s clearly not the best player in the league, unless the court is shortened to 45 feet and defense and rebounding are outlawed. More importantly, Nash is receiving a lion’s share of the credit that sould be spread evenly amongst his teammates, coaching staff and front office. Colangelo put all the pieces in place, and D’Antoni implemented the perfect system for a roster with two other uniquely talented All-Stars. How many other players in the league can finish off a fast break, rebound & defend like Matrix? Is there a more ideal partner for the pick & roll than STAT?

Why isn’t anyone acknowledging that Dallas got better after Nash left? That Dallas is better because of their improved defense? Can we agree that Dallas is better than Phoenix? That it’s because of defense? So, can we also agree that Nash is playing in a run n’ gun system that inflates his offensive statistics while masking his defensive deficiencies? What makes this completely laughable is the fact that Stephon Marbury-everyone’s least favorite point guard-took almost the exact same Suns roster to the playoffs. Granted it was an 8 seed, but they still almost upset the top seeded Spurs. Nash comes in a couple of years later-doesn’t win anything either-and is en route to receive the stamp of dominanace that even Jordan was denied? Bottom line is that players don’t get that much better at 31 years old. Something around them changes.

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