Since most of the sports world has itchy tongues and thumbs, always ready to react in an instant to everything, we must learn to anticipate. Like a NASCAR driver maneuvering into a hole at 180 mph that wasn’t there a moment ago, we have to keep a vision that allows us to see the future, if dimly.
The good news is, this is not too difficult. All we need to do is pay attention to uproars from the public over ‘can’t see the forest for the trees’ issues. This is shown in all kinds of issues, even outside of sports—for example, aren’t you tired of people getting hurt and killed in mass shootings? The lazy solution is to make it harder to get a gun, instead of the deeper and more lasting of dealing with people’s hearts.
That’s the kind of quick fix thinking which sports leagues, including the NBA, like to employ. Maybe they just want the uninformed yet empowered social media cloud to stop complaining. But swaying to trends and likes, and expecting fans to shut up, is a losing battle.
Nonetheless, this appeasement strategy shall be tried once again. Here are three bad decisions that the NBA will make in coming years.
They will start reseeding at the start of the playoffs.
There was no call for conference reseedings in the 2015-16 season. That is because, for the first few months, the West looked inferior top to bottom. The Western Conference, not playing as well as the East? For many seasons, the opposite has been true. This caused some angst from people who thought it unfair that a 47-win team from the West missed the playoffs, while a 39-win team in the East made it (for a week or so).
Things like warmer weather, more exciting cities, and lower tax rates seem to favor Western teams overall. Most of all, a few teams like the Philadelphia Sixers are long committed to mediocrity in the East. These and other factors push some of the better players to the left side of things. Who knows how LeBron James would have fared if his career had played out there? If he was a Minnesota kid instead of an Ohio kid?
The conferences have evened out this season. The wise view is that of recognizing cycles, of letting the market play. But when the East or West tilts in the next few seasons, expect a kneejerk reaction again. Will we hear a renewed call for reseeding? Mark it down, brother.
They will refuse to move the three-point shot back.
One writer crunched some numbers and found that Steph Curry is having one of the most efficient offensive seasons, ever [since the three-pointer was introduced to the league]. This is hard for the Michael Jordan camp to stomach. But technically, the numbers are there… and it points to a need for adjustment of the bailout shot, the three-pointer.
We have to remember that there were different elements at play in Jordan’s time, though that was not that long ago. We can’t read MJ’s mind. However, it just seems as though, early in his career, he thought, Why work hard on threes? NO ONE CAN STOP ME. He didn’t go to a long-range game until he’d been in the league a few years. He was smart enough to know, before it happened, that he would need a post game and a three-point shot as he aged. Think that if Jordan put up 500 treys a season (he took 200+ attempts four times), he would have developed himself into a great bomber? It is a safe assumption.
Since Curry’s entry, he has steadily increased his shotputs from way out there. He took 646 threes in ’14-’15, and has already taken 572 through 55 games this year! James Harden and others have joined the arms race. Today’s game takes advantage of the high risk-reward of the three-pointer, something no one did in the NBA only a few years ago. So stark statistics don’t tell the whole story—it is already the proverbial ‘apples and oranges’ comparison.
The point is that the game is evolving, having legislated the traditional big post man out of the game. The Curry-Warrior admirers say that Golden State is heading this evolution in the game of basketball. The excitement and hipness of these high-scoring shifts has people talking. It is like a gigantic bubble about to pop.
If (since) that is true, and young wing players have now figured out a new model to follow, the game itself should evolve, by moving the three-point line back to twenty-eight feet or so. Worried about the shoe-squeezing sideline trey? We’re ahead of you with a simple answer: Just get rid of that awkward area… Or get rid of the three-pointer altogether.
They will make a rule to protect bad free throw shooters.
This is an example of mountains from molehills. A small percentage of players can’t make a free throw shot, unguarded, a few strides from the basket. So some fanatics and media are calling for the creation of a new rule. Something to keep teams from employing a “hacking” strategy, where they foul bad shooters continuously.
This is bad basketball, we keep hearing. Yes, because these guys are bad foul shooters. Some of the same people upset over ‘having to watch’ that are the same ones who cry about the lack of fundamentals. Not much in the world of basketball is more fundamental than a free throw.
Why penalize the other team for attacking an obvious weakness? Blame his coach, for leaving him in the game… or, the player himself, for not treating his craft as a professional and hiring someone to help him improve.
The players who can’t shoot gimmes are liabilities—accept it. Otherwise, we should have given Muggsy Bogues a trampoline.