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December 5, 2005

Random thoughts

• With the Vikings win yesterday everyone seems to be talking about Daunte vs. Brad Johnson. Who should be the starter next season? Would the Vikings be this good with Duante still at the helm? First of all let me say I think Brad Johnson is just what the Vikings needed this year. He has played phenomenally well, and he deserves all the accolades he is receiving. However, he is 37 years old. History will tell us that substituting a young, talented QB with an older QB that has had one good year is just a huge mistake. Remember when we replaced Brad Johnson with Randall Cunningham? No, next year put Daunte back under center. I love Brad Johnson and all that he is doing for us, but Daunte is still the future.

• Stupid Packers. Can't even beat their so-called "arch rivals." Show some pride, Favre! I can't believe how putrid the Packers are right now. There is still a way to salvage the season (by beating Chicago at home), but I doubt this team has the backbone to pull that one off. Thanks for nothing!

• I worked on my family's Christmas letter last night. Does anyone else find the yearly Christmas letter absolutely painful to write? Every year I go through the same thing with my wife: me "putting my foot down" and refusing to write the letter, and her begging me to "just do it" (with her of course) until we finish it. It usually turns out pretty good too. But I just can't stand writing the stupid thing. I don't know why.

• I watched the T-Wolves last night and was impressed with the team effort. KG only scores 11 points and they still pull out a seemingly easy victory. The key to this team obviously isn't KG dominating night in and night out. It is Wally and someone else scoring at least 15 and the team playing some solid defense. But especially Wally ... whenever he plays well the team does better as a whole. At least that is what I'm seeing this year. Maybe SBG can do some analysis of it.

• Watching the game last night got me to thinking about how I would improve it. There is no doubt in anyone's mind (I don't think) that the college game is vastly superior to the NBA. Quite frankly, besides the playoffs, the NBA can sometimes be excrutiatingly boring. So, if I was comissioner, what would I do differently? Hmmm...

  1. First of all I would decrease the number of games played in a season. 84 games means way too many games are meaningless. I would probably drop the number of games to 60 at the most.
  2. Secondly, I would decrease the number of teams that make it into the playoffs. I would institute a playoff system ala the NFL and MLB where only the division champions make it in plus a couple of wild cards. Again, this will have the effect of increasing the importance of regular season games, and it will also make the division races a little more meaningful. Right now, who cares about the divisions?
  3. I would allow any kind of zone defense. If a team wants to play the 2-3 then so be it. No more delaying the game with these stupid illegal defense calls. It would also force teams to value pure shooters a little more rather than players that can just back a defender down to the basket. Man! I would get rid of that stupid defensive three second rule so fast it would make your head spin.
  4. I would definitely increase the shot clock to 35 seconds. Increasing the shot clock will bring back the fundamentals of basketball (offensive ball movement anyone?) we obviously enjoy while watching the college game.
  5. I would institute international rules like referee-less sideline inbounds passes. That would make it a little more interesting. The trapezoid shaped key is just stupid though.
  6. I would also get rid of that stupid rule where an offensive foul can't be called if a player is inside the half circle under the basket. Huh? Who was the genius that came up with that? Let the players actually play defense! You know, the defense that they learned throughout their whole lives playing basketball? If you are planted and a player comes into the lane out of control and knocks you over, I don't care where you are, it is an offensive foul!
  7. Finally I would fire any NBA television director that switches a fast break shot or impending dunk camera angle from the half court view to the baseline view. You know what I'm talking about. You are watching a fast break unfold, you are excited that it will probably be a dunk, when at the last second the camera view switches to the baseline. Your TV is suddenly filled with just a shot of the basket and a player dunking the ball and maybe a defender's hand. Man I hate this angle! Show me the half court view! I want to see the whole play unfold! I want to see the trailing options, I want to see the defenders try to set up, I want to see the angle of attack! Sheesh this makes me angry!

That's about it. With these changes the NBA is bound to be better. If Stern needs any more advice he knows where to find me.

Posted by snackeru at December 5, 2005 8:17 AM | Lists | Vikings


So sorry that the Packers couldn't help the Vikes get out of the hole they dug themselves in, Shane. We have much more important things to worry about like Reggie Bush or AJ Hawk than who wins the division.

Under your rules of the NBA, games would be averaging 70 pts/game. The shot clock should stay at 24 seconds, a 35 second shot clock would only slow the game down to excruciating levels. The rule of the half circle is for the offensive players protection. If they are airborn and have their legs taken out by an overzealous defender, they are helpless and extremely prone to injury. I am 100% behind that half circle rule as it is.

The reason the college games are so much better is the whole atmosphere of the game. The game is also attended by mostly 18-21 year olds that are there for a big party. When was the last time an NBA area got so loud during the first 5 minutes of a game that the opposing team had to call a time out just to help quiet the crowd?

The crowd is the biggest reason the college game is better, but also factor in that it's a bunch of 18-21 year olds that are just about as unpredictable as they come, and it is set up to be an amazing scenario night in and night out.

Posted by: Cheesehead Craig at December 5, 2005 10:07 AM

I agree with CC. The college game is defined by rowdy undergrads and pep bands, and the pro game (any pro game) is defined by expensive seats and piped-in arena noise. There's your atmosphere difference. I will go to or watch a Gophers game no matter where they are in the standings, but I don't think I'd pay $50+ to see the Wolves playing out the string.

As for shortening the NBA season and making the playoffs more exclusive, I assume you also have a solution for the millions of dollars of lost revenue caused by these changes? I'm not a fan of putting half the teams in the playoffs every year, but it seems to work in the NBA/NHL and in fact their finances are based on it. They are far different leagues than the NFL/MLB, so I don't see those more exclusive playoff structures working as well.

Posted by: spycake at December 5, 2005 10:48 AM

Just to chime in on Shane's rule ideas: Defensive three-seconds is required to keep guys like Shaq, Mutombo and Mark Eaton from sitting under the basket like goalies. This would get boring fast.

Posted by: Chapman at December 5, 2005 11:00 AM

"Atmosphere of the game"??? That is crazy. I much prefer to watch the Gophers to the T-Wolves, the funny thing is the atmosphere I watch the game in never changes: my living room. And where is it written that more points automatically equals more excitement? Allow for a little more strategy with a 35 second shot clock and you will not see a dip in excitement. Not at all. It sure doesn't seem to hurt the excitement of college basketball.

And the millons of dollars lost in shortening the season would be made up by people actually returning to the games. Attendance is way down for the NBA mostly because the games don't matter. Increase the level of excitement for the NBA and you increase the corporate sponsorship and fan attendance. I don't think you would lose any money at all (although I have nothing to prove that!).

And if Shaq wants to camp in the lane, let him. I don't understand what the big deal is. He will still have to guard someone, and if he doesn't he'll be burned. And would it really stop people from entering the lane? No, not really. The fact of the matter is, if you've got outside shooters that can hit, it doesn't matter if Shaq camps in the lane. That is how you should punish this kind of activity (by actually hitting some shots), not by changing the rules. If you can't hit shots, then you don't deserve to win.

Finally the half-circle has done nothing towards protecting offensive players. All it does is cause the defensive player to look down after the ref has blown the whistle to see if he is outside of it. Take it away and let the ref called a block or a charge like God intended. Protect the offensive player ... please ... what is this, a game for pansies?

Posted by: Shane at December 5, 2005 1:00 PM

I'd rather watch a 125-120 Suns-Sonics game than a 45-40 Big Ten hackfest. A major reason why NBA basketball bores the casual fan is because so many teams adopted the Heat/Knicks low-scoring, strong defense strategy, which mimics the Big Ten style to a T. NBA players have better skills than the Big Ten scrubs and should be able to execute a faster-paced game while shooting a decent percentage.

Posted by: Chapman at December 5, 2005 1:38 PM

Chapman, I would say that makes you pretty unique. Most people would rather watch the college game. And I don't think it has to do with "atmosphere." That may be a part of it, but when you get down to it, most people find the college game more enjoyable. Why is that? I argue it is because the games are more meaningful and the rules allow for a more strategic game.

The kids are also a part of it too. That is for sure. I'd much rather cheer on a college player making nothing than an over-priced NBA whiner.

Posted by: Shane at December 5, 2005 1:55 PM

Shane I liked some of your suggestions, but you completely missed the NBA rules that irk me the most.
1). All of the $#%*ing timeouts at the end of the game. These drag out the game way too much. Each team should get 3 timeouts a half. End of story.
2). 6 fouls is too much. Even though NBA games are longer than college ones, I don't think they are deserving of an extra foul per player. Keeping the 5 foul rule in place makes games much more interesting and keeps players more hoest on defense.
3). On the topic of fouls, the thing I hate about the NBA the most is the star treatment the good players get, particularly when it is late in the game and they are in foul trouble. Nothing bothers me more to see Shaq with 5 fouls slam into Yao and see the officials look around and not call anything or to call a foul on some non-descript Heat player 20 ft away from the play in order to protect Shaq's status in the game. And I am for this rule whether it is KG or anyone else. I hate, it, a foul is a foul, and a rule is a rule. I'll turn a game off if I see something like this, and unfortunately about 85% of the time this happens.

Posted by: Vince at December 5, 2005 2:55 PM

So atmosphere means nothing to you in a sporting event? Then why are you pushing for new stadiums for the MN sports teams you hypocrite! You should be happy to attend a Twins game in the Metrodome then since the location is meaningless. College games are absolute nuthouses at the area and to write that off as meaningless is the most ill-informed pile of garbage I have ever read.

I fail to see your coorelation that a 35 second shot clock will increase ball movement. NBA players take their shots when they can, just because they have more time, does not mean they will use it.

Take away the half circle because you feel this protects the pansies? As a former basketball player, I thought that you would appreciate the protection of a vulnerable player who was airborne from getting undercut. But witnessing you play and your 3" vertical, I should not be surprised at your stance given you have never had to deal with this. I was undercut in college rec league and it was scary as hell, wouldn't wish it on anyone.

Posted by: Cheesehead Craig at December 5, 2005 4:02 PM

All sports should have ONE camera for the play. They can have reverse angles, and crowd cams, etc. However, the camera behind the basket or goal or whatever is the view from the CHEAP seats! The midcourt, midfield, midice camera is a view from the GOOD seats. Stick to it! All other angles stink! ALL OF THEM! That includes that camera on a wire!

Posted by: DouglasG at December 5, 2005 4:20 PM

"the most ill-informed pile of garbage I have ever read"

Anger! Steam coming out of my ears! Can't ... even ... think ... straight!!!

My point is atmosphere is more important if you are actually at the game. It doesn't affect me much or my desire to watch an NBA game vs. a college game sitting in my living room, and yet I still want to watch college basketball more. Hmmmm ... why is that?

And I disagree with your 35 second shot clock appraisal. NBA players would use the time if they had it. In the game I watched just last night the two teams lunged up desperation shots more times than I can count due to the 24 second clock expiring. More time = better ball movement. I think even my 5 year old would agree with that. But I understand why you wouldn't be able to notice that since the last time you actually watched an NBA game in your cable-less house was a long, long time ago (you ill-informed poser!).

And hey, I lost my two front teeth getting undercut while playing basketball so I know all too well the dangers of playing under the rim. However, the difference with me is that I didn't go crying to the powers that be to put a meaningless half circle under the basket to "protect me." You know why? Because IT DOESN'T WORK! No one pays any attention to it and it is stupid. Players still run under there because they are too busy playing the game!!! So there.

Thanks for your comment Vince. I'm glad some people appreciate my genius. If I was commissioner I would implement all of Vince's suggestions, too. 5 fouls? Yes. Only 3 timeouts a half? Done. No preferential treatment? You got it. Banning Cheesehead Craig from all arenas? That is a given.

Posted by: Shane at December 5, 2005 4:20 PM

Beautiful DEG! That is exactly right! Don't switch me to a view from the cheap seats! I never thought of it like that ...

Posted by: Shane at December 5, 2005 4:23 PM

Speaking of killing the NBA commissioner Shane...

Why not enforce the travelling call? I saw the top 10 plays recently. EVERY top NBA play involved a player travelling.

Posted by: DouglasG at December 5, 2005 4:28 PM

As someone who has undercut Shane many times (but still lived to tell about it), I can testify to the fact that he hates being undercut. I can't pinpoint why, but I much prefer the college game. But 15 years ago, I was NBA all the way. I attribute this to Magic, Bird, Kareem, Barkley, and even Jordan (who I despised but still enjoyed watching). My views also changed when I went to grad school at Indiana, and witnessed a true collegiate basketball atmosphere.

I like the fact that the college game seems to be played crisper, even though the athletes are superior in the NBA. I hate that the NBA seems to be a collection of five individual one on one games, although I honestly haven't watched a game in a while. I grudgingly agree that the complete zone defense should be allowed, but I also think the half circle needs to be there. It makes that call so much easier for the refs, in addition to protecting the players. The NBA season and playoffs do need to be dramatically shortened, as the playoffs seem to stretch from spring to fall! The atmosphere in college arenas is indescribable, but even on TV I'll watch NCAA over the NBA anytime. I also like the fact that the NCAA seems to be coach-centered while the NBA is all about the players. I can see both sides of the shot clock argument, but if you are going to allow a complete zone, I think you would have to increase the shot clock. And for the record, I'll take a balanced 74-70 NCAA game over a 124-120 NBA game. Defense has to be part of the game, and I can't be convinced that Phoenix actually does this.

Curt in Grand Forks

Posted by: Curt Hanson at December 5, 2005 4:31 PM

Ever notice how the announcers at a college game have to yell so they can hear themselves over the crowd? Don't you hear the crowd noise from your TV and thus get more into the game? Again, the fact you dismiss the whole notion of the crowd is moronic.

Don't know if you've ever watched US soccer versus English soccer. Watching an MLS game on TV is downright boring. However, watching an English soccer game where the crowd is yelling and chanting and singing the entire game is downright entertaining. Same with NBA versus college basketball.

More time does not equal better ball movement. You are just going to get a couple of guys between the 3 point line and half court throwing it back and forth with minimal at best pressure that does not give the offense a strategic advantage.

I've watched T-Wolves games on TV this season thank you very much. The biggest problem with NBA players is the lack of ability to hit a 14-18 ft jump shot versus passing and ball movement. I also am not a big fan of the NBA game as it's so quiet in the areas (other than the pumped in music) that it's terrible TV watching. The NBA arena is so sterile that all emotion is taken from the game that is so definitively palpable in college games.

The half circle is a deterrent for defensive players to again, not cheaply undercut players. Amazing how the NBA players think this is a good idea, but Shane thinks they are all pansies. After all, what do the players know about the game anyway.

Go back to your romance novels Shane and leave the sports discussions to those with some modicum of sports knowledge.

Posted by: Cheesehead Craig at December 5, 2005 4:50 PM

I think arena atmosphere makes a difference, even on TV. I mean, you hear the pep band, and they give plenty of camera time to the rowdy student section. What kind of atmosphere frames a Wolves TV broadcast? You hear generic Target Center music all the time, you see occasional shots of Jimmy Jam or Terry Lewis sitting and watching the game. Boring.

As for your claim that "attendance is way down" for the NBA, the median attendance level seems to be around 85-90% capacity. Even if cutting the schedule by over 25% brought that number up, I don't see it balancing out.

I do agree with the limiting timeout consensus -- I hate the barrage of timeouts that come near the end of the game.

Posted by: spycake at December 5, 2005 5:57 PM

Isn't undercutting someone in the air a blocking foul anyway? Hello? And if you aren't in the air and you crash into someone standing still, it's a charge? No?

Posted by: Tootie at December 6, 2005 7:45 PM

Tootie, the way I understand it is if a player is standing inside the circle under the rim, just minding his own business, and an offensive player comes crashing in, it will be called a block. No charging fouls can be called within the half circle. I am of the opinion that this is stupid.

Posted by: Shane at December 7, 2005 8:58 PM

If I may interject a clarification on the rule for the half-circle or "restricted zone". Ahem.

"An offensive foul should never be called if the contact is with a secondary defensive player who has established a defensive position within a designated "restricted area" near the basket for the purpose of drawing an offensive foul.

The "restricted area" for this purpose is the area bounded by an arc with a 4-foot radius measured from the middle of the basket as stated in nba basketball rules.

EXCEPTION: Any player may be legally positioned within the "restricted area" if the offensive player receives the ball within the Lower Defensive Box.

The mere fact that contact occurs on these type of plays, or any other similar play, does not necessarily mean that a personal foul has been committed. The officials must decide whether the contact is negligible and/or incidental, judging each situation separately."

Thus, a foul is not automatically called on the defender in this situation as you state. The referee can use his/her discretion if a foul should be called.

You may now continue your baseless persecution of rules you do not understand.

Posted by: Cheesehead Craig at December 7, 2005 11:21 PM

Sorry, I forgot to add in the link from the NBA rules where I got this from: http://www.nba.com/analysis/rules_c.html?nav=ArticleList.

Wouldn't want to be accused of not doing my due diligence to identify the source of my statement.

Posted by: Cheesehead Craig at December 7, 2005 11:24 PM

Hey Shane, how about that 41-21 college game involving Princeton? You know Princeton right? The famous team that is all about ball movement and using the full shot clock. Princeton scores 21 points in 40 minutes. Wow, I cannot wait for games like this in your NBA.

Posted by: Cheesehead Craig at December 15, 2005 11:58 AM

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