Five Reasons Why February 1, 2014 Can’t Come Soon Enough For The NBA
Why February 1, 2014 Can't Come Soon Enough For The NBA
The greatest accomplishment during his tenure was basketball expanding its popularity at a global level. He did this by marketing the best players in the league and by creating the Dream Team in 1992 which featured Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, David Robinson, Patrick Ewing and Charles Barkley.
Expansion also came and there are now 30 teams in the league. It is arguable that in the late 1980s to the mid-1990s saw the greatest talent in NBA history. Yet, will popularizing the game globally, expansion and marketing the best players in the game be what he becomes remembered for?
There’s a quote that perfectly illustrates him and that is “it is not how you start, it’s how you finish.”
While the start for him was great the ending hasn’t been. In a little over a decade there’s been two lockouts resulting in 50 and 66 game seasons, new eligibility requirements for the draft, uneven trades, buying out an owner and taking control of a team, the growth of flopping, rule changes and a betting scandal involving officials.
By applying the principle from the quote with the way his career as Commissioner will finish it means that he gets perceived in a negative light and all the positive moves he made will be a distant memory.
5. Uneven Trades
Uneven trades have become the norm in the NBA and David Stern has not done anything to stop this trend. In most cases it’s a smaller market team that has their franchise player coming up on free agency and aren’t able to pay for a larger contract.
An example of this is when the Los Angeles Lakers acquired Pau Gasol from the Memphis Grizzlies in 2008. The Lakers gave up Kwame Brown, Javarris Crittenton and Marc Gasol along with two first round picks.
More recently the Lakers pulled it off again this time acquiring Dwight Howard from the Orlando Magic, which also included two other teams. Acquired in the deal for the Magic were Aaron Afflalo, Al Harrington, Moe Harkless, Nikola Vucevic, Josh McRoberts, Christian Eyenga and three future first-round picks.
Last season the Golden State Warriors traded Monta Ellis on March 13th to the Milwaukee Bucks for Andrew Bogut. Now the trade itself looks great on paper for both teams, yet Bogut wasn't healthy and has recently participated in a full practice.
There’s only one exception that comes to mind which was the deal that would have sent Chris Paul to the Lakers in December of 2011 and the only reason for the rejection was because the NBA controlled the New Orleans Hornets.
Paul eventually wound up being traded to the Los Angeles Clippers.
Over the past five years flopping has gotten out of hand in the NBA and for 2012 David Stern finally implemented consequences for the action. The discipline handed out will be a fine, yet there’s no real punishment for the action during the game.
A player making millions of dollars isn’t going to worry about being contacted by the league after the game and shelling out a few thousand dollars if it helps their team win. If a league official says flopping has “no place in our game” why is the league still enabling it?
The way to get rid of it once and for all is by penalizing it immediately. If a referee feels that a player flops then a warning will be given for said player, if it happens again a technical foul and after the third time an ejection.
3. Rule Changes
It wasn’t that long ago when some of the greatest defensive players were on NBA rosters and because of that David Stern made rule changes to improve scoring. One of his worst moves came in 1994-1995 when the three-point line got shortened and luckily it reverted back to the original distance in 1997-1998.
Also, in that same year hand checking was not allowed and in 1997 using the forearm against a player facing the basket became a foul.
While the rules did increase scoring it took away the physical style of play and it has allowed for players to succeed with poor fundamentals. Steve Nash, Dwight Howard, Amar’e Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony are examples of those players.
2. NBA Draft Eligibility Requirements
David Stern made a mountain out of a mole hill by changing the eligibility requirements of the NBA Draft in 2005. A player will have to be 19 years old, played one year of college basketball or at least be one year removed from graduating high school.
It also has created the term for college players that go to college for one year and leave for the NBA. The issue is that many are not ready and will take a couple of seasons to develop before making an impact.
As a direct result the draft is at its weakest and a further illustration of this is that over the past five there have been eight All-Star selections. Looking at a random five-year period such as 1990-1994 will show that there were 32 All-Stars in that time frame.
Now the NBA has to readdress the issue and make eligibility requirements to at least 20 years of age, two years of college basketball or at least two years removed from graduating high school.
The main reason February 1, 2014 can’t come soon enough is because of the officiating. David Stern failed miserably in the handling of the betting scandal involving referee Tim Donaghy.
Instead of admitting that there was a problem Stern called Donaghy a “rogue referee.” Yet, the example of game six during the 2002 Los Angeles Lakers and Sacramento Kings playoff series paints a much different story and clearly indicates the game being rigged.
What is worse is the clear favoritism towards superstars. There are many examples of foul calls being made against defensive players when there’s no contact or incidental contact or in some cases the contact gets initiated by the offensive player meaning a no call or an offensive foul.
There's been very little involvement by Stern to get this issue resolved.
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