Tag Archives: NBA

Changes of technical rules in the NBA league

“Hack-A-Shaq” banned from next season 

In the upcoming season will come on the scene changes of technical rules in the NBA league. The most significant change that will occur is related to the so-called “Hack-A-Shaq” strategy, when the team that falls behind intentionally fouls opponent players who performed poorly free throws. The league decided that the said strategy, which is named after the legendary Shaquille O’Neal will not be able to be used, at least not when it matters most.

Namely, according to the new rule, in the last two minutes of each quarter, every foul on a player without the ball will be characterized as a technical foul, which will be sanctioned with one free throw and ball possession for the team whose player was fouled. This decision aims to reduce obstruction of game, but also acceleration, because uncertain finals by rule last too long, and with this kind of strategy, from now on outlawed, some teams have usually tried to stop the opponent’s dominant centers, which mostly perform free throw in poor percentages. Even though this strategy will not completely eliminate, there is a significant step towards the protection of players who have problems from the free throw line.

Following these changes proclaimed and Adam Silver, NBA Commissioner and one of the initiators of this campaign, who said that this decision is not perfect but the league is trying to find the ideal solution for this increasingly common problem.

However, there were those who criticized the introduction of the new rule, like Mark Cuban, Owner of the Dallas Mavericks, and Kobe Bryant, who has sharply criticized the changes, saying that players who are earning millions of dollars must learn to hit free throws.

As of next season will come into force yet another rule concerning flagrant foul. The flagrant foul rules will be used to protect against any dangerous or excessively hard deliberate fouls. In particular, it will presumptively be considered a flagrant foul if a player jumps on an opponent’s back to commit a deliberate foul. Previously, these type of fouls were subject to being called flagrant but were not automatic.

Basketball continues to evolve, as the style of play, and in terms of the rules. From introducing the so-called “Mikan rule”, over the shot clock, to the introduction of the three-point line, basketball is in constant development. Many teams, but players will have to get used to the new basketball rules, which may soon be adopted also by FIBA.


Russell Westbrook: The man-team

Amazing Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook continued to provide outstanding games and on the match against the Houston Rockets recorded a new triple-double of the season, which once again proved that he is a man-team. In the triumph of Thunder (111:107) he participated with 21 points, 15 assists and 13 rebounds for his 15th triple-double, which classified him with the biggest names of the NBA basketball. In fact, the last time in the strongest league in the world happened to the player achieved at least 15 triple-doubles happened in 1989, when Earvin “Magic” Johnson 17 times had three double-digit columns, while the same season Michael Jordan managed that the two times less.

Russell Westbrook has in this month recorded 6th triple-double and 34th of his career, and for now only the legendary Michael Jordan had a better effect over one month, when during April 1989 as much as 7 times recorded triple-double. In addition, statistically speaking, the Oklahoma City Thunder triumphed all 15 times when Westbrook recorded triple-double performance. The biggest star of the franchise from Oklahoma City, Kevin Durant, particularly emphasized the rebounding abilities of his teammate, considering that when Westbrook and in this way helps the team, it is almost impossible to lose.

Perhaps the only flaws in the game of Russell Westbrook are sometimes unreasonable shots for three points, especially in the situations when he is not in the zone, because that is not his strongest weapon in the offense. Still, Oklahoma City Thunder this season has a very strong team that at times looks unbeatable on the court. Behind the undisputed Golden State Warriors, then always unpleasant San Antonio Spurs, it is the Oklahoma City Thunder that is one of the major competitors in the West. While Russell Westbrook extraordinary controls the rhythm of the match and change tempo in the game of Thunder, it seems that the club from Oklahoma missing one pure shooting guard, that could score points when tandem Westbrook-Durant has a problem in the offense.

One of the best point guards in the NBA currently playing the most mature in his professional career, and the culmination would certainly represented the championship ring. But, as has already been said, it seems that Russell Westbrook for some time will have to wait to crown his incredible games. Certainly consolation prize could arrive in the form of MVP award, but neither here Westbrook does not have many reasons for optimism, given that Steph Curry continues to break records. But what nobody can take away from him is the fact that he is one of the most complete players of today.

Basketball Euroleague – if you pay peanuts, you get monkeys

News that will become subject of fierce polemics among basketball fans in Europe in the following days is coming from the Pyrenean peninsula.  Basketball Euroleague was at a crossroads in the past few days, and finally, there is a solution wrapped in a proverb – if you pay peanuts, you get monkeys. At a moment when it seemed that the European basketball competition of the highest quality was good on its way to go under FIBA’s wing, everything was changed on a practically all-day meeting in Barcelona, which was attended by representatives of 11 clubs with A license – Efes Istanbul, CSKA Moscow, EA7 Emporio Armani Milan, FC Barcelona Lassa, Fenerbahce Istanbul, Laboral Kutxa Vitoria Gasteiz, Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv, Olympiacos Piraeus, Panathinaikos Athens, Real Madrid and Zalgiris Kaunas. What is most important for this story is that the meeting was also attended by delegates from IMG company, which is a global leader in presenting sport, fashion and other events. This is the company that signed a perennial contract with the NBA League about ten days ago, and which gives them the exclusive right to broadcast matches of the most attractive basketball league during flights on more than 250 airplanes, which are owned by ten biggest global air companies. Broadcasts will be on channel Sport 24, which has been existing for only three years and already has exclusive rights to some of the biggest sports events on the planet. It is completely clear that participation of this financially powerful company in deciding on further destiny of Euroleague was crucial for the solution achieved consensually after eight hours of negotiating. Thanks to the IMG’s business plan, which guarantees participants of Euroleague many times higher profit from participating in this competition than it was until now, European basketball clubs competition of the highest quality will be the privilege of only the selected ones from season 2016/2017.

Euroleague will have 16 participants, with a two-round league system of competition, after what there will be play-offs, and the champion will be decided at the Final Four. The above mentioned clubs with the A license will be permanent participants of the league, without the possibility of being relegated to a lower rank of competition. The 12th member of Euroleague will be the winner of the Eurocup from previous season and this is where the circle of relatively known participants of this new format end. Three participants of the new format of Euroleague will be champions of leagues that will be delegated later, while the last participant will be known after qualifications that eight clubs will partake in, which is also part of the mystery that is yet to be unraveled.

The Eurocup will also get a new format, so this competition consist of 24 teams, 21 of which will get into it through their national leagues, while three teams will get the wild card. System of the competition will be similar to the one of the present Euroleague.

One should not doubt at all that there are already a lot of disappointed people now. The decision has just been made, so reactions of the public are only yet to come. There will be critique about making the system of competition modeled on the football Champions League, which is already predestined for rich clubs. What is most painful for those outside of this system is the fact that already rich clubs will only get even richer from participating in this competition. The first estimate, which could be heard from the president of CSKA, Andrej Vatutin, hints at a profit of at least 36.3 million euro. When this is compared to only half a million euro, which is how much this Russian club got last season for winning the third place, it is clear what the new format of Euroleague is bringing and why FIBA was once again dropped out of the game. Still, attendees of the meeting in Barcelona thanked FIBA for their interest and invited them to join them. It is hard to believe such a thing would happen. At the beginning FIBA will probably play the jilted bride, but we should expect a positive reaction too, which could be in form of Euroleague’s counterpart, like it was when Euroleague was only just becoming. This time, FIBA would have to find a serious sponsor, and if they manage to do that, Europe would get another strong club competition, which would be an opportunity for other clubs to get financially stronger, especially those whose annual budgets do not allow them to even dream about Euroleague. In farther future, this could lead to creating of two conferences and eventually uniting of these two into a unique European competition, which could be called EBA. Why not, because everything else would look like the American NBA League.

In the meantime, the important question is what three leagues will have direct passage to the new format of Euroleague. Rule from the beginning of this story is still on in this case too – if you pay peanuts, you get monkeys. In other words, this pleasure will be given to leagues whose clubs do not have financial problems, which increases the odds for them doing business without irregularities. Bearing in mind who has the A license, the answer seems to be that one place is already smiling at the German BBL and one at the French LNB. Those who do not believe this, try counting – among 11 teams with the A license, only four teams are from Western Europe – even three from Spain and one from Italy. If you take into consideration that the winner of Eurocup could be a team from another part of Europe, as well as the winner of the still-mysterious qualifications, there is no doubt that at least two of three winners of the league would come from the richest part of Europe. Under some lucky circumstances for the Balkans, the regional competition ABA league could be among the three privileged leagues. Having in mind the results of national teams from this region, especially the reputation the former European champions Partizan and Cibona have built in the past decade, as well the attendance on the games, especially of those in Belgrade, this league deserves to have its representative in the strongest European club competition. However, Partizan and Cibona are having financial problems, and clubs who have taken over domination in the ABA league, current champion Crvena Zvezda and Cedevita, are not strong enough brand in basketball Europe. Besides this, their financial solvency is disputable, which could affect the Euroleague management’s unfavorable decision. One should also take into account that Italy will not be satisfied with only one spot, based on the fact that this country has been European champion twice and has given five club champions of Europe for a total of 13 titles.

With the new frame of competition, winning the Euroleague is definitely becoming a privilege of the rich. One cannot say that they did not have this privilege in the previous years, but with IMG stepping on the scene, the rich will get richer, and those who are far from will be left with hope that FIBA will not look indifferently at how the European club basketball is filling another till. The solution is in the model that would lead to a counterpart of the NBA. Whether FIBA sees that with the same eyes, only time will show.

Conference finals: Pacers vs Heat and Thunder vs Spurs

After Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs have earlier reached their conference finals, their opponents are finally known – Indiana Pacers and Oklahoma City Thunder.

indiana vs miami

Miami Heat justified the role of favorites, with an express passage to the final series of the Eastern Conference. Through short series they eliminated the Charlotte Bobcats (4-0) in the quarterfinals, and then the Brooklyn Nets (4-1) in the semifinals of the conference. As a result, the Heat had plenty of time to rest before the next series, considering that their rivals struggled in their series. Brooklyn Nets survived duel against Toronto Raptors with a lot of effort, 4-3 in the series, and they secured the passage into the semifinals of the conference virtually thanks to one ball in the seventh game played in Toronto (104-103). Miami will have a day of rest more than the Pacers, because their opponents secured placement in the finals of the conference in the sixth game (4-2).

Indiana Pacers have allowed the Atlanta Hawks to make even two breaks in the quarterfinals of the conference, so their quarterfinal series was exhausting and ended only after seven games (4-3). Semifinal series was shorter, although the Washington Wizards also made two breaks, but the Pacers responded with all three wins in Washington. The third, decisive victory was achieved thanks to excellent performances of David West (29 points) and Lance Stephenson (17 points, eight assists), while Paul George contributed to the victory with 12 points.

Miami Heat and Indiana Pacers will decide the winner of the Eastern Conference for the third year in a row, and the Heat were more successful both previous times. The series begins on May 18, and the Pacers have home advantage this time. However, given their four defeats at home in the previous two series, the question is whether home ground will truly be the advantage against a team like Miami.

oct vs sas

The Western Conference had slightly different picture, as both teams had a tough road to the finals of the conference. San Antonio Spurs eliminated Dallas Mavericks 4-3 in the series, thanks to the home advantage, even though the Mavericks made a brake. Home ground was crucial in the semi-final series with the Portland Blazers, which has ended with a total Spurs victory, 4-1, which also brought them one more day of rest.

Quarterfinal series against the Memphis Grizzlies, Oklahoma City Thunder solved much harder than expected, 4-3 in the series. Semifinal series against the Los Angeles Clippers was shorter due to win of the Thunder in the sixth game, 104-98 at the Staples Center. As usual, Kevin Durant was brilliant, scoring 39 points with 16 rebounds, five assists and two blocks. Russell Westbrook added 19 points and 12 assists, and Reggie Jackson 14 points.

This will be the third conference finals of Oklahoma City Thunder in the last four years, and the first game has scheduled for May 19 in San Antonio.