Centers' Little Helper

Dennis Hans, unrenowned former adjunct professor of mass comm and American foreign policy, relentlessly exposed the Bush administration’s “techniques of deceit” BEFORE the Iraq war, when it could have made a difference (see links). For decades he has fought baseball’s discrimination against lefthanded infielders and promoted his ingenious clockwise solution. A lifelong advocate for a flowing, non-brutal, flop-free NBA, he now champions the cause of its second-class citizens: the centers.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Riley’s to blame for Shaq’s knee injury
As I first explained this past June , Pat Riley has foolishly transformed his center into “Shaq Doleac,” charge drawer. All the block/charge collisions the Diesel has been causing have only made it more difficult for him to stay out of foul trouble, which has been his biggest problem with the Heat. It’s also made Shaq, who doesn’t have a malicious bone in his body, the most dangerous player in the NBA.

During the 2006 Finals he nearly destroyed Miami’s title hopes when he fell backwards and crashed into the side of Dwyane Wade’s knee after sliding over way late to try to draw a charge from Josh Howard. Wade was an innocent bystander, and the Heat were quite fortunate that the collateral damage was just a bad sprain and not a shattered knee.

Now fast-forward to last Sunday. Shaq slid over late to cause a knee-on-knee collision with Houston forward Chuck Hayes. Hayes is projected to be out 2 weeks with his battered knee, while Shaq tore cartilage in his own knee, which will require surgery and put him on the shelf for a minimum of 4-6 weeks.

Granted, Riley certainly didn’t want this to happen. But he is one of several tough-guy coaches whose chief legacy will be that they made the NBA a far more dangerous (not to mention ugly) game than it used to be, with their twin obsessions of block/charge collisions and “no-layups” hard fouls.

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