Some oldies but goodies from InsideHoops.com
I noticed recently that a number of essays I penned in the early years of this century are now archived and accessible. Brimming with insight, passion and, on occasion, humor, these gems appeared at the website InsideHoops.com, which is run by long-time hoop enthusiast Jeff Lechiner, who had the wisdom to take a chance on a brilliant but unknown writer. Imagine how much better and fairer the NBA would have been this century if I had been calling the shots — hiring the key people who write and interpret the rules and train the refs.
Players Who Cheat and the Announcers Who Love Them (March 8, 2002)
Turner Broadcasting NBA analyst Danny Ainge declares his love for players who deceive officials; no fine or suspension under consideration at this time.
Fifteen Steps to a Better NBA: There's nothing wrong with pro hoops that freedom of movement and an influx of speedy short guys can't cure (July 1, 2001)
The NBA Needs a New Cliché: "Make him earn a defensive stop." (Dec. 24, 2002)
League executives should take a cue from America's corporate scandals and enact penalties that deter rather than reward intentional fouls and thuggery.
In search of colorblind NBA commentators: NBA analysts should follow Sean Elliott's lead and desegregate player comparisons (Nov. 18, 2002)
Blow the whistle on the foul-out rule: Throughout the NCAA and NBA playoffs, this unspeakably cruel rule turned great competitors into frustrated spectators (Nov. 8, 2002)
NBA Refs Need to Put Themselves In the Driver's Feet: Current block/charge interpretation unfairly favors defenders over high-flying penetrators (May 29, 2002)
Ray Allen tops Dirk and Peja as NBA's most efficient gunner (March 2, 2002)
Back in 1997 I created a scoring-efficiency stat, Points Per Scoring Opportunity, which incorporates deuces, treys and free throws. It wasn't until 2002 that I could find an outlet to present it. While Ray Allen (late in the 2001-02 season) led those who averaged at least 22 points, Reggie Miller and Steve Nash would have ranked 1-2 if the cutoff was 16 ppg. Brent Barry dominated the 15-points-and-under crowd.
Shaq Passes the Brick to Baron and Big Ben: Laker center no longer the player most likely to hurt his team's playoff chances by struggling at the stripe (April 24, 2002)
Amazing article where I accurately predicted that Shaq would win games at the free-throw line in the 2002 playoffs. Granted he violated the step-over rule on most of his makes, but there were only three refs staring at the violation. Thus it is understandable that they missed the call every time.
Blame Riley for Shaq's free-throw woes (May 25, 2006)
Four years later, in Miami, Shaq was lost at the stripe. I explained why. He's fortunate his ineptitude didn't cost the Heat the 2006 NBA crown.
Nash's reading material matches Suns playing style (Feb. 3, 2005)
Steve Nash told the New York Times he was reading the autobiography of Cuban revolutionary Che Guevara. To help him better understand Che's political philosophy, Nash also was perusing one of the books that influenced Che: The Communist Manifesto, by Karl Marx and Frederick Engels. I took it from there.
"Samurai Boardsman" Fortson Fuels Sonics (Dec. 5, 2004)
A comparison of John Belushi's Samurai Swordsman character from the early years of Saturday Night Live with Seattle Sonics rebounding maestro Danny Fortson, whose girth and hair style led me to dub him the Samurai Boardsman.
Team USA steals Ric Flair's script for rivals, buzz (Aug. 27, 2004)
Turns out I was wrong. Team USA's early struggles weren't a pro wrestling-style act to boost ratings by making it appear that other nations had a legit shot at beating Uncle Sam. I failed to factor in the incompetence of Larry Brown, who coached the 2004 men's Olympics basketball team to a bronze medal.