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Game 42: Pistons @ Rockets

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For me the question basically boils down to is allowing the practice a net negative WRT to entertainment / purity of the game.

I think if one feels strongly about FT shooting as a skill fundamental to play the game and/or highly values the idea that coaching can strategically exploit any weakness of the opposition, then I think that individual is ok with keeping things the way they are.

I think if one values the entertainment aspect of the sport more relative the principle that everyone should be able to do fundamentals or coaches should have the maximum ability to exploit any weakness the opposition may have, then they would probably like to find a way to prevent what happened last night.

My overall sense of it.

Would it be fair to say that it's a lack of a fundamental that's leading to a worsening of the entertainment?

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Would it be fair to say that it's a lack of a fundamental that's leading to a worsening of the entertainment?

So I heard Kelser - who was a big who could make foul shots, talking about his at length today. On the one hand it seems the problem concentrates in big men - of course that may just be that small men who can't shoot get nowhere near the NBA - but at any rate, Greg said he thinks for some guys the scale just might be too small for them - for instance Chamberlain was apparently more comfortable shooting his FTs a step back from the stripe. His other theory is that maybe the ball is too small for the guys with really big hands to control well, except that the biggest hands I have ever seen on a human being belong to Bob Lanier - career 77% FT shooter. And then you still go back to the fact that reports are that most of these guys do hit them in practice. So why does it seem only big men can't shoot on the game court as well as they do on the practice court?

I would think the guys that don't work at it hard enough are the exception (maybe Shaq...), just because so many guys with reasonable work ethics never got better: again Chamberlain, Ben, even Russell. If I had to take a best guess it would be that some really large humans just don't have the fine motor control - it is not a matter of court scale but of biological scale, the smallest position tick on their muscle gears is just too big an increment. But that still doesn't explain the practice vs game thing, Though in some cases I have to wonder if the stories of guys making them in practice is teammates covering for guys a little.

But back to the fundamentals question. I don't think it's fundamentals not being attempted or coached, it's just the game just having transitioned to a more athletic system where a guy like Andre ends up a plus on the court without being able to shoot the ball. The game is selecting for athletes with different properties, and the mix values shooting less in big men, so guys that can't shoot are getting to the NBA on their other attributes at a higher rate and a more extreme degree than they used to. Heck - wrt fundamentals, what are going to learn about shooting FTs that you didn't already have at the HS level?

But the thing is, if you make the game even easier for the Guys who can't shoot, you will get even more of them and less of the others. So to me the question really is - would you rather have more Tim Duncans or Andre Drummonds in the league?

Edited by Gehringer_2

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Would it be fair to say that it's a lack of a fundamental that's leading to a worsening of the entertainment?

I don't think it would be fair. I guess it depends on how one defines fundamentals.

I think fans as a group find ridiculous dunks, sick no look passes and shot blocks where the defender really gets up quickly as entertaining. Not sure those are typically characterized as fundamentals, except possibly the shot block.

I think fans as a group want to see athletes make really athletic plays, ideally in creative ways, as opposed to spending 15 seconds trying to inlet it to the low post using a bounce pass. That isn't meant to disparage the bounce pass or feeding it down low because I don't disparage doing that. It is intended solely to illustrate my belief that I don't think fundamentals correlates to entertainment for what I perceive to be the typical fan nearly as well as you suggest.

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So I heard Kelser - who was a big who could make foul shots, talking about his at length today. On the one hand it seems the problem concentrates in big men - of course that may just be that small men who can't shoot get nowhere near the NBA - but at any rate, Greg said he thinks for some guys the scale just might be too small for them - for instance Chamberlain was apparently more comfortable shooting his FTs a step back from the stripe. His other theory is that maybe the ball is too small for the guys with really big hands to control well, except that the biggest hands I have ever seen on a human being belong to Bob Lanier - career 77% FT shooter. And then you still go back to the fact that reports are that most of these guys do hit them in practice. So why does it seem only big men can't shoot on the game court as well as they do on the practice court?

I would think the guys that don't work at it hard enough are the exception (maybe Shaq...), just because so many guys with reasonable work ethics never got better: again Chamberlain, Ben, even Russell. If I had to take a best guess it would be that some really large humans just don't have the fine motor control - it is not a matter of court scale but of biological scale, the smallest position tick on their muscle gears is just too big an increment. But that still doesn't explain the practice vs game thing, Though in some cases I have to wonder if the stories of guys making them in practice is teammates covering for guys a little.

But back to the fundamentals question. I don't think it's fundamentals not being attempted or coached, it's just the game just having transitioned to a more athletic system where a guy like Andre ends up a plus on the court without being able to shoot the ball. The game is selecting for athletes with different properties, and the mix values shooting less in big men, so guys that can't shoot are getting to the NBA on their other attributes at a higher rate and a more extreme degree than they used to. Heck - wrt fundamentals, what are going to learn about shooting FTs that you didn't already have at the HS level?

But the thing is, if you make the game even easier for the Guys who can't shoot, you will get even more of them and less of the others. So to me the question really is - would you rather have more Tim Duncans or Andre Drummonds in the league?

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It's interesting to hear silver's comments on it and a couple of the talking points he brings up:

First, he is on the fence about the issue. They discussed it in a committee over the offseason and tabled it for another season to get more data.

Second, the thing about people not tuning out when it is going on. I don't see that as actually being a thing that should be given much weight. What else are you going to watch? You know it's going to end soon anyway. I don't the think the existence of the practice or changing the rules would move the needle on ratings either way.

Then there is the "think about the children" thing where he brings up all the youth coaches that stress the "fundamentals" and the need to make free throws. That's just silly to me. It's not like the need to make free throws goes away if the rule is altered.

That said, he has echoed these comments and talking points in multiple occasions, and his repetition of the weak arguments certainly makes it seem like he is trying to defend the practice. I don't expect the rule to change, but I still think it should be.

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I don't think giving the team that is fouled the option to take the ball out of bounds or take the free throws is anything that is going to change the game or make it a big deal. It will only affect a small number of teams anyway. Most teams will stick with the free throws, but depending on the situation it could make an interesting decision based on what the strategy the rest of the game is.

I think that is the best option. Give the team that is fouled the option to take the free throws or take the ball out on the side line. Problem solved and it does not really affect many teams.

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So I heard Kelser - who was a big who could make foul shots, talking about his at length today. On the one hand it seems the problem concentrates in big men - of course that may just be that small men who can't shoot get nowhere near the NBA - but at any rate, Greg said he thinks for some guys the scale just might be too small for them - for instance Chamberlain was apparently more comfortable shooting his FTs a step back from the stripe. His other theory is that maybe the ball is too small for the guys with really big hands to control well, except that the biggest hands I have ever seen on a human being belong to Bob Lanier - career 77% FT shooter. And then you still go back to the fact that reports are that most of these guys do hit them in practice. So why does it seem only big men can't shoot on the game court as well as they do on the practice court?

I would think the guys that don't work at it hard enough are the exception (maybe Shaq...), just because so many guys with reasonable work ethics never got better: again Chamberlain, Ben, even Russell. If I had to take a best guess it would be that some really large humans just don't have the fine motor control - it is not a matter of court scale but of biological scale, the smallest position tick on their muscle gears is just too big an increment. But that still doesn't explain the practice vs game thing, Though in some cases I have to wonder if the stories of guys making them in practice is teammates covering for guys a little.

But back to the fundamentals question. I don't think it's fundamentals not being attempted or coached, it's just the game just having transitioned to a more athletic system where a guy like Andre ends up a plus on the court without being able to shoot the ball. The game is selecting for athletes with different properties, and the mix values shooting less in big men, so guys that can't shoot are getting to the NBA on their other attributes at a higher rate and a more extreme degree than they used to. Heck - wrt fundamentals, what are going to learn about shooting FTs that you didn't already have at the HS level?

But the thing is, if you make the game even easier for the Guys who can't shoot, you will get even more of them and less of the others. So to me the question really is - would you rather have more Tim Duncans or Andre Drummonds in the league?

Big guys hit FTs in practice because they are not gassed, there is no adrenaline lapse that bigs get during FT practice. They get up energy wise in games, then it leaves and will come back at different intervals. Andre is extra susceptible to energy lapses, both because of his size and, um, how should I say, less than elite conditioning. But mental fatigue makes concentration activities like FT shooting or playing tennis (try not hitting it into the net or 10 feet behind the baseline when you are exhausted) much more difficult.

Andre will never hit his FTs, he is too big and gets mental fatigue more often than most.

Edited by ScrubBeaterUpper

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I don't think giving the team that is fouled the option to take the ball out of bounds or take the free throws is anything that is going to change the game or make it a big deal. It will only affect a small number of teams anyway. Most teams will stick with the free throws, but depending on the situation it could make an interesting decision based on what the strategy the rest of the game is.

I think that is the best option. Give the team that is fouled the option to take the free throws or take the ball out on the side line. Problem solved and it does not really affect many teams.

I think this is a good solution, as long as it would not apply to shooting fouls, i.e., if a player is fouled in the act of shooting, there is no out-of-bounds option.

Intentional back-court fouls (almost always at the end of games) also annoy me, at both the pro and college levels. The option rule change would be a welcome one there as well.

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I think this is a good solution, as long as it would not apply to shooting fouls, i.e., if a player is fouled in the act of shooting, there is no out-of-bounds option.

Intentional back-court fouls (almost always at the end of games) also annoy me, at both the pro and college levels. The option rule change would be a welcome one there as well.

Just off ball fouls. When in the bonus give the team the option. Simple. Takes up no additional time. Does not really change anything for most teams/players as most will take the shots. You know what it will change? This crappy hack a player strategy. It will not lead to kids not knowing how to shoot free throws. It does nothing but solve this idiot problem some teams have with great players who happen to blow at making free throws.

I came in second in a state wide free throw contest when I was 14. People who cannot shoot them do not bug me in the least. What we see every few weeks in the NBA with these 'strategies' does bug me.

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Big guys hit FTs in practice because they are not gassed, there is no adrenaline lapse that bigs get during FT practice. ...

I don't know how many guys this is an issue for, but absolutely agree there are some high motor guys that fit this profile well - we've had two in Rodman and Ben.

Also agree that it does not seem likely Drummond is going to improve this far along - at least it's getting less likely by the day.

The real change here is the guys we used to called horrible FT shooters in the past were around 50%, and at that point hack-a-guy is a marginal strategy at best so no-one really tried to use it consistently. And of course in the 3 to make 2 penalty days, that skewed it against fouling Russell and Chamberlain more than if they played today. But if Andre stay below 40%, then the calculus based on average points per possession will keep arguing to foul him.

Actually re-institution of 3 to make 2 off the ball might be a compromise that would end Hack-a-player but still keep the higher reward level for guys who can shoot well. With 3 to make 2 hacking is pointless even at Andre's FT%

Edited by Gehringer_2

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