There's a new NBA site out there that is taking a slightly different approach to covering the league. It's called "Voice on the Floor"… and it's run by Matt Moore and Rob Mahoney… two of the best bloggers in the biz.
VOTF can be summed up as a sort of "NPR for the NBA"… an audio magazine with extended interviews and spoken-word essays that comes out with new content every week.
I was asked to help in the launch of the site by providing a spoken-word piece on physicality in the NBA.
So that's where we are now. You can't send that message anymore because it's no longer a case of “hey, go earn your 2 points at the line.” Now that team gets the ball back, you get a fine… or worse… you get tossed. So you can't park a guy on his ass anymore because it ends up hurting your team rather than helping it.
And do you know where that's gotten us? It's gotten us to this preseason… where blinking wrong will get you a tech.
Without the hard foul at their disposal… players can't police themselves anymore. It's all up to the refs now. And players know that.
So they instead of accepting some level of physicality… players look for foul calls every time they're nudged. And when they don't get the call… they bitch. They've been doing it for years now… and it's gotten out of hand.
Once again… the NBA had a problem on their hands that they needed to address… and once again they went a step too far…
All because guys can't drop an appropriate hammer on someone anymore.
Because let me tell you… once upon a time… a guy who dove into the lane looking for a cheap foul… and then spent the entire trip up the other end of the floor bitching about a no-call would get dropped the next time he tried it…
… and he'd get the message…
…. you wanted a foul? THAT'S a foul. Now shut your pie-hole and play ball.
That's just a taste. My whole piece is about 6 minutes long and it laments the absence of good, hard, physical play in the NBA… and why all the crap we see now is a result of the players not being allowed to police themselves.
Here's the link to the full piece. Also in this week's edition: An interview with ESPNLA.com's Dave McMenamin, Trey Kirby on Josh Smith, and a 2010-11 season preview.