View Full Version : New ball isn't the only thing players are upset about

10-26-2006, 08:58 PM
Don't complain!

Marty Burns, SI.com

The new basketball isn't the only thing that has NBA players grumbling this preseason. Many are upset about the crackdown by refs on excessive complaining and whining. It's being called the "Zero Tolerance Policy," though the league objects to that description.

There is no new rule, but refs have received a mandate to clean up some of the over-the-top whining and gesticulating by players. When a player is deemed to cross the line, he gets hit with a technical -- and the automatic $1,000 fine that goes along with it.

It's just the latest example of David Stern trying to clean up the league's image in the aftermath of the Pistons-Pacers brawl two years ago. In fairness to the league, it notes that it is not a zero tolerance policy at all, and that officials will continue to allow captains to seek explanations and plead their cases. But some players feel the crackdown is draconian.

"You can't really speak to the refs. The refs don't want to hear it," Timberwolves forward Kevin Garnett said after watching teammates Mark Blount and Marko Jaric pick up Ts in an exhibition against the Bucks. "That's almost like Communism. That's like Castro."

What really irks players about the new edict is that it will hit them in the pocket book. Players are fined $1,000 for each of their first five technicals, with an increase of $500 for each five after that, capped by a $2,500 penalty for each one starting with the 16th. A one-game suspension also comes at that point and for every technical thereafter.

For a guy such as Rasheed Wallace, it could add up to some serious coin. That might be why the volatile Pistons veteran was among the first players to go public with his gripes.

"It's just another 'Sheed Wallace rule," he told the Detroit News. "It just means I must be doing something right. Any time they change the rules of the game for one specific player, you must be doing something right."

But if Wallace and others think they can get the league to reverse course, they are going to be disappointed. Like last year's dress code requirement and this year's switch to the new microfiber basketball, the NBA appears to be fully within its rights.

"I'm not sure there's anything we could do about it," said one players association official who wished to remain anonymous. "We'll monitor it to see how far it goes, but as of right now we have no plans to fight it."

As a result, here are my top 10 players with the most to fear from the new "Zero Tolerance" edict:

10. Allen Iverson, Sixers Tattooed cartoon-character-like little guy is no laughing matter to zebras, who rang him up 13 times a year ago.

9. Tyson Chandler, Hornets As one NBA assistant coach said of this lanky forward: "He'll be getting [teed up] even when he's on the bench."

8. Kobe Bryant, Lakers His 15 technicals a year ago ranked second only to 'Sheed's 19 for most in the NBA. Argues more passionately than a Hollywood divorce lawyer.

7. Dwyane Wade, Heat Quiet and humble off the court, the star guard does a surprising amount of complaining. Of course, Mavs fans don't want to hear about it.

6. Manu Ginobili, Spurs Frequent flopper is used to European-style theatrics. Loves to use those quick hands to gesticulate.

5. Danny Fortson, Sonics Dreadlocked forward has the most volatile temper of any NBA player outside of Detroit. Plus, he can't keep his mouth shut.

4. Kurt Thomas, Suns Always has a slightly crazy look on his face, and refs seem to notice. If he so much as looks at them funny, they ring him up.

3. Kenyon Martin, Nuggets Surly big man has matured in recent years, but this K-Mart is guaranteed to get nickel and dimed.

2. Antoine, Walker, Heat There's a reason his mug appears several times in the video sent out by the league to teams to explain the new edict.

1. Rasheed Wallace, Pistons 'Nuf said.

10-26-2006, 09:32 PM
Where's Tim Duncan?

10-26-2006, 10:01 PM
I like it. Shut the heck up.

10-27-2006, 12:11 AM
Yeah, I can't take a top 10 list of whiners seriously unless it has Duncan on it.

10-27-2006, 11:55 AM
I like the "Sheed rule". Now can we please get a "D'antoni rule" for excessive smirking by a coach?

10-27-2006, 12:09 PM
I'm glad no Mavs were mentioned in this article - I guess they're as "stand-up" as you can get in this league...

10-27-2006, 02:28 PM
I'm glad no Mavs were mentioned in this article - I guess they're as "stand-up" as you can get in this league...

Former Mav Steve Nash could've been #11, and Josh Howard was #12.

And if any officials spoke German......

10-27-2006, 02:41 PM
I like the ideal, but it won't be applied during the season. Sure they'll T up some 2nd tier guys, but by week two, Dwade will be lobbying, Duncan will be begging, Kobe will be giving the "do you know who I am" look, and Nash will be hugging, and high fiving.
And I'm not a complete homer, I know Dirk will be campaigning with the refs too.
It's unfortunate.
But I don't think the players should be able to talk with the officials at all. Leave that to the coaches. Even if a player chit chatting with the official doesn't have an effect. It doesn't look good at all for a league that already has a terrible reputation for having a star system.