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scooterj5
04-28-2001, 06:35 PM
My Two Cents
By MATTHEW SEGEL
Hey hey insidehoops.com fans. I guess everyone needs a chance to go off once in a while. The NBA can be so much fun until the Ďmaní comes in and fiddles with the game. Here are my wishes, musings and criticisms of the game today.

First off, what is with the first round? Best of five?? Over two weeks? Listen folks we are being shortchanged. The NHL plays best of seven every round. Every round!! Are these hockey players that much tougher than basketball players? They play eight-two games and have best of seven in the first round. I know I am making a big deal out of two games but come on. There are so many talented teams in the first round. Every one of them deserves a fair shot. The fans deserve to see the teams play a best of seven.

I think the opening weekend proves my point. The Pacers and Hornets pulled off upsets in the east and the Suns squeaked by the Kings. People, an eight and two six seeds now need just two more games to close out top teams. I guess the real difference is that it is real hard to come back from 0-2 in a best of five, while 0-2 in a best of seven at least gives all teams a fair shot. For goodness sake, they play best of five every round in tennis majors. This is basketballís major tournament and I think the opening round cheats us all. I want to see all teams in the first round truly prove they are the best team. Letís demand more from the NBA.

Second, I know this has been mentioned before, but the game will go through a major, fundamental change over the summer. Zone defenses, which were approved earlier this year, are going to forever change the pro game. There will be less artistry and many more jump shots. Listen, I like the one-on-one. I like watching the best players go against each other. Zones will just make for less offense. This is the NBA. If you want to see people play the old-fashioned way, watch the frigginí college game. Donít change the NBA so it looks like college. Let the best players in the world be the best. Donít stifle their talent.

Third. I know the league has some problems with T.V. ratings and attendance figures, but so what? A lot of people used to watch basketball because of Jordan. These people are not going to come back. They were infatuated with Jordan and the Bulls. Theyíre gone. The NBA had its form of a market correction. That is to say that the Jordan market was inflated. These are the more true numbers and I think that is just fine. The game doesnít have to change. The people in power need to accept that the NBA market is not as big as they would have liked. The game is what it is; a place to watch highly skilled athletes try and lead their team to victory. Enough with the marketing and the fine-tuning. Just let the game be.

Fourth, I think that it is time for David Stern to go. Let a man who has played the game be the league president. Let a black man do the job. The whole idea (of Stern) reeks of paternalism. These are grown men. Let them be themselves and let the chips fall where they may.

Fifth. Get rid of marijuana testing. I donít care what a player does with his body off the courts. If he wants to spark up, let him. How does it help the fans if Lamar Odom is suspended for five games because he lit up between games? Why is it any of our business? Itís not. It is another example of the leagues paternalism at itís worst. Letís judge the player, not the playerís urine.

Sixth. I think Vancouver should stay in Vancouver. Just because the front office mismanaged the Grizzlies, does not mean they should be able to walk. Let them suffer for their mistakes. Allow basketball to flourish in Canada. Itís not fair to the fans that owners can just pick up and leave because they messed up. The fans are the ones left high and dry. The league should stop ripping off fans.

Seventh. Let Mark Cuban be. If he wants to spoil his players, and potential free agents, then I think that is his right. Itís his money; let him do what he wants to with it.

Eighth. I just want to say that I am real sick of listening to games on the radio. Itís not the broadcasting. The announcers are fine. I am sick of the anti-drug commercials. Why does the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) sponsor every game? I find these ads offensive. Offensive to me, offensive to the players. This is a sports game; letís keep politics out of it. The whole arrangement is real crap and it should be flushed away.

All right, I vented. I said my two cents. Long live the NBA. Let them be free to be the best. Let the fans see the best players play. We deserve it. Enjoy the rest of the first round. Are the Hornets for real?

This is Matthew Segel writing from the land of the free.

You wanna argue with me? Send comments to workingmattsdead@aol.com or mps_23@hotmail.com .