We have covered a lot of topics here on Denver Stiffs during the ongoing lockout. We've had contraction talk, how the fans have already been screwed, who is to blame, and a topic-by-topic breakdown of the lockout issues. But what hasn't been mentioned in any of the lockout talk is the real meat for the fans. When will the actual issues, with the game itself, be resolved?
As I was reading Bill Simmons' latest piece, Behind the Pipes: Into the Arms of the NHL I found myself nodding in agreement with a lot of what he was talking about. As I watch NBA games, particularly Nuggets games, I'm quite happy with the squad that is put on the floor. Here at Stiffs, we tend to bark about the Nuggets needing to add a piece - usually a big man, perhaps a scorer in the future - and we tend to come to the conclusion that big men, "don't grow on trees." Well, if there were less teams in the NBA, there would be more talent to go around and the holes on rosters could be easily filled in. Wouldn't that lead to better games? Well, it still wouldn't account for the idiotic back-to-back games on the NBA schedule.
And as I read Tom Ziller's latest piece, Solving The NBA Lockout, One Fun Idea And Contracted Team At A Time (examining Simmons' piece) I found myself asking again why I care about which side gets more money - owners or players. Obviously it's important for the league owners and players to come to a long-term agreement not only so games can start being played again, but so that it can do so without interruption ... at least for a while.
While I would like to see some innovative ideas enter the basketball world via the new Collective Bargaining Agreement - like contract re-negotiations (I'm sure Ty Lawson would want a raise if he's the starting point guard and I'm sure the Nuggets would have asked Kenyon Martin to cut some of his salary along the way) and a revenue sharing system, I want more!
All the behind-the-scenes stuff is important, but what about the numerous issues that we'll be seeing on the court?!?! Will we notice a difference in the game itself when it returns to action?
The NFL has been tinkering with their game in various ways over the years. Something I'd be interested in seeing would be some talk about a coach's challenge. The Nuggets sure could have used one in Game 1 against the Thunder - offensive tip anyone? Should a coach's challenge be implemented? I don't know, but I'd love to know it's at least being discussed. And you know why it should be discussed? Because NBA officiating is horrendous!
Did you know that the League and the officials just signed a new five-year agreement in Sept. 2011? What in the world is in this contract? We need to know what the ins-and-outs are.
The NBA has adopted an age limit for rookies coming into the league, and they should consider placing a retirement age on officials. I'm talking specifically about soon-to-be 72 year-old Dick Bavetta. How long will this guy be allowed to officiate games? What kinds of physical tests does he have to pass in order to trot out onto the court season-after-season? I want to know things like this. There isn't anyway that David Stern would allow the scores of a public test to be known, but shouldn't the players want some sort of test made public so that the fans (and players) know their officials are up to snuff? It'd be fun to see that Eddie Rush only got a C+ on his annual test ... can't we get a B+ official in this game?! I've probably lost it here, but I'm just sick of the shoddy officiating in the NBA.
Not only do I think that some officials are no longer able to physically keep up (Joey Crawford, you're getting close here too!), but I also have an issue with officials calling the game differently if your name is Gary Forbes instead of Kobe Bryant. It makes no sense that a foul isn't a foul just because of the name on the back of the jersey (or sometimes the front), you don't see that treatment in the NFL, NHL or MLB (well, strike zones could be argued). Why does somebody like Arron Afflalo have to earn calls based on jersey sales instead of just the actual play on the court? This issue is never going to be discussed and we should disgusted by this.
How about the back-to-back games? We don't see them in the playoffs, so why do they appear in the regular season? People shouldn't be expected to pay for an inferior product. We all know when the Atlanta Hawks come to Denver after playing in Portland, the night before, that we are not getting what we paid for. It's practically a guaranteed win for the Nuggets and a game that is usually a bore-fest in the second half. So, if they want to keep back-to-backs they should only charge half price as we're getting one good half of ball - unless you like seeing uncontested second half dunks and guys like J.R. Smith jacking up 10+ crowd pleasing three pointers or as we should call them - George Karl head exploders. But we're fooling ourselves if we think there will ever be discussion regarding reduced ticket prices.
I'd like to hear what issues you Stiffs have with the NBA and whether or not you think they'll ever be resolved?
Nate_Timmons on Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/Nate_Timmons