NBA resolution: Walk less, not more | Bleader

Saturday, January 7, 2012

NBA resolution: Walk less, not more

Posted By on 01.07.12 at 05:58 PM

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Watch that pivot foot, Kobe.
When the National Hockey League went through labor strife, it used the opportunity to reform the sport. Along the way, it added rules changes to open up the game, such as moving the nets out from the boards to create more space behind them, pinching the blue lines together toward center ice for the same reason, and allowing the two-line pass. It also stopped permitting players to freeze the puck along the boards, which has done much to speed up the game, as anyone who remembers all those stoppages and ensuing face-offs can attest. But when the National Basketball Association had the opportunity to make some necessary rules changes while it was rewriting its labor deal, it was all too eager to get back to business as usual—including the utter scrapping of the rule against traveling.

NBA refs turn a blind eye to traveling, with the league's apparent blessing. It seems no one wants to halt those wonderful highlight drives through traffic all the great ones get away with, from Shaquille O'Neal on through Kobe Bryant and LeBron James. Yet, for purists, it only sullies the game to the point where one dismisses those same shots. Derrick Rose is one player who seems to observe the traveling rule (not that he's not averse to picking the ball up and running with it while going down the lane through one of those NBA spanking lines, when refs routinely ignore the supposed pivot foot). Yet what the absence of traveling does, in that regard, is place mediocrity like the Detroit Pistons' Will Bynum on the same footing as Rose, the same way a loose strike zone places a mediocre pitcher with poor command on the same footing as Greg Maddux in a pitchers' duel.

So while the rest of the world is resolving to walk more, the NBA should resolve to walk less, and institute a systematic crackdown on traveling. Let ESPN find real highlights of great basketball moves for "SportsCenter."

Read more from Resolution Week:

"Once burned, thrice shy" by Kate Schmidt

"Say you want a resolution?" by Tony Adler

"Rahm swears off swearing for 2012" by Steve Bogira

"A resolution for 2012: Watch more Indian movies" by Ben Sachs

"A resolution for 2012: A more comprehensive and specific approach to writing about art" by Tal Rosenberg

"Nixon, Mayor Rahm, Herman Cain, and Pam Grier—only in the Reader!" by Ben Joravsky

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