After an exciting but disappointing weekend (outside of getting to spend time with Mom) it seems like a good day to take a step back from the analysis and just talk about a couple of interesting issues around the Association.
One came in an email from Mike, a regular reader of this site, but he’s not the only person asking this question: Why is the home court advantage in these NBA playoffs so stark?
I think of the scene in Hoosiers when the little town team walks into the big-city gym and the first thing coach Norman Dale does is pull out a tape measure and show that the rim is still 10-feet high and the free-throw line is still 15 feet away. However, what we have in the NBA are not small-town kids, but rather seasoned players who (regardless of their NBA role and status) have played in front of big crowds for years, have been team stars and have played on big stages.
So, why do the Celtics fall apart on the road? The home team has won all the Western Conference semi-final games. In the Spurs/Hornets series, the home team has been blowing out the opponent. Why the big switch?
I really don’t have an answer, but a couple things may play into it. First, teams are more comfortable in their own gym with their own fans, and that leads to a more aggressive style of play (by that I mean going to the rim more, playing tougher defense). Also, I think for many years NBA referees have been influenced by loud crowds.
But to me, that does not explain all of the disparity. What are your thoughts on that?
Second, Mike D’Antoni is now the head coach of the New York Knicks. I totally understand why he took the job — the $24 million helps, plus he really can’t do worse than the previous coach and could be heralded as a savior in the nation’s biggest market — but I wonder how this will play out for the Knicks.
The current Knicks stars are horribly suited for what D’Antoni likes to do. (Well, they are terribly suited for any style of play.) There are some young guns (Lee, Chandler) who can start to form a nucleus of young running players, but there needs to be a big weeding out process.
What should happen is a three-year plan to totally rebuild that roster into something that can compete, but will he be allowed to do that in NY? Are he and the new GM on the same page in terms of the style and type of team they are trying to build?
Plus, it will be interesting to see what happens with the Suns. Bring in a new coach with a slightly more rigid offense that puts the clamps on Nash? Try to win running with Shaq? I think that whole thing implodes within two years, and the shrapnel falls at the feet of the owner.
What are your thoughts?
Finally, one suggested read — the ESPN expose of OJ Mayo and how he got funneled to an agent. As Henry said at True Hoop, to me this is interesting not because of Mayo or USC but because this is one of the first real journalistic breakdowns of a system we all know has existed for years for big-time college players.
And I don’t think there is an easy fix.