Daily Archives: June 13, 2007

Way down on the Suwannee River, I was hit in the face with a fish

Ananova – Woman KO’d by flying fish

Actually, a sturgeon: Flying fish are quite small and unless they hit you in the eye aren’t going to do any damage. A sturgeon, however, can run 200 pounds and can do a lot of damage. Earlier this year, a woman was hit by one, also on the Suwannee, and she lost a tooth and her little finger, had to have three other fingers reattached, and suffered a ruptured spleen.

Radical NBA proposal

So everyone seems to feel that the NBA is no fun anymore and that the league needs shaking up. Most of these proposals (here’s one, though if you’re not an ESPN Insider I don’t think you can read it) involve changing the playoff format. I don’t know that that’s nearly as big of a problem as what’s happened to the game on the court.

Starting in the eighties, the pro game has steadily become more dominated by coaches and by defense. Even the up-tempo Phoenix Suns would have been a middling-paced team 25 years ago. The “Bad Boys”, the two-time champion Detroit Pistons, noted for their physical, ugly, style of play, averaged 106.6 points per game in their first championship season, 1988-89. Only the Suns bettered that in the 2006-07 season. Every team in the league, save the expansion Miami Heat, averaged over 100 points per game in 1988-89. Only nine teams averaged that in 2006-07, and the pace is actually up a little from a few years ago thanks to rules changes to favor the offense.

The reason for this is not that today’s players “lack fundamentals” or anything like that. It’s that the game is being choked off by coaches, who prefer a half-court game. Other than Mike D’Antoni of Phoenix, and Golden State’s Don Nelson, every coach in the league has basically adopted the Chuck Daly/Pat Riley system of physical halfcourt basketball that is — not coincidentally — much more coach-intensive than the fast-moving game of the past. The players, in general, want to run. The coaches don’t like it; they prefer to stand on the sidelines making signals and generally footballizing basketball.

So here is my proposal: Ban the coaches. Seriously. No coaching should be allowed during the game; the point guard can call the plays and the captain can call timeouts and make substitutions. Only active players and trainers can sit on the bench. The coach sits in the stands, and if he does anything to coach the team, it’s a technical foul and he’s asked to leave. He can meet the team in the locker room at halftime; that’s it. (I’m borrowing this rule from tennis, which allows only limited contact between player and coach during the match.)

Nobody goes to a sporting event to watch someone coach; they go to watch the players. Let the players play

At least three are worse

State 47th to graduate high school students- al.com

What this poorly-phrased headline refers to is that only 59 percent of Alabama high school students graduate. The superintendent talks about all the problems we had in 2006-07, but let’s face it, this state’s educational system has sucked forever.