Friday, November 2, 2007

David Stern Is Smarter Than You

Well, more than likely. That's the thing about lawyers, which David Stern once was; we always forget how educated they are. People like Stern see more angles when making a decision than most of us realize, and it is perceived that his prolonged decision making is either procrastination or arrogance. The players are harder to relate to, the game has changed in the wrong direction, and the whole league is seems like an expanded Cincinnati Bengals team. These are bad things, indeed. But the bigger picture elements of the game aren't the issue for NBA fans. What seems to irk everybody are what is regarded as quick-fix problems that are still broken, things like the leaving the bench rule, the new ball fiasco and the playoff system. Changing the ball was a bad decision which has been fixed, but it still looms in the minds of pundits and fans alike as a testament to the idiocy of the commissioner. As far as the other problems, well let me tell you: David Stern is on it.
First off, let's look at the rule of being suspended for leaving the bench. Suns fans remember all too vividly Amare Stoudemire's suspension during last year's playoffs, which probably sealed Phoenix's fate. It was an untimely circumstance. But does the rule need to be nixed? When you look at it, this was the only time where a player leaving the bench did not have intentions of malice, and it only made headlines because of the importance of the game. If Stern was to make an exception to the rule for that game, then it makes the rule, not to mention Stern himself, seem trivial. And you simply can't have that if you are the commissioner; the perception of authority, regardless of the realities, is extremely important. Without it, big picture problems like league image and player conduct would suffer. If anything, applaud Robert Horry for sacrificing himself and getting the expected reaction, which was known as being against the rules.

Changing the ball wasn't stupid. Not testing the ball was. The reasons for the change (better grip and consistency) were good intentions, but the unexpected changes (bouncing reactions) killed the dream. It happened, Stern fixed it. Why is that a bad thing?

There's one thing you have to realize when asking for a different playoff system: it takes time. You simply can't say over the summer, "Alright let's do it". As unfortunate as it is, money plays a large part in these things, and concerns of advertising and the like has to be considered. Meetings have to be set up, owners have their say, and basically the type of business is done as it is in the real world. Then you have to take into account what the absolute best system is, because you can't be changing it every five years. The NBA isn't nearly as bad as the BCS, but these things take valuable time and clever persuasion.

With all of the scandals going on right now, David Stern is busier than ever. He quite possibly may be making the biggest decisions of his life, and it will determine the future of the NBA. Give him a little breathing room, please. If you are one who believes that Stern is an idiot who should be replaced, do you really want him making rash decisions? Let him take his time, even if a few minor rules get in the way. Trust me, it's for the greater good, and David Stern knows this.


Brian said...

You forgot his most lasting contribution is that he developed the NBA Development League (D-League) and managed to get the NBAPA to buy into it. Now 10% of the players in the NBA are coming from the D-League, where quality coaches have the opportunity to work out the kinks in a players game before they make the Show. That will help the NBA over the years in ways that cannot be understated. Look at what seasoning does for baseball players, and hockey players. Stern realized that college is not enough for a lot of quality players, and that they were being sent to the four corners of the Earth, where it is costly to scout and their talent might not evolve, instead of being supported by the major league, which needs bodies when there are injuries. This, I think, is his biggest legacy

Brian Ross
Sr. Editor
Minor League. MAJOR ATTITUDE.™

JFishSports said...

Extremely well said.

Not to mention how he has globalized the sport. Look at Yao Ming, Dirk Nowitzki and everybody else from overseas.

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