I wish I was allowed to write this

From the Toronto Star:

You call this practice?
Curbs on workouts explain a lot about quality of the NBA
Oct. 5, 2006. 01:00 AM

WATERLOO, Ont.-As if integrating nine new players into the Raptors lineup isn’t difficult enough, the coaching staff is also working around a formidable impediment to a productive training camp – the NBA’s restrictions on practice time.Teams are allowed precisely three hours of court time daily, which the Raptors are dividing into two 1 1/2-hour sessions this week.

League rules also say that only one of the workouts can include defensive contact, which doesn’t help a team attempting to improve on near-league-worst defensive stats. And the list of restrictions goes on.

But if you’re wondering why you haven’t heard anyone criticize the rules, consider that Mark Cuban, the owner of the Dallas Mavericks, was fined $100,000 (U.S.) for speaking the following three sentences.”It’s part of the hypocrisy of the NBA,” said Cuban in 2004. “People complain about fundamentals, but when you want to practise, you can’t practise. It’s crazy.”

For the rest of the story

23 thoughts on “I wish I was allowed to write this

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    Comment by 656 -

  2. Please don’t give up perfecting the miserable calls the referees have been making the past ten yrs. The only person(s)that can get Stern off his high chair and start acting like a person. The 1st persons he went after were Cuban, Artest, and Rahim for the Kings, totally took them out of their game and most of the calls were bull crap. Can’t remember the last time Bibby got thrown out of a game with technicals. Who was refereeing: two of the oldest referees in the business that Stern says are the best. Like everything else in this country I’m beginning to believe these refs do what Stern wants them to do. How old are these refs. In their upper 60’s and lower 70’s. They can’t be that alert no matter how in shape they say they are. Do they favor Stern so can keep their jobs or what. Don’t give up Mark. Stern is a bad influence for b-ball. What did he mean after the last vote for a Stadium in Sacto, Cal went negative when he said, “A no vote on the Stadium could cause results that he won’t be responsible for. Does that mean ki9ss his B— or you may never see a good team again”. Without M. Cuban we will all have to enter the B-Ball stadiums with our tails between our legs. I think the Kings got shafted in the playoffs just as well as the Dallas team. I do like positive owners that put themselves on the line for there teams just like the Maloofs. We need improvment of our refereeing, not handcuffs for the players, owners, and coaches. Right on Mark Cuban.

    Comment by Brad Jones -

  3. They should be able to practice as much as they want.

    Comment by Haroon -

  4. I can’t believe the NBA limits practice time. It’s not college. They should be able to practice as much as they want. Guess the NBAPA has something to do with this, huh?

    Comment by wailea -

  5. It has to come down to a degree of anarchist communism: doing away with a top-down flow where policy trickles down from above and those below follow it in favor of a lateral approach where people look adopt laterally flowing voluntary associations….serving the commong good by serving your fellow man.

    All the rheotic aside, when the rules are bunk, at the VERY least bend them. As a Raptors fan I was glad to hear that twelve of our fourteen players were in Toronto two weeks before camp started. Of their own volition they came to practice away from the eyes and opinions of the press, fans, and more importantly those directly above them in the NBA heirarchy (coaches, management, and owners). Through a self generated civic spirit more can be acheived in spite of a policy which only seeks to hinder. You just need the will to act.

    By trying to fill in gaps, policy creates brand new holes that those who are willing can thoroughly exploit. Such a large rate personnel turnover this offseason demanded the extra time. If the league is unwilling to recognize it then just ignore the elephant in the corner….ignore those above you in the heirarchy and focus on those beside you instead. Expert knowledge can be blinding….such is the hypocrisy.

    Comment by Jas -

  6. I do think such an agreement is misguided and shortsighted on both sides. Both sides should be concerned about growing the financial pie — and there should be a realization that more practices can have the dual-impact of improved play and better public perception.

    Comment by Christian Ter -

  7. That is insane 3 hours heck many HS football players practice longer then that in a day.

    How does the NBA use this fine money? Do they atleast donate it to a charity?

    Comment by Sam -

  8. These rules probably came about because players like NBAPA Rep Patrick Ewing (who I’m not singling out intentionally) were put through grueling training camps by coaches like Pat Riley.

    As with all things Stern (see: dresscode) the NBA went way overboard with their new rules.

    Comment by Cassius -

  9. My thought is that yes the time limit is a fair rule. Not necessarily the time limit itself (Im thinkin 5-6 hours) but the thought of making sure coaches dont kill their players in practice is good. I think the limitation on what they do is stupid though. If a coach wants to use his full time to work on defense, well then heck, let him. It’ll be his fault if his team never learns offense. Same goes vis versa. Coaches should be left to choose how much time they spend on what.

    Comment by Jazz -

  10. This is much like schools that don’t allow students to do extra credit because if they did, some students would never get a break from the pressure to do better.

    By setting a limit (3 hrs arbitrary), you don’t have some coaches able to have 26 hr workouts each day. It evens the playing court (literally). Though this might not have been a problem with Don Nelson, imagine if you had to practice every day until Avery was satisfied.

    Comment by David-Plano -

  11. My totally uneducated opinion is it sounds like a Players Union issue. Were these limits imposed via collective bargaining? BTW if the owners took a harder line with some of these players, I don’t think a lot of people would care.

    The general perception is these guys make far too much money anyway. When you start losing players to Europe, then you’ll know you’re not paying them enough.

    Comment by scotbo -

  12. 3 hour workouts? so what do they do the rest of the day considering they are Pro-Ballers?
    That, coupled with a controversial new ball will make the coming season very intersting

    Comment by Mutwiri -

  13. That is a silly rule. What will it take to get rid of it? I can see how the union does not want coaches to run practices all day long but still. I beileve there is a similar rule in college and that is why all the international players are years ahead. They get to play and be coached all the time. How silly.

    Comment by Daryl -

  14. Spike-

    There are other constraints in the NFL and NCAA that are behind their shorter schedules. For the NFL it’s a combination of the physical impact of each game (you couldn’t play back-to-back games). For the NCAA, it’s the pesky insistence of scholar athletics.

    Yet despite those constraints, both the NFL and NCAA are actually actively trying to increase, not decrease their games. The NFL moved from 14 to 16 games, and then introduced the wild card round for playoffs. More importantly the NFL insists on including all these meaningless preseason games b/c they can charge NFL prices and force season ticket holders to consume them. Now that the NFLPA won’t likely sign on for extra games, you see bye weeks that allow the NFL to squeeze more money out of the networks. The NCAA in football & basketball have consistently tried to expand the schedule with pre-tournaments and kick-off classics.

    The bottom line is that this is about money. And while cutting your product in half may increase the quality and importance of each game, it likely will not increase the revenues. You probably can’t double prices or double attendance, and you certainly won’t be able to double consumption of parking, beverages, and endorsements/network contracts by making that move. So it doesn’t pay to take the increased quality policy to its extreme.

    Comment by JJ -

  15. What’s the justification? And how did three hours get chosen? Oh, wait, we don’t want you to get fined if you speculate.

    Comment by Roxana -

  16. Cut the NBA schedule in half and you’ll have more time for fundamentals. Compare the NBA to the NFL:

    Each NFL regular season game has a stunning weight of 6.25% on the final outcome (1 game / 16 games per year). Fans get pumped on Sunday because every game is crucial.

    Another case is college basketball. The regular season NCAA schedule varies by team, but lets say it’s on the high end at 30 games. That gives us a weight of 3.33% per game (1 game / 30 per year). In comparison, each NBA game has a paltry weight of 1.2%, about 3 times less than college ball.

    Whats the future of the NBA? How will you hold the attention of the iPod generation when the stakes are a trivial 1.2%?

    Again, March Madness trumps the NBA playoffs because of this simple ratio. In a single elimination tournament, each game has a weight of 100% on the final outcome (will they be eliminated or not?). In the NBA, only the final contest of a 7 game series can match the intensity of a single March Madness game.

    Attending a professional baseball game is nothing more than a leisure activity because of this ratio; people show more excitement for their son’s little league games. Each MLB game has a measly weight of 0.6% (1 game / 162 games per season).

    Seriously ponder this for a moment… What would happen if the NBA cut their schedule in half and went to a single elimination tournament? You could double ticket prices. The NBA would give the NFL a run for their money.

    Comment by spike -

  17. That is just crazy! But why are these rules in place? What is the supposed purpose?

    Comment by mikep -

  18. While I could not find the specific clause in the latest Collective Bargaining Agreement, I’m assuming these limits on practice were negotiated by the players association. My understanding is that these practice limits were negotiated as an offset to the additional “work” caused by lengthening the 1st round NBA playoff games from 5 to 7 games. Essentially, the union would argue that creates more work for our employees, so we’re shaving off mandatory work earlier in the year.

    I do think such an agreement is misguided and shortsighted on both sides. Both sides should be concerned about growing the financial pie — and there should be a realization that more practices can have the dual-impact of improved play and better public perception.

    By accepting this provision, the NBA is presuming that the revenue gains from extending the 1st round from 5-7 games will outweigh the benefits of improved play & public perception. While that may be true in the short-term, and it’s certainly easier to measure the financial impact of a few extra playoff games, I’m not sure if that’s the best long-term strategy.

    Likewise, the players are somewhat foolishly, in my opinion, sacrificing an investment (practice time) that would make the extra playoff time more valuable. Instead of negotiating a reduction in practice time, I think the league and the players would have been better off figuring out how to make every game associated with greater financial value. That would make both sides happy.

    Comment by JJ -

  19. Training camp is where you refine the skill sets as a team. It’s a lot harder to do it on the court during the regular season. To put limits on the time the team has to do that, or to restrict the methods the coaches have available to encourage their team growth, even in the off season…If owners themselves can’t speak out against the ludicrisy, I’m not sure who could have a bigger voice on these issues.

    Comment by Andrew -

  20. Quite frustrating to say the least. Will we now see underground basket ball training camps? And fining Mark $100,000 for his opinion?? That’s when someone has more power than they have sense. What’s that about? Are we in the U.S.?? Do we need a Martin Luther King of the NBA now?? I know just because Marks a Multi Billionaire it doesn’t make it ok to say this but I’m glad it was in the budget for you to be able to voice your opinion!!!

    Comment by Tony -

  21. Why are there limits on practice. The rest of the world works at least an 8 hr day and these althletes are paid millions by the owners. I would think, with the amount of money the owners pay players, they should be able to make them practice as much as they feel is necessary. Obviously, if less is needed, less will time will be used since the owner doesn’t want an unhappy player or chance an injury. But give me a break. A 3 hour day, max, is a joke. Let the market work on this issue. These owners are smart and they also don’t want to run off or chance injuries on their players that they pay big dollars for, so don’t expect 80 hr. practice weeks. But, sometimes, things (like fundamentals) need to be worked on and 3 hours is not enough. This isn’t like the NCAA were these players need time for school. These are grown men, and this is their full time job. The NBA should stay out of this (it’s like a too invansive federal government), some things are just better left to those who are in the actual situation, like the owners.

    Comment by Greg -

  22. You might not be able to write it but fortunately the Internet is so vast that there’s bound to be someone out there that’s already written your opinion for you.

    In direct response, I think it too is ridiculous. I never even knew about these league restrictions until now.

    Comment by OremusProd -

  23. Sadly, that was $100,000 well spent.

    Comment by Scott Johnson -

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