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Rasheed Wallace Could Have A Record Year

The number 41 should be as revered in basketball as 715 is in baseball. 714 was Babe Ruth’s record for home runs in the majors, and as SportsCenter made us all aware when Barry Bonds passed it, that number is a big deal, even though it isn’t the actual record. The NBA should follow suit, and try to copycat some of the tradition that Major League Baseball has, and make a similarly big deal about the number 41, representing Rasheed Wallace’s league record for number of technical fouls in one season.

And it might happen this year, because the chase to eclipse that mark will be on. The NBA has adopted a new “zero-tolerance” policy for bitching at officials, and that’s the best damn news I’ve heard all day. Now, I love Rasheed Wallace… love him. But for every one technical he got last year, if I was in Dick Bavetta’s velcro’d-up shoes, I’d have given him five more. Any time he does the wild swinging of his arms, or the flinging of the headband, he deserves one. Rarely does an NBA game pass where Rasheed Wallace doesn’t at least deserve a technical foul.

If the NBA sticks to this, and enforces it with some backbone, we could see the first ever 50 technical foul season in the NBA. I hope SportsCenter has constant updates on the run towards 50… perhaps even assigning Pedro Gomez to the beat.

“It’s just another ‘Sheed Wallace rule,” Wallace said, shaking his head. “It just means I must be doing something right. Any time they change the rules of the game for one specific player, you must be doing something right.”

Sigh.

It’s a fact that the Detroit Pistons didn’t bitch and whine nearly as much in the 2004 championship season as they did in the following two years, and it’s not a total coincidence that the 2004 team was better than the next two incarnations. The 2004 team had more discipline, and they played harder. As their bitching and whining went up in the following seasons, their discipline and work ethic on the court went down. That happened. I’m not implying that it’s a cause and effect, but there is a correlation.

“I don’t understand it, man, especially for a team like ours,” Chauncey Billups said.

“They know we are a very emotional team. I feel like this is a Pistons rule. It just gives them easier access to have us open up and get emotional and then, boom, they bust our bubble. It’s like they are trying to take the emotion out of the game.”

I love Chauncey, too, but… that is absolute bullshit, my beloved point guard. The league is doing you a favor here. Eliminating the whining and crying would make the Detroit Pistons a better team. They won the title in 2004, and they all thought they were superstars, and had this sense of entitlement, like they should get every call, and they had a right to bitch about things when they were wronged, and that they were bigger than the officials… I’m sure they’d deny that, and they can say what they want, but there was a visible change. In 2004, Tayshaun Prince was a quiet, hardworking guy on the court. And I’m sure he’s still the same guy off the court, but on it, he turned into one of the league’s bitchiest players. It drove me nuts.

Understand it, fellas: the league is doing you a favor here. What’s important is the next play you make. Getting mad about a call that you can’t possibly change is not important. It’s self-indulgent, and it’s a waste. Squash it, and focus on what you’re doing to do next.

What the league is actually doing with this policy is stepping in to coach the Pistons where Flip Saunders refuses to do so.

And to step back and take a look at it from a leaguewide standpoint… this is an outstanding policy, and I hope they follow through with enforcing it. Whining and bitching is at an all-time high throughout the league, and I singled out the Pistons, but every team does it. Every single team has at least one or two guys who bitch incessantly–and it actually lessens the fun I have when watching the NBA. It pisses me off, just a little bit, every single time I see it, and I’m glad the league’s doing something about it.

Whew. Hadn’t had an NBA post in a while. That felt good.

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Matthew J. Darnell

14 Comments

  1. They think it’s a Pistons rule. So quickly we forget the Finals from last season.

    I would make the case that it’s a Mavericks rule. Weren’t they the guys bitching non-stop in the Finals about how the officials were out to get them and whatnot?

    Look, I’m not saying that the Mavs were completely wrong to bitch, but it seemed like they were doing more of it than going out and playing. MJD is right to say that whining doesn’t win championships; the Mavs proved that last year.

  2. As much as I love my Pistons, i have to wholeheartedly agree w/ MJD….the Pistons after 04 walked around thinking they deserved calls, and that they could just flip the switch whenever they wanted to, and cost themselves another title. I think you’ll see a lot of techs early on Sheed, he’ll get used to it and it will settle. But i also think that the refs won’t be as hard about this rule as the season goes on, particularly where it concerns the NBA cash cows known as Lebron, Wade, Shaq and Kobe. Those guys will get a LOOOONNG rope to hang themselves with.

  3. Can they extend the tighter rules interpretation to the whining of frustrated Cavs bloggers?

  4. This rule change is a god-send. Really started to get out of hand the last couple years, with players on nearly all teams complaining after about half of the fouls called. You aren’t changing any officials mind, just drop it.

  5. I’m not sure the Pistons are even the bitchiest team in their division. The Pacers went out of their way to trade away all of their players who didn’t bitch about calls.

    We need some odds on what players get the most techs next year. I’m thinking Artest, Cassell, and R. Wallace are the frontrunners, with Stephen Jackson being a legitimate dark horse.

  6. I’m gonna have to in some ways disagree with u guys. Yes, the bithin does need to stop, but… u kno the refs picked on Sheed because of his reputation of teq’s or just fouls period. Its easy for them to just give him a teq… but for other players they would most times just let it slide. They just keep them comin for Sheed because he is SHEED!

  7. Cassell definitely. I’d throw Payton in that group along with R. Wallace and maybe Iverson. Not sure about Artest… my thinking is he’ll straighten out this year, but I wouldn’t wager on it.

    Interestingly enough, the Pistons are the team that benefitted most from technical foul calls last season with Billups cashing in on 17 more makes than the next highest. http://www.82games.com/random16.htm

  8. I like this new “emphasis”. It’s gonna stop little bitches like Vince Carter from whining about every little call.

    With that said, the general “sissyfying” as Wilbon would say, of the NBA is even more troubling. In today’s NBA every little pussy touch foul stops the flow of the game and makes the game painfully boring. This has got to stop because I will stop watching games if all these stars don’t stop averaging 20 FT attempts a game. Bring back the free flowing beautiful game of the 80s and 90s. “Larry Bird must be turning over in his grave” in the words of Sir Charles.

  9. I like the rule too but this is just a way for Stern and the league to make bigger stars out of Wade and Lebron. Now, no one can complain when those phantom fouls come against Wade. Can’t throw up your arms, get the crazy facial expression, nothing. Whistle blows, Lebron goes to the line again and again and again. The rest are going to stand around and watch.

  10. It’s more to reshape their image. Many people see basketball players (or at least a substantial portion of them) as whiny, overpaid, classless, petulant pieces of shit, and that view is only reinforced by their behavior on the court. They all cry like little kids when stuff doesn’t go their way. With the new tech rules, they’ll still be whiny, overpaid, classless, petulant pieces of shit, but at least they won’t appear that way as much.

  11. Obviously, basketball players are the worst out of all American proathletes. It isn’t like Major League Baseball is full of cheater/users of illegal substances or the NFL has had any murderers or violent criminals.

  12. Back in the days when the Grizzlies made their home in Vancouver, I knew the team’s orthopaedic surgeon. Partway through their tenure in Vancouver, he was offered the opportunity to take over the same post with the NHL Canucks when their surgeon retired, and he JUMPED at the chance.

    Why? Better $? Better perks? Nope. He couldn’t fucking stand the whining of players, both on and off the court. Stitch up a bloody laceration on the bench, and send ‘em back out on the next shift.

    Maybe this rule will jumpstart an overall improvement.

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