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Friday, September 23, 2005

Basketball: Monarchs, proposals

I know -- the About paragraph at the upper right of this blog page says nothing about basketball, but sometimes I can't resist (or can't think of anything else to efficiently post).

Congratulations to the
Sacramento Monarchs, who won the WNBA championship on Tuesday night. I watched almost the entire game. The Connecticut Sun, who narrowly lost, were hampered by injuries to one of their stars, Lindsay Whalen, point guard. I saw Whalen on TV when she was with the University of Minnesota, two years ago. She was an exciting player, but passed the ball out of bounds a little too much. The commentators on this year's finals series said that she had been the best point guard in the WNBA, which is high praise, indeed, so she has evidently matured, and is more under control. The Sun, of course, have a number of other good players. One of their players, not quite as skilled, but good enough, is 7 foot, 2 inch Margo Dydek.

Yolanda Griffith was most valuable player for the championship series. She was also the oldest player on either team, being born March 1, 1970. She has a 16 year old daughter. The Monarch's page on Griffith indicates that she was among the league's best players (between 3rd best and 18th best) in 27 different statistical categories, which is remarkable. I'm too lazy to check, but suspect that no other player in the league compares with that. Obviously a solid player, all-around. Taj McWilliams-Franklin of the Sun was also born in 1970, also was excellent in the championship series, and is among the best players in the league in 23 different statistical categories. Also, obviously a solid player. McWilliams-Franklin has an 11 year old daughter. Both of these women appear to have improved, basketball-wise, at least, with age.

I have some suggestions for those in charge of my favorite game. I don't believe, for a tenth of a second, that anyone who is in charge will even see them, let alone implement them.

For basketball at all levels:
1) Make another line, beyond the 3-point line, and have 4-point shots, with four free throws if a player is fouled in the act of shooting from beyond this line. This should open up the game, make it more exciting, and make it possible to score lots of points in a hurry.

2) Assess fouls to more than one defensive player, if an offensive shooter is fouled by more than one person while in the act of shooting. Shooters are often clobbered by at least two persons, and only one gets a foul.

3) Cut back on the number of time-outs taken during the last two minutes of a game, or don't allow full time-outs during that period. As any fan knows, the last "few minutes" of a close game can take half an hour.

4) Have more female coaches of men's teams. Men have done very well as women's coaches (so have women--but both the Sun and the Monarchs had male coaches) so why shouldn't the reverse be true? Rick Pitino had a female assistant when he was at Kentucky, and John Thompson had a female academic advisor who sat on the bench at Georgetown. There should be more female coaches of men's teams.

5) Have more female TV commentators on men's basketball. (It's been done at least once, but there are some excellent female commentators--why restrict them to brief interviews at the end of the first half?)

For the NBA:
6) Assess more fouls to players with the ball who shove defenders (like Shaq does.)

7) Have an NBA coaching staff salary cap.

8) Don't draft players until they have finished college in their native country, or are old enough that they could have, if they had remained in college.

I have posted about basketball previously, at least here, here and here, on, respectively, a book about high school coach Bob Hurley; Reggie and Cheryl Miller, arguably basketball's first family; and Kwame Brown, a failure in the NBA who was drafted out of high school.

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