Q. Ira, who cares if they're going to fine players for flopping after the fact? If it affects the game, as they're saying, then the penalty should be something that affects the game.
— Carl, Richmond, Calif.
A. I guess you could say it's a start. But at least with the after-the-fact points systems for technical fouls (which can be rescinded) or flagrant fouls (which can be upgraded or downgraded) there also is an in-game component of free throws being awarded in those cases, something that actually can impact the score.
I think in this case (and there has yet to be a formal announcement of the exact system), the NBA merely is acknowledging that something has to be done to take the acting out of the game.
And yet . . . embellishment remains a part of the game when it comes to players attempting to draw shooting fouls. If there is no acting allowed when it comes to drawing charges or blocking fouls, then what about when a player emotes excessively when attempting to earn his way to the foul line on a drive?
The only way a system of fines works is if the fines are excessive enough to truly hit players in the pocketbook. And if they're that severe, you can expect reasonable pushback from the players' association (or what's left of it).
Beyond that, what if free throws are awarded during a game, say for a blocking foul, and those point prove decisive, and then the league fines the player who initiated the contact for flopping? It essentially would be the league saying those free throws never should have been awarded.
The real goal, as it should be all along, is better officiating.
Q. Forget about how it happened. Ira, would you trade Ray Allen for Jason Terry, Courtney Lee and Jeff Green? Of course you would.
— Joel, Stoughton, Mass.
A. You're overstating the Green aspect, since it's not as if he stepped into Allen's money or position. Instead, we'll let you go back and lament allowing Kendrick Perkins to depart in favor of Green.
But the point being made in Boston with Terry and Lee stepping in for Ray is a legitimate one, although once Avery Bradley returns, the impact of Terry and Lee might not be as significant as during the initial stages of the season.
Even with Lee, what has he truly been in recent seasons? And if he had value, would he have been available at such a discount?
So what we might be getting down to is whether Jason Terry is better than Ray Allen. But even that somewhat misses the point of whether Terry can replicate the chemistry Allen offered during the best of times in Boston.
The reality was Allen and Rajon Rondo no longer could co-exist. So the Celtics moved on to Terry and Allen left. To a degree, both might believe they're in better places now.
Then again, the greater issue might be whether the Mavericks are better off with O.J. Mayo than Terry.
It's the NBA circle of life.
Now, as for whether the Grizzlies are better off with Jerryd Bayless than Mayo, well, we'll leave that one for another day.
Q. The Nets added Joe Johnson, and he's fine, but why would that make them that much more a contender?
— Sam, New York
A. I agree that Joe Johnson, alone, does not vault the Nets into title contention. In fact, an argument could be made that the most significant upgrade for the Nets this season is getting back a healthy Brook Lopez, the type of post presence that Kris Humphries simply could not be last season.
For all the talk of a challenge to the Knicks, it's not as if the Nets underwent a massive upgrade. They simply added an All-Star who, himself, provided limited impact when it came to the Hawks' playoff runs.
What the Nets did effectively was make a series of subtle upgrades, with the likes of Andray Blatche, Josh Childress and even Mirza Teletovic. And those players will help, possibly allow the Nets to contend for homecourt in the first round.
But for the Nets to be title contenders, Deron Williams has to be great and Brook Lopez has to stand as a legitimate two-way presence in the middle. Williams certainly is up to his challenge. Lopez? We're not as sure.
Q. Who's going to play shooting guard and small forward for the Hawks?
— Eric, Boca Raton, Fla.
A. While it became clear the Nets would miss Joe Johnson (if not necessarily miss his salary), the loss of Marvin Williams in a salary dump to Utah also has opened a significant void in the Hawks' lineup.
While Lou Williams could step in at shooting guard, that not only would mean an undersized backcourt, it also would eliminate Williams' spark as a sixth man. Going with Devin Harris also would create a hybrid backcourt alongside Jeff Teague
The nation grieved for those hurt, killed and affected by the Boston Marathon bombings. After one of the suspects was caught on Friday — following a day-long lockdown and manhunt — sports returned to Boston over the weekend.
This is what happens with teams attempting to maximize future salary cap space; they mortgage the present. In some way, this season's Hawks are the NBA's version of last season's Nets, simply biding time in hopes of a makeover.
And yet, as gloomy as it appears for the Hawks, the Southeast standings might mask their mediocrity, with the Magic, Wizards and Bobcats likely even worse. The Hawks well could finish the season as the NBA's worst second-place team.
Q. Michael Beasley is wearing "0" for the Suns? That can't be a good idea.
— Steve, Miami
A. You wouldn't think so, since some might contend that's what Michael has been during his tours with the Heat and Timberwolves.
You'd think a player looking to resurrect his career might take a number that doesn't exactly draw focus on his flakiness.
The fact that the Suns are actually counting on a Beasley resurrection is troubling enough. Beasley is reaching Darko territory when it comes to his own No. 2 overall legacy.
PBT: The Pacers defeated the Heat 97-93 in Game 2 to even the series at 1-1, which now shifts to Indiana.
Video: NBA from NBC Sports
DPS: Is it really all about the rings?
DPS: Dan Patrick talks about Phil Jackson's comments about starting a team with Bill Russell now because of his championships and brings up the great question of, if it's all about championships, how come we don't talk about guys like Sam Jones, Frank Ramsey or John Havlicek who all have multiple rings?
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