With the NBA preseason well underway and a non-strike shortened season on the horizon, NBA officials are letting it be known that there are a few new things that they will be looking out for. Obviously, the new enforcement on flopping is definitely top on the list, along with reviewed flagrant fouls, but there is one seemingly innocent tidbit that is turning some heads among coaches and players.
The league has been telling players and teams that it will begin heavily enforcing it's 90-second introductions to tip off rule. The rule states that teams have 90 seconds from the end of introductions to be on court and ready for tip-off, otherwise a delay of game warning will be delivered to the guilty party.
The rule seems innocent enough, but like all changes, it is being met by some resistance from players whose own personal pregame rituals would be hampered by the minute and ½ time frame. Most notably, players like Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma Thunder and Kevin Garnett of the Boston Celtics, who will have to curb their habits.
Unhappy with the change, players and coaches have come out this week in disagreement with the new found enforcement of this rule. Here is just a sample of what some of them are saying.
Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers
"I don't like it. I think it's too quick. I think it's too rushed. I like the idea of it – enough of some of the stuff," Rivers said.
"I think they need to change it to two minutes, maybe even 2 ½ minutes. I don't think they factor in the coach actually has to draw up a play first, and then guys break. I hope that will be changed a little bit.
"It makes the first play that you draw up before the game almost silly," Rivers said. "Guys are more focused on running out on the floor."
Oklahoma Thunder Superstar Kevin Durant
“I personally don't like it,” Durant said. “Every player in this league has routines they do with their teammates, rituals they do before the game and before they walk on the floor. The fans like it. The fans enjoy it. You see the fans mimicking the guys who do their stuff before the game. To cut that down really don't make no sense. Why would you do it? I really don't agree with it, but I don't make the rules.”
Miami Heat stud LeBron James
"I won't change it, I'll be able to work it in," James said. "We'll figure it out."
Miami Heat stud #2 Dwyane Wade
"I'll have to take something away for sure. I'm always going to make sure I show love to the fans," Wade said Wednesday in Miami. "There's so many rules, I can't keep up. ... There's no reason to make a big stink. It's their league, it's their rules."
While the need to speed up games is understandable and desirable by the league, hampering the individuality of players may not be in it's long term best interest. Hopefully, reason will prevail and the league and its players will come to some understanding about the subject that leaves both sides happy.
In fact, Doc Rivers makes a suggestion that could do just that. Hopefully the league listens, for the players sake.
"To me, if you really want to do something, shorten the intros, where we have all the dancing and music," Rivers said. "If they want to get the game started, shorten that for a minute and give the players an extra minute."
James LeBeau is a sports contributor for CraveOnline Sports. You can follow him on Twitter @JleBeau76 or subscribe on Facebook.com/CraveOnlineSports.
Photo Credit: Mark Halmas/Icon SMI