Here we see a video of NBA rookie Jabari Parker going down with a season-ending (perhaps career-ending) knee injury. We’ve seen a lot of these images in recent years: top players going down with serious injuries on drives to the basket. Here is my thought on why this is happening: Because the NBA rules makers have altered the game to INVITE drives to the basket; acrobatic, athletic, spectacular drives. And, no question about it, they do have some of those. But there is also a down side to all this.
What rules invite drives? One, the 3-D rule: no defender can be in the 3″ lane for … three seconds. That supposedly opens the lane. Two, they have the semi-circle under the basket, which designates an area in which a defender cannot draw a charge. Why? Well, if a great jumper takes off from the free throw line for a spectacular dunk, they don’t want a defender stepping under the basket to draw a charge on that driver-jumper. So, they have artificially tried to have a set of rules designed to help drives and drive-dunks. In my opinion, this breeds bad basketball.
Julius Erving and Michael Jordan were making spectacular dunks before these rules came into place. They seldom made a charging foul … at least I don’t ever recall them charging on a drive or a dunk. Why? Because they were smart players and picked their spots, never forcing the situation. Today, you have players forcing the drive and forcing the dunk. The result: charges, turnovers, blocked shots, missed shots and … missed dunks. Did you ever see Erving or Jordan miss a dunk? Not me. Today, lots of players miss lots of dunks … bad basketball.
The coaches adapted to the rules: “Attack the rim!” But, the other coach says, “Defend the rim!” The result: defenders are slamming drivers and dunkers to the floor. Then, players like Jabari Parker have not perfected the pickup jump shot when the lane is jammed up. They just slam their way into traffic. I’m sorry for Jabari Parker but that is a recipe for disaster. My plea, to the NBA: abolish the 3-D rule; abolish the semi-circle; permit the zone. Force coaches to go back to the ‘middle game,’ and the pickup jump shot. Save a lot of hospital bills.