NBA's irony: Delay of game penalties

I like rules. I'm sorry to offend any anarchists out there, but I believe that the society needs a certain number of regulations to optimize everyone's lives. Now, that does not mean that every rule we have makes sense though. In fact, it's one significant flaw of us, the humanity, to get unreasonably attached to existing patterns. I blame the evolution for that: our brains were somehow constructed to learn by patterns and suppress other living things around us by our intelligence and voila, here's us, imperfect beings who often times thinks we're perfect.

OK, OK, I'm not going to get carried away by a pseudo-philosophical argument. All I'm saying is this: sometimes the rules exist for no logical reason: traditional/ethical reasons that are not applicable to modern times, benefit of a certain faction rather than the general population, need to unfairly standardize a practice for easier application... Some rules simply cost more than the benefit, yet it is not the easiest job to change those rules, because, well, see the paragraph above.

Why this long intro? Well, because I'm going to bash the "delay of game" penalty bullshit we saw last night, and I wanted to present you a motive other than "this suuuucks, meeeeh, booo". Yet frankly, the most valid argument against these penalties could be those unintelligible uttering of instinctive sounds at the screen. Because they suuuuck.

See, NBA has decided to enforce the delay of game penalties even more strictly this year so basically if a player touches the ball after a score, they are charged with a technical foul and the opposing team gets a free throw. Again, they cannot touch the ball. Like, really, they can't. Even if they instinctively touch the ball with their fingertips but don't cause any delay whatsoever, it's a tech. (see: Jordan Crawford last night) Even if they take the ball and give it to the ref like, immediately, it's a tech. (see: Lakers - Clippers game 2 nights ago) They just need to run away from the ball like it's a gigantic fly that's pushing its larvae out of its ass.

So what happens? Just because a player touches the ball and delays the game for about half a second at most, the game is delayed by the officials for at least a minute with setting the free throw and all. The excitement is gone, the momentum is lost, and it becomes painful to watch the game. It will be more often the case that it is actually the rule that delays the game.
-No Martell, I can't let you delay the game, nooooo!

Now, I'm not saying that the rule is total nonsense. As explained in this video, there are some cases when the goal to delay the game is obvious. Like, if you drop the ball to the side or if you grab it, take a few steps with it and then throw a weak lob pass to the officials, yes, you are actually delaying the game. One can easily argue that is punishable. Yet apparently it's too difficult for the NBA referees to distinguish between that and quickly handing the ball that fell to your lap to the refs in order to even speed up the play, so they standardize the rule to everyone's frustration.

Now, as I've mentioned in the opening paragraph, the need to standardize the law can be unfair, but again, if it's applied consistently then sure, teams will get used to it and maybe it will work. But then again, remember the time they standardized the "no talking to the refs" rule? It didn't work, because in NBA-land, some players are more equal than others. It's not unlikely that this rule will not be as strictly observed as the season progresses and then will suddenly come back to haunt a team at a crucial moment. I've seen that one before.

So here's my plea, NBA. If you're going to stop enforcing this rule and create some sort of double standard in the future, why screw with teams now? What's a player to do if the ball is about the land on his head, his arms or his you-know-what? If you're all about making the games more entertaining, why do you want to suck the life out of it by micromanaging every single insignificant detail and creating extra burden on the officials?

Because I know a few ways to make the games more fun: Impose some sort of accountability on the officials. Let players and coaches live their emotions on the court. Make better use of technology. All plausible ideas, no?

Oh but you want to ban players from touching the ball after a score because that'll do wonders for the game's pace. Yeah, you're right. Awesome.

Photo credit: AP Photo/Elise Amendola
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