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NBA Gets Some Balls
June 28, 2006 12:55 PM   Subscribe

Even after the bad PR brought about by the new balls used in this year's World Cup, the NBA announced today (Draft Day!) a new official game ball to be used starting next season (ESPN coverage). The new ball designed by Spalding is the first official game ball change since 1970 and only the second change in the last 60 years. Vegans will be happy to hear that it's no longer made of leather. Mark Cuban will surely weigh in with an opinion on this...
posted by pwb503 (45 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
Great, now home run counts are going through the roof again.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 12:56 PM on June 28, 2006 [1 favorite]


Drip, drip. Could watch this for hours.
posted by grabbingsand at 12:58 PM on June 28, 2006


"That [gripping the ball] really became a challenge, particularly when the ball was wet," said executive vice president of operations Stu Jackson.
posted by pwb503 at 1:01 PM on June 28, 2006


good post - a new ball is only mildly interesting, but you made a very good post of it.
posted by GuyZero at 1:11 PM on June 28, 2006


Not a sports fan, eh, crash?
posted by JaredSeth at 1:14 PM on June 28, 2006


the first time I played with Roteiro, the first soccer ball without stitches that everybody in pro soccer seemed to be complaining about (except, strangely, the players under contract with Adidas, who seemed to like it a lot 111) I was like, this is strange.

ten minutes later, I didn't have any more problems with it. it literally felt different for a few minutes, then it was OK, really.

all the fuss about new soccer balls being difficult to control and too light (untrue, they almost all weigh the same, with a 5 grams difference at the most) always struck me as half media hype half BS. the proof is, after the first three days nobody whines about the "strange" new soccer balls, and it cannot be because Adidas/Nike etc bribe everybody
posted by matteo at 1:28 PM on June 28, 2006


Good post. I was just reading this on ESPN.

I can see the benefit in using the new material, but what's with the new panelling? It looks weird. When it comes to sports, I've always been in the "if it ain't broke..." camp and generally abhor new rules.

Remember when the NBA switched to the international 3 point line? They had to move it back the next year because 3's were too easy to hit.

Speaking of international rules, I've always wondered why FIBA uses the trapezoid shape for the key (where the lowest part is extremely wide). I heard the NCAA is attempting to adopt this key within the next few seasons.

I think that would suck, because if there's one sport that doesn't ned ANY tampering, it's NCAA basketball.
posted by b_thinky at 1:28 PM on June 28, 2006


The new ball design looks really cool, but I remember shooting free throws and always using the intersecting black lines as a guide in my fingers, like how a quarterback always grips a ball by the laces.
posted by mathowie at 1:28 PM on June 28, 2006


big-ass jpeg of a Roteiro, the ball used in Portugal Euro 2004
posted by matteo at 1:29 PM on June 28, 2006


Not a sports fan, eh, crash?

Humor meter broken?
posted by eyeballkid at 1:29 PM on June 28, 2006


I clicked the pre-order link for the new ball and it costs $99! For a ball!
posted by b_thinky at 1:33 PM on June 28, 2006


That basketball was like a basketball to me!
posted by JWright at 1:38 PM on June 28, 2006


b_thinky: It relates to the area of the key and the way that the three second rule, restricted area, and charges are handled differently in the international game.

Two quick changes I'd be interested in seeing the NBA make: 1. widen the court by a foot on either side (to 94'x52') to accomodate larger bodies. 2. Increase the width of the key to 13 feet. They could try both of them either in the NBDL or during the Allstar break

Larger changes that I think would improve the flow of the game: 1. Fouls are two instant points and result in a quick change of possesion 2. Each team only gets three full timeouts and a 20 per game, they receive an additional full time out and may take only that one timeout after the two minute warning, no matter how many from before the two minute warning remain. 3. Players would foul out with five instead of six, with as little stop in play as possible when they foul out (ie. failure to leave the court in a timely manner results in an immediate one game suspension with pay). 4. Substitutions would happen as they do in hockey, ie. you could have four players on the floor, but not six, so it'd be a relay style sub 5. I wouldn't call the ticky tacky fouls where a player is dinged for a foul for simply being in the air (reducing the effectiveness of elevating into an airborne player with the intention of missing a shot, aka. the Wade/Iverson/Kobe maneuver)
posted by togdon at 1:50 PM on June 28, 2006


I clicked the pre-order link for the new ball and it costs $99! For a ball!

The new World Cup FIFA match ball mentioned in the FPP is $129. For a ball!
posted by smackfu at 1:52 PM on June 28, 2006


Canine Neuticles®ULTRAPLUS® - starting at $650 - for a ball!
posted by GuyZero at 2:04 PM on June 28, 2006


togdon:

The key width is currently 12'. Do you think increasing the width will do anything? I mean, really, there's only been one player in the past 20 years who really abused the refs non-calling of 3 second violations.

Awarding 2 points to someone who gets fouled is absurd. Everybody would just play defense like Steve Nash (they wouldn't play defense).

Most of your proposed rules would speed the game up but remove points of strategy.

I think the main problem with the NBA is the consistency of officiating. What's a foul on one end of the floor should be so at the other end, what's a foul in the 1st quarte should be in the 4th, what's a foul in the pre-season should be in the playoffs, etc.

BTW, I seem to be in the minority on this, but I thought the officials were pretty consistent in the Finals. Any discrepency in calls can be attributed to different styles of play.
posted by b_thinky at 2:27 PM on June 28, 2006


Neat story. Funny it's been so long since they last updated their balls, given all the changes in sports, sports equipment, and the NBA in all that time.

And here's some news about old balls. self-(FPP)-link.
posted by ibmcginty at 2:27 PM on June 28, 2006


GuyZero, OMG funny, still in tears 15 mins later.
posted by rschroed at 2:28 PM on June 28, 2006


On the other hand, matteo, a professional footballer probably has a lot more instinctive behaviour built on the exact behaviour of the old ball than you do, and this might be affected by even tiny changes. (I'm not saying this is necessarily true, but it seems like a reasonable explanation)
posted by jacalata at 2:33 PM on June 28, 2006


BTW, I seem to be in the minority on this, but I thought the officials were pretty consistent in the Finals. Any discrepency in calls can be attributed to different styles of play.

You're right about that. You're definitely in the minority.
posted by Kwantsar at 2:48 PM on June 28, 2006


mr_crash_davis writes "Great, now home run counts are going through the roof again."

Obviously you're not a golfer.
posted by clevershark at 3:01 PM on June 28, 2006


For the inclusion of links not even remotely having to do with the topic, solid B.
posted by justgary at 3:05 PM on June 28, 2006


And why, exactly, are vegans happy to hear that it's no longer made of leather? Because now they can eat it?
posted by sour cream at 3:29 PM on June 28, 2006


Humor meter broken?

He's from Utah...I wouldn't blame him if he didn't follow basketball. Mind you, I'm in New York so not casting any stones.
posted by JaredSeth at 3:56 PM on June 28, 2006


Does it bounce? Can you make baskets with it?

Whoop de do what the damn thing looks like. It's a basketball.
posted by zoogleplex at 3:59 PM on June 28, 2006


sour cream: And why, exactly, are vegans happy to hear that it's no longer made of leather? Because now they can eat it?

Vegans object to the use of animal byproducts in all aspects of modern life, including clothing, toiletries and sporting equipment.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 4:09 PM on June 28, 2006


Remember when the NBA switched to the international 3 point line? They had to move it back the next year because 3's were too easy to hit.


That was a disgusting season. You had guys who had no business taking threes hauling up 600 in a season, and suddenly John Starks and Dan Majerle were demigods on the court.

A real WTF-type period in the NBA until they changed the rules again.
posted by Alexandros at 4:23 PM on June 28, 2006


I clicked the pre-order link for the new ball and it costs $99! For a ball!

It's not a ball—It's an experince.
posted by oxford blue at 4:46 PM on June 28, 2006


You're right about that. You're definitely in the minority.
posted by Kwantsar at 2:48 PM PST on June 28 [+fave] [!]


The funny thing is, the only reason anyone criticized the officials is because Mark Cuban acts like a spoiled little brat when his team doesn't win.

Why did the Heat shoot so many more FTs in game 5? It's easy:

1) Wade was fouled every time he went to the basket. He also drew lots of contact on his jumpers.

2) They intentionally fouled Shaq whenever he got position, sometimes whenever the Heat had the ball (Hack-a-Shaq). This got them into the bonus earlier than they would otherwise.

3) The Mavs best player (Dirk Nowitzki) shot turnaround jumpers all series. This is a move unlikely to draw fouls.

4) The Mavs best player (Dirk Nowitzki) is afraid to touch the ball in the 3rd and 4th quarters of close games.
posted by b_thinky at 5:13 PM on June 28, 2006


"He's from Utah...I wouldn't blame him if he didn't follow basketball."

I don't, but several of my wives are big fans.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 6:38 PM on June 28, 2006


sour cream: And why, exactly, are vegans happy to hear that it's no longer made of leather? Because now they can eat it?

KirkJobSluder: Vegans object to the use of animal byproducts in all aspects of modern life, including clothing, toiletries and sporting equipment.


...and humor.
posted by space2k at 6:46 PM on June 28, 2006


Wade was fouled every time he went to the basket. He also drew lots of contact on his jumpers.

Good luck finding people who believe that other than:
1. You.
2. Floridians.
3. Mr. and Mrs. Wade
4. The officials who worked the series
posted by Kwantsar at 8:27 PM on June 28, 2006


"Zapruder film" of the Finals.

The 82games link on Cubes' blog is interesting as well.

Still, Mavs did have chances but weren't able to put them away.
posted by First Post at 9:02 PM on June 28, 2006


I've always wondered why FIBA uses the trapezoid shape for the key

It's to move the low post position farther away from the basket, encouraging a faster game with more cutting and passing (which is weird because the FIBA court is actually smaller than the NBA court). Another reason is that goaltending rules are different (no goaltending "cone"), so moving guys farther out encourages rapid crashes to the boards.
posted by frogan at 11:35 PM on June 28, 2006


space2k: ...and humor.

Nope, most vegans don't mind the use of animals in humor. That was an explicit exception affirmed by the international vegan convention of 1978. However, some lingistic vegans are starting to become concerned about the retorical abuse of anal monkies, Stratfordian monkies, bedroom elephants, straw dogs, flying pigs and invisible pink unicorns.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 1:01 AM on June 29, 2006 [1 favorite]


Kwanstar: Thanks for the thoughtful analysis. Do you not have any real points to make? If so, name one. If not, suck it up and deal with your loss.

First Post That "zapruder film" is hilarious. Each of those "phantom" fouls is actually a real foul!

Phantom Foul 1: Jason Terry clearly pushes Wade in the side/back shortly before he goes up for the shot. Notice how he even raises his hand to indicate he committed a foul. You might complain about the continuation being allowed, but this is the type of foul that's called all season long in the NBA.

Phantom Foul 2: This is an obvious blocking foul on Harris. If Harris is moving to block Wade's path to the basket, he must win right to this position by beating Wade to this spot. They're both clearly moving at the same time, which would make the foul on Harris. Even if you were to claim Harris got there first, both feet must be out of the arc under the basket. You can't tell from this angle where his feet are, though the point is moot because Harris did not beat him to the spot.

Wade's elbow does connect, so maybe there is a gripe about that, but that's not a call you'd expect to see in a typical NBA game.

Phantom Foul 3: Daniel's left arm appears to slap Wade's elbow as he's making an attempt to swipe at the ball. It is before the shot, but, again, it's continuation that would be allowed in a normal NBA game.

Phantom Foul 4: This is the closest one to a bad call. There does appear to be mutual contact (regardless of what the blogger says, Dirk not being set IS an issue, so is the fact that Terry appears to bump Wade as he gets beat. This probably should be a no-call, but it's no evidence of a conspiracy theory. Besides that, Wade would have beaten Dirk to the basket.

The thing that pisses me off about Mavs fans and the Mavs owner is they appear to want special consideration from the league and the refs. Calls like those are commonplace and correct according to the rules of basketball. Simply because Mark Cuban has acted like an ass in the past and continues to do so regarding the officials, an unneeded spotlight was placed on the referees.

I should note I had no rooting interest in this series. I've always hated Shaq (and Mourning for that matter) and NBA officiating was terrible during the most recent Laker threepeat. Shaq committed a foul and a 3 second violation on both ends of the floor nearly every time down and nothing was called.
Though their NBA Finals opponents were clearly inferior, western conference teams like the Blazers and Kings could have legitimately defeated the Lakers had the games been officiated correctly.

I was pleased to see the refs treat Shaq fairly in this year's finals. Wade got to the line simply because he is a master of drawing contact. He played like a hall of famer and Wade is the real story here. That and the fact that Dirk Nowitzki played like Chris Webber in the crucial moments of almost every game.
posted by b_thinky at 1:17 AM on June 29, 2006


In that first video you can clearly see Wade falling back and to the left...back and to the left...back and to the left.
posted by kirkaracha at 7:31 AM on June 29, 2006


One of the most egregious bad calls I remember from the Lakers' run was when Kobe Bryant, who had the ball, elbowed Mike Bibby in the face and gave him a bloody nose, and they called a foul on Bibby.
posted by kirkaracha at 7:37 AM on June 29, 2006 [1 favorite]


The funny thing is, the only reason anyone criticized the officials is because Mark Cuban acts like a spoiled little brat when his team doesn't win.

I disagree with that; I (and many people) have been complaining about the inconsistencies of NBA officiating for a long time. Has nothing to do with Cuban.
posted by inigo2 at 8:18 AM on June 29, 2006


b_thinky: I should have clarified a bit more... It's not the size of the international key that's intriguing it's the shape. Having it wider near the hoop and narrower at the top encourages faster movement near the hoop (no Shaq 3 seconds in, quick out, 3 seconds in play/camping) while also encouraging camping in the easily hittable jump shot range.

I have no illusions that my ideas are great ones (other than the slight widening of the court and slighter widening of the key, I really think that'd help the pace of the game), but I'm sick and tired of 46 minutes of great basketball followed by an excruciating "two" minutes at the end of the game.
posted by togdon at 8:46 AM on June 29, 2006


One of the most egregious bad calls I remember from the Lakers' run was when Kobe Bryant, who had the ball, elbowed Mike Bibby in the face and gave him a bloody nose, and they called a foul on Bibby.
posted by kirkaracha at 7:37 AM PST on June 29 [+fave] [!]


I remember that one. I also remember (I think it was against the Kings also) when Shaq caught a bullet pass one handed near the baseline, jumped and landed on the same foot without dribbling in order to keep his momentum from carrying him out of bounds, then passed it off for an assist after landing. A clear travelling violation. But the broadcast team kept playing it over and over again as evidence of what a great passing center Shaq is.

In another game versus the Kings, the Lakers Samaki Walker hit a half court shot at the buzzer to end the half. Replays showed the shot occurred after time had expired and should not have counted (this was before the officials could view the replay on shots near the buzzer). The Lakers went on to win the game by one point, and the series in 7 games. In other words, the shot was the difference in the game and the series.
posted by b_thinky at 10:43 AM on June 29, 2006


togdon: maybe you'd wanna change this rule too, but in the NBA as long as the guy is moving it's not a 3 second violation. So even if the key was wider, as long as the guy is moving it's not a problem.

inigo2: I should have phrased my claim better. The only reason the officiating seems to be a big story here is because of Cuban. The Mavs owner and fans talk of the series as though the officiating was the biggest story. But the two biggest stories were:

1) Wade putting the Heat on his back 4 games straight and carrying them to victory.

2) Nowitzki and the Mavs folding under pressure time and time again.
posted by b_thinky at 10:48 AM on June 29, 2006


b_thinky: Rule 10 Section VII...
Section VII-Offensive Three-Second Rule

a. An offensive player shall not remain for more than three seconds in that part of his free throw lane between the endline and extended 4' (imaginary) off the court and the farther edge of the free throw line while the ball is in control of his team.

b. Allowance may be made for a player who, having been in this area for less than three seconds, is in the act of shooting at the end of the third second. Under these conditions, the 3-second count is discontinued while his continuous motion is toward the basket. If that continuous motion ceases, the previous 3-second count is continued.

c. The 3-second count shall not begin until the ball is in control in the offensive team's frontcourt. No violation can occur if the ball is batted away by an opponent.
PENALTY: Loss of ball. The ball is awarded to the opposing team at the sideline at the free throw line extended.
On offense (and that's why I've always assumed the lane is different in international play) you can move all you want for those three seconds--at least with my reading of the rules, and the way that I've seen it called.

Note that I actually think that the trapezoidal lane looks dumb and doesn't achieve much. It's a weird way to space players out and to force more jumpers and quick moves into the lane. Here's a decent video of how play looks different with it (for anyone else still paying attention).

The only thing I'd really like to see--or that I think makes any sense--is a slight widening of the court and a slighter widening of the key. It'd reduce (I think) the number of accidental touch fouls and would open up the lane enough to accommodate the bulkier bodies which would encourage more people to drive the lane...
posted by togdon at 1:31 PM on June 29, 2006


Hmmm... I always assumed a 3 second violation didn't occur if the player was moving. At least that's what Phil Jackson used to say when people whined about Shaq camping out.

I don't know if the trapezoid increases driving and cutting. It seems to increase jump shots. The American game is based on driving and posting while the overseas game is about the mid-range jumper. I've played in a few different countries and am always frustrated that nobody can play with their back to the basket. Here, even small guards have post moves.

The Sergio video shows how different the game really is. Look at the physiques of the players. It looks like they've never been in a weight room. I think these guys would be freshmen and sophs at US colleges. Guys don't bulk up becasue their game doesn't require it.

He looks like an entertaining player. I hope he gets the chance to play for the Blazers. They did a good job getting 2 of the top 4 players (ability-wise) in the draft. Now if they can get rid of the walking tumors (Miles + Randolf)...
posted by b_thinky at 2:49 PM on June 29, 2006


Vegans object to the use of animal byproducts in all aspects of modern life, including clothing, toiletries and sporting equipment.

Yet murdering plants to make these items is okay.
posted by bwg at 4:43 PM on June 29, 2006


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