Locker room talk: rolling basketball thread

IdleRich

IdleRich
Also I read about something called a step-back which seems to be kinda controversial. From watching watching videos it looks like the guy is in the three point bit and then he jumps backwards away from the defender to make room for himself and chucks it in the basket. Reading between is it that by jumping back like that, if executed properly, you are far enough away from your marker that he has no realistic chance of blocking the shot and so if you are good at landing them you can get three points every time and no cunt can stop you?

And to extrapolate further, some people think that when you jump backwards like that you are moving away from the guy without bouncing and so it could be deemed cheating?

Reading that back I'm pretty sure that I've got that exactly right. But why is it not called a foul?
 

luka

Well-known member
it's a bit like rhythmic gymnastics where you are being judged on the way your movements look, and if cheating facilitates
looking cool then the rules warp to accomodate it
 

Leo

Well-known member
you're allowed to take two steps without a dribble. those steps can be in any direction: forwards, sideways or backwards.
 

IdleRich

IdleRich
So what's the problem about the step back thing then?

Is it just that people are too good at it and they can score every time like in some footie game on the megadrive or early plapystation or something where there's like a bug which means that if you stand in a certain position and and aim at the top left corner or something it always goes in, keeper somehow jumps out of the way or can't stand in a position where his dive will stop it. In other words, people have found a cheat code for basketball, a "golden shot" bug which means the game will turn into a tedious procession of 3pt baskets for one team and then the other. More so.
 

padraig (u.s.)

a monkey that will go ape
Also I read about something called a step-back which seems to be kinda controversial
step-back jumpers aren't controversial, they've been around since the 80s

was a big part of MJ's game (tho from mid-range rather than 3), the one-legged step-back was Dirk's signature move, etc

what is/was controversial about James Harden's step-back is that he seems to take more than 2 steps when he steps back

it hinges on something called the "gather step", i.e. you can take a step while in the process of going from dribbling to not-dribbling that doesn't count against those 2 steps. it still often looks like he (and imitators) are traveling, especially in real-time, hence the controversy.

another issue was that people thought he was drawing fouls by kicking his legs out to initiate contact as he jumps, which is not allowed

again not something that originates with Harden, he just did it more consistently and egregiously
 

padraig (u.s.)

a monkey that will go ape
basically they let you break any rule in basketball so long as you look cool doing it
he's being a bit hyperbolic but there's a good deal of truth in what luka says there

many rules in basketball have to be officiated by referee judgment calls

like any sport that's especially true for anything related to contact (i.e., fouls)

there's contact on every play, the question is whether it's legal in the context of the play

sometimes a foul is obvious - a defender hits a shooter's arm - and everyone would agree on it. sometimes it's less obvious.

think about fouls in football (the soccer kind) - sometimes they're clear and sometimes they're much less clear

diving - a plague upon sports - is the soccer equivalent

that is, players being incentivized by the rules to do something that helps win but is aesthetically unpleasing and which basically everyone dislikes
 

padraig (u.s.)

a monkey that will go ape
and so a lot of the dislike of Harden's game was aesthetic - not so much in his individual movements as in the overall game his style created

i.e. prime Harden really did turn the game into an endless procession of 3s and foul shoots while his teammates stood around waiting for outlet passes

"philosophical" might be a better word than aesthetic, or really some combination of the two

the truth in what @luka said is the NBA wants a game that people are excited to watch, so is forever in the process of tweaking rules to promote that

I think I talked about it somewhere above - it's like a dynamic feedback loop in which style influences rules influences style influences rules, and so on

i.e. if people enjoyed watching Harden's game, the league would let him do his thing

but people really dislike watching his game, so the league updated the foul rules to make it much harder for him to draw fouls by jumping into defenders
 

IdleRich

IdleRich
step-back jumpers aren't controversial, they've been around since the 80s

was a big part of MJ's game (tho from mid-range rather than 3), the one-legged step-back was Dirk's signature move, etc

what is/was controversial about James Harden's step-back is that he seems to take more than 2 steps when he steps back

it hinges on something called the "gather step", i.e. you can take a step while in the process of going from dribbling to not-dribbling that doesn't count against those 2 steps. it still often looks like he (and imitators) are traveling, especially in real-time, hence the controversy.

another issue was that people thought he was drawing fouls by kicking his legs out to initiate contact as he jumps, which is not allowed

again not something that originates with Harden, he just did it more consistently and egregiously
Ah it's interesting cos I'm getting this random newsletter thing and one guy said "I never liked step backs" and someone else waded in to say the same so I thought that was mainstream opinion but it sounds like two old gits moaning about something that is widely accepted (in that specific bit they were talking about the whole thing, not just the Harden one).

What do you think about it though? When you say "it often looks like travelling" do you think it is or not? It feels as though there should be a simple yes or no answer but it reminds of the situation withi Muralithanan in cricket who was a bowler who had an unusual action which looked to many people as though his arm bent beyond the acceptable amount and his whole career he was dogged by accusations of "throwing" instead of bowling even though is action was broadly ruled acceptable.
 

padraig (u.s.)

a monkey that will go ape
tbf the dislike wasn't just about Harden personally, he's also the avatar for things that a lot of people don't like about the current NBA

i.e. the influence of analytics on efficient shot selection, which he and Daryl Morey simply took to its logical conclusion

you see similar complaints in baseball that sabermetrics etc has produced a game which is more efficient but less enjoyable

basically no one doubts the power of advanced statistical analysis on sports at this point - the nerds won that war decisively ~10-15 years ago

but plenty of people dislike to some degree the kind of sports it has created

and leagues obv can't outlaw statistical analysis, so their only recourse is to tweak the rules

anyway, that was an overly comprehensive answer

in other NBA news, it was a fun and weird draft. and I see the Hawks are going ALL on the way in on their poor man's Warriors East concept.
 

IdleRich

IdleRich
he's being a bit hyperbolic but there's a good deal of truth in what luka says there

many rules in basketball have to be officiated by referee judgment calls

like any sport that's especially true for anything related to contact (i.e., fouls)

there's contact on every play, the question is whether it's legal in the context of the play

sometimes a foul is obvious - a defender hits a shooter's arm - and everyone would agree on it. sometimes it's less obvious.

think about fouls in football (the soccer kind) - sometimes they're clear and sometimes they're much less clear

diving - a plague upon sports - is the soccer equivalent

that is, players being incentivized by the rules to do something that helps win but is aesthetically unpleasing and which basically everyone dislikes
Of course there is always gonna be a question of interpretation of the rules. They watch a tackle fifty times from fifty different angles in super slow-mo and still half of the people in the studio will disagree with the other half.
 

IdleRich

IdleRich
and so a lot of the dislike of Harden's game was aesthetic - not so much in his individual movements as in the overall game his style created

i.e. prime Harden really did turn the game into an endless procession of 3s and foul shoots while his teammates stood around waiting for outlet passes

"philosophical" might be a better word than aesthetic, or really some combination of the two

the truth in what @luka said is the NBA wants a game that people are excited to watch, so is forever in the process of tweaking rules to promote that

I think I talked about it somewhere above - it's like a dynamic feedback loop in which style influences rules influences style influences rules, and so on

i.e. if people enjoyed watching Harden's game, the league would let him do his thing

but people really dislike watching his game, so the league updated the foul rules to make it much harder for him to draw fouls by jumping into defenders
Really interesting to me. I had no idea that the rules were so dynamic. Quite different from the sports I follow as a rule.
 

padraig (u.s.)

a monkey that will go ape
What do you think about it though? When you say "it often looks like travelling" do you think it is or not?
I think it's an epistemological issue

i.e. the rule is ambiguous enough - what exactly is a gather step? - that traveling is essentially whatever referees decide it is or isn't

more to the point, I never had a problem with Harden's quasi-traveling - it's in the spirit of the game and it's clearly a basketball move

otoh I've always thought kicking your legs out or jumping into defenders to draw fouls was bullshit - those are not basketball moves

tho drawing a foul by pump faking - i.e. pretending to shoot to get the defender in the air, and then jumping straight up to shoot, drawing contact in the process - is totally legit

the difference is that in pump faking, you're still using, again, a basketball move to draw contact. you're not just kicking a dude and saying he fouled you.
 
Last edited:

padraig (u.s.)

a monkey that will go ape
I think these are all ultimately philosophical issues bc they're all about ultimately nebulous concepts like aesthetics and fairness

the NFL btw has a similar epistemological issue in relation to what is and isn't a catch (i.e. by a receiver)

you'd think it was simple - you caught it or you didn't - but it's actually bedeviled the league for decades
 

Leo

Well-known member
Maybe I haven't been paying close attention this year but there seemed to be so much flopping during the finals, Smart was always diving on defense. There was one time when Poole drew an offensive foul and it was comical, literally no contact on the replay and he goes leaping backwards.
 

suspended

Well-known member
Top