IT'S MEDIA DAY!!! Even though I won't be at Media day events I'll do my best to relay any news and notable quotes or photos that I can glean from Twitter and from those attending. And since it's media day, that means that training camp starts tomorrow. It's just one week until we get to watch this season's Celtics take the court for the first time this season. I'm excited, how about you?
The players have already been bonding with a week together in LA. Chris Forsberg reports that the chemistry among his new teammates has impressed him.
"That was fun. We had great team bonding," Sullinger said prior to taking a duck boat tour of Boston on Thursday. "Everybody went out. Everybody had fun, played ball. We never saw nobody go one-on-one. Everybody all went as a group. So, we just developed team chemistry."
Yesterday, a group of the new players along with Jeff Green and a group of Read to Achieve kids took a duck boat tour. We remember that the 2007-08 championship season also started with a duck boat tour, maybe a little different but it was a tour. The team is going to Europe for training camp just as they did back in 07-08. Things are starting off great for this team, just as they did for the 07-08 team. I'm expecting the same result.
As we look forward to today's Media Day, let's look back to 2007 Media Day. Good times!
We've gotten reports that the newbies are in great shape. Now we get the photos and first hand reports as to just how good everyone is looking. KG says he is feeling the best that he has in years. Sully and Fab have both been in the gym all summer getting into shape. There have been questions about Darko's conditioning after that first photo surfaced of him looking a little pudgy. But the photo was in the weight room, so that was a good thing. Hopefully, we'll get a better look at him today.
Well, we learned one thing from the NFL, as bad as referees can be, they can always be worse. The NBA referees have been meeting this week and Ken Berger has a report from those meetings. There will be a few changes this season starting with the new head guy wanting to change the perception of the refs as incompetent and lacking integrity. Amazing that he realizes that we see them that way. That's a good start. This quote from new head guy Mike Bantom is also a good start.
"I want to maximize the consistency and accuracy of calls," Bantom said, "and make sure that the integrity of our game and our staff is beyond reproach."
Now, if he follows up on his words and does something about the inconsistency of the calls and the lack of integrity in the officiating that we have seen over the years, that would be amazing.
Coming out of the meeting is word that referees will not be dealing with the problem of flopping, which really has gotten bad in the league. The front office will be making the judgment calls on flopping the morning after games. They will be watching film of the games with the benefit of multiple angles and time to interpret players' intent and study their track records to see if they are known floppers. As I have mentioned before, the big question is whether they will interpret the same for the stars as for the rank and file players. As Berger notes in his article, this approach could have some very controversial results.
Suppose LeBron James drives to the basket on the final possession of a playoff game, with the Miami Heat trailing by a point. He misses the shot, but dupes the official into calling a shooting foul by flopping. James sinks both free throws, the Heat win the game and advance to the next round. But what happens when the league fines James $25,000 the next morning for flopping on the play? What the league would be saying, essentially, is that James shouldn't have been awarded free throws and the Heat shouldn't have won. Chaos, would ensue, as it often does with these controversies -- be it a disputed Hail Mary in the end zone or a superstar call late in an NBA game.
They have also announced that they will be emphasizing calls on illegal screens, freedom of movement for cutting offensive players, contact with or by jump shooters, block-charge calls, traveling, and their bogus respect for the game rules. They will continue to emphasize that contact drawn by an offensive player making a side-to-side "rip" move will not result in a shooting foul.
There will be some instant replay expansion. Officials will now be able to use instant replay to determine whether a defender was inside or outside the restricted area on a block-charge call in the last two minutes of regulation and all of overtime or for a goaltending or basket interference call in the last two minutes of the fourth quarter or all of overtime. Starting this season, flagrants will simply be called flagrants on the floor and all will be reviewed to determine if they were flagrant-ones, flagrant-twos, a common foul or a technical foul. So I guess that means no more tossing players a flagrant but the penalty will be assessed afterwards.
There will be 62 refs this season. Only Tommy Nunez is not returning from last season. Too bad, because he was one of the better officials. That means that the Crypt Keeper, Dick Bavetta will be back and I expect the ever incompetent Bennett Salvatore to return after a year off as well. At least hopefully, they can't be worse than the NFL replacement refs, can they?
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