Have you ever been in one of those brainstorming sessions where they tell you there’s no such thing as a bad suggestion and then somebody says something so mind-bogglingly stupid that you want to reply, “Except for that?” Chicago Sun-Times columnist Rick Telander is that guy.
In a jaw-droppingly asinine missive from June 3, Telander wrote that the NBA should raise its rims because the height and athleticism of its current players have resulted in a game that no longer resembles what the game’s founder, James Naismith, had in mind. Aside from his apparent desire to completely screw up this beautiful sport, he claims his inspiration for this idea came from the fact that Derrick Rose had such a difficult time scoring inside against the Heat:
I started to think seriously about rim-raising after 6-3 Bulls guard Derrick Rose repeatedly was unable to shoot close to the basket against the Miami Heat because there simply was not enough glass above the rim to angle in a shot above supreme athletes such as Chris Bosh, LeBron James and Dwyane Wade. It came to a head when I saw the Dallas Mavericks’ 6-2 Jason Terry dunk on the massive, 6-8 James in the first game of the NBA Finals. The ball went through, but Terry was nearly killed by the arrogant collision with James. The point was clear: You do not score from inside on a rim above which I can raise my eyebrows.
Now, you don’t need me to explain why this is a terrible idea, but I will anyway, because it’s fun.
Imagine you’ve spent your whole life practicing shooting on 10-foot rims. Suddenly, you’re forced to shoot on rims that have been moved up six inches. How do you think that’s going to affect your shooting accuracy? Every NBA player would have to “re-learn” how to shoot. It would be a freaking nightmare and scores would plummet.
Look, the reasons Derrick Rose had a hard time scoring on the Heat are that they did a really good job defending him and his shots simply weren’t falling. I’m going to bet you that Derrick himself would admit this and would agree with me that Telander was obviously wearing Bad Idea Jeans when he wrote this.
Anytime I read or hear somebody claim that the NBA was better in the old days, I’m reminded of Dana Carvey’s “Grumpy Old Man” character from Saturday Night Live. “In my day, we didn’t have great athletes who could slam dunk at will. We had a bunch of slow, unathletic white guys shooting jumpers in short shorts and we liked it. We loved it!”