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So it seems like the NBA were listening to me (and specifically only me, no-one else ever complained about the number of ridiculous foul calls we see...) and they're going to stop calling non-basketball moves (jumping into a defender while shooting, kicking out a leg etc.) as fouls. They also might start calling them as offensive fouls, which I absolutely think they should, depending on how it goes. I'm hoping it has a big effect on the game, not least because Marcus Smart and players like him suddenly become hugely relevant to teams now, but also to stop the inflated number of 3 point shots we've been seeing. I don't think anyone wants to watch teams jack up 50+ 3-point shots because they know they'll get to the line so might as well try it. I'm not for going back to the days of the 70s, 80s and even 90s where guys just get slammed and no-one does anything, but I think this will help create a more driving form of basketball.
 
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There's clearly a gap between what the 76ers are willing to accept for Simmons and what teams are willing to offer and I'm not sure that's going to close any time soon. Without Simmons playing his value is just going to go down and even if he does play, he's going to have to play out of his skin because anyone looking to sign him is still going to have that worry about pressure situations. I think they're going to have to hope that someone gets itchy feet somewhere (Beal in Washington?) and they can do a swap because I don't think they're getting multiple first rounds for him. It's a sad situation, because Simmons is a decent jump shot away from being an MVP candidate and I find it hard to believe that sorting that out is that difficult. There's been loads of rumours about Simmons not listening to people outside his circle and being unwilling to work on things. I don't know if that's true, but it's starting to feel like it. This whole thing has played out in about the worst way possible since Doc was interviewed after that loss. They needed him to come out strongly in favour of Ben, or at least come back out and correct himself, but it didn't happen and now we're here. Honestly, I see this going on for at least the first half of the season, I can't see other teams raising their offer and I can't see the 76ers dropping what they'll accept.



It's only the start of the season but it's interesting to look at how the new rules around foul calling are affecting things. I think the big three you'd expect to be affected are Harden, Young and Curry. Curry's line is pretty similar to previous seasons, with 3pta and 3pt% a little lower but that could well average out. Young has a bump in 2pta and a drop in 3pta and fta which would suggest he's getting less room outside and less fouls called, but he's still getting it done on the PPG. Harden is shooting similar a number of shots for 2 and 3 as last year (and basically career average), but his % are way down and he's getting to the line far less than he has done (~9 fta for his career and currently at 3 fta for the season). It always felt like he relied on calls a lot more than other shooters when driving to the line and the fear of calls to get him space outside, but now it's not happening he's going to need to adjust and soon. If the Kyrie drama continues and Harden struggles, that big 3 suddenly becomes a big 1 and Brooklyn are in trouble. I seem to remember that Steve Nash was a big proponent of this rule and called Young out. He might be wishing he didn't at the moment. I know it's a small sample size and things can change, but if I'm a Brooklyn fan I'm worried (ok, first I'm questioning my life choices, but then I'm worried).
 
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So Simmons is finally out of Philly. I feel like the Nets won this trade, as long as Simmons comes back to his best. Simmons problems were clearly mental and exacerbated by the surroundings in Philly. I understand why teams were low balling on offers, but he's literally a jump shot away from being a perennial MVP candidate and even with out that the rest of his game makes him elite. Now he's on a team with Kyrie (if Kyrie actually plays, that's a whole other situation) KD, Seth Curry, Patty Mills, Joe Harris, all of whom are legit shooters and take the pressure off Simmons.

Philly get Harden, who's still elite, but hasn't looked at his best. Maybe that's due to his frustrations in Brooklyn and he's going to come out blazing, but it could well be the start of a natural decline. He's also not managed to get over the line and win the finals yet with lots of talent around him in the past, I'm not convinced Philly is going to be any different.

In my eyes, on paper, both teams got better with this trade. The issue is, Brooklyn were the better team, on paper, in the first place. Both have problems that they need to sort out, and clearly Brooklyn have big issues at the moment (11 game losing streak?! seriously??) with a pat-timer, KD out injured and Harden now gone. This season is pretty much over for them unless they get a huge turn-around. Next year though I don't think the vaccine mandate will be in place, the guys they've brought in will be playing and they could easily be the best team in the East (except for the Celtics, who are always the best regardless of how well they play...). Philly on the other hand have a big guy who's playing out of his skin, but has suffered his share of injuries and a guy who's never quite made it in the finals. This year they're clearly more likely to win it than Brooklyn, but who knows which Embiid they'll get next year, and if Harden will decide he wants to go somewhere else?
 
So Simmons is finally out of Philly. I feel like the Nets won this trade, as long as Simmons comes back to his best. Simmons problems were clearly mental and exacerbated by the surroundings in Philly. I understand why teams were low balling on offers, but he's literally a jump shot away from being a perennial MVP candidate and even with out that the rest of his game makes him elite. Now he's on a team with Kyrie (if Kyrie actually plays, that's a whole other situation) KD, Seth Curry, Patty Mills, Joe Harris, all of whom are legit shooters and take the pressure off Simmons.

Philly get Harden, who's still elite, but hasn't looked at his best. Maybe that's due to his frustrations in Brooklyn and he's going to come out blazing, but it could well be the start of a natural decline. He's also not managed to get over the line and win the finals yet with lots of talent around him in the past, I'm not convinced Philly is going to be any different.

In my eyes, on paper, both teams got better with this trade. The issue is, Brooklyn were the better team, on paper, in the first place. Both have problems that they need to sort out, and clearly Brooklyn have big issues at the moment (11 game losing streak?! seriously??) with a pat-timer, KD out injured and Harden now gone. This season is pretty much over for them unless they get a huge turn-around. Next year though I don't think the vaccine mandate will be in place, the guys they've brought in will be playing and they could easily be the best team in the East (except for the Celtics, who are always the best regardless of how well they play...). Philly on the other hand have a big guy who's playing out of his skin, but has suffered his share of injuries and a guy who's never quite made it in the finals. This year they're clearly more likely to win it than Brooklyn, but who knows which Embiid they'll get next year, and if Harden will decide he wants to go somewhere else?
Don't see either team winning the title this season..............
 
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And the king of complaining,LeBron..is throwing shade at Lakers for not ditching Russell Westbrook..I see some of Carmelo Anthony in Westbrook..as a Knick..Anthony just never could get anything..something always missing..now as the Lakers look like The Golden Girls..Westbrook looks like he is being blamed for things..and how is Westbrook reasonable for a constantly injured lineup? Anthony Davis is hurt or in a state of rehab for 2 years..I see were a trade or two could help but I don't think that the Lakers are 1 or two trades out of contracting contention..sorry LeBron..front office is important but blaming the GM for bum legs,backs and ankles..come on..
 
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Tiny Saint Peter's knocks off behemoth Kentucky!

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Unbelievable when you consider that Kentucky is loaded with McDonald's All-Americans & 5-star recruits and is basically a feeder system to the NBA. No doubt a "David & Goliath" situation. What sport can you have such a disparity in talent where an inferior team from a lower-tier conference can knock off a superior program from a top-tier conference? Truly March Madness is here!
 
Are St. Peter's this year's Cinderella team? Who knows but stay tuned, they survived another game and are going to the Sweet Sixteen! (Who are they, btw., I've never heard of them.)

Anyhoo, what a wacky March Madness weekend so far, Gonzaga hasn't been playing very convincingly. I hope they have enough gas to at least make it to the Final Four. (Or even make it past the Sweet Sixteen next weekend.)

More games to come today, I'm sure many people's brackets are already terminally busted.
 
I didn't fill out my bracket this year but am currently watching the Baylor v. N. Carolina game, if Baylor loses they'll be another top-ranked team that had been eliminated on the very first weekend!

March Madness indeed, I love this tourney! :hearteyes:
Actually I had Baylor losing in the second round. Surprisingly my Final 4 teams are currently still intact. However, I've lost two elite 8 teams. I had Kentucky in the Sweet 16.

My Final 4 teams are Gonzaga, Purdue, Kansas, and Villanova. Gonzaga appears to want to give everyone who has picked them a heart attack. LOL
 
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Gonzaga! I won't be the first or last to say this, but their league/schedule is their downfall. Playing in their league doesn't prepare them for the NCAA tournament. Yes, they can win in preseason tournaments, holiday tournaments, one off games..., but when they have to play high pressure games against teams loaded with players, night after night, they just aren't prepared. Really their only big win this season was UCLA. Its still great what a small school in a small city can do though!
 
Gonzaga! I won't be the first or last to say this, but their league/schedule is their downfall. Playing in their league doesn't prepare them for the NCAA tournament. Yes, they can win in preseason tournaments, holiday tournaments, one off games..., but when they have to play high pressure games against teams loaded with players, night after night, they just aren't prepared. Really their only big win this season was UCLA. Its still great what a small school in a small city can do though!
Even though they’ve made two championship games, I’ve never ever believed they can go all the way and this year proves that.
 
Gonzaga! I won't be the first or last to say this, but their league/schedule is their downfall. Playing in their league doesn't prepare them for the NCAA tournament. Yes, they can win in preseason tournaments, holiday tournaments, one off games..., but when they have to play high pressure games against teams loaded with players, night after night, they just aren't prepared. Really their only big win this season was UCLA. Its still great what a small school in a small city can do though!
I've always liked the Zags precisely because they are such a small school playing against the big boys in the tournament, usually they made up for it with some spark and drive and at least got into the Elite Eight. I saw neither spark nor drive this time around so am not surprised they are an early out.

Think I'll have to pull for St. Peter's now, I always like the Cinderella teams. :)
 
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Even though they’ve made two championship games, I’ve never ever believed they can go all the way and this year proves that.
I think the Zags are usually a strong and competitive team, they should have been able to make the Elite Eight. This year has been the weakest I had probably ever seen them in the tourney though, there's just no way they could compete like that against teams who are much stronger and hungrier. So, hopefully they can refocus next season.
 
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