Apr 3, 2013; Portland, OR, USA; Portland Trail Blazers former center Greg Oden smiles while watching the Trail Blazers play against the Memphis Grizzlies at the Rose Garden. Mandatory Credit: Craig Mitchelldyer-USA TODAY Sports

Greg Oden, NBA Rules Changes and Character

Buy Oden’s Beard?

If you’re an NBA junkie, then you’re aware that Greg Oden is poised to make a decision soon on his new home. The question is why is the destination of a chronically injured 25 year old with 82 career games important? For the Miami Heat, it’s the only real opportunity to put a game changing player on the roster for this upcoming season. Salary cap rules have left the Heat with nothing more than the mini mid-level exemption and veteran minimum contract spots available. And besides a resurgent Oden, there really isn’t anybody else who fits into those salary brackets that has much of a chance of making the Heat’s regular season rotation, let alone it’s playoff rotation.

It’s fun to wait and hope that Riley brings Oden in and he leaves behind his Sam Bowie injuries and finds his Hakeem Olajuwon game. But as Heat fans, what’s really important is whether Dwyane finds his 2006 knees and Chris finds his 2010 confidence. Let’s not forget that the Big Three, healthy and playing like the Big Three will be odds on favorites next season.

May 28, 2013; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Miami Heat small forward Shane Battier (31) takes a charge from Indiana Pacers small forward Sam Young (4) in game four of the Eastern Conference finals of the 2013 NBA Playoffs at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Mandatory Credit: Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports

New NBA Rule:

Instant replay may now be used:

• When reviewing a block/charge play to determine whether the defender was inside or outside the restricted area, officials will now be permitted to reverse a charge call, or uphold a blocking call, when the defender was outside the restricted area but was not set when the offensive player began his upward shooting motion.

Sounds like a good idea on paper, but in reality this new rule is a time consuming headache. It’s fine that the referees can review whether or not a defender was inside the restricted area when block/charge call was made. It’s the second portion of this rule that is confounding. We’re now going to allow referees to decide on instant replay whether or not a player was set when the offensive player begins his upward shooting motion. Sounds simple, but it’s not.

If you watched the NBA finals and listened to Steve Javie’s expert officiating commentary, the one thing you’d realize is that he NEVER, NOT ONE TIME disagreed with the on court referee decision.  And you know what? He was right not to disagree. Each rule he was questioned about had a subjective aspect to it, and within that subjective criteria the referee always was within the rule. Having them now be able to review a charge/block based on relative position at the time of shooting motion is boggling. What if on review a crew chief (say Joey Crawford, who famously hates charges) decides that one of the other referees charge call was a block? Does he get to overturn his crew member’s call? Would he at least attempt to influence them to change their call?

I, for one, am not looking forward to finding out the answers to some of these questions.

Cheater, cheater, pumpkin eater. Sorry couldn’t help myself.

A Break From the Heat

Although this is All U Can Heat, dedicated to Miami Heat basketball, I can’t help but comment on today’s news that Ryan Braun of the Milwaukee Brewers (and former University of Miami Star) has been suspended for the remainder of the baseball season. I’m not going to get on a soap box and judge him for using PEDs, it’s not my place to pass moral judgments. Heck, I’ve had to eat 11 bing cherries and drink 2 diet cokes just to get through this commentary, how am I to know what it takes to be baseball’s MVP? As much as it is a disappointment to find out another athlete’s a cheater, my bigger disappointment was in the media reporting it today. From MLB to talk radio to columnists, too many people were too quick, in my judgment, to exonerate Braun’s character today.

Ryan Braun’s character was revealed long ago. When he allowed his appeals team to destroy an innocent person, that person who collected the sample that led to his original suspension, knowing full well the sample was not tainted, Ryan Braun showed he was a man of poor character. His mea culpa today was not revealing of character, just of desperation and defeat. I hope my children will learn the difference.

Finally, Aaron Rogers, when you tweeted that you would “ya I’d put my salary next year on it” on Braun not having done PEDs, you told children who idolized you not to believe the facts. No one expects you to give up your salary, but maybe a donation of 1/100 of next year’s salary accompanied by telling children you were wrong, and that cheating is wrong, might show, you know, a bit of character.

Tags: Greg Oden Miami Heat Ryan Braun

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