During the NCAA championship game, an idea came to me and it took over my thoughts about basketball over the ensuing couple of days. With all the talk of zone defense in the college game, I was left thinking about just how silly it is to reward defensive players for “taking” charges.
I know it’s sometimes hard to remove yourself from the reality of the world where taking charges created half of Shane Battier’s career. 1 Just for a second try to step outside yourself and everything you’ve come to know about the game and consider this. The game of basketball found a way to reward any player for impeding the progress of what could be an athletic move toward the hoop. The game has decided to reward that player whether they’re athletic or not. The game rewards that player not for making a superior play to steal the ball or block a shot, but merely by anticipating a move and becoming a non-moving impediment.
“Roads. Roads. Ro-Ads.” Just like when someone says a single word too many times and all of a sudden that word seems incredibly stupid to you? That’s where I got myself when thinking about rewarding defenses for “taking” charges.
Now, I’m not saying that charges should never be called. If a defensive player is playing defense and has position and an offensive player clears him out or lowers his shoulder, that’s still an offensive foul. I’m just saying that it should occur in the act of playing defense. This means trying to block the shot or steal the ball.
In all reality I know this will never change. I’ll get over it and we’ll all root for Anderson Varejao to anticipate a locomotive drive to the hoop just so he can get his giant mop in front of it in time to flail backwards with any kind of contact. We’ll cheer as the change of possession will benefit the Cavaliers, presumably.
Deep down though, I’ll be thinking, that even though these are the rules, it could be different. It might be more fair and equitable if it was different. I’ll be thinking that we are rewarding a non-athletic play at the expense of a potentially athletic one.
I’m well aware that this all might just be me. I’m O.K. with that too. I don’t mind being a man on an island.
- You do realize that Battier’s foundation is called “Take Charge” right? This is ludicrous. [back]