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All-out Fights Damaging Basketball Teams

Posted November. 01, 2006 03:01,   


A couple of days ago, I came across a pro basketball referee in a public bath. “It seems it’s getting tougher to judge, right?” As I asked him, he answered, “I can’t relax for a single second and feel so strained when I’m on the court.”

Just like what the ref said, pro basketball this season has been overheated from its early phase. In more games than usual, the winners have been decided in the last few minutes after a tense see-saw contest over four quarters. Like the first round in a boxing match, teams and players in the first part of the basketball season have typically been probing each other rather than actually engaging in tough fights. In the early phase, teamwork and strategies are incomplete while opponent scouting is needed.

For this year, however, teams have been fighting full-scale battles since the very beginning of the season. First of all, the teams are aware that many of their key players will have to join the national team after November 6 to prepare for the Asian Games scheduled in December. They are trying to get as many wins as possible before their best players are drafted.

Another reason for the intensity is that there are good foreign players taking part inn each team, which has leveled off the competence of each team. In other words, no team is absolutely strong or weak this season. Furthermore, rules have changed, and now only one foreigner can play in the second and third quarter. This also has evened off the capability of each team. Formerly, when one of the two mercenaries allowed to a team turned out to be inept, such teams were so seriously influenced that they usually plummeted down the standing chart. But now, as there are limits imposed on foreign players, there are more chances that they can offset their defects with domestic players.

As every single match is getting fierce, teams are suffering from side effects as well. While some games end with a very narrow margin of one or two points, other games end up with a huge spread of more than 20 points or even 30 since the key players are playing with low stamina. So to speak, there is now a polarization in the quality of games.

While the games grew violent, star players such as Chris Williams (Mobis), Lee Sang-min (KCC), and Kim Seung-hyun (Orions) have gotten injured. Since the games are so close, the refs’ calls now count heavily enough to change the result of the games, and thus, more quarrels over them have been provoked. Some awkward referees who does not have enough experience also became the topics of similar controversies.

A season in pro basketball is a long journey of 54 games for each team. They still have a long way to run. Starting too fast in the early stage of such a long run might compromise the fun and quality of the whole.