NBA: WHERE DRAMA HAPPENS
The NBA may very well deserve an Emmy for outstanding drama series. The Draymond Green tirade directed at Kevin Durant resulting in Green’s suspension has translated into a four game losing streak for the once invincible defending champs. Golden State is not alone when it comes to teammate drama – the Washington Wizards are reportedly open to trading disgruntled all-stars John Wall and Bradley Beal, following a 5-11 start and John Wall’s expletive directed at head coach Scott Brooks.
Meanwhile, Jimmy Butler appears to have found his home in Philly after jumping ship in Minnesota. This may spell more trouble for the disappointing Celtics, who have opened the season at 9-9 and have a myriad of issues according to head coach Brad Stevens. To cap off last week’s drama, the King returned to Cleveland – this time to a warm welcome – and the Lakers barely escaped a scrappy (read: last place) Cavs team for their 8th win in their last 10.
The NBA has also instituted a variety of rule changes in 2018. While the analytics revolution may have ushered in a new norm in pace and scoring, this season has taken it a step further – and it’s not being led by the usual suspects. The Bucks, Pelicans, and Clippers currently lead the league in scoring. How much more are teams scoring? Only the highest average in over 30 years… you’d have to go back to 1985 for a season with more points per game. Before that, the most recent year would be 1971. Red Auerbach would be proud.
What else we’re watching: POINTS RULE!
In the NFL, 2018 rule changes have resulted in the highest scoring NFL season on record. As the rules continue to bend toward player safety, this may only be the beginning. Look no further than the epic 54-51 Rams-Chiefs Monday night game, which became the third-highest scoring game in NFL history. Some are projecting this matchup for the Super Bowl, but don’t forget about the Drew Brees-led Saints who are on a historic scoring run of their own.
Since we are already on the topic, let’s take a moment to discuss more possible upcoming rule changes, this time in MLB. Rob Manfred was unanimously extended through 2024, and we have to imagine he will want to tackle the issue of declining attendance – down 4% from the 2017 season – as soon as possible. Of course, one way Manfred could help grow attendance is through rule changes, and MLB is aware that it needs to speed up the game, as the attention spans of its fans have shortened. The main change that could help deliver this result is the implementation of a 20-second pitch clock, which would come on the heels of new rules enacted in 2017 that placed limitations on mound visits. Changes to rules for waivers, trade deadlines and disabled lists are among other rule changes being considered. If changes were to come, they likely wouldn’t be agreed upon until the Spring.