Monday, October 15, 2012

Goodnight, Sweet Prince.

The Diss can now be found here.  Please update your bookmarks and RSS feeds.

Thank you for reading.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Your Annotated Smartphone Bathroom Reader for Sunday, October 14, 2012.

Warriors' Biedrins fights to get confidence, mental toughness back
Chris Ballard
Sports Illustrated

Three years ago Andris Biedrins was on the verge of becoming a top-5 center, and then something happened. What happened? Nobody has any damn clue. Many well-respected publications have explored the topic, but one voice has been noticeably silent: Andris Biedrins'. Chris Ballard talks to Biedrins at length about his problems, showing Biedrins to be a calm, quiet and gentle man that belies his 7'0" frame. Like the rest of us, Biedrins doesn't know what happened, but he does reveal that he is getting support from the unlikeliest of life coaches: Al Jefferson.

Coming out in the NBA
Kevin Arnovitz

When it comes to well-known gay NBA personalities, the list stops at three: Golden State Warriors President Rick Welts, former player John Amaeichi and journalist Kevin Arnovitz. On National Coming Out Day Arnovitz explores why no active NBA player has ever come out as gay, and reveals that the answer isn't so simple as "it will make other guys in the locker room feel uncomfortable". Arnovitz does a wonderful job of speaking from a place of experience without asserting that his homosexuality makes him an expert on the issue.

Player Capsule (Plus): Bloomsday with Derrick Rose
Aaron McGuire
Gothic Ginobli

For his summer project (that will continue through December), Aaron McGuire is writing a short capsule of every single NBA player. Every once in awhile he writes an extended Capsule, like he has done here for Derrick Rose. In a drawn out, but somehow perfectly apt analogy, McGuire examines Rose and James Joyce (yes, that James Joyce) and how they are both defined by, and in turn define, the cities of their respective berths. The capsule plus serves to humanize Rose and wish to see him dominate on the court once again.

How far should the Bobcats take small ball lineups?
Ben Swanson
Rufus on Fire

To be honest, I haven't really paid attention to the Bobcats in about two years, and certainly not this preseason. They did suck, they do suck, and they're going to continue to suck. But at least they have Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. Ben Swanson brings up something I hadn't really thought of (because I don't really think about the Bobcats): why not attempt to run a small-ball offense? They're not going to succeed by being conventional, so why not try something different by running Kidd-Gilchrist at the four, Biyombo at the five and a combination of guards at the one through three? I doubt it'll work, because the Bobcats still have below average players, but it'll certainly be interesting.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Diss Guys Miss Guys, Volume 14

Diss Guy: Brandon Roy

His story is well known at this point: the former franchise player for the Portland Trailblazers, who has dealt with debilitating knee issues for the better part of three seasons, has returned to the court for the Minnesota Timberwolves.  Man, is it good to see him back out there.  All things considered, he looks like B-Roy; his handle is tight, his legs are moving, he's finding teammates and hitting shots from deep.  What's more: his preseason numbers are nice.  He had 13 and 4 in his preseason debut on Wednesday, and went 2 for 3 from the field in eight limited minutes on Friday. I predict a healthy season for B-Roy, and perhaps a sneaky "Most Improved" award. Watch out for the Wolves, friends.

Miss Guy: Howard Lincoln

Let it be known: The Diss wants the Kings to stay in Sacramento.  We do.  Many of us here are Northern California natives, and we would be very disappointed to see one of our own hit the road.  That said: should the Kings move, we hope they go to Seattle, where hedge fund manager Chris Hansen has just about put the finishing touches on his masterful(ly expensive) arena plan which will lure the NBA back to the Pacific Northwest.  But Howard Lincoln, CEO of the Seattle Mariners, wants no part of this basketball revival -- at least not near Safeco Field, where his moribund team plays.  Lincoln and the Mariners have been outspoken critics of the arena proposal since the very start, and have incurred some negative PR as a result.  Art Thiel of Crosscut sat down with Lincoln, who used the interview as an opportunity to clarify his criticisms about the potential return of the Sonics.  Lincoln is simply worried about getting fans to Mariners games, and the congestion that a new arena would assumedly bring.  Given how crappy attendance was at Mariners games this year, I'd say that Lincoln should worry more about improving the in-house baseball product, and worry less about the basketball team that has yet to arrive.

But keep the Kings in Sacto.  First and foremost.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Really, How Good is Russell Westbrook?

At the Blogs With Balls conference that I attended last weekend, advanced analytics frequently came up, and was the topic of an entire panel. As a proponent for and user of “beyond the boxscore” metrics to evaluate basketball players, I needed no convincing, but a panelist on a hockey panel brought up something I thought was very interesting. He asserted that, while there were certainly sportswriters with their hands over their eyes refusing to understand new ways of assessing players, advanced statistics proponents were equally guilty of arrogantly writing as if they knew everything and everybody else was stupid.

Yesterday on HoopSpeak Live, in relation to a conversation about what the Thunder should do with James Harden, a debate broke out regarding Russell Westbrook’s true value. I won’t get into the full back-and-forth, but suffice to say that opinions on Russell’s ability ranged from “top 7” to “average”. I found myself guilty of what the hockey panelist had asserted, as I jumped into the debate armed only with a couple numbers and the assurance that I was right.

Jared Dubin, of Hardwood Paroxysm, objected to the structure of the debate, asking why we boil players abilities down to a single, all-encompassing number, instead of looking at those in context alongside other important metrics like Points per Possession, plus/minus, per-36 minute averages and so on. In an ideal world, we would have a model that perfectly encapsulates a players exact value, but absent that, Dubin has an important point. No one number should be taken as gospel.

There has been a lot of ink spilt arguing which all-encompassing metric is best. I’m not going to wade too deeply into that, especially because I will soon find myself drowning in the deep end of something I don’t understand, except to say that I am not an uninterested party. The three most widely used all-encompassing metrics, to my knowledge, are Wins Produced (Wages of Wins), Win Shares (Basketball Reference) and PER (John Hollinger, ESPN). Everything I have read leads me to believe that PER is a relatively worthless measure of a players’ ability, and Wins Produced is the best measure (that we currently have). I’ve also had a few posts up on the Wages of Wins blog. I’m not in any way a Wages of Wins acolyte, but I do believe they are doing good statistical work.

With that out of the way, let’s look at Russell Westbrook. I will do my best to evaluate his 2011-12 season holistically and attempt to determine where, right now, he ranks compared to other NBA players.

Sniff Test

There is no doubt that Westbrook is a very talented player. As a point guard he led the league’s second most efficient offense, showcasing his ability to attack the basket, shoot, pass and rebound at elite levels. On defense, he has the quickness to stay with the smaller point guards and the strength to stand up to bigger ones. He’s strong enough that he doesn’t suffer too much if he is switched onto a shooting guard.

During the course of the offseason, ESPN ran its (second) annual NBA Rank project, gathering over 100 analysts to rank every single player in the NBA. These analysts ranked Westbrook the ninth best player in the league, which I think conforms pretty well with the popular perception of him. To the vast majority of NBA fans, there is no doubt that Westbrook is an elite player.

All-Encompassing Metrics

Wins Produced:      77
Wins Produced/48:   186
Win Shares:         13
Win Shares/48:      50
Plus/Minus:         96
PER:                12

In aggregate, the all-encompassing metrics aren’t as rosy on Westbrook’s ability than the sniff test would lead us to believe. One clear take away is that some of Westbrook’s high raw stats are due to minutes played: last season he played the seventh most minutes in the league. Both Wins Produced and Win Shares, which differ vastly on his ability, agree that he is worse on a per minute basis. Now, there is something to be said for Westbrook’s durability and high-level of play despite shouldering a heavy minute load, but it shouldn’t blind us to the fact that he may be obtaining some of his high raw numbers inefficiently.

If we take the most optimistic view of Westbrook, he’s right on that top ten bubble, but if we take the most pessimistic view, he’s pretty much a league average player. This nicely dovetails with the opinions from the original debate (and perhaps show which all-encompassing statistics the debaters found most credible).


Among traditional offensive metrics, Westbrook is at or near the top. Last year he scored 23.6 points per game, fifth in the league. He didn’t obtain those points very efficiently, however, with his true shooting % placing him 150th in the league, which even takes into account the fact that Westbrook gets to the line at the seventh best rate in the league and shoots free throws well.

Westbrook’s inefficiency is an especially large problem because he is teammates with Kevin Durant and James Harden. Last year Durant was the top scorer in the league, and Harden the 27th (in many fewer minutes than Durant and Westbrook). Durant’s true shooting % was 19th in the league, and Harden’s 6th, yet Westbrook only took 30 less shots than Durant and 637 (637!) more shots than James Harden. Fittingly, Westbrook’s offensive-rating (points scored per 100 possessions) was 131st best in the league, while Durant’s was 48th and Harden’s 10th.

I can’t overstate how important those efficiency differentials are. In any given game of basketball, there is a relatively finite supply of shots. Offenses spend the entire shot clock looking for the most efficient shot given the situation. Since practically every minute Westbrook is on the court either Durant or Harden is as well, he (and the rest of the offense) should be looking to get them the ball in good situations. Instead, Westbrook shot ten more times per game than Harden!

As far as his position as a point guard and distributor, Westbrook fares no better. He was tied for 14th in assists among point guards, but was 5th in turnovers. His Assist to Turnover ratio was 64th best among all of’s 73 qualifying players. I’m not a huge fan of such a strict definition of position (quick, what position does LeBron James play?), and thus give Westbrook somewhat of a break here.

Westbrook reminds me a lot of Allen Iverson, a player who got great numbers based on a high volume of minutes and shots, but wasn’t that efficient of a player. This is where advanced statistics are incredibly useful, letting us delve beyond box score numbers, where Westbrook looks great, to try an understand his true value. All the more damning is the fact that Westbrook is teammates with two of THE most efficient scorers in the game.


It is much more difficult to assess Westbrook as a defender because, in general, our understanding of how to measure defensive impact is light years behind offense. Here we generally have to rely on the smell test and box score numbers more than we do in evaluating offense.

The raw box score statistics favor Westbrook. Last year he was 6th in blocks among point guards and 5th in steals. He also fouled at a low rate, rarely giving opponents free throws. He is highly touted as being a good rebounder for a point guard and this grades out, as he grabbed the most rebounds per game among all point guards. He’s also second in rebounds per 48 minutes, so it’s not just a function of minutes played.

The advanced statistics don’t paint such a beautiful picture. Westbrook got the 50th most defensive win shares in the league last year, but much of this was a function of his high minutes, as his defensive rating was just 215th in the league. That defensive rating was 105, while Oklahoma City’s defensive rating was 103.2, discrediting the notion that Westbrook suffers because he was on a poor defensive team. Oklahoma City was the 10th best defensive team in the league, and on that team Westbrook’s defense was below average.


It is pretty clear that saying Russell Westbrook is the 9th best player in the league is quite an overreach; 30th seems to fit better, and I could be convinced that 50th is right. Westbrook clearly has the physical attributes to excel at all facets of the game like few other players, but basketball is a 5-on-5 game, not 1-on-1. The fact of the matter is that Westbrook is not elite at scoring, yet chooses to continue to shoot as if he is. If it were instead James Harden who shot ten more times a game than Westbrook, Oklahoma City would score 1.7 more points per game! Now, whether or not Harden would keep up the same efficiency is an open question, but it is certainly one worth trying to answer right?

As many of these statistical arguments go, a lot of the difference in perceptions can be traced back to the Yay! Points! Thesis. Scoring is how you win basketball games, and Westbrook scores a lot of points so he must be good right? Absent the context of team, efficiency, and defense sure, but if you’re going to throw that all out what’s the point?

Mario Chalmers, it's Time to Get Started.

Mario Chalmers, it's time to say "no" to superstar abuse.

We've had enough. We're not taking it anymore, and he shouldn't either. We're sick of it; the all-too-common sight of a superstar yelling at Mario, undressing him with their words, breaking him down with their glares.  It's not fair.  It's not right.  It's time for it to stop.

So hear this LeBron, take heed D-Wade, and shut your trap CB. You guys leave Mario Chalmers alone.  He's an outspoken winner.  And whether you like it or not, he probably taught you guys a thing or two about being champions.


Unlike other guys that are Diss players, Mario Chalmers is not a loser.  He never has been.  He's won in nearly every spot he's been in, from high school to the pros.  He won two Alaska state championships in 2002 and 2003.  He won the NCAA championship in 2008, and of course, an NBA title in 2012.  Reportedly, he's one of seven players in history who have won championships at every level (except the Olympics and FIBA tournaments).  Mario knows winning.  Knows it well.

And at this point, we know Mario well.  We've seen a lot of him since 2005.  Almario Venard "Mario" Chalmers was fairly well known to the average television-watching basketball fan when he came out of the NBA draft in the 2008.  He had been the most recognizable face of Bill Self's University of Kansas team, which never missed the NCAA tournament in the three years he played.  He had the most memorable play of the 2008 championship game, a contested three over the outstretched hands of University of Memphis point guard Derrick Rose (perhaps you've heard of him) that sent the game to overtime.  Kansas, of course, would win the game, and Mario, unsurprisingly, was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Player.

That stuff didn't trickle down to me (I was on an airplane during that title game in 2008, flying back from a grad school visit in Seattle). My lack of love for the college game is well-chronicled, and needless to say, I was not breathlessly waiting to hear how Sasha Kaun was faring against Joey Dorsey.  I started to get into Mario (or as Jason called him once, Super Nintendo Chalmers; a nickname that easily stuck) when he was a rookie. He had just been drafted in the second round, 34th overall; a surprising drop for a guy considered by most pundits to be the second best point guard prospect behind Rose (D.J. Augustin and Jerryd Bayless, current backups, were both drafted ahead of him in the first round).  He (alongside another decorated Diss player, Michael Beasley) caught my eye when they were busted for smoking weed during their rookie symposium in August.  I was impressed that these three guys would violate a bevy of rules during the orientation to their careers just to get a little high (how much can you bring on an airplane?) in-between sessions, especially with so much at stake.  Was it foolish?  Yes.  Was it brave?  Absolutely.  Mario piqued my attention at that moment, and hasn't lost it since.

His rookie team -- the 2008-2009 Miami Heat -- was one of my favorite teams from that year.  Little was expected of them. Their superstar was coming back from career-threatening shoulder surgery, they had a little-known rookie head coach named Erik Spoelstra, and were taking the court with a hodge-podge roster filled with unproven rookies and uncelebrated vets with expiring and/or short-term contracts as they geared up for the 2010 offseason of LeBron.  Moreover, the Heat had gone 15-67 the season before, and had flirted with being the worst NBA team ever.  This was a team that wasn't expected to win 30 games.

Instead, as they overachieved, and became a scrappy playoff team.  The team won 43 games under Spoelstra and a D-Wade who came back far healthier and dominant than anyone expected (he averaged over 30 a game, and had one of the most stellar statistical seasons of all time).  During the regular season, the Heat weren't barnburners, but they did many things very well.  They allowed only 98 points per game, good for 12th in the league.  Their offense wasn't spectacular -- they scored 98.3 points per game, mostly on the superhuman efforts of D-Wade, who was first overall in usage rate, second in wins produced, and third overall in player efficiency rating -- but enough to win the games they were supposed to, and steal a few that they weren't.  All of this lead to a fifth seed in the playoffs, where they lost in a forgettable seven game series to the Atlanta Hawks.

In the middle of all of this unexpected success, surprisingly, was Mario Chalmers, the team's outspoken winner.  Mario played and started every single game; something his hyped rookie-mate Michael Beasley did not do.  His per game averages were solid for a starting point guard, but excellent for a rookie.  10 points, 5 assists and 3 rebounds a game, to go along with 40% shooting on field goals, and 37% from deep.  His 160 total steals were good for third in the league.  His 107 defensive rating (which has improved each season he's been in the league) certainly wouldn't qualify him for the all-defensive team, showed that he could play competent team defense on a team that relied on creating turnovers to succeed.  By any metric, Mario had a fantastic rookie season for a playoff team.

The next year, the team won 47 games, but the Heat, much like the Knicks and the Nets, had the look of a team treading water before LeBron, Bosh, D-Wade, Joe Johnson, Amar'e, and the rest of the lot hit the market.  I lost track of the team during this surprisingly successful punt of a season, but sort of kept my eye on Super Nintendo Chalmers.  Things were not nearly as rosy for him.  He dealt with knee issues and lost his starting job to both Rafer Alson and Carlos Arroyo.  His numbers went down, as did his playing time. And the naysayers, who had been waiting for their moment to pounce on Mario, lined up behind the ramparts, guns raised, looking for a clear shot. Though the team was more successful (or was the East just weaker? KG missed the second half of the season and the playoffs with a knee injury) Mario was not a part of that movement.  His role, certainly, had been diminished, and with his contract expiring, his future on the team was uncertain.

When LeBron and Bosh made their decisions to join the Heat, the team underwent a massive transformation.  The team had been a walking expiring contract, with team options that had been declined to create space for three near-max level contracts.  Only two players from the previous team were retained under contract: Joel Anthony, the defensive pivot, and Mario Chalmers, the oft-maligned  point guard.

In the next two seasons, the team would go to the finals twice, and win once.  Mario Chalmers started four games in 2011, and in all six in 2012.  And though the Heat have been nothing but successful since coming together in 2011, Mario Chalmers is not always considered to be a reason for that success.  And already, some of his teammates are questioning his readiness to change for this season.

Maybe they're the ones that need to change.  Not him.


Now hear this, my friends: a team doesn't need a top shelf point guard to win a championship.  This has been the case for quite some time now.

In the grand scheme of things, this shift away from the All Star-caliber point guard is a rather recent development, given Magic, Isiah and DJ's importance throughout the 1980s and early 1990s.  But the importance the point guard diminished over the course of the 1990s with the success of Phil Jackson's triangle from 1991-1993 and 1996-1998, and Rudy T's system, which organized talented shooters around Dream, and won championships in 1994 and 1995.

Take a look at the starting point guards for title winners since Jordan retired in 1998, as well as their overall rankings in win shares and wins produced.

In this analysis (and thanks Franklin for putting the chart together), I'm using win share and wins produced rankings as a way to determine who constitutes an elite player in the NBA.  Of this list, only one point guard could be considered "elite" for their position during both the regular season: Chauncey Billuips and Jason Kidd.  Billups was 8th overall in the league in win shares in 2004, and Jason Kidd was 12th overall in wins produced in 2011 (which surprised me).  But other than that, the list is filled with solid, but hardly spectacular point guards, most of whom were in the top-100 in the league in both WS% and WP/48 (except Derek Fisher in 2001, whose surprisingly bad numbers can be attributed to split time with Ron Harper). Super Nintendo Chalmers looks very much the part of this vaunted club.  His WS% ranking of 78 puts him at right around the average for a championship point guard, and his 95 ranking in WP/48, though a bit low, is still respectable -- only 10 off the average ranking.

However, look at Rajon Rondo in 2008.  Now, we are all familiar with the 2012 version of Rajon Rondo (simply known as "Rondo", not unlike an international soccer star like Messi or Ronaldo), who is considered, at worst, to be a top four NBA point guard alongside Chris Paul, Deron Williams and Russell Westbrook.  2008 Rajon Rondo is more similar to 2012 Mario Chalmers than he is to 2012 Rajon Rondo, an all star and MVP candidate.

Similar to Mario in 2010, Rondo, a mid first  survived a great culling in 2007, carried forth by Danny Ainge to make room for two new superstars: Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen.  When those guys arrived, critics openly wondered whether there'd be enough ball for all of the superstars sharing the court, and whether Rondo, a talented second year player who had played well enough on a 17 win team the previous season, would be able to perform well enough to be a starting point guard on a sudden championship contender.

Rondo silenced his critics almost immediately.  He wasn't spectacular (though we saw brief glimpses of what was to come), but he didn't have to be; he had Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen to do most of the offensive heavy lifting.  Instead, he honed the skills that later set him apart from his peers: his passing and his defense.  He lead his team in assists and steals, and ranked in the top ten in the league for steals, top thirty for assists.  This was more than enough with the Big Three around.
When they beat the Lakers in the Finals, Rondo wasn't the most celebrated member of the team.  But he had helped them win, and that's all that mattered.  Without his defense and his passing, three future hall of famers would never have won rings. Without his six steals in the deciding game 6, there wouldn't have been a parade in Boston. Without Rondo, their legacies would've been incomplete.

In many ways, Super Nintendo Chalmers has a far easier task surviving longterm in Miami than Rondo did in Boston.  And unlike many other Diss players, he doesn't have to do much to change his fortune.

Rondo had to become a star, and he had to do it quickly. Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen were acquired in their early thirties to join Paul Pierce, another superstar in his thirties.  None of those guys were young, and Rondo was going to have to fill some big shoes before too long.  Whether Danny Ainge knew Rondo was going to become a transcendent superstar himself doesn't really matter; he didn't have a choice.  If he was going to remain in Boston for the longterm, he had to be great.  Otherwise, he was going to be flipped for other young players in order to carry the Big Three to a title.  There was no other possibility for his development in Boston.  If he wasn't going to be a star in Boston, he wasn't going to be in Boston.

Simply put: Mario Chalmers is not expected to develop into Rajon Rondo. Whether he has the skills, ability and motivation to do so is another matter.  But he is not being charged with the task of becoming a transcendent player that the Heat have to build around.  LeBron and Bosh are in their primes, and even the biggest skeptic would allow D-Wade, at a minimum, two more seasons of playing at a world-class level. Instead, he's tasked with remaining what he already is: a point guard who knows how to stay on the court for a championship winning team.  Indeed, Chalmers has a few clear strengths.  He is a good shooter.  He is a valuable perimeter defender.  And he is an outspoken winner.

With LeBron on your team, ball movement is simple, and one doesn't have to concentrate on running the offense as much.  With D-Wade around, penetration isn't an issue, as D-Wade makes a living scoring and distributing around the hoop.  Bosh is an easy and steady post presence to feed the ball, and he, as a skilled post passer, can do wonders keeping the ball moving.  These are bona fide superstars; guys do the heavy lifting, and who have been domesticated (and paid) to shoulder such burdens.

Instead, Chalmers can rely on his other clear strengths: shooting, defense and ball movement, and solidify his place in the lineup.  And that's what he does.  He is another foot soldier in Miami's vaunted positional revolution, which plays LeBron at the four, and surrounds him with shooters (including Chris Bosh) who can provide space and allow him to create.  Chalmers now stands alongside Ray Allen, Rashard Lewis, Shane Battier and Mike Miller, who all can all roam around the floor, hit shots, and make a nice defensive play.  And he's already shown he can do the little things that end up being big deals, like guard Russell Westbrook on the perimeter, and work with D-Wade in Miami's effective zone defense.  He fits well on this team.  He has for nearly five seasons now.

So when LeBron shouts at him, or accuses him of not being mature enough, he can just look at him, in a way that screams "outspoken winner" and tell the MVP to deal.  That's right, LeBron: deal.  Because you know what?  There's a good chance you wouldn't have won that ring without Mario.

The defending champions didn't have to keep Mario Chalmers as their starting point guard.  Believe you me, they had options.  Steve Nash could've been had.  Ramon Sessions was available.  Jason Kidd would have fit in.  Even guys like Ray Felton or Kirk Hinrich would've gotten the job done.  But they stuck with Chalmers, their Super Bowl winning quarterback.  Mostly because he's under contract.  But also, perhaps, because they truly believe in him.

For the first time in awhile, Super Nintendo Chalmers has a quarterback controversy on his hands.  Second year guard Norris Cole is coming on like a boss, and could provide a more traditional point guard look for a slightly older, wildly unconventional unit like the Heat.  He also is younger and more athletic; a superficially more intriguing prospect than the still-young Super Nintendo.

But if Mario Chalmers keeps doing what he's doing -- let the superstars do most of the hard work, keep them relatively happy, and do work, everyday -- it will be hard to go anywhere else but Mario.  An elite point guard isn't necessary to win a championship, you just need one who can provide winning plays when they matter.  And the Heat already have that in Super Nintendo Chalmers.

So say no to superstar abuse, Mario.  It's time to get started.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

We Are One With the Esteemed Nerds.

I am happy to announce that Kevin "Franklin" Draper's work has been featured as a main post on the respected Wages of Wins Journal, which we greatly admire here at The Diss.  In the post, Kevin discusses why age indeed matters when it comes to winning championships in the NBA.

We are very proud of Frank, and very thankful to Dre and the rest of the gang at The Wages of Wins Journal for linking to the blog.   

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Wild Speculation and Outlandish Guesses: Purchase or Pass...On Legislation

The biggest news of the last week was the NBA coming out with fines for flopping, as well as a hilarious video demonstrating what is and is not a flop. This isn't the first time that the NBA has waded into legislating gray areas of basketball: witness the imposition of a dress code a few years back. So, in another addition of everybody's favorite game, Purchase or Pass...On, we talk about rules!

Purchase or Pass...On the NBA fining players for whining and complaining about calls.

Jacob Greenberg: Purchase. I don't mind arguing a call, but the excessive body language, with hands thrown in the air, and feet stamping on the ground, gets really tiresome. Losing some bank after you demonstratively whine all night might change some obnoxious behaviors. Looking at you, Blake.

Joe Bernardo: Purchase. As much as I love the antics of Vlade Divac for comedic purposes, enforcing flopping will get certain players to finally play some hard-nosed D.

Franklin Mieuli: Purchase a very specific definition of whining and complaining. I don't mind the Tim Duncan stare, but I do mind when a player gets up in a referee's face and basically physically intimidates him into changing his call or, more likely, influencing future calls.

Purchase or Pass...On the NBA fining players for Having too much fun (a la NFL excessive celebration penalties)

Jacob Greenberg: In general, pass...on. I'm generally for happiness. Though the 2009-2010 Cavs were pretty obnoxious, and could've been told to settle down a bit.

Joe Bernardo: Pass on. Please no NFL anti-celebration legislation in the NBA. I love the dancing, the yelling, and the poses. Can you imagine the NBA without the NY Knick chest bump, the Reggie Miller Michael Jackson impersonation, or the Antoine Walker shimmy? Let the players have fun.

Franklin Mieuli: Pass on. I want more excessive celebration! I wanna see dudes chest bumping after hitting free throws, throwing their jersey over their head and doing cartwheels after they hit a three. More, more more.

Purchase or Pass...On the NBA fining players for Showboating (bouncing the ball off other players, hanging on the rim etc.)

Jacob Greenberg: Pass on...with reservations! This is already adequately legislated, but not uniformly officiated, however. In my opinion, is where "star treatment" is most noticeable. D-Wade hangs on the rim all the time, and sees no techs or violations for it. If the league offered warnings or small fines, it might encourage better behavior.

Joe Bernardo: Purchase, but only if it involves penalizing for some sort of taunting. Showboating is one thing, but taunting can lead to unnecessary brawling.

Franklin Mieuli: Pass on. Just like excessive celebration, I want more showboating. Some of my favorite players are the ones that showboat. I especially love the bench warmer that starts doing it as they get onto the court. That's what makes the NBA fun: that we sit so close to the players, they don't have a helmet on, and we can see their personality.

Purchase or Pass...On the NBA fining players for using obscene language towards each other and referees during the game

Jacob Greenberg: Pass on any further regulation. This is already legislated by the league. Players and coaches get fined for postgame tirades, and/or not leaving the court in a timely manner.

Joe Bernardo: Pass on. The game is full of emotions and there are always time when players need to say Fuck, Ass, Bitch, Balls, Jiminy Cricket, etc. As Jacob already mentioned, the league already enforces it. No need for further legislation.

Franklin Mieuli: Pass on I guess. Not having risen above 3rd grade YMCA league (unless pickup at the community center is higher than that), I just don't have enough experience to know whether it is detrimental to the game at all.