PONTIFICATING FROM THE SUNSHINE STATE – AUGUST 13
By Leo Haggerty

NO D IN BUBBLE

Here’s the good news for the National Basketball Association.  The “bubble” experiment, to this point in time, has been a complete success which comes as a pleasant surprise to me.  I’m hoping, once family members are allowed to come to the Walt Disney Resort at the end of August, the NBA continues moving forward in a positive manner as the run for the Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy begins.

Also, the Association allowing players to replace their name on the back of their jerseys with short social justice statements seems to be working.  Again, another good public relations move for the NBA by controlling what could be displayed by players.

On phrase you will not see on the back of any jersey is “I PLAY DEFENSE” and that’s an understatement.  Let me give you some facts that back up my statement.

It was 32 years ago when there were five or more NBA contests on the same day where every team scored 110 points or more.  Since the League moved to the bubble, that happened not once but twice.  The first time on July 31st and then again on August 8.

Team scoring numbers are “off the chain” in the bubble as well.  17 teams that made the trek to just outside Orlando have exceeded their scoring average before the NBA pulled the plug on March 11th.  In case you cannot do the math, that leaves five franchises with a lower scoring average in the bubble than before.

On average, game scoring is up just a shade under double-digits.  The amount of 3-point field goals has increased and some players have really taken advantage of playing in the bubble.

One such player is Indiana’s T.J Warren.  The Pacers sharpshooter, who was not even on the first page of the top NBA scorers when the pandemic hit, has been, pardon the play on word, bubble-icious.

I think the lack of any semblance of a defensive effort may be the root cause of Warren’s offensive explosion.  Here’s another statistic that I would directly relate to the lack of any team defensive fundamentals.

In my opinion, there is a total lack of dedication on the defensive end until the last two minutes of the tilt only if the outcome is still in doubt.  Right now, the NBA is a bad product when there are no fans in attendance.  Games that we’re truly competitive in jam-packed arena are now merely pick-up games where the first team to 130 wins.

Memo to the NBA.  I know your playing at Disney but your defensive effort shouldn’t be Mickey Mouse.