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The Draft System – Stars Of Tomorrow Or Expensive Gambles?

September 3, 2015 by  
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Although absolutely central to the way that professional sports are played in the USA, the draft system is largely unique to America – over the Atlantic in Europe players sign with a club as an apprentice during their schooldays and afterwards can only move when the club which covets them pays compensation to their current club. This makes the draft system all the more a part of American sport, and something which takes on as much importance as almost anything else to do with the sport.

Due to the extensive scouting system in place – many colleges will offer scholarships to particularly gifted high school athletes – it is usually easy to spot the players who will come out of college into the NBA with a chance of success, but this does not mean that every player picked early in a draft will turn out to be an NBA superstar. The step up between college and professional hoops is quite considerable and brings with it not only a more complicated, competitive game but a lot of additional pressure.

When a team drafts a player, they cannot just look at their game statistics and decide that they are good enough. They also need to consider how the player will fit into the team camaraderie and whether they will be a disruption to team morale, whether the player fills a need or whether they will create friction with another player in the same position. Not least, they will need to have some idea as to whether the player who put up such great numbers in college can do the same in the big leagues, and whether their attitude matches their ability.

Great Sporting Rivalries And Their Place In Basketball

September 3, 2015 by  
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One of the most enduring elements of a sport is the classic rivalry. This is something which is present in all sports – anyone who has witnessed a derby match in soccer will know that while all games are important for a team, the games that happen each season between close rivals are somehow more important than simply how they affect the league standings. Basketball is no different in this respect, although franchising and the league structure has seen to it that the rivalries are less geographical and more historic.

One of the most classic rivalries of recent years was the rivalry that bound Boston and Los Angeles for most of the 1980s. With little in common on the surface – Boston being a fairly blue-collar city in Massachusetts and Los Angeles the glitzy home of Hollywood – the rivalry between the teams was a result of their respective possession of Larry Bird and Magic Johnson, two instant stars of the game. The teams played out three Finals series during that decade and ever since there has been a frisson to their encounters.

More recently there have been rivalries between teams who have exchanged high-profile players, which causes a lot of heat when the former crowd hero returns to their old stamping ground. Teams that are unpopular – often due to a reputation for “buying success” can expect to have a number of teams claim a rivalry with them, making every game a pitched battle for supremacy. This does explain the large number of rival clubs for the Los Angeles Lakers.

The Free Throw – More Than Just A Penalty Shot

May 3, 2011 by  
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One of the most frequent set pieces of a basketball game is the free throw. Awarded for certain fouls, and then for all fouls after a set number have been committed, the free throw is a penalty which provides the offended team with a chance to score some points, but may also be used by their opponents as a way of limiting the damage and stopping the clock. It is not uncommon to see tactical fouls committed by teams who have learned to see everything in terms of how it impacts the end result.