A league without fouls

No Foul

The year: 2013. Thanks to the new penalties instituted by the NBA in October of 2012, all flopping has been eliminated from the game. But these rules didn’t go nearly far enough. Players have responded by diminishing their core strength and maintaining a high center of gravity, increasing their chances of falling over legitimately. Gregg Popovich has pioneered the “reverse screen,” intended to channel the on-ball defender into his check at a high speed. Dirk Nowitzki now spends entire offensive possessions on one leg, and Nike has teamed up with Dwyane to market the first set of high heels for basketball, the “Pump Fakes.”

Massive discontent with this state of affairs led to the recent ouster of David Stern as commissioner. He has been replaced by Jeff Van Gundy, whose first act was to abolish the foul in the NBA. These rule changes have paved the way for a new superteam, destined to dominate the postseason for years to come.

STARTERS:
Gilbert Arenas
J.R. Smith
Metta World Peace
Kevin Love
Jordan Hill

RESERVES:
Jason Kidd
Tony Allen
Stephen Jackson
Gerald Wallace
Jason Smith
Kevin Garnett
Andrew Bynum

The starting backourt of J.R. Smith and Gilbert Arenas is the best in the league at containing dribble penetration. Arenas, in particular, has been voted Defensive Player of the Year. His aggressive defensive style, which has led him to lead the league in steals, and if his man turns the corner on him, Arenas has the answer: shoot him. Arenas leads the league in headshots from 15-18 feet.

Smith plays a similar style, but has been criticized for his inconsistency and poor shot selection. One commentator in particular noted his tendency to “shoot guys that are already dead.”

Metta World Peace remains a worthwhile role-player for his ability to give opposing players concussions during timeouts, but his value is diminishing because he only does this after he successfully completes a dunk. If he can develop a similar overconfidence in his post game as he gets older, he can continue to contribute at a high level.

Love can’t be expected to create for himself, but his knack for stomping on the faces of downed opponents makes him one of the best finishers in the league.

Jordan Hill couldn’t ask for a better mentor than Jason Kidd as he prepares to take the next step in his development as a player. Kidd and Hill have already developed a remarkable chemistry on the court, and the team has often achieved its best results in the clutch with them on the floor together; the strategy here is to rebound the ball, push the pace in transition, and to “imagine that the other team is your wife.”

A top defensive priority for the team is containing Blake Griffin, whose scoring output has doubled since he stopped falling down all the time. The team acquired Jason Smith specifically to contain Griffin, and their new scheme has met with great success. As soon as Griffin touches the ball or sets a ball screen, an intoxicated J.R. Smith drives a Kia Optima into the paint. Griffin can’t resist trying to jump over it, at which point J.R. stomps on the gas and Jason throws him under the tires.

To provide scoring off the bench, the team blindfolds Gerald Wallace, injects him with growth hormone, and lets him literally attack the basket. Arenas refuses to play against him during scrimmages.

Garnett is a great presence in the locker room because of his ability to dehumanize opponents and encourage violence, but has met with limited success in committing actual violence on the court.

In addition to its core, the team is excited about some of its less violent players who they expect to make the jump in the coming season. Allen has already shown his value as a role-player in situations where someone on the other team owes him money, but needs to show that he can become more versatile to justify his paycheck. Jackson has shown flashes, but needs to learn to attack opposing players instead of fans. Bynum, universally acknowledged as the player with the potential to commit the most violence on the team, continues to struggle with his consistency. “Sometimes it seems like he only hurts people when somebody else sets him up or his victim is under 6’0,” said a teammate on condition of anonymity, “but he’s going to have to realize that, you know, this is the NBA. In this league? With no fouls? I mean, come on. You can’t just wait for your opportunities. You’re going to have intentionally injure people night in, night out. And that just comes with experience.”

Written by Philippe Capet

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