Friday, March 18, 2005

Why Hockey is Better than Basketball

I enjoy basketball, especially at tournament time, but there can be no doubt that it is an inferior support to hockey. I know, I know, basketball is many times more popular, but that just shows that the majority isn’t always right.

There are several arguments that could be made to defend this thesis, but I will focus on only one – the end of the game. Hockey is the only major sport where the end of the game is played at pretty much the same pace as the rest of the game. Although each team has one time-out, it is rarely called. There may be a whistle for offsides or something but they are no more likely to occur at the end of the game than the beginning or middle. If a team is trailing, they may pull their goalie – a desperate move that carries quite a risk, but also gives an exciting offensive advantage to the trailing team.

Now consider basketball. The trailing team also has a desperation move – fouling. But instead of creating excitement, this move creates tedium. Sure, it can be somewhat exciting if the game is close, but many trailing teams don’t know when they’ve lost. It’s not unusual to see a team down 8 or 10 points fouling in the last minute. Perhaps worse than the fouling is the seemingly endless supply of timeouts. After every basket the self-important coaches feel they must stop the game to tell their players what to do next. If I were a liberal I would attribute this to racism (the mostly white coaches feel that the mostly black players require their constant instruction). But no matter the motive, it disrupts the flow of the game.

A few simple rule changes would greatly improve basketball. First, one timeout per team is plenty. This will also reduce the lame timeout calls when a player is about to go out of bounds or is caught in a bad position. Second, give teams the option of taking the ball from out of bounds instead of free throws. Yes, comebacks will be more unlikely, but if you want to win you should play well the entire game.

UPDATE: Learned Foot and I debate the relative merits of basketball and hockey in the comments to this post.


Blogger Marty said...

YES!!!!! I've been saying precisely that for 20 years.

One other thing as well. The ticky tacky fouls in Basketball that are only sometimes called. You need to be able to initiate more contact when on defense. :)

Essentially, Basketball would be better if it were hockey.

10:46 AM  
Blogger R-Five said...

I agree. Basketball is tedious at the end. I'd say a foul results in one shot and the ball, two shots if you're in the bonus.

But timeouts are going to happen one way or another: TV.

11:32 PM  
Blogger SEG said...

I hate hockey and love basketball; however, this was one of the funniest things I have ever read:
"If I were a liberal I would attribute this to racism (the mostly white coaches feel that the mostly black players require their constant instruction)"

6:22 PM  
Anonymous viagra online said...

I can say to reason why the hockey is better than Basketball, one is that in the hockey we can see blood in a lot of match and second one the fans are so near of the field, unlike the basketball that we have to pay a lot of money to stay near!22dd

3:01 PM  
Anonymous said...

Really worthwhile info, lots of thanks for this article.

10:31 AM  
Blogger Steven Gauck said...

I've often referred to basketball as a series of cheap thrills. Offensive opportunities in basketball are constant and players don't have to work very hard to create them. Further, most offensive opportunities translate into a goal, and you don't have to work very hard for those either. The usually-tight game comes down to a slight percentage difference in outcomes. A one-point score differential in basketball is exciting in the final minute of the game, but taken as a whole, it's just statistical noise. An 85-84 win is really a 1-point advantage where there were 169 total points available. It's outperforming the losing team by a half percentage.

In hockey, the players really have to work hard to create offensive opportunities. That's why fans pay close attention to shots on goal to see how a team is performing. And while a lucky bounce or a unfortunate defensive misstep often converts a SOG into an unexpected goal, most goals require extraordinary capitalization on skill and opportunity. When fans erupt and cheer when there's a goal, it's well earned. Basketball fans cheer each time their team gets the ball in the net some 30 or 40 times or more in a game -- that's why I call it a series of cheap thrills.

11:01 AM  

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