Sunday was a busy day for Mavs owner Mark Cuban and hot button NBA issues. Tom Ziller details his questionable defense of hack-a-Shaq, but regardless of whether you agree with him there, Cuban's thought about the charge call were spot on.
Here's what he tweeted:
That's why we shouldn't let 2ndary defenders take charges. Step in charges have become a basketball play. It shouldn't be. #changrtherule— Mark Cuban (@mcuban) May 10, 2015
This was immediately after LeBron James barreled into Derrick Rose and rolled his foot on his ankle, as you can see here. James stayed down for a minute or two but finished the game.
Injuries are one of the increasing dangers with the charge. Basketball has dozens and dozens of rules for the betterment of the game, but the charge rule is the only one that encourages contact between players. You can't reward players for putting their bodies in front of an offensive opponent at full speed and then be surprised when more and more injuries occur.
The charge began as a way to punish out of control offensive players. In that specific purpose, it's fine. A player with the basketball should not be able to lower his chest into his defender to clear space for a layup and nobody advocating for the dismissal of charges is saying he should.
But at some point, defenses realized the charge could be a weapon in their favor. Anyone, not just the man guarding the ball, could jump in the path of a player with the ball and be rewarded with a charge if he "established position" and was standing straight up.
The rule was abused to the point where the NBA added the charge circle in 2010, banning players from taking charges directly under the basket. Now, you have to be three feet from the basket, with your feet outside of the circle, standing straight up without moving or shifting or leaning, taking the contact directly to the chest, all while establishing position before the offensive player has left his feet.
The problem is, you can do all of those things and still be whistled for a block, or you can do just two or three of them and get a charge. No rule in the NBA is called more subjectively. Whether you earn a block or a charge in today's game mostly depends on what referee sees it, who the players involved are and a dozen other variables for each situation.
Cuban's right. Keep the charge for a player who runs over his man, but let's do away with it for secondary defenders. There's too many factors involved in correctly ruling whether a secondary defender properly slid over in front of an offensive player, plus it creates more situations where players are likely to be injured. The NBA knows the rule is problematic already -- that's why the charge circle had to be introduced. Unfortunately, it hasn't reduced the problems with the charge rule, just made it tougher to call correctly.
The charge had noble intentions, but over time, players just found a way to abuse it. This is a common pattern throughout all legislation, for sports or anything else. The only proven method is to adjust to the times and keep moving along.