NBA Needs to Change Leaving the Bench Rule
Yesterday I said that Robert Horry’s cheap shot on Steve Nash was a genius move. Why? Because I knew it would result in an automatic one-game suspension for both Amare Stoudemire and Boris Diaw, tilting the balance in favor of San Antonio. Look, the league’s going to take heat for creating a perceived mismatch in the pivotal Game 5. But it would have been much worse to change the rule in the middle of the playoffs because of pressure to keep the series competitive. Bottom line, it’s a bad rule that still needs to be respected as long as it exists, but seriously needs to be changed. The worst thing for the league to do is allow the message to be sent that cheap shots can lead to on-court advantages.
Here is some background on the Leaving the Bench Rule from ESPNEWS
- The NBA instituted automatic suspensions for players leaving bench during a fight before ’94-’95 season
- 12 players have incurred such suspensions during the NBA playoffs (prior to Diaw and Stoudemire)
- 5 Knicks suspended because of brawl with the Heat during ’97 playoffs (1st time rule used in playoffs)
Something tells me that Phoenix is going to give it one hell of a game tonight anyways, so I wouldn’t fret too long if I were a Suns fan.