Ask the Czar

Great question from my man Paxton:

Hi. I am a fifth grader and I am working on a science fair project. I have a question for you. Do you think it’s easier shooting with a net or without one?

Thanks for your thought-provoking question Paxton. I don’t know the science behind it, but I do believe it’s easier to sink a shot when there’s a net than it is to make a basket without one.

Good luck at the fair. Hope your project is a slam dunk!

Copyright 2003 NBAE - Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/ NBAE via Getty Images

Ask The Czar

Ronnie from Alcoa wants to know:

When is someone going to address the referee situation and the need for some type of replay or conference between officials to get calls right, especially at key times of games?

The NBA first instituted instant replay prior to the 2002-03 season in order to review last second shots and fouls at the end of each period. The topic of instant replay comes up every year, and we’ve seen the NBA Board of Governors continue to make modifications to the rules over each of the last few seasons in order to ensure that accurate calls are made. Including the most recent modifications, the league now uses 11 different triggers for instant replay review. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Board of Governors takes another look at some of the controversial calls that impacted games this season. If they feel that the instant replay rules in place right now are insufficient, they may expand them or add new ones in order to better enable officials to get calls right. But for better or worse, human error is a part of the game.

Ask the Czar

Bobby Bonilla wants to know:

How many teams with at least four appearances in the NBA Finals remain undefeated in that title series?

These are the teams that have been to the NBA Finals at least four times and the season they went undefeated in the championship series.

2006-07 Spurs

2001-02 Lakers

1994-95 Rockets

1988-89 Pistons

1982-83 76ers

1974-75 Bullets

1958-59 Celtics

Ask the Czar

David wants to know:

Czar, I am a big Nets fan and a fan of your Czarness on YES. As a former Coach of the Year, can you explain why NBA coaches seem to make maddening and often obvious to basketball fans mistakes in coaching?

With each team and every matchup you are dealing with a unique set of variables that affect coaching decisions. There are, however, some common factors that all coaches must take into consideration when devising a plan of attack. For example, in the NBA every coach has to contend with the 24-second clock. You want to get your players into the positions where they can take advantage of their particular set of skills most effectively. You want to run plays you know will be effective against the best defensive teams in the league because that’s who you will meet in the playoffs. The defenses in the NBA are quite sophisticated and involve many subtleties and changes, which is why so many teams try to push the ball down the court and get a good shot off before their opponents can set up. You have to prepare for all kinds of switching, which many teams do regardless of size mismatches because they feel there’s not enough time for the offense to exploit that imbalance due to the 24-second clock. You must have pressure releases. But ultimately a team’s offense is dictated by the capabilities of the individual players. For example, I don’t think there’s any question that the  Nets’ offense will be more productive and that they will win more games as they acquire players with more talent. The key for the Nets now is to make the correct decisions in terms of bringing in the right personnel over the next few years.

Ask the Czar

Mark wants to know:

Isn’t the reason for the low rebounds for the Celtics a longstanding problem that only recently has been partly improved by the addition of Shaq? If they have high FG% they still have low rebounds for the 100% rebounds that could have been made?

The bottom line is the Celtics were small in comparison to the Lakers team they faced in the 2010 NBA Finals and came up short in Game 7 as a result. The loss of starting center Kendrick Perkins to a knee injury in Game 6 cost the C’s rebounds and ultimately the championship.

Boston recognized that they were deficient in the RPG column prior to the loss of their best rebounder. So this summer they went out and got three 7-footers to crash the glass: Shaquille O’Neal, Jermaine O’Neal and Semih Erden from Turkey. If they’d had Perkins or one of these other super-sized guys to pull down just a couple more rebounds in Game 7, they probably would’ve won the title.

The Celtics have improved on the boards, but they’re still waiting for all their bigs to get healthy. Jermaine went out with knee problems in early November; Perkins won’t play until February, and Erden has a labral tear in his shoulder that will likely require surgery in the off-season. KG is just now getting back to 100% after his right knee surgery in ’09. He’s much stronger and is jumping higher and rebounding better than last season. The Celts have made attacking the boards a priority this year. When all Boston’s bigs return to the court at full strength, their rebounds should go way up.