Re-posted from OnJugStreet.com:
Jason Kidd, not even halfway through his first year as head coach of the Brooklyn Nets, has already come up with one of the more innovative stalling techniques the NBA has seen in some time. With the Nets trailing the Lakers by 2 points with only 8.3 seconds left in Wednesday night’s game, point guard Tyshawn Taylor ran into Kidd, causing him to spill what appeared to be a cup of soda all over the court.
As the clean-up crew ran on to mop up the mess, Kidd stood and watched as Assistant Coach John Welch drew up an (unsuccessful) final play that had Paul Pierce shoot a 3-pointer that would have tied the game with about 2 seconds left. Kidd, who was suspended earlier this season for pleading guilty to a DWI case, was fined $50,000 by the NBA for the “Spillgate” incident, showing that the league will not tolerate thinly veiled or creative attempts at circumventing the rules of the game.
You have to wonder though, how and where will the league continue to draw the line? And what we might see next — a player “feinting” on the court to buy his teammates a few extra minutes to prepare for the next play?
Another bizarre incident involving a coach bending the rules to try to win just occurred on Thanksgiving night, during the NFL match-up between the Steelers and the Ravens. Pittsburgh’s head coach, Mike Tomlin, appeared to be standing slightly on the field as Ravens kick returner, Jacoby Jones, raced up the sideline on his way to a touchdown. Jones had to move slightly to his right to avoid stepping out of bounds, or hitting Tomlin, just as defender Cortez Allen caught up from behind for the tackle, which saved a touchdown.
Tomlin later denied intentionally positioning himself near the field to disrupt the return, claiming he always watches kickoffs on the jumbo tron. But it seems clear that Tomlin at least had an idea of where he was in relation to the play. As was the case with Kidd spilling his drink, you can be sure to see a fine from the NFL coming Tomlin’s way sometime soon.
I do respect the fact that these coaches want to win so badly that they’re willing to go to extreme, unconventional measures just to give their team an advantage. We sometimes forget just how competitive coaches are, as if their desire to win is somehow less than that of the players. In a lot of cases, though, these coaches were once players themselves and must feel somewhat constrained in their ability to guide their teams to victory, given that their contributions occur entirely off the field of play. So while I can’t blame them for the desire to literally get in there and help out their teams, I do feel as those these coaches went too far. Part of being a great coach is having poise and focus in stressful situations. The ability to maintain your cool and have a clear head can be the difference between a win and a loss. In both instances, I feel as though the competitive juices got the better of Kidd and Tomlin. A fine or suspension for both ought to be enough to curb such behavior, but as far as creative attempts to alter the game goes, these two have set a high bar for the rest of the coaches out there. It will be interesting to see if and how this behavior continues at the professional level.