…how the new flopping rules and fines will actually help star players, the exact group of players who already benefit the most from flopping? We watched LeBron James flop his way through the playoffs and get the call every single time, which should not be all that surprising considering how blatantly the league's refs protect superstar players. Putting in fines to deter the NBA-turning-into-FIFA issue sounds nice, but the largest defined fine right now is $30,000 which a player will be hit with after their fifth violation. All kidding aside, LeBron would have been there by the second game of the playoffs, and I'm not even including the first 82. Players flop to gain an advantage from the referees. A fine the next day doesn't take away that advantage. And oh yeah, the guys who usually do the most flopping (superstars) earn so many millions of dollars in both salary and endorsements, these fines are a joke to the them. The result is that guys who make much less money will have to cut their flopping out since it might actually affect how much they can make it rain at Scores on a Friday night in NY, but the big boys who do the most flopping anyway can keep on at it – advantage them. The only way to decrease the advantage given to players who flop is to a) have refs who aren't afraid to make calls against stars who flop (we'll see if that happens after David Stern retires in a couple years), and b) make floppers sit out games, like after every 2 of them. It will hurt players financially, but more importantly it truly takes away any advantage flopping won them in the first place.
…the Boston Celtics' very good chances to make a run at the title this year? The bowed out in the Eastern Conference Finals in June to the champion Heat after 7 games, including two that went to OT, which included a Game Two hosing by the refs. So after finishing this close to the title in 2012, they've since lost contributors Ray Allen, Jermaine O'Neal, Greg Stiemsma, and Mickael Pietrus from the roster, and replacing them isn't that hard to do. Allen (who completely disappeared during the playoffs) will be replaced by the more offensively versatile Jason Terry, who had a much stronger playoffs in every way last year, plus he was an equally important player to a much more recent championship club (2011 Mavs) than Allen. O'Neal and Stiemsma certainly provided a lot of defensive help inside to take some of the burden off of Garnett, but O'Neal was hurt half the year and didn't play in the post-season, and Stiemsma played 7.5 minutes/game in the playoffs as KG carried the interior defense just fine. The C's added Darko Milicic to play defense in their absence (the only thing he's good at, and he is good at it), plus rookie Jared Sullinger can handle part of the scoring load in the paint and is plenty ready to bang the hell out of opponents for boards, which will help Garnett stay fresh for the post-season. I'm not sure what you want me to say about the loss of the oft-injured Pietrus, but Boston added SG Courtney Lee, a standout 3-point shooter and defender, to the starting lineup. The only major change to their Eastern enemies, the Heat, is that they added Ray Allen, but I'm not sure a guy who just shot 30% from deep in the playoffs helps a club that just saw multiple role players (Battier, Miller, Chalmers) go off for some ridiculous 3-point shooting exploits during their title run.