My advice to today's players and coaches: Look at Celtics-Lakers films of the '80s. The game was more exciting to watch.
ERIC GIVNER, OMAHA
Regarding Phil Taylor's suggestions for boosting offensive production in the NBA (Clang, Clang, Clang Goes the Ball, Dec. 16): He is right in saying that moving the three-point line back would increase shooting percentages, but he fails to note that it would decrease scoring. In point value, the league's 35.7% shooting from behind the arc (at the time of your article) equates to nearly 54% from two-point range, which is higher than the league's current percentage from that distance.
Also, coaches like the Cleveland Cavaliers' Mike Fratello don't milk the clock simply to limit the number of possessions but also to maximize the percentage of half-court possessions, a tactic that favors teams like the Cavs, whose execution is better than their athleticism.
ERIK ENGQUIST, Brooklyn
I disagree with the notion that shortening the time a team has to shoot would increase scoring. This would force players to take worse shots and thus make an even smaller percentage. A better suggestion would be to reduce the 10-second-rule violation from 10 seconds to seven seconds. This would encourage the team on defense to press and cause the team on offense to push the ball up the floor, and the tempo of the game would go up.
MATTHEW MEYERS, New York City
The NBA needs to take a page from the college game and increase the shot clock to at least 30 seconds. With coaches emphasizing better defense and with that defense being played by taller, quicker, stronger athletes, shooting becomes more difficult. Give NBA shooters a chance to set up their offense, and higher field goal percentages and more points will follow.
DON RAINES JR., Oak Harbor, Wash.
Why doesn't the NBA mandate that fouls be called the way they are in the NCAA? Players would adjust to the stricter limits on rough play. Now all they're doing is beating each other up and restricting offensive creativeness.
BRUCE BREMER, Minot, N.Dak.
In the opening paragraphs, you go on about low field goal percentages and the complexity of the illegal-defense call. However, later in the-article you oppose the use of zone defenses because they would shut down the lane. Wouldn't shutting down the lane force players to sharpen their outside shooting? Once that happened, defenses would be forced to cover the man outside, lest he hit three-pointers all night, thereby opening up the lane again. Bingo! Higher shooting percentages because of more skilled shooters and no complicated illegal-defense rules.
J.R. ZIRKELBACH, Clinton, Iowa
No Bowl for BYU
Richard Hoffer's article concerning Brigham Young (Stiffed!, Dec. 16) highlighted what is wrong with major college football—a focus on the big bucks that can be earned in the postseason. Hoffer spends most of the piece discussing financial gains and losses rather than the Cougars' season and the sporting reasons why BYU should have been in a major bowl game. Eight million dollars on one field goal certainly shows football to be the big business it is.
FRED THOMPSON, Schenectady, N.Y.
In the outcry over the exclusion of Brigham Young from the alliance bowls, the common lament was "BYU is 13-1! It's a travesty!" The real travesty would have been to reward the Cougars for playing the weakest schedule of any of the Top 25 teams. Had BYU gone undefeated, it would have deserved an alliance invitation. But the college season often boils down to one game for many teams, and the Cougars' only loss was a nonconference game against nationally ranked Washington, 29-17.
RANDY TIMI, Arma, Kans.
The only thing genuinely questionable about the alliance this year was the rule that forced a major bowl to take 8-4 Texas just because the Longhorns won the biggest game of their season.
PAUL RAKITA GOLDIN, Philadelphia