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The scarlet letter is Z
Curry Kirkpatrick
March 20, 1978
The zone may be illegal, but everybody in the league is using it, rule or no rule
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March 20, 1978

The Scarlet Letter Is Z

The zone may be illegal, but everybody in the league is using it, rule or no rule

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"We are working on rewriting the rule to put the onus on the defense to show they are not using a zone," says Drucker. Which makes about as much sense as anything else that the NBA has come up with. In essence, a team will be guilty of breaking a stupid rule until it proves itself innocent. Terrific.

"Language will not mitigate the problem," says Powers.

The league will have to come to some better resolution on this matter by next season or continue to be a laughingstock. The Kansas City Kings recently took a vote on which team has the best zone in the league and one player wrote. "They all do." Houston Coach Tom Nissalke suggests a $5,000 fine for offenders. Denver Coach Larry Brown, again waving the torn-to-shreds ABA banner, insists a 30-second clock and three-point baskets would waste the zone immediately.

Then again, there is always the question of how really mammoth in importance the subject is anyway. Aside from perhaps helping Hubie Brown become the odds-on favorite for Coach of the Year, has the zone determined division leaders or transformed the balance of power or changed the face of the NBA? "I never saw a team that was winning use a zone," says George (Ice) Gervin, answering everything. "I really ain't paid no attention to none of this."

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