The NBA's unwritten rules can perhaps be confusing for fans and even players, as evidenced by the mixed signals sent by teams over the last week between the Wizards and Warriors' spat involving Brandon Jennings and JaVale McGee, and the Raptors and Pacers' dustup involving Lance Stephenson. Yes, there are unwritten rules, but where is the line drawn?
Imagine being not only a rookie, but a rookie from another country. That's where Wizards' guard Tomas Satoransky has found himself this season. He's been a professional basketball player for years in Spain and his home country of the Czech Republic, but the NBA is new to him and so are the league's unwritten rules.
Add in the fact that much of Satoransky's minutes this year have come during the final moments of a blowout, what people call 'garbage time,' and it can be quite confounding.
"I guess it's an unwritten rule that you shouldn't be shooting when you're up by 20, but I didn't know in the beginning [of the year] how to handle the situation. It's really different. In Europe people play all the way to the end," Satoransky said.
"Sometimes I have problems, to know if I am supposed to shoot or if I am supposed to play until the end. It happens a lot actually because sometimes in the last minute when you are playing and coach put you in the game, there is one offense [possession], then defense and then during the last offense [possession] you don't know if you are playing for a score or if you should just keep the ball. I really don't know."
This past week we have seen what are considered by some as two major no-nos. In McGee's case, he as a center shot a three-pointer in the final minute when his team was up 22 points. In Stephenson's case, he scored a layup with seconds left in a blowout Pacers win despite having the opportunity to just hold the ball and end the game.
Both players incited a reaction they did not expect and Satoransky certainly wants to avoid that rancor.