It’s not Kobe and Shaq. Players aren’t fighting fans in the stands. In fact, this year’s biggest argument so far isn’t even about people, it’s about the basketballs.

The NBA has decided to change the NBA basketball from the leather design to a new micro fiber ball, the first change the ball has undergone since 1970. While the NBA has officially said that this new ball is better than the old one, the players aren’t sure on this issue.

The main problem that players have with the new balls is that they have too good of a grip when they are dry but start to slip when they dampen as the game goes on. While talking to ESPN, Shaquille O’ Neal equated the new ball to “one of those cheap balls that you buy at the toy store.”

While turnovers are up slightly from last year’s averages, a change of just over one turnover per game, much of this could be attributed to the fact that players haven’t adjusted to the new ball yet. Dwyane Wade agreed.

“Now I’ve got to make another adjustment with a ball that I haven’t shot with at all and it’s going to be a challenge,” Wade told in a similar article. “That means it’s going to take a lot of late nights for me, I’ll tell you that, to get really adjusted to the ball because I have no choice.”

That being said, the season has begun with little controversy, but there have been some early surprises. The only three undefeated teams for example, are teams that did not make last year’s playoffs, the Philadelphia 76ers, Utah Jazz and New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets.

The Dallas Mavericks and Miami Heat, who finished last season playing each other in the championship series, are a combined 1-4. The Phoenix Suns and Steve Nash, who was a vocal opponent to the ball change, are just 1-2.

While it’s still too early to tell if any of this will continue, and odds are it won’t, there have been examples of times that the new ball may have had an effect on a game’s outcome. In San Antonio’s only loss this season, its star forward Tim Duncan, a career 68 percent shooter from the foul line, missed 10 free throws in a game that was decided by just seven points.

The Boston versus New York rivalry that has developed in baseball doesn’t look like it will translate over to the basketball court this season, as the Celtics and Knicks are a combined 1-5 and neither is projected to turn that around in any meaningful way. The New Jersey Nets who walked to the playoffs with an 11 game lead over the 76ers last year for the Atlantic Division crown are currently 1-1.

The Cleveland Cavaliers and Detroit Pistons, who both look to be among the best in the Eastern Conference, are each 2-1. The Los Angeles Lakers look to bounce back after their first year without Shaq and are currently 3-1.

While it’s still too early to know if these new balls, or these records even, will have an effect on the season, it should be interesting to see how the whole thing plays out and if the teams who can adjust quicker to the basketball change will still have an edge come playoff time.

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