Under Adam Silver’s leadership, the NBA showed they embrace change. They’ve altered the all-star game format, implemented an NBA draft lottery reform to discourage tanking and tweaked the timeout structure to increase the flow of games and decrease their length.
Additionally, the NBA unveiled new cutting-edge uniforms along with Nike to bring fans closer to the game. The league implemented guidelines around resting players so stars aren’t missing big TV games. And the season is starting one week earlier to limit the amount of back-to-back games.
Despite the constant tinkering with the game to keep fans and players alike happy, more changes could be on the horizon.
The vehicle the league often uses as a test kitchen to cook up new ideas is the NBA G League, formerly known as the developmental league. The NBA has made a bunch of changes over the last couple years to its standard rules at the G League level in an attempt to see if the new regulations are actually practical.
This year the biggest change is the experimentation of implementing a fourth official for the pre-season and regular season in November. With the players becoming bigger, stronger and faster, it makes sense to give the officials more help. An added pair of eyes on the court might lead to a better officiating and less replay reviews that slow down the game in the effort to get calls right.
Here’s a look at five other NBA G league rules that should be adopted on the senior circuit.
1. Shot Clock:
The 24-second clock resets to 14 seconds after an offensive rebound.
Reasoning: Yes, yes and yes. This would totally change end-of-game and end-of-clock scenarios. Who wants to see a team fouled after they have the lead and get an offensive board in a late-game scenario only to stop the clock? That would happen less with this potential change. Watching a NBA game is like being at a bar on your birthday. As a general rule, more shots is a good thing. Shorter clocks when the clock resets will increase offensive urgency and make for a more exciting product.
2. Instant Replay Reform:
Instant replay triggers have been reduced to the following five circumstances:
• Flagrant Fouls: Officials have doubt if a called foul meets the criteria for a Flagrant Foul at any point in the game.
• Two-point/three-point field goal attempts or fouls: Officials are uncertain whether a made basket was correctly scored as a two- or three-pointer or if a fouled player was attempting a two- or three-point shot.
• Made basket at the end of a period: A field goal is made with no time remaining on the clock (0:00) at the end of any quarter.
• Foul at the end of a period: A foul is called with no time remaining on the clock (0:00) at the end of any quarter.
• Altercation: Two or more players are engaged in an altercation.
Reasoning: I like replay as much as the anyone. I’m willing to wait to get calls right. But only when it determines the outcome of the game. Do we really need to take five minutes to look at a clear path foul? The NBA’s replay rule has gone way too far, way too fast. When it comes to reviews, less is more. Let’s scale it back and keep the games going.
3. Timeout control:
Each team will be allocated seven timeouts per game and all timeouts will be known as “team timeouts,” with no distinction between full and 30-second timeouts.
Reasoning: What is the difference between a full and 30-second timeout? There isn’t one. Coaches call 30-second timeouts and players linger around the bench and take the court whenever they feel like it. No coach says “okay, I’m at 25 seconds I better wrap this point up so you can get back on the court to guard the team out of bounds in a timely manner.”
All timeouts take way too long and officials are never going to give a technical when teams ignore the horn blowing and the refs persistent requests to end the huddle and take the floor. Eliminating 30-second timeouts altogether is a benefit for the broadcasters and fans because there is no such thing as a quick timeout.
4. Reset Timeout:
Teams can call a timeout to advance the ball and make substitutions but not huddle in the final two minutes of the fourth quarter and during entire overtime periods.
Reasoning: More timeouts is bad; more play is good. Now a team can still get favourable matchups but we don’t have to watch whiteboard art by the coaches to end games. It also will put a premium on smart floor generals like Stephen Curry, Chris Paul and Kyle Lowry, who are coaches on the floor and can control the flow of a game late, almost like a quarterback running a no-huddle offence.
5. The Coach’s Challenge:
Teams receive one challenge per game, to be used at any point during regulation or overtime periods. Only fouls called, goaltending/basket interference and out-of-bounds calls may be challenged.
Reasoning: I’m tired of coaches stomping up and down arguing calls. Instead of taking a technical on the sideline while they throw a temper tantrum, coaches could just calmly challenge the call. Steve Kerr doesn’t have to break clipboards. Gregg Popovich no longer has to throw his blazer. No more Stan van Gundy taking an angry sip of his Diet Coke.
I’d love to see Dwane Casey throw his pocket square to midcourt to challenge if Serge Ibaka actually made that block while the ball was on the way down over the cylinder of the net. The legend of Brad Stevens would continue to grow if he had a 98 per cent rate of successful challenges.
On the flip side, we’d all see that advance analytics show the Sacramento Kings are the worst franchise in the league at challenges over a the span of a decade, regardless of coach. We all have an educated opinion on how smart NBA coaches actually are, let’s have the coach’s challenge become part of that equation.