The NBA is great, especially this time of year. The Playoffs are underway.
But after watching so many games recently, it has become evident to me that there are some rule changes that the NBA should consider. I have a few very serious modifications and also a few tweaks to make the game more entertaining and also change some teams’ strategy a little bit.
I'll start with the big ones.
There are three rules I would add to the book straight-up. Actually, the first one is supposedly already there: the ban on traveling.
The NBA needs to make a more serious effort to crack down on taking steps. They did a better job this year by actually calling a few violations, but it wasn’t enough in my opinion.
I enjoy watching great spin moves or drives to the basket as much as the next guy, but let’s not compromise the rules of the game to see them.
And yes, the "crab dribble" rule needs to be enforced as well (sorry, LBJ).
The second rule I believe the NBA should add is currently being imposed on the college level.
I believe a technical foul should also count as a personal foul. There is an extremely high amount of arguing on every single call in the NBA, and this additionally penalty for a tech could help reduce that a little bit.
Players will either stop arguing so often or they will be on the bench because they will be in foul trouble. If a coach gets the technical, the team should be assessed a team foul.
Inspiration for my third alteration came from the Suns-Spurs Playoff series a few years ago.
I understand the NBA wants all bench players to remain on the bench during any altercations, so as to not make the situation worse, but if a player takes a couple natural steps forward, he should not be penalized for this. This might be a rule that is strictly discretionary, but at least that would be improvement from where it stands right now.
During the aforementioned matchup, Amare Stoudemire and Boris Diaw were both suspended for leaving the bench as a fight was beginning on-court. Diaw should not have been punished; Stoudemire may have deserved it, as he took quite a few steps and even jogged on his way to mid-court.
He did not affect the altercation, but his actions could have potentially led to something more, but Diaw’s actions would not have resulted in anything.
In a proposition with both serious and entertainment implications, I'd mix up scoring a little bit.
Does it seem right that a player can hit a 28-footer or a 70-footer and be rewarded the same three points for either? I say that any shot from behind the halfcourt line be worth four points. Just as in the case of the three-point line, though, a player must be fully behind the halfcourt divider; they cannot have their foot on it.
This could potentially change the way some coaches operate when trailing by just a few points near the end of a game. Granted, halfcourt shots have much less of a chance of going in than your standard three-pointer, but this would still add some strategy to the end of games.
On to the more minor points:
I say give teams one "re-do" per game. In other words, allow squads to repeat any possession they choose, but only if they use their "re-do" immediately after the whistle or basket.
For example, if time was winding down and a player hits a game-winning shot, the defense could choose to replay the possession. Yes, both teams could do a replay on the same possession. So in the situation described just now, if the defense were to stop the other team from scoring, the offense could then use their replay to try and hit that game-winning shot once more.
Replays would only be allowed once per team per game but could be used for anything. Think of this in end-of-game scenarios, critical situations during other quarters, to keep a player from getting his sixth foul, or anywhere else a coach desires.
Next, I want to make the alley-oop even more exciting.
I propose that any alley-oop that originates behind the three-point line (the passer cannot have his foot on the line, similar to the rules for shooting three-pointers) be worth three points. But there's one extrta stipulation: In order to receive the three points, the receiver must dunk the ball. If the alley-oop is poorly thrown and the player is unable to dunk it and only lays the ball in, the basket would only count for two points.
If the NBA made halfcourt shots worth four points, this rule could also reward alley-oops thrown from beyond half court worth four points, but perhaps that is getting too ridiculous.
Here comes one that could really make things interesting, especially for good free-throw shooters.
My idea is that if a player shoots a free throw with his eyes closed (determining how closed they are is up to the referee) and makes the shot, he will get one additional free throw.
Each player would only be allowed to shoot one "blind" free throw per game. This could help a team get an extra point in a close game, though it could also hurt that team if the player misses the shot.
This last one is perhaps the most entertaining of all.
I think there should be one and only one jump ball per game: the one that starts the game. After that, I'd have any tie-up after not result in a jump; instead, the players involved would continue to fight for the ball until one player has successfully gained full possession.
During this time, all rules would be thrown out of the window, except for fouls. Those can be called if the referee determines a foul is necessary.
But no traveling or out of bounds would be called. The players would battle it out until there is no longer any contest.
I mean, who wouldn’t want to see Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe get after it? Or Shaq and tiny Nate Robinson? Or even Shaq and Dwight Howard?
Perhaps some of these rule changes would take away from the game, but maybe they'd make the game even more entertaining and give coaches even more to think about as games come down to the buzzer.
It is doubtful the NBA will ever change any of the rules that should be changed, but if interest in the NBA starts to decline, don’t be surprised if David Stern does something to try and make the game more exciting.