SALT LAKE CITY — As much as the NBA rules have changed over the years, is there anything new that might be on the horizon?
Here are a few possible ideas for changes to the league:
With 3-pointers becoming more common by the season, going from 13 per game just 20 years ago to 31 per game this year, it’s not implausible the league could employ a 4-point shot in the future. You could make an arc halfway between the current line and halfcourt — about 33 feet — or make it the half court line (43 feet). Can you imagine teams setting up plays for players to get open looks from beyond halfcourt when trailing by four points in the final seconds of a game? At the very least, you’d have more players attempting long shots from beyond half court at the end of quarters and halves for extra points, rather than trying to save their shooting percentages.
Number of fouls
Last year, Jazz coach Quin Snyder complained during the playoffs about fouls keeping key players out of the game, but stopped short of advocating for a rule change to allow players to have more than six fouls. However, there are many who think that players shouldn’t have to sit out for long stretches because of foul trouble, especially stars who fans pay to see. Perhaps there could be a modification to allow players with six fouls to stay in the game with the penalty of giving the other team extra foul shots or possession after a free throw on the sixth foul.
A 20-second clock
The shot clock has gradually gone down in college basketball from 45 seconds in 1985 to 35 in 1993 and to the present 30 seconds in 2015. However, the NBA has not changed its 24-second clock since it was instituted back in October 1954. Many teams already get shots off in the first 10 to 15 seconds of the shot clock, so it shouldn’t be hard to get a shot off in 20 seconds. It would make the game even faster, but the league seems happy with the standard 24.
The NBA has not strayed from the 48-minute game in 70-plus years and hasn’t made any indications that it will do so in the future, although it did experiment with a 44-minute game in 2014. But colleges play just 40 minutes, as does FIBA. In football, colleges and pros play games for the same length (60 minutes). If league officials are worried about wear and tear on players, they could cut the time of games, say to 11-minute or 10-minute quarters. One drawback would be the disparity in statistics from past years to the present.
Shorter schedules4 comments on this story
The 82-game schedule is a grind and very few players play the full amount of games anymore, healthy or not. One number that has been thrown around is a shortened schedule of 66 games. With that many games, you could play every team in the league twice, home and away, and the other four teams in your division two more times, home and away. It would cut at least a month off the already-long season. However, this is unlikely to happen because it would decrease revenue for franchises and salaries for players and skew historical records just as shorter games would.