NEW YORK, April 12 -- The NBA Board of Governors today approved several playing rules changes designed to improve the flow and pace of the game. The new rules will go into effect for the 2001-02 season.

The rules changes had been recommended by a select committee on playing rules chaired by Phoenix Suns Chairman and CEO Jerry Colangelo, and were presented to the board at last month's meeting.

The changes are:

  • Illegal defense guidelines will be eliminated in their entirety.
  • A new defensive three-second rule will prohibit a defensive player from remaining in the lane for more than three consecutive seconds without closely guarding an offensive player.
  • The time that a team has to advance the ball past midcourt will be reduced from 10 seconds to eight.
  • Brief contact initiated by a defensive player will be allowed if it does not impede the progress of the player with the ball.