Blogtable Archive

Blogtable: Which current NBA rules would you abolish if you could?

Each week, we ask our stable of scribes across the globe to weigh in on the most important NBA topics of the day.

You’ve just been elected chairman of the NBA’s competition committee. With that, you have absolute veto power over all basketball rules. Which current NBA rules do you wish to abolish while in office?


David Aldridge: Oh, I think I have one in mind. You probably know what it is if you read my social media ranting during games. I would eliminate the existing “Hack-a…” rules. The NBA is the only basketball league on earth that allows intentional fouling away from the ball. It’s insane that this is now acceptable strategy (understand: I know why coaches do it; I’m not blaming them). The league took a good step in modifying Hack-a rules for this season, but I’d get rid of it altogether. I want to see basketball players play basketball. You can always foul bad free throw shooters when they catch the ball.

Steve Aschburner: Easy. The clear-path foul, simply so we can get rid of all the clear-path reviews. With all the other reviews now, it’s too much waiting to discern if one guy’s knee was a millimeter in front of another guy’s shoe, or whatever it is they go by. There are so many if’s, but’s and tipoff-circle extended’s involved that it is the NBA equivalent of baseball’s balk rule, an infraction often undetectable to the naked eye. Call it a foul and treat it like any other foul.

Fran Blinebury: It would kick up a storm, but I’m eliminating the charge call for any player who just runs to a spot, plants himself with arms at sides and gets flattened to draw a foul. Unless you are actually trying to make a play on the ball, tough. Also getting rid of goaltending when ball is on the rim. It’s live and go get it. Oh, and I’m cutting timeouts down from 6 to 4 per team. And don’t give me any lip or I’ll call a technical and cut it to 3. A beautiful game becomes mind-numbing and stultifying with too many stoppages over the last two minutes.

Scott Howard-Cooper: The rule that requires 82 games per regular season. The players get worn down, the play gets watered down, and so since I have been given absolute power, as should be the case in all matters, not just related to the NBA, I will change the schedule when we know in the real world that it won’t happen. Based on the current calendar, let’s play 70.

Shaun Powell: I’m going to tweak this question a bit and give you my orders on which rule to start enforcing: palming. I cringe every time I see someone lift the ball, which freezes the defender who thinks his man is about to pull up for a jumper, then the dribbler goes to the rim. It’s unfair and it’s never called. Also, it’s against the laws of physics to execute about 95 percent of the “crossovers” you see today. How can you dribble on your left side, then immediately dribble on your right side without placing your hand on the side of the ball or on the bottom? At some point about 25 years ago, the league gave players the green light to dribble illegally.

John Schuhmann: 1. Get rid of the clear path rule. It’s confusing and the reviews are a waste of time. Replace it with a rule that any foul deemed intentional in the first 12 seconds of the shot clock results in two shots plus the ball. That will take care of intentional stoppages of fast breaks and intentionally fouling bad free throw shooters. 2. Either reduce the number of timeouts or go to the FIBA rule where timeouts can’t be called with a live-ball.

Sekou Smith: I’m doing away with the basket interference rule on the first day of my administration. I’ve despised it for years and cannot understand how or why the FIBA rule has not been adopted. It allows for the world’s largest and most graceful athletes to use their talents to their advantage around the rim, on both ends of the floor, without penalty. We’ve all seen the way it works in international competitions. It’s a change that I truly believe would make the game great(er) again.

Ian Thomsen: This is going to make me a very popular chairman: I am cancelling the charge call. The idea of passively creating an impediment goes against the spirit of the game, and as such it is very difficult for referees to judge. This will further open up the game.

Lang Whitaker: I’m not looking for any wholesale repudiation of the current system. That said, there are a couple of tweaks I’d make, starting with end of game situations, which can still seem to take forever. Maybe we figure out some way to further speed up instant replay, and we take away a timeout or two inside the last two minutes. Oh, and I’d make a rule that any shot from behind half court counts as four points. Let’s really open this thing up wide.

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