Officials in the NBA have some of the toughest jobs in the entire world, yet they are held to the same standard as the incredible athletes they officiate. After watching two NBA Finals games, the rest of the NBA playoffs, and a countless number of regular season games, here are with five rules the NBA should change before the 2014-15 season. (Ranked in order of least to most necessary to be changed)
5. Dimensions of the court
Currently the NBA court is 94 by 50 feet with a three-point arc ranging from 22 to 23.75 feet, and the lane measuring at 16 feet wide. The court is far to skinny. Any time a player ventures toward the corner to attempt a three, there are just a matter of inches between out-of-bounds and the players heel. If the court was expanded by three feet on each side, the game would have more flow, and the corners could be used more. Also, the key should be a trapezoid, not a rectangle. 16 feet wide is perfectly fine underneath the rim, but it’s simply too large near the free throw line. The international game uses a trapezoid, the NBA should follow suit. This would open up mid range shots as well as allow more freedom defensively as defensive three seconds would be easier to avoid.
4. Players fouling out
Basketball is the only sport in which players can be disqualified for multiple common acts. Fouls are part of the game and must continue to be called, however taking star players off the court is simply not in the best interest of anyone. Instead, players should be afforded 6 “free” fouls and then are penalized with fouls that result in gradually increasing penalties. Seventh foul results in one extra shot. Eighth is two. Ninth and beyond is essentially a flagrant, two shots and the ball. This way, star players have to be careful, but they are never not allowed to come back into the game.
No, we are not suggesting eliminating goaltending, but we are suggesting two changes. First, offensive goaltending should not exist. What’s the difference between an alley-oop and an offensive goaltend? The NBA essentially defines is as the intent of the passer. The referees have a tough enough job just calling fouls, now they need to read minds? Come on. Secondly, when after the ball hits the rim it should be free to be knocked off. This is another international rule that the NBA continues to ignore. This rule would encourage athleticism defensively and will make free throw shooting so much more interesting.
2. Fouls on defenders who jump out at shooters
Protecting jump shooters is a top priority in the NBA, and it should be, but cagey players like Dwyane Wade and Paul Pierce have taken a rule made to protect them and used it to their advantage. When a defender jumps to block a shot and the offensive player does not shoot, the current rule allows for the shooter to essentially jump straight into the defender and draw a foul. Aside from being terribly dangerous for both players, it’s unnatural and outside of the scope of normal basketball fundamentals. The rule should stand, but be amended to only be enforced when the shooter uses his natural shooting form to finish the play. No more jumping two feet to the left or leaning forward to create contact. When something looks awkward, it probably is, and in this case, it definitely needs to be changed.
The league has spoken out against flopping for a long time running, but never have they enforced a penalty that truly strikes fear in the frequent offenders. Currently, the league reviews the play and fines are handed down. Fines usually range from the thousands to the tens of thousands and are imposed on players making multi-million dollars per year. Sure they are inconvenient, but so are speeding tickets, and we all know that doesn’t stop us. Players should be suspended one game for the first offense and the penalty doubles on every subsequent offense. Do it four times in a season, you are looking at an eight game ban. It’s harsh, but it will certainly stop the clownish play that ruins an otherwise great game.