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All-NBA Mailbag Part 1: Off-the-Court Issues

Posted on April 4, 2012 at 8:05 PM

I'm going to try to tackle answering some questions sent in by readers. 

If you could give three things that the league should change (e.g., rules, season structure, etc.) in order to improve the quality and entertainment, what would they be? – Shai

I’ll give you a lot more than three.


Changes that obviously need to be made immediately:

1. The NBA should hold an annual one-on-one tournament, described in further detail here.

2. In general, the NBA should make the regular season fewer games, but spanning over the same period of time. More rest will decrease the number of injuries and improve the quality of basketball.

3. There should be no more technical fouls. The fact that a player gets a little frustrated over a bad call should not cost his team points by putting the opposing team on the free throw line! Simply hand out fines for extremely excessive actions, and besides that, there is no reason to discipline grown men like first-graders.

4. The league should keep the restricted area for changing violations. However, just because a defender is standing in the restricted area doesn’t mean the result should be an automatic defensive foul on the player for just standing there. Rather, there should simply be a rule that a player cannot draw a charge in the restricted area, and if he does, there is no foul call.

5. The league officials should review tapes of all games and hand out a $10,000 fine for every flop, and a one-game suspension for every player who commits eight flops in a season.

6. Traveling violations and out-of-bounds should be reviewable. Let coaches challenge calls they think are incorrect, and allow coaches to challenge as many times as they want until they get one wrong, and if they get one wrong, they lose a 20-second timeout. Let’s get as many calls right as possible!

7. Home-court advantage for the NBA Finals should be the same format (2-2-1-1-1) as it is for all the rounds.

8. TV channels stop sideline reporters from interviewing coaches during the game and forcing them to give awkward answers while in the back of their minds thinking, “I’m trying to do my job, and instead this idiot is asking me how I’m going to stop Kevin Durant from scoring!”

9. Plays in which an offensive player pump-fakes, then the defensive player leaves his feet and jumps straight up, and then the offensive player lowers his shoulder into the defensive player and heaves up a garbage shot SHOULD NOT BE A DEFENSIVE FOUL!



Changes that would increase entertainment by approximately 5,000,000 %, but the league would never actually make:

10. In the fourth quarter of games, instead of foul shots, when a defensive player fouls an offensive player that would otherwise result in free throws, the offensive player plays one-on-one with the defensive player. All baskets would be worth two points, an additional defensive foul in the one-on-one results in two points, and there is a 15-second shot clock. Imagine the intensity of the situation in crunch time!

11. Instead of a draft lottery (the teams that receive top three picks in the draft are chosen at random out of a hat), the worst eight teams at the end of the regular season play a single-elimination tournament (winner gets the #1 pick, runner-up gets the #2 pick, the remaining picks are decided according to regular season record). To ensure that the worse teams still have a greater chance of getting a higher pick, the team with the worse regular season record has home court advantage in each game.

12a. Since I am a fan of single-elimination tournaments in any way, shape, or form, once the regular season ends, have the top six teams in each conference clinch a playoff spot, while the next eight seeds (7-14) play a single-elimination tournament for the final two playoff spots.

12b. Also regarding the playoffs, after that single-elimination tournament is over, the top seed in each conference gets to choose their opponent in the first round. Then, the second seed chooses their opponent from the remaining teams in the field. Lastly, the third seed chooses their opponent from the three other teams left.


Changes that may or may not be good ideas:

13. Dunks are worth three points. If a team is able to beat the defense well enough to dunk the ball as opposed to settling for an outside shot, they should be rewarded.

14. Half court shots are worth four points (Dan Majerle and Allan Houston would get very large contracts).


Will Wilt Chamberlain's 100 point game record ever be broken? – Kyle

Certainly not in the near future. Wilt Chamberlain was able to score 100 points because he was literally three inches taller and 25% more muscular than every single other player in the league. Since there’s no physical presence quite like that in the NBA today, the record- breaker would have to be a guard who can shoot threes. But, if you think about it, the NBA all-time record for three-pointers in a game is 12. If a player was even good enough to get, let’s say, 15 threes, they’d still be less than half of the way to 100. There’s no chance this record will be broken until super-athletic aliens invade earth and start getting drafted (although I’m still convinced that Sam Cassell was an alien)


The NBA should have some sort of caveat to the fan voting of All-Star starters. Some kind of a league veto for a mistake like this [Carmelo Anthony voted by fans into the All Star game]. – Mike

Absolutely! They’re going to need it next season when China votes Jeremy Lin into the game over Derrick Rose.


I wish there were two games on All Star weekend; the big market 'star' game, and the 'actually helps your team win game.’ – Matt

Do we really need a three hour game in which the main attraction is Kevin Love and Marc Gasol battling each other with 50% effort for rebounds? I don't think so. However, I love the concept of an honor for impact players who aren’t necessarily the fan-favorites or the most talented players.

We could award the “All Unglamorously-Helps-Their-Teams-Win-Games Team” (this year featuring Tony Parker, Chauncey Billups, James Harden, Kevin Love, and Marc Gasol). We also need to add the “My Team Stinks But I Don’t Award” (this year Steve Nash) and the “Best Highlights Award” (this year Lebron James).

To read "Part 2" of my mailbag, click here.

Please comment on the article and tell me what you think, or e-mail me a question of your own for a future mailbag!


Categories: Mailbag

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