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Tuesday, May 24, 2005

I wish I wasn't compelled to rip media members. It makes me look cranky and arrogant. But sometimes I can't help myself. Anger is my happiness.

Besides, I am cranky and arrogant. Let's hit the road! Chris Ballard as CNNSI has an NBA counterpart to the NFL rules changes suggested by Josh Elliot. Unfortunately, it's eighty percent filler, though it still manages to be pretentiously titled "Rule changes would give NBA back to players."

Filtered into categories, his suggestions are...

4. Decide double OT games that end tied by shootouts.
A shootout? Shootouts are universally reviled wherever they crop up. No sport which takes itself seriously adopts a shootout if it can possibly avoid it. Ballard "borrows" the idea from soccer, which can't avoid it because players play the whole game and scoring is literally hundreds of times less frequent than it is in basketball. Basketball's overtime is perfectly fine the way it is, duplicating the exciting last five minutes of a tight game. Ballard actually thinks that watching ten guys march to the line to take free throws is superior to this.

7. Four-pointers from 35 feet.
Wha... what? This isn't Rock 'n' Jock. I mean, this is obviously out of the question, right? There are only two possibilities here: this is as completely ludicrous as I think it is and there is no need to explain why this is a bad idea or I need to check into a mental institution.

10. Six fouls isn't an automatic disqualification.
Instead, he proposed teams be given a choice when a player reaches six fouls: either the player fouls out or the opposing team gets a technical free throw and one minute of a 5 on 4 'power play'. I'm speechless.

2. All timeouts will be limited to either 20 or 40 seconds.
This will speed up each game by about a minute since most timeouts immediately trigger three- or four-minute commercial breaks.

6. First round playoff series are best of five.
The real problem is not the length of the playoff series, it's the gaps between games. If the NBA had games every other day like the NHL no one would make much note of it. (I know, I know, don't copy a league bent on moidering itself.)

8. An end to the defensive three-second rule.
I'm in favor of adding the defensive three-second call to the college game. Big men camping out in the lane swallowing up any and all drivers are a major problem in the college game. Let's not spread that disease into the NBA, especially in an era when everyone complains about how boring defense is. Help defense and rotation are good. Buying a timeshare in the lane is bad.

5. Players can briefly turn over, or "carry," the ball so as to make hesitation dribble moves more explosive.
This may be the pot calling the kettle black, but come on now.

1. No more jump balls (other than the opening one).
He proposes the replacement of the jump ball with college's alternating possession arrow. I actually agree with this. Jump balls take forever and are frequently foregone conclusions. mgoblog's rules crusades for basketball and hockey always involve lessening the dead time between interesting things happening.

Also, it bugs me that winning the opening tip confers no benefit to the team that wins it; both teams start two periods of the game with possession. In college you essentially win the first tie-up, since the first possession in the second half goes to the team with the arrow.

3. Institute instant replay.
Plausible. The NFL has wisely disallowed tough judgment calls like holding or pass interference from its instant replay system and I have to assume that the NBA would follow suit. There is no way the referees are going to head over to the instant replay booth to decide whether that block was really a charge or vice versa. So the rule's application would probably be limited to cut and dry situations like whether a three-point shot from a certain player obviously went of the shot clock before dropping in or if a particular block was or was not goaltending.

Would it lengthen the game? Probably not much if a team attempting a challenge was forced to call a time out to do so. The network could immediately cut to commercial time out and the time spent by the referees would be essentially free. The game would be better officiated and some additional strategy regarding timeout use would be introduced without appreciably lengthening the amount of time a game takes. It's a good idea.

That's it for his ten changes. I count three that are worthy of discussion (the two that are plausible and the defensive three-second change, though I think the latter is misguided). The other seven are either the product of some quality Skeete or the product of an empty page and a fast-approaching deadline. Thumbs down, I say.

This post has dragged on long enough, but I feel obligated to offer a set of suggestions of my own so some nobody with a blog can rip it to shreds (hmmm, I might be the man for that job, too). Sometime soon.