The NBA has been experimenting with several different ideas to try and improve their product. They tried a shortened game in the preseason, they considered changing the draft lottery, and they considered changing free throw rules, too.
However, now that the NBA regular season has started, they’re using the D-League to continue more rule experiments.
Perhaps the most interesting experiment is a new rule for advancing the ball in the final two minutes of a game and overtime.
Currently, in the final two minutes of the fourth quarter, teams can call timeouts to advance the ball to half-court. The rule’s only purpose is to give teams an easier chance to score in the final minutes — teams can’t advance the ball at any other point in the game.
In the D-League experiment, teams will now be able to advance the ball without using a timeout. After re-gaining possession, teams would point to the sideline to signal that they want to advance the ball. Substitutions can be made, but players can’t go to the benches to talk with coaches or draw up plays. Teams would be given one advance in the final two minutes of regulation and one in overtime.
It seems like a simple notion, but it could have a profound effect.
The idea is still the same, but it has the potential to keep contests closer and more dramatic. Instead of burning a timeout, teams can save several seconds on the clock, make offensive substitutions, and get the chance to score the ball and keep the game close.
It also allows coaches to save timeouts. In tight, end-of-game situations, coaches often burn all of their timeouts advancing the ball to get quicker shots. In this proposed rule, they could advance the ball with timeouts and then use the advance rule instead of having to go the length of the court when they’re out of timeouts.
If the rule is successful in the D-League, it likely won’t reach the NBA until next season. But if/when it does, it could create far more exciting, dramatic finishes.
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