Credit Michelle V. Agins/The New York Times

Proposing A Rule Change To The NBA

(Photo Credit: Michelle V. Agins/The New York Times)

The three point shot has been a fan favorite since its inception. Originally used in 1961 by the short lived American Basketball League(ABL), the idea was adopted by the American Basketball Association(ABA) in 1967. It was seen as a gimmick for over a decade until the National Basketball Association(NBA) adopted it in 1979, three years after the NBA/ABA merger. It took even longer for the NCAA to make the switch, not fully embracing the idea until 1986.

The three point shot has changed basketball. Players like Steph Curry, Ray Allen and Reggie Miller have built careers off of their ability to shoot the three.  The NBA embraced a “gimmicky” idea and it was a success. The league loves it, players love it and fans love it. Now it is time to add to its allure. Here is my proposal.

The NBA should adopt the delayed penalty. For those who do not know about the delayed penalty concept, it is currently used in hockey. When a player commits a penalty, play continues until the team who committed the penalty regains possession of the puck. If the team that the penalty was committed against scores then play continues as normal.

The NBA version of this rule would work the under the same circumstances but with some subtle differences. Here is a breakdown of how the rule would work in the NBA:

  • When a defensive foul is committed against a player in the act of shooting, the “delayed foul” will go into effect.
    • Play will continue until
      • (A) The team in possession scores
        • If the team in possession scores, the delayed penalty is waived off and play will continue as normal.
      • (B) The opposing team gains possession of the basketball
        • The play will result in foul shots. Number of shots depend on where the foul took place
      • (C) A ball is whistled “dead”
        • The play will result in foul shots. Number of shots depend on where the foul took place
  • If a player, in the act of shooting, scores while being fouled, the player is still awarded a foul shot. This is the current method under NBA rules.
  • Time will continue to run until the ball is ruled “dead”.
    • If time expires during the delayed foul period, play will continue until the ball is ruled “dead”.
      • If team in possession scores
        • Points are awarded and time expires
      • If team in possession does not score, the opposing team gains possession or the ball is ruled “dead”
        • Foul shots are awarded. Number of shots depend on where the foul took place
  • Regardless of outcome of delayed foul
    • The player who committed the foul will be assessed a personal foul and
    • The team of the offending player will be assessed a team foul

So how does the delayed foul concept coincide with the ever growing popularity of the three pointer? It is an idea that would likely make the basketball purist cringe. Nonetheless, the delayed foul caters to the current playing style of basketball, which is much more reliant on the jump shot than in the past. It allows teams the opportunity to attempt a three point shot when the original foul may have only allowed the chance for two points, or even one point depending on foul shots.

Instituting the delayed foul could be revolutionary to the game of basketball. It could lead to increased scoring, more exciting games and wild endings. Would it take some getting used to? Absolutely but so did the three point line. The benefits of the delayed foul far outweigh the deficiencies and it would be well worth the experiment.

You can follow S.P. on Twitter.