May 31, 2012, 8:04 AM EST
There was a time — all the way back to last year — when if David Stern wanted to get an NBA rule changed, he had to convince a majority of NBA general managers to go along with him.
So Stern changed the rules. There is a new NBA Competition Committee, handpicked by Stern, which includes a couple owners, a couple coaches and some GMs. A smaller group more likely to make big changes.
“I happen to be a fan of the elimination of basket interference,” he says of the rule that prohibits offensive players from touching the ball while it is in the area above the rim. “I think it’s one of those plays that if you look at it, and if you watch the number of times that players either do or don’t touch the ball, it really puts the referees in a very uncomfortable position, because even on replay, I’m not sure you can get it right
You’ll see this at the Olympics this summer because it’s an international rule — once a shot touches the rim you can just go up and grab it off. Can you imagine what guys like JaVale McGee, Dwight Howard and others can do if they can knock shots off the rim?
Stern also wants to attack flopping, something that has ballooned as a public issue during the playoffs. From the AP:
“I think we are going to approach something that many tell me is impossible, which is deciding whether someone was acting or was actually, and thereby tending, intending to trick the fans, and the referees; or, whether there was a legitimate reason for that particular person to go sprawling,” Stern said. “And then the question is, what to do in that case, and that’s the kind of discussion that I look forward to having with the committee.”
Two other changes Stern discussed. One is to give referees more review options, particularly in the case of flagrant fouls. Rather than often having the league office upgrade/downgrade a foul, he wants the referees to review more.
Also, Stern again talked about wanting the Olympic basketball tournament in future years to be an under-23 tournament, as is done with soccer. That would make the World Championships the bigger stage (something FIBA likes as well).
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