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New Year’s Resolutions for the NBA

Dec 23, 2012, 6:55 PM EDT

Golden State Warriors' Ezeli dunks against Los Angeles Lakers in Oakland

Did you catch the Lakers-Warriors game on Saturday night? It was close to perfect. The crowd in Oakland is always wonderful, but with the hated Lakers in town, they really stepped it up a notch. The on-court play was obviously great. The storylines were there. If you watched, regardless of who you were rooting for, chances are you enjoyed yourself quite a bit.

That doesn’t happen enough. It’s not that the NBA doesn’t provide a quality product, because they do. It could just be better. And that’s what New Year’s Resolutions are for, right? Here’s my list for David Stern and Adam Silver:

Change the overtime timeout rule

For some asinine reason, each team is awarded three timeouts in the five minute overtime period. That just kills any back-and-forth action, making even the best game too drawn out. Basketball thrives on building momentum and constant action, but timeouts just take the wind out of your sails too often.

We’re not even talking about mandatory media timeouts here — just like overtime, these are bonus timeouts. And there are too many of them.

Want to know what really made the Warriors-Lakers game great? There were no stoppages while the action was at its best. Neither the Warriors or the Lakers used a single one of their three timeouts in overtime until there were eight seconds left in the overtime period. It built drama, it built intrigue, and it kept the crowd in it the whole way.

Stop playing music during big moments

This is a thing only a small handful of game operations staff get. Let the game be the show. There is absolutely no reason to be playing a Ke$ha song in a tie game with 15 seconds left while the ball is getting inbounded. Let the applause grow, let the tension build. There are moments where music provides a nice supplement or distraction, but please, let the crowd at least have the chance to get into the game without a Black Eyed Peas song drowning out their thoughts.

Move the photographers back

If I see one more player get hurt because he either tramples a photographer under the baseline or has to try and leap over them, I’m going to lose my mind. These players don’t have pads on. They’re often moving with insane amounts of momentum — can we give them a little more floor area to slow down? I love a good basketball picture, but will it make a huge difference to the photos if we move these guys back, say, five feet? We have the technology! Keep the players safe from getting tripped or faceplanting into a camera and move these guys back, pronto.

Stop counting all shots behind halfcourt as field goal attempts

There’s nothing lamer in basketball. Time is winding a down, a player has a shot at a heave, and he waits to hear the buzzer before he lets the shot go so it won’t hurt his numbers. It happens in just about every game. Don’t blame the players — those long attempts count towards their stats, which is what their salaries are based on.

Let’s change the rule instead. Any shot behind halfcourt is almost certainly a buzzer beating shot, so why count it towards a player’s field goal attempts? If they make it, sure, add it. But if they miss from beyond halfcourt? Just don’t count it. It’s simple — stop punishing players for trying to score in these situations, and we’ll see guys actually try to make shots from unfathomable distances. Isn’t that more fun for everyone?

  1. jtchernak - Dec 23, 2012 at 7:07 PM

    Call a fair game

    • scalfor3 - Dec 23, 2012 at 7:38 PM

      Hah! Keep dreamin’

  2. danielgmz - Dec 23, 2012 at 8:36 PM

    I agree with every single one, except the last one. Players always say they are about winning and that they don’t care about stats (KG, I know you got mad about your 0 rebounds, but I won’t count you in this one). A FG is a FG, if they want to take those 3 points, they’ll have to sacrifice one field goal, no big deal. It’s not like they take 5 of them each game.

  3. larrybrown43 - Dec 23, 2012 at 9:08 PM

    Cut 20-25 games from the schedule then I’ll watch. The regular season is pointless. Any sports fan over 40 knows this.

  4. BigBeachBall - Dec 23, 2012 at 10:35 PM

    televise the half-time show…
    I want to see some kook air ball a half court shot for a million

  5. cured76 - Dec 23, 2012 at 11:40 PM

    NBA Finals = which refs are working the series?

    I could do with fewer political whistles in the playoffs.

  6. ashutto20 - Dec 23, 2012 at 11:47 PM

    or make the half court shot a team fg so it does not hurt player stats

  7. 00maltliquor - Dec 24, 2012 at 1:56 AM

    Originally I wasn’t planning on reading this article, I was just going to skip it. But then I saw it was a D.J. Foster article so I clicked on it.

    Didn’t dissapoint. Good article, I agree on everything but maaaaybe the last one on the half court shots. Mr. Foster, don’t know who you are or where you came from, or even if I’ve been too blind to notice that you may have been here for a while, but keep it up, I enjoy your work.

  8. numba1recx19 - Dec 24, 2012 at 4:58 AM

    Oh boo hoo keep the music on. Although it would ruin any flow if a song i didnt like was on, but who cares ahahaha

  9. davidly - Dec 24, 2012 at 7:42 AM

    No more time outs, period (and all personal fouls are one shot and possession).

    Stop playing sucky music, period.

    Hire Rodman to kick the photogs in the yoohoos when they’re in the way.

    Please: a shot is a shot. BUT: beyond halfcourt is 4, from within the opposite three pt stripe 5pts.

  10. 11thstreetmafia - Dec 24, 2012 at 12:27 PM

    The next player that whines about having to play on back-to-back nights gets punched in the face. After all, these guys are professional athletes, right?

  11. michaeljordanseviltwin - Dec 24, 2012 at 4:59 PM

    I’ve had the same idea about half-court shots. When the playoffs begin each year, I always find myself so excited by all the buzzer-beating heaves at the basket. Players don’t see to care about stats once the regular season ends so you see a lot more full court heaves. Ideally, players would just attempt the shot because they want to win but it just isn’t happening.

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