UNIVERSITY PARK, Texas -- When the Texas Legends begin play in November in the NBA Development League, an international rule will be ushered in that Legends co-owner and Dallas Mavericks president Donnie Nelson would like to see implemented in the NBA.
"If a shot's bouncing around up there [on the rim]," Nelson said, "and you've got the ability to swat it out or slam it in, I think it’s great."
He's talking about the NBA's in-the-cylinder rule. When the ball is on the rim, players -- both offensive and defensive -- can not impede the ball's progress. They must wait until the ball clears the rim before rebounding it or swatting it away or, in the case of the offensive player, slamming it home. The rule allows the shot to come to its natural ending, either through the hoop or out of it.
It's not as though only one guy on a team is athletic enough to go up and swat the ball off the rim. Every player can do that.
Which would make doing away with the in-the-cylinder rule seem like interfering with the integrity of the game. Nelson disagrees.
"It takes away from the integrity of bad shooters," Nelson said.
But, what about the old shooter's touch? Dirk Nowitzki has mastered the art of the soft roll, when the ball bounces around the rim and then somehow goes through. In NBDL games, a defender can just slap the ball off the rim and kill the shot.
"If you’ve got the athletism to get up there and swat it out, Tyson Chandler-esque, it's a good thing," Nelson said. "We've been a proponent of this for a long time. It just makes the game better to me."
That's how FIBA plays it and Nelson has been around the international game for decades. Of course, he said he'd like to see the NBA go to the international game's trapezoid lane, too. That won't happen. FIBA is doing away with the trapezoid and going with an NBA-style lane.
Would the NBA consider going the way of FIBA and the NBDL in regards to the cylinder rule? Nelson said he doesn't know and he isn't sure how many league executives would want to swat down his idea.