David Stern: rule changes under discussion

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The NBA's new competition committee has discussed expanded use of instant replay.

"It's not enough to say, 'it's all part of the game.'" -- David Stern

The NBA's new competition committee -- Rick Carlisle, Doc Rivers, Lionel Hollins, Dan Gilbert, Joe Lacob, Bryan Colangelo, Mitch Kupchak, Kevin O'Connor, Sam Presti and Players Association representative Keyon Dooling -- met Monday to talk about rule changes that can make the game better. The committee has the power to recommend changes that then are voted on by the Board of Governors which next meets in July.

The NBA is at an all-time height in popularity, so what needs fixing?

"One of the things that we all agreed on is that the game continually changes, coaching changes, the athletes change," explained Stern. "And what our job is, without going overboard, to consider those adjustments that just keep up with the game and the flow and the practices and the things that our coaches and players are due and actually capable of."

Stern announced that the topics under discussion are:

  • Instant replay

  • Flagrant foul calls

  • Goaltending

  • Flopping

  • Away from the play (hack-a-whoever) fouls

Many of the topics they discussed were ones HoopIdea has also investigated.



I think it’s fair to say that there was some broad agreement that there should be something done about expanding instant replay on goaltending, expanding instant replay on flagrant foul calls.

That’s under very strong consideration, to review all flagrants and generally to decide whether it’s a 1 or is it a flagrant and should it be accompanied by an ejection or should it be downgraded to a common foul?

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One of the things we’re looking at is a postgame analysis of flopping. And I think we’re going to come up with something that addresses that and hope to have it in shape as soon as the July meeting in Las Vegas.

We could see something like [the current points system for technicals] ... If you continue to do this you have to suffer some consequences. What exactly that should be, and the progression is, is to be decided.

We just want to put a stake in the ground and say this is not something we want to be a part of our game -- without coming down with a sledgehammer but to do it in a minimalist way to begin stamping it out.

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One of the things that we’ve done quietly over the last two years is shorten the full game time by moving the players out faster bringing them back from timeouts, by starting the game closer to when it’s supposed to begin and the like. And that’s been very effective. We’ve cut out a number of minutes.

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We have some rules that apply only in the last two minutes and as counterintuitive sometimes as that might be, our fans seem to appreciate that and like it.

So our last two minutes may be subject to a little bit more [review/changes]. We have to go back, look at our notes and see what we construct and circulate, but there was some discussion:

"That’s a problem, that’s a problem, that’s a problem."

"Well how about in the last two minutes?"

"Oh that’s ok!'

... When the game is there, it’s tied, it’s on the line and there are 32 seconds to go, there’s an acceptance that that’s the time when you should be looking at the replay.

It’s sort of accepting of the reality of the way our fans want the game to be officiated and when they want to be 100 percent certain as opposed to 90 percent certain.

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It's fair to say there was a strong sense that we shouldn't cut down on the toolbox that coaches have available to them, despite what may seem the unseemliness of the way it goes down. But that's just one of the things that you do if you want to win and it works.

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