My Wish List for the NBA (version 1.0)

I’ve been rewatching Olympic Men’s Basketball, wishing the NBA preseason were already here. To keep from going crazy, I’ve decided to list out 20 things I wish the NBA would do to improve itself. Nearly all of these ideas are whimsical, nevertheless, I’d like to know what you think about them. And what are some of your own ideas?

So, in no particular order, where is some of my wish list for the NBA…

1 – The sidelines would be cleared of photographers, videographers, etc. so the court would be safer for players.

2 – There would be “line judges” like in volleyball, soccer, tennis, etc. Basketball line judges would watch out of bounds calls of course, but they would also be responsible for calling things like backcourt violations, 3 in the key, the restricted zone under the basket, etc., freeing up the 3 referees to call fouls and traveling.

3 – Coaches would each get 2 opportunities per game to question a call and have it resolved by video replay. Yes, that would slow down games a bit, but still, that’s less frustrating than having a blown call affect the outcome of a close game.

4 – In addition to the 3 referees, and 2 line judges, there would be a video ref, who watches the same feed the fans are fed. The NBA keeps a spare ref at every game anyway, this would just give the guy (or gal) something meaningful to do. The video ref wouldn’t have authority to stop play, but could OCCASIONALLY communicate via radio to ear pieces on the floor refs what he sees… such as physical play off the ball that isn’t being called, so that the floor refs can watch for it.

5 – Flopping would be a technical foul.

6 – Face guarding would be without question a technical foul.

7 – The NBA would assess sportsmanship fines without needing technical fouls to do so. For example, if a player like Kobe, or a coach like D’Antoni, or an owner like Cuban acts up but doesn’t get a tech, the league should still fine them upon game tape review. That would clean up some of the whining without overly penalizing teams, players and fans.

8 – Unruly and abusive fans should be dealt with MUCH earlier on, so as to curb bigger problems. Everyone has a limit to their patience, and players in the heat and passion of “battle” should not be subjected to what many fans are doing at games.

9 – If an incident happens at a game, alcohol sales should immediately be suspended for that game.

10 – The regular season would consist of exactly 3 games against every other team in the NBA, that way teams records wouldn’t be skewed due to a particular division or conference being exceptionally strong or weak. (By the way, this was Hoffman’s idea originally.)

11 – The pass leading to an assist would be an officially kept stat, thus encouraging unselfish play (because players would still selfishly get credit in stats for passing).

12 – All NBA games for each season should be archived to the web, commercials and all, 2 days after the game has played. The web player could prohibit skipping forward, so advertisers can be assured their messages are getting out, but once watched, you could skip back video at will, loop it, and slow it down. That way fans could watch games not shown in their areas and see what the buzz was.

13 – All non-merchandising revenue would be shared, divided equally between all teams. A rising tide lifts ALL boats, regardless of size. If revenues were shared, not only would teams be more competitive, but they’d do more to help everyone succeed. For example, if a large market team like the Lakers were visiting a small market team like the Jazz, Lakers players would benefit the whole league by promoting the game, doing things such as school visits, television commercials, etc. This would be even more important to teams that are struggling. Losing teams have a hard time selling tickets, but opponent promotion of home games would raise attendance for the struggling team and increase revenues for all.

14 – All players would have to play a minimum of 30 games in the d-league before becoming eligible for the NBA draft, that way college players, high school players and international players would all be evaluated on a level playing field before being drafted into the NBA.

15 – All players would have to not only take courses which in effect train them in the perils of being an NBA player (drugs, alcohol, money management, hoes, leeches, handling press, etc.), but the courses would all have tests that players would need to pass as well. The tests would need to be passed again every 5 years a player is in the NBA (retaking the courses would be optional). Whether or not players comply remains to be seen, but at least we’ll know they knew better.

16 – Player suspensions are too frequent in the NBA, and are unfair to fans who paid to see certain players play. Fines aren’t effective because some players make too much to care, and those that don’t wouldn’t be getting equitable treatment paying a fine that a superstar has to pay as well. Alternative punishments should be sought that are just as serious a deterrent, but don’t punish the fans as well. Alternative punishments could include community service in NBA Cares (painting alleyways or something), ushering at NBA games their team isn’t playing in, etc.

17 – There should be more than just a single MVP award. Let the press vote for their MVP, but then let players vote for a POY (Player of the Year), and coaches selected a coaches’ “Auerback Award” winner. Share the love! Most years, more than one player deserves the accolades anyway, and when someone has been especially dominate, they stand a chance of sweeping all three awards: by the players, by the coaches and by the media.

18 – (This is another Hoffman idea): Once the fans choose the NBA All-Star starting 5 for each conference, let the coaches select the rest of the all-star team without regard to position, that way the most deserving players get the recognition, and someone doesn’t sneak in just because that position in his conference doesn’t have many dominate players. Yeah, the coaches will have to be creative with minutes, but they are anyway as it is.

19 – After winning the NBA Finals, the champs would then participate in a tournament against the winners of the international leagues to REALLY earn the title “World Champion.” To minimize the wear and tear on NBA players, the world would play a single elimination tournament (FIBA rules) to determine the NBA team’s opponent. Say Spain’s CB Girona won, and was to play the Boston Celtics. That final matchup would be a best of 3 series, with the first game played by FIBA rules, the 2nd game played by NBA rules, and the 3rd game played by the rules of the biggest point differential. Right now, Spain can stack a team with the Gasol brothers, Ricky Rubio, Rudy Fernandez, etc. but spread those players out to their normal professional teams, and have them play the NBA champions, and just watch how the world realizes how dominate USA basketball still is. 

20 – After every game, coaches should fill out a score card on the officiating. Each year, all referees (and line judges) with a GPA less than 2.0 should be fired so as to let new blood have a shot at it.

  1. HenryHenry09-11-2008

    Hi there,
    Got to know your blog from This is a really comprehensive article on basketball changes. Actually you are spot on on most of them, in fact, when i read them, i wonder why we just take some the rules as it is!

    I especially like the photographers to get out of the way for sidelines. I know the media is important, but hey it is so damn difficult to jump for a loose ball that is going out of bounds when you have to pay attention to some reporters.

    Great read!

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