Changing the Game: 5 Rule changes the NBA must consider

2024 NBA All-Star Game
2024 NBA All-Star Game / Stacy Revere/GettyImages
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2) One free throw per shooting foul

In recent years, the NBA has instituted several rules to make the game more exciting and digestible for fans. Unfortunately, many of these rules are geared to help the offense increase scoring across the board. Combine that with all the player safety rules and it’s become easy to draw fouls. With so limitations on what defenders are allowed to do without being penalized, many players have been accused of “foul hunting.”

Despite the slight decrease this season, fouls and free throw attempts per game remain very high. Fouls disrupt the game flow and drag out games; this is especially true down the stretch of close contests, and let’s be honest, nobody wants to watch free throws. Free throws may be boring, but they are an important part of the game, and they aren’t going anywhere. While the NBA can’t get rid of foul shots, it can modify its approach. 

One way the league can combat this is to imitate the Big3 three-on-three basketball league. Instead of the traditional free throw rules, when a player is fouled on a shot, they take one free throw from that range worth equal points to the shot that was taken. So, if a player is fouled inside the arc, they take one free throw from the foul line worth two points; if the foul occurs behind the 3-point line, they take a free throw from 3-point range for three points.

The rule also applies when the offensive player converts his field goal attempt while drawing the foul. So if a player gets fouled while making a layup and makes the ensuing free throw, his team is awarded four points. 

While this likely won’t lead to fewer fouls overall, we should see a decrease in intentional fouls, and it will speed up the game since we won’t have to sit through so many free throws. Making your free throws will be more crucial as it could make or break a lead and should also increase scoring which seems to be Adam Silver’s number one priority outside of turning the NBA into a global empire.