Where’s The NBA Headed? Pay Close Attention To The D-League

By: 09.30.10  •  17 Comments


Trust me, this didn’t happen overnight. Since the NBA Development League was founded in 2001, it has long been the goal of the NBA’s official minor league to try things out there before bringing them to the Big Show. Whether it’s talent (developing 20 percent of current NBA players as well as numerous coaches, referees and front-office staff), jerseys (testing the new adidas-developed NBA Revolution 30 uniforms for this season) or equipment (playing with various versions of the official Spalding game ball), the D-League has always served as the perfect conduit to change. Now let’s add some rules to the list.

As all big businesses can attest to, the livelihood of your company is only as good as your Research & Development; because without R&D, the competitor starts to gain an edge. Yesterday, the D-League announced two changes to the rules for the upcoming 2010-11 season: incorporating the goaltending rule used in international competition and shortening overtime periods. And if you ask me, it won’t be long before these end up in the NBA.

“There are myriad benefits to having the NBA D-League serve as the NBA’s farm system,” says Stu Jackson, the NBA’s Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations. “One of the advantages is that it allows us to look at the rules of play and experiment with ways we can make the game more competitive.”

For those that are wondering, the new goaltending rule follows the standard used in the international game (which was on full display during this summer’s FIBA World Championship) that allows a player to knock the ball away when it is on the rim. Prior to this season, the D-League used the NBA’s goaltending rules, which prohibit players from touching the ball when it is in the cylinder. As for overtime, the period will be shortened to three minutes instead of five.

“We believe implementing these new rules will make our games even more exciting for both players and fans alike,” says D-League President Dan Reed, “while providing a valuable service for the NBA.”

What do you think? Are you in favor of both of these rule changes? If you could change the game, what would you do?

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