The NBA Finds The Unique Way Games End In The Basketball Tournament ‘Really Intriguing’

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If you’ve watched any of The Basketball Tournament this year, you’ll know that the way games reach their conclusion are rather unique. That’s because at a certain point in the action, the game clock gets turned off, and instead of having the highest score when the clock hits zero, a target score that both teams need to reach is set.

This is called the “Elam Ending,” the brain child of Ball State professor Nick Elam. The plan, as Jeff Eisenberg of Yahoo Sports documented on Friday, looks to eliminate fouling late in basketball games by turning the game clock off late, adding seven points to whatever the team in the lead has, and letting the two sides play it out.

It’s certainly an ambitious idea — it would occur at the first stoppage in play under four minutes in college hoops and the first one under three minutes in the NBA. While there’s nothing on the horizon to imply change is coming, at the very least, the concept has piqued the interest of some people within the NBA’s league offices, most notably executive vice president of basketball operations Kiki Vendeweghe and senior vice president of basketball strategy and analytics Evan Wasch, both of whom are studying the results of the system during The Basketball Tournament.

“We believe that our game is in a great place, but having said that, we’re also charged with always being aware of what’s going on in the sport,” Vandeweghe told Yahoo Sports. “We’ve watched this some, we’re familiar with the concept and we think it’s really intriguing. Overall right now, for a variety of reasons, it might be a little radical for us to try out, but we’re tracking the games in which it’s being used and we’re watching the results very closely.”

They have some concerns, namely that this just moves when fouls occur to later in games and that getting rid of buzzer-beaters and overtime won’t go over especially well. Wasch even said he’s “cooled a little bit on it since seeing it in action.” For reference, here’s what that looks like:

As of now, it’s nothing more than a fun gimmick that interests a few people in the NBA league offices. Perhaps that changes somewhere down the road, perhaps it becomes one of those fun G League experimental things, or perhaps it never sniffs becoming a reality in the NBA. But at the very least, it’s a unique idea that would be fun to think about during a random midseason game that turns into a foul fest down the stretch.

(Via Yahoo Sports)