If you’re Leon Washington, Brad Smith, Devin Hester or any other NFL kick returner, you’ve probably been fuming for a while. Moving the kickoff line forward five yards to the 35-yard line will change the game. Drastically. And it’ll probably lose some of these return guys money. Will it work out? Well the thinking is it’ll protect the players. How much it changes one of the most exciting plays in the game is secondary in the league’s eyes.
Obviously, the NFL has greater concerns with player safety than the NBA does. Concussions, paralysis and daily impacts with the force of a rolling bus are rarely seen in the NBA (if at all). But what if basketball and David Stern starting changing smaller rules as the NFL did with their kickoffs? We’ve heard rumblings for the past five or 10 years that the league has contemplated incorporating more FIBA-style rules into the NBA. Could any of them work out or would they all be deemed massive failures?
Let’s run down a list of a few rules the league has talked about or could talk about in the future…with the ability to impact the game as the NFL’s new kickoff rules has:
RAISING THE RIMS
Some buffoon is always bringing this up, saying athletes are getting too big and too strong, and that we need to move the rim to 11 or 12 feet to save us from these Monstars out here destroying the very fundamental purpose of the game. Look at Dwight Howard! He can dunk on 12 feet, they say. Except who wants to see the rim go up that high? We would completely lose the “little guy over big guy” dunks that are probably one of the most exciting plays in all of sports. Granted, this would be more than just changing the kickoff line. This is like shortening the football field to 50 yards.
MOVING THE THREE-POINT LINE
The league already tried moving the line up from 1994-’97 and it came with mixed results. I don’t believe moving the line six inches one way or eight inches another way is going to make a big difference. It could, but probably not. For example, the new college three-point line was infused gradually, starting a few years ago. Did it really affect me whenever I played? Not really. Maybe I shot .05 percent less. For NBA players, I doubt it would mean much more than watching the edges of their sneakers. They’re pros. They can adjust by six inches.
But what if the NBA put in hot spots straight out of NBA Jam? Six points to hit from 30 feet here. 10 points if you bang this midcourt shot. Guys like Nick Young and Michael Beasley would be going for the eight pointers on the regular. Damn, why didn’t they have this when J-Will was around? He’d be shooting 50-footers every time down. On second thought, never mind.
MAKING THE LANE SKINNIER
Would it be a good thing to go back to making the goliaths virtually unstoppable on the block? We always complain about seven footers playing outside or that no one comes of age anymore as a traditional big man. Could this bring them back?
CHANGING THE GOALTENDING RULE
Granted, I hate this rule. It bothers me whenever I’m watching an international game, and someone takes a shot, the balls right on the rim, about to go in…and then someone tips it right out. I know if I was playing, that would have me flipping out. With the athletes they have in the NBA, dudes like JaVale McGee or DeAndre Jordan would instantly become more valuable.