For many NBA fans one of the worst parts of a game is the final few minutes when the action seems to grind to a halt. Intentional fouls and timeouts can take all of the momentum out of an arena and leave fans begging for the game to just end.
On Wednesday the NBA approved a number of rule changes during the annual NBA Board of Governors meeting in Las Vegas in an effort to curve this effect. No, they didn’t outlaw intentional fouls but they did limit the number of timeouts a team can use from 18 to 14 per game.
Under the new rules full timeouts and 20-second timeouts of the past have been replaced with new team timeouts which will last 75-secionds each. The new rule isn’t perfect and teams are allowed to enter the fourth with up to four team timeouts left, but after the three minute mark of the fourth (or after returning from the second mandatory TV timeout)teams will be limited to just two team timeouts.
“[With the rule changes] we were more focused on the pace and flow of the game and what we heard from our fans and many of our teams, what we heard was that the end of the games in particular were too choppy,” NBA commissioner Adam Silver said at a news Conference. “So we think these new changes will have a significant impact, especially at the end of the game,”
“We have reduced the number of timeouts by four in the last two minutes of the game. Now in the last three minutes of games, each team will have two timeouts. That is significantly down. We will see how that works,” Silver said.
The NBA looked beyond game pace and flow in the Board of Governors meeting and came up with a few more changes for the upcoming season. The trade deadline was moved from the Thursday after the All-Star break to ten days before the All-Star Game, allowing traded players more time to adjust to their new cities.
The NBA also approved a 15-minute halftime for all games. The clock will start as soon as the second quarter comes to a close and if a team’s not ready to go at the end of the 15-minutes they will be assessed a delay-of-game penalty.
“These changes will help us fulfill our goal of improving game flow and pace of play,” NBA President of League Operations Byron Spruell said. “Fewer stoppages and less time without action, especially at the end of a game, will further enhance the viewing experience for our fans.”