David Stern has said that his time as the NBA's commissioner is coming to an end. One of his greatest accomplishments in his time as commissioner has been his tireless efforts to spread the game of basketball throughout the world. This has gotten to the point where you can legitimately argue basketball is the second most popular sport in the world.
It seems that Stern's final crusade will be trying to bring the NBA game closer to the international game.
Despite continue push back from the owners on the competition committee, Stern wants to change the goaltending rules or at least make them a little more clear and defined.
Stern said he will once again ask the competition committee to consider adopting the international goaltending rule, which allows players to touch the ball after a shot hits the rim and the ball remains above the rim. This rule would certainly help a lot of the high-flyers in the league as they could then knock the ball off the basket or tip-in a dunk without impunity or worrying about whether the ball is in that gray area of on-the-rim or off-the-rim.
By changing this goaltending rule, and ostensibly getting rid of offensive basket interference, Stern is trying to redefine one of the hardest rules for officials to call. Namely by taking away the call altogether. I mean, who better to judge whether someone got to the ball while it was still on the rim than a guy standing on the corners of the floor, right?
This would be an interesting development in NBA basketball and one that the league should certainly seriously consider. After all, FIBA is seeking to standardize the rules of basketball and switched from its quirky trapezoidal lane to the rectangular one and has adopted many more of the NBA's rules. Adding this rule would be something of a nod to the international way of playing basketball.
Alas, Stern is likely not going to see this change. Not any time soon at least.
Brett Poliakoff of Pro Basketball Talk says the competition committee has fought Stern over this issue for a long time and that it is not likely to change. Sorry, Dwight Howard, you can't be grabbing the ball wildly off the rim whenever you please like you so desperately want to.
What might get through though is expanded review of goaltending, especially late in games. After a LaMarcus Aldridge block was incorrectly ruled a goalttend, causing the Blazers to lose in overtime to the Thunder, the calls for expanding replay to this corner of the NBA universe has slowly gained steam.
It appears the proposed plan would allow referees to review goaltending calls late in games. Of course, deciding whether the ball is going down on its arc is still a judgment call, one that no one is likely to be able to avoid.
What the competition committee comes up with as it concerns goaltending will have a big impact on the game, no matter how they change it or don't change it.
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