The NBA should be more like the NHL

I’ve watched a lot of the playoffs in the past few months, both NBA and the NHL.

Anderson Varejavo is one of the worst floppers in the NBA.

Anderson Varejao is one of the worst floppers in the NBA.

And while watching the NBA, I thought of how it doesn’t seem to be as exciting as the NHL playoffs.

Sure there’s been some good games, but it’s hard to watch a basketball game straight through.

So I thought I’d give some suggestions the NBA could copy from the NHL to make the game more exciting:

Less flopping

This has to be the worst thing to happen to the NBA in the last few years. Maybe it’s the European mentality that overseas players bring (after all, diving is rampant in soccer there).

Yes, it happens in the NHL, but there is a diving penalty that can get called. And one of the worst insults you can give to a hockey player is to call him a diver.

But in the NBA, it’s just embarrassing. My wife has watched about three minutes of basketball in the past five years. She was in the room when I was watching a Cleveland Cavaliers/Orlando Magic third round game. On an inbounds play, Anderson Varejao ran into Dwight Howard, and immediately fell to the floor, clutching at his own neck. Of course, he was fine, and didn’t miss any action. But on the very next defensive position, he flopped again. My wife looked at the television, rolled her eyes and exclaimed “My God, is he down again?” This is coming from someone who doesn’t watch the game, yet she was annoyed by Varejao’s flopping.

The NBA needs to fix it, and the solution is easy. A technical foul every time a player flops. Remember, two technicals and you’re out of the game. A certain amount over the season, and you get suspended for a game.

Want to make basketball more exciting? Get rid of the flopping. And this is the best way to do so.

Less ref involvement

The NBA is the reverse of the NHL when it comes to this. In hockey, the refs let more and more go as the game goes on. In the NBA, the refs call more and more fouls as the game goes on.

This was just one of 142 timeouts that were called in this game.

This was just one of 142 timeouts that were called in this game.

Everyone is complaining about the reffing in the NBA this year, and it is something that needs to be changed. Let the players decide the game at the end, not the refs.

Less timeouts

Why do NBA teams get so many timeouts? Sitting through the last two minutes of an NBA game is excrutiating at times, especially if it’s a seven-point lead or so, and teams are still calling timeouts.

The NHL gets one timeout all game. The NFL gets three per half. The NBA gets about 10 every quarter.

Change it up. NBA coaches get three timeouts per half. It would also mean that a) you need to be smarter when you use your timeouts, and b) you’re leaving more of the play up to the players instead of the coaches.

Don’t let opposing players shoot after the whistle

I’ve never understood this mentality of letting players shoot at your basket after a whistle. Why let a player get a free shot to warm up? It’s your basket: defend it. If someone wants to take a shot after the whistle, block him. Or if you’re next to the rim, jump up and swat it away (it wouldn’t be goaltending anyways, because play has stopped).

Taking shots after the whistle is frowned upon in the NHL. But it’s encouraged in the NBA.

A team’s goal is to stop the other team from scoring, so do that all the time. If the opposing player wants a free shot, reject him. Block it right back into his face if you have to. If he gets a free shot to warm up on offence, then you take use that opportunity to warm up on defence.


Filed under Sports blogs I like

3 responses to “The NBA should be more like the NHL

  1. Dennis

    Banning serious amounts of tattoos would help too.

  2. jtmush

    I agree with you. The NHL playoffs are a lot more exciting than the NBAs. The main reason is team intensity and emotion. In the NHL 2009 playoffs teams have come back from 2-0 series deficits, scored two goals in the remaining minute of a game, and have had the likes of Evgeni Malkin, Alexander Ovechkin, and Sidney Crosby play as members of a team (something stars rarely do in the NBA).

  3. Completely agree about the timeouts. The “TV timeouts” are what really slow the game down. Do we really need these things? The coaches call enough time-outs as it is…

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