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Offseason Notes: Rule Changes

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There will be a few changes to the NBA next year

NBA: Finals-Cleveland Cavaliers at Golden State Warriors Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The NBA Board of Governors has voted to change a few rules in the NBA. You can check out the full text here.

The most notable rule changes are as follows:

  • Teams will be limited to two team timeouts in the last three minutes of a game

Basketball, in both the NBA and NCAA, has always been plagued by a slow pace of play in the last few minutes of a close game. Tight games can drag on for almost half an hour, as between constant free throws and timeouts at every change of possession, a ton of time is being wasted for what is about 2-3 minutes of actual game time.

This rule change should hopefully change that. Teams will still have the opportunity to take a timeout to prepare for an important possession, but coaches will no longer have the ability to call timeout at every change of possession.

  • Teams total timeouts will be reduced from 18 to 14

Again, this is a rule change that will hopefully increase the speed and flow of the game. For the Wolves, in particular, this means that Tom Thibodeau should be less likely to use all of his timeouts in the first quarter.

There are several other small changes regarding the pace of play, such as a hard 15-minute half-time window and instead of the option of a 20-second timeout vs a 90-second full timeout, teams’ just have “team timeouts” that last 75 seconds.

  • The NBA regular season will begin October 17th, a full week earlier than last year

This makes sense and this type of change will likely continue in the future. No one wants to play back-to-backs and no one cares about the preseason. One of the goals of starting earlier is trying to eliminate back-to-backs. Reportedly, the league is trying to eliminate back-to-backs for teams right before they play in televised games. This seems like a good compromise between the league who is concerned about their revenue vs the coaches who are concerned about their players.

  • The trade deadline will end on February 8th, 2018, the second Thursday before the All-Star Weekend

This move was made to allow players who are traded to have a little more time with their new teams to prepare before games get in full-swing after the break. It does raise the interesting dilemma of what happens if an All-Star is traded across conferences right before the All-Star Game. However, it also means that the All-Star weekend will not be overshadowed by the trade deadline, such as when DeMarcus Cousins found out he was traded right after the All-Star game last year.

Those are the big changes. What do you all think?