According to Woj, the NBA’s competition committee has unanimously agreed to put forth some rules changes for the 2018-19 season. The changes must be individually approved by 2⁄3 of the owners, but there is no reason to think the owners would turn these down.
Let’s see what kind of impact the new rules might have on the Phoenix Suns.
Shorter shot clock on offensive rebounds
Since the best Suns lineups will feature an undersized power forward who isn’t a good rebounder, the Suns might struggle to regain offensive possession on opponent misses next year.
This rule change would only put 14 seconds back on the clock on an offensive rebound, rather than the full 24 seconds of shame.
The change is designed to create more shot opportunities each game, and has some chance of creating more drama around late-game situations when a team is using offensive rebounds to run out the clock to victory.
Suns coach Igor Kokoskov is going to put a premium on shooting and pace — just like any prior Suns coach has done — and would benefit from having more offensive possessions per game as a result.
So this change could help the Suns.
Expanded instant replay for hostile acts
A few years ago, we might have to quake in our boots at the thought of referees being able to call for instant replay to review hostile acts on coaches or fans, and not just player-on-player as it is today.
The new rule would allow referees to stop the game to review more kinds of hostile acts, including player hostility toward fans, refs and coaches not just between each other, with the ability to call all manner of fouls from common foul to flagrant-2 with ejection.
Imagine the refs being able to stop play to review Marcus Morris spitting on his coach, Jeff Hornacek? Or Robert Horry throwing a towel in coach Danny Ainge’s face?
Or how about the refs being able to do what Suns management should have done, and asses a one-game suspension (Flagrant-2) on Markieff Morris for blaming Suns fans for his team scoring only 24 points in a HALF against the Spurs? That seemed hostile to me.
No word on whether the “hostile act” has to occur during live ball action, or if it can be assessed during timeouts or post-game interviews. I’ll check on that.
Also, no word on whether players and coaches can call for “hostile act” review when it’s a referee who is abusive. Methinks the rule change only applies to players, but I’ll check on this one too.
“Clarity” on the Clear Path rule
This change is intended to make it easier for refs to determine the clear path rule.
For those who need a refresher, the current “clear path” rule is intended to stop teams from simply fouling an opposing player to stop a fun, fan-frenzying transition basket from happening.
This happens a lot when a guard hands the to his defender and doesn’t want to be embarrassed by a windmill slam on the other end, so he grabs said thief to stop play and force a relatively harmless side-out inbounds.
In those cases, the refs can currently determine just how likely a score was to happen — i.e. no defender between them or a teammate about to receive the pass — and instead of just a side-out, they can award two free throws AND a side-out.
The rule change would supposedly remove some of the subjectivity, but it took Woj 2⁄3 of his article to try to explain the rule change, so I don’t know how much more “clarity” was created. We’ll see.
The ultimate intention appears to be to make it easier for a ref to call “clear path”, which should increase exciting fast breaks and reduce lazy back court fouls off turnovers.
What’s the impact on the Suns?
Well, since the Suns have a bunch of bad ball handlers, it’s likely they’ll see more fast breaks going the other way next season thanks to this rule change.