Tha Sports Junkies 101

NBA G League to experiment with rule changes and new playoff format!

Experiment Keith Allison via Flickr


Ahh The G League. The NBA’s latest and greatest in selling out. After rebranding from the Developmental League to the Gatorade League (G League for short), the NBA’s version of minor league sports has officially become the guinea pig for the big league. They might as well call it the E League, short for Experiment League. This week the NBA announced several changes that are set to take place this season. Among them are instant replay changes, new timeout rules, and a new playoff format. Let’s break it all down.

Officiating Changes and the Instant Replay Experiment

Perhaps the smallest change is that four-person officiating crews will be used for all preseason games and all regular season games in November. Last season the NBA tried this for nine regular season games, but this is a significant step up from that. Other than that, the only other officiating change deals with instant replays.

There are now five new circumstances in which officials can opt to turn to the NBA Replay Center in Secaucus, New Jersey for a ruling:

  1. Flagrant Fouls: If a foul is called and officials have doubt that the foul meets the criteria for a flagrant foul
  2. Two-point/three-point shots: If officials are uncertain whether a made basket was a two or a three-pointer. Alternatively, if a player is fouled on a shot attempt and officials are uncertain whether the attempt came from beyond the ark or not.
  3. Made basket at the end of a quarter: If a field goal is made with no time left on the clock, officials can review whether or not the player got it off in time.
  4. Foul at the end of a quarter: If a foul occurs with no time left on the clock, officials can review whether or not it occurred before the time expired.
  5. Altercation: If two or more players are involved in an altercation. Officials can now review to see who or what the instigator was.

New Playoff Format

There is a lot of buzz around the NBA about adopting a new playoff format. This experiment, however, is not exactly the same idea. Under the new format, there will be four rounds and 12 playoff teams.

The team with the best regular season record in each division is automatically in. These are the six “division winners.”  The other six playoff spots will be filled by three “wild card” teams from each conference. These are the teams with the best regular-season records, other than the division winners. It is important to note that there will still be six teams from each conference. Many people favor the “top 16 teams get in” idea to this experiment.

The conferences will be seeded one through six, with the division winners owning the first, second and third seeds. The wild card teams occupy the fourth, fifth and sixth seeds based on their regular season records.  The top two seeds in each conference will earn a first-round bye, another new addition to basketball’s playoff format.  The playoffs will begin with three single-elimination rounds before culminating with a best-of-three NBA G-League Finals between the remaining two teams.

Other Rules Changes

Other miscellaneous changes include the adjustment of overtime periods and Coach’s challenges. Overtime is now two minutes per period, down from three. Teams receive one Coach’s challenge per game. These challenges can be used to review called fouls, goaltending/basket interference, and out-of-bounds calls.

Each team now receives seven timeouts per game, and there will be no distinction between full and 30-second timeouts. The following regulations are now in place regarding timeouts:

  1. All non-mandatory Team Timeouts are 30 seconds
  2. Each period has two 90-second mandatory Team Timeouts. These will occur after the first stoppage under the seven-minute and three-minute marks.
  3. Each team may enter the fourth quarter with up to four Team Timeouts, but no more.
  4. Each team is limited to a maximum of two Team Timeouts after the three-minute mark of the fourth quarter or the resumption of play following the second mandatory timeout of that quarter.
  5. In overtime, each team will have two Team Timeouts.

There are also two experimental rules from last season that the NBA has scrapped. Technical fouls for flopping will no longer be assessed in-game, and a postgame “warning-and-fine policy” similar to that of the NBA’s will be implemented.  Also, the team foul limit will be reduced from six to five fouls in a quarter before the bonus penalty goes into effect.

The 2017-18 NBA G League season tips off on Nov. 3 with an all-time-high 26 teams competing in a 50-game regular season.

Do you think the NBA should experiment with some of these ideas? Leave a comment down below.

Follow TSJ Sports on Twitter @TSJ_Sports and @TSJ_NBA. You can follow me @mholzapfel3.