clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

NBA Changes Rules on Timeouts, Halftime, and Schedule

On Wednesday, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver announced a handful of rule changes for the 2017-2018 season, focusing on improving the “flow of the game”.

NBA: Indiana Pacers at Denver Nuggets Steve Flynn-USA TODAY Sports

Fans and analysts have complained for years that the NBA has too many timeouts, especially in the 4th quarter, and that the games would be more enjoyable if the action had greater continuity. The changes detailed on Wednesday should help quite a bit to make the average NBA game a smoother affair. For a complete list of changes as well as some explanation from Adam Silver, check out this Sports Illustrated article. Here are some highlights:

  • Reducing maximum number of timeouts each team has per game from nine to seven. Eliminating a total of four potential timeouts could shave minutes off game length.
  • All timeouts are now the same length - 75 seconds - rather than timeouts of either 20 (which were really 60) or 90 seconds. This cuts just a bit more time off the overall length of a game.
  • The mandatory timeouts will now take place at the seven and three minute mark in each quarter, at the first stoppage. These replace the nine minute timeouts in the 2nd and 4th quarters, which always seemed to happen abruptly right after the quarter just began.
  • Teams can only have four timeouts in the 4th quarter, and can only use two in the last three minutes. This should reduce the interminable end-of-game scenarios that happen sometimes, where four minutes of gameplay lasts 30 minutes.
  • Halftime will now last precisely 15 minutes (instead of 18?). Making sure halftime doesn’t drag too long should help the watching experience at home and at the games, and might keep players from getting too cold as well.
  • Trade deadline has been moved up two weeks, from the Thursday after the All Star Break to the Thursday 10 days before it. This will prevent a scene like last All Star Break, which was dominated by DeMarcus Cousins trade rumors and speculation. All players will know for sure that they are playing for their teams (and conferences) in the All Star Game.
  • Finally, the start of the season has been moved up from last year, now arriving on October 17th (last year it was October 25th). This additional time is being granted to reduce back to backs. Hopefully it can even eliminate the awful “four games in five nights”. However, training camp and preseason will still begin in early October; the preseason has been cut down by almost a third. This is a good thing— teams never wanted or needed as many preseason games as they had been receiving.

What do you think of the changes? Is this a good start or does more need to be done?