With 37 seconds left in the 2017 NBA Finals, the Cleveland Cavaliers, already trailing in the series 3-1, were down 129-117 following a LeBron James layup. The sense that it was over started sinking in and the Golden State Warriors knew it. So did the Cavaliers. After a final desperation three by J.R. Smith, the final score ended up 129-120, Golden State Warriors. They won their second title in three years.
After the NBA Finals, fans go off and watch other sports while players take the free time to relax and recover from the exhausting seven month long season. For the NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, and the Board of Governor's however, the off-season is just the beginning. When the NBA season concludes, the Board of Governor's meet with the Commissioner and discuss certain issues that has been plaguing the NBA, most importantly, the rule changes that have been requested by players, owners, fans, and the Commish himself. Once they vote on the changes, the rule changes go into effect for the upcoming season.
Normally, the number of rule changes is around four a year, on average, over the past 15 seasons. A lot of the rules they implement, or change, is good for the sport. It covers an issue that was once a problem and fixes it indefinitely. But they do not always make the right decisions and it can cause many players from around the league to become very angry towards the rules, even speaking out against them whenever they can.
We went ahead and found 15 NBA rules that players have to follow even though they vehemently hate them.
16 First Class Is Not The Standard
NBA Stars usually hover somewhere around 7 feet tall. If you're an average person, getting on a plane can be excruciating due to the lack of leg room. Because of their long legs, it makes sense that players should be allowed to enjoy first class leg room. The extra space can actually help players avoid injury. However, coaches actually have the right to eject players from first class, according to some careful fine print in the CBA. If eight players are flying in first class, their boss can chuck all other players on the team into coach; and take a player's seat. That seems like a great way to lose the room! The only consolation for the players getting bumped down is that they can be reimbursed the difference of the price of a ticket. The rule is bizarre and can be frustrating for players who just want to be able to enjoy a comfortable (and problem free) flight).
15 The Draft Lottery
It was the fans of the NBA that caused the real reform of the NBA's flawed draft lottery. The last time the NBA did not have a lottery system in place, the Houston Rockets earned the first pick of the 1984 draft after tanking during the second half of the season in order to grab the top pick. So it does not look good that there is an obvious temptation for NBA teams that are out of the playoffs to start dropping games in order to better their team in the future.
The players hate it because it points a finger at them, calling them out for purposely losing games. It makes it tough for a team that starts losing more in the second half of the season to dispel the rumors of tanking. Some times the teams are just plain bad.
14 Technical Foul for Calling Timeout When There Are None Left
Why is there a need to penalize a team for calling a timeout if they have none? If the NBA feels the need to penalize a team for calling a false timeout than force them to give up possession, or maybe just give them a warning. The players can forget about their timeout situation now that there are so many new rules involving how many timeouts you get. It is an honest mistake that can happen in the heat of the moment. Just ask Chris Webber how he feels about it.
Now that the NBA grants hefty penalties for a certain number of suspensions, as well as large fines, a technical foul has a new meaning to players and it is just plain silly to call one on them for something that happens more often than many would think.
13 No Rest for Star Players during Nationally Televised Games
This is the one rule that is the cause of one head coaches decision to rest his players during a nationally televised game that was supposed to be an instant classic. Greg Poppovich, the San Antonio Spurs head coach, rested his star players because they did not need to win that game in order to reach the NBA playoffs. They did not only lose, they got blown out. And it kept happening throughout the season, even after the NBA front office requested he play them.
Beginning this past season, it has become mandatory for head coaches to play their star players during these big time games. This will guarantee to the fans that if they pay money to come out and see LeBron James play in their home town, he will play.
12 Players Can't Go Beyond the 3-Point Line During Free Throws
This is one of those rules that makes no sense to fans. How important was it that a rule needed to be added to keep players from walking beyond the 3-point line between free throws? According to NBA officials, the rule was put in place to keep the game flow moving to help shorten games. But this very little move is hardly used by any of the players except for one, Russell Westbrook, who has become extremely aggravated over the rule.
He has had the same free throw shooting routine since his days playing at UCLA where he shoots his free throw, walks forward and slaps his teammates hands, then turns back to reset himself by walking to the top of the key and then lining himself back up. However, now that his routine has been changed due to this rule, we have seen a drop in his free throw shooting. For his career, he was a 83% shooter from the line but this season, after the rule was put into play, he is shooting 73%. He blames it on the rule that he hates.
11 Anti-Flopping Rule
At one point, not long ago, players were doing everything they could to sell a foul to the referees. Chris Paul, LeBron James, and Stephen Curry were famous for doing it, and usually getting the call. But now that instant replay has become a major part of the game, and technology has given us multiple camera angles to watch the games, the flopping was getting out of control, and pathetic.
Chris Paul would literally get fouls called if a player braised past him running under the basket. He would make it seem as if he was hit by a truck and would throw his body into the air, flopping all around, hence the word flop. The players are upset over the rule because if they get called for excessive flopping, then they will end up having to be hefty fines to the league, which could escalate to $30,000 by the sixth time.
10 The Reckless Closeout Rule AKA Zaza Rule
Last summer, during Game 1 of the NBA Western Conference Finals, San Antonio Spurs superstar Kawhi Leonard went up for a simple jump shot and was contested by Golden State Warrior's Zaza Pachulia. On his way down, he landed awkwardly on Zaza's foot, which had slide underneath Kawhi, leaving him with no where to land on his way down causing him to badly injure his ankle, missing the rest of the playoffs, and forcing the NBA to add a new rule.
But this is one of those rules that might not be the best one because it can be so subjective that it might cause the game to slow down as referees are forced to watch replays to judge the severity of it. Players think it is silly to add such a rule because the defensive players will be forced to play softer and make sure they don't closeout on a shooter.
9 Players Can't Talk to Free Throw Shooter (No Hand Up Either)
This was actually a shocking revelation to learn about while researching this post. We did not realize that the NBA had a rule in place that bans opposing players from talking to a shooter that is in the process of shooting free throws. The defenders are not even allowed to put their hands up in the air. That is one of the first things a kid is taught to do while standing in the lane for free throws. You put your hands up to distract the shooter because you are not allowed to guard him. Not once has it become a problem.
Players continue to have less freedom during the games to do things that, 20 years ago, would have made classic moments for generations to come. Anyone remember when Michael Jordan shot free throws with his eyes closed? He was talking to the other team, challenging them. That was his game and that moment will live forever.
8 Hack-A-Shaq Intentional Foul
Not only do players oppose the "Hack-a-Shaq" rule, officially known as fouling a player away from the play, but the fans do too because it takes away from the competition of the game. It can also add several minutes to the ending of a game because teams like the San Antonio Spurs, are going to use the rule to their advantage when playing against players like Andre Drummond and DeAndre Jordan.
The players are not fans of the rule because it slows down the flow of the game but it also drives away the sportsmanship too. Teams can focus on simply fouling these type of poor shooting players and literally spend the entire game doing it, something the Spurs have done before, because the rules don't
7 Restricted Area Under the Basket
Another rule that NBA players hate is charging. The reason they hate it is mostly because of the restricted area marked around and underneath the basket. It is a problem that basketball has battled with for a long time now. The idea that a defensive player has to give up his body to take a charge but also has to make sure they are not standing inside or touching the restricted area.
Referees in the NBA are going to always notice if the defender taking the charge has a foot in that restricted arc and if so, they will turn that charge call into a blocking right away because that is the rule. If the NBA Board of Governors would like to add to that rule and define whether or not a player's foot inside the arc should count against his taking of a charge, then they should do so. In the meantime, do not expect any players to tell you about how much they love that restricted arc under the basket.
6 Respect The Game Rule
What is wrong with a NBA player showing any emotion towards an officials call? During the game, players are not just involved physically. They are also involved mentally and because of that, they sometimes let their emotions take the wheel.
If a referee makes a call based on what he sees and the player who committed the foul does not agree, why can't he argue the call? As long as he does not get excessive in the mannerisms or the argument, then there is no reason to implement a rule that allows referees to give out technical fouls when a player does not like a call and visibly showcases his disagreement to the official. In the NFL, players can get away with being visibly upset with a bad call and nothing happens. Same thing with the MLB and NHL. Players in the NBA have to worry about who is referring the game each night as to whether or not they are going to get the right calls.
5 Commercial Logos Can Only Be Used On Shoes
You cannot tattoo an Adidas logo into your hair like Iman Shumpert did a few years ago. The NBA came down hard on him for it and even explained to the media that the reason they don't allow it is because they could make upwards of $100 million for sponsorship deal with Adidas to get their brand on players uniforms. If the NBA is talking about a deal worth nine figures, imagine what the players would make for signing their own deals.
In other words, the NBA makes all the money by exploiting the talent. That's professional sports folks. Lonzo Ball is taking advantage of this rule by creating his very own shoe brand, basically taking the rule and stretching it out to help line his pockets and not the NBA's. The players would all love to wear arm bands with any sponsor they would like but they just can't do that and that is causing a lot of NBA players to miss out on some extra dough.
4 Clear Path Foul
When adding a new rule to the NBA's official rules list, the one thing they should not do is make one that is not only confusing but also very much debatable because it never happens like they explain the rule. The rule simply states that when the ball is turned over to the opposition, the new offensive player that gets the ball must have a clear path to the goal, without a single defender between him or the basket. The next part is the important one. If the defender makes the foul from behind or on the side of him, then it is a foul. However, if that same defender, ends up getting in front of him, then it cannot be called one.
The biggest issue is that defenders do not always have clean position between the player and the basket and the guy with the ball is sometimes not squared up with the basket either. It is more confusing than anything else.
3 Standing During the National Anthem
If you have been alive in the past two years than you know about the debate that the world has clashed with athletes on, and you probably have your own opinion on the matter but this is not your moment and you should save it for another forum, maybe Facebook (I hear they have very understanding human beings on that site). As for being told to stand during the National Anthem, that is just plain ridiculous. Why does that need to be a rule? Was this ever a concern with NBA officials prior to Colin Kaepernick's life-changing moment when he knelt during the National Anthem. He caused outrage and has ended up being banished from the NFL by the owners because of it.
Without getting too preachy, and without adding our own personal beliefs, if someone wants to stand during the National Anthem, that is up to them. It is not treasonous or unpatriotic to kneel during the anthem, it is legally a First Amendment right in America. Seeing that it has never been an issue in the NBA makes you wonder why the rule was ever added.
2 Fouling Out
Besides basketball and soccer, what other major professional sport has a system in place that can cause a team to lose a player based on a set of circumstances that can sometimes be controversial. So if a referee has a bad night and makes a few bad calls against one player, and that player fouls out, that team just lost a player because one of the officials was having a bad day.
There should be a higher number attached to fouling out instead of simply giving a NBA player six fouls each game. If you remove it completely than the system does not work and players would just kill each other on the court. So they have no choice but to keep them as part of the game. But maybe it goes up to 10 fouls before your night is over, or even eight. The six fouls has always seemed a bit harsh because it is low enough that if a player gets two fouls in the first few minutes of the game, that same player will be benched so that he does not find himself with three.
1 One-And-Done Rule
No one was more excited about the One-and-Done rule besides NCAA Men's Basketball coaches. That meant that the best kids in the country would not be able to skip college and would have to choose a college to play at for at least one year if they are under 19 years of age. But that happiness quickly turned to anger because now the NCAA tournament was full of freshman that were just buying their time until they could declare for the NBA draft.
Ben Simmons is a great example of the problem. He used LSU to further his own career, leaving them and never looking back. He had a chance to make a run but settled for himself, leaving the school wondering why. Most LSU fans were insanely ecstatic for his arrival but shortly after he left, those same fans wished he never came to LSU in the first place. He did more harm than good. Players in the NBA agree that the rule stinks and needs a little tweaking because a lot of these kids coming out of high school aren't ready anyways. They end up learning for a year or two before becoming a star so what is the harm in ending this rule?