Shoot More, Foul Out Less..


At times of struggle, many people turn to the greats of a sport for guidance.
With the NBL looking to renew itself and create a more entertaining, exciting matches – the words of an NBA legend like Phil Jackson may help.
Upon re-reading Jackson’s book The Last Season, his tale of his last year coaching the LA Lakers, the legendary coach brings up his disagreement with the foul-out rule in modern basketball.
When writing about the pitfalls of having Shaquille O’Neal foul out against Detroit Pistons, Jackson wrote that the original rules of the game made a player who committed his second foul sit out until the opposition scored their next basket, which would allow him to re-enter.
Jackson also mentions that the old US Continental Basketball Association, a minor league, had a “no foul out rule” in the 1980s.
Instead of forcing a player to foul out, every time a player fouled while over five fouls, the opposition would get two shots and possession of the ball.
This old rule caught my eye, especially in a season where a rigid TV deal means the league can’t move to 48-minute matches and mirror the NBA.
Teams have also recruited well this season with several more stars on rosters compared to past seasons.
NBA calibre imports like James Ennis along with local stars like Chris Goulding, AJ Ogilvy, Adam Gibson and others need to be in the game for as long as possible.
At the same time the NBL has to create some publicity waves and capture more attention, such a rule could at least jolt free those opinion makers who write off the NBL has been stale and unimaginative.
Bringing this forgotten rule back into play will create interesting fourth quarter scenarios, especially since referees have been told to call more fouls.
More stars, more game time and hopefully more exposure, the NBL is in need of all three.

Author of the article

After leading my under-18 side in baldness and bench minutes I realised my basketball talents were best outside the court. I’ve covered basketball and other sports for Fairfax Media and Rural Press, I’m proud to have met and told the stories of many of Australia’s best basketballers both in country and overseas. I love basketball in all forms and all levels. Follow me on twitter: @downtownball