GPG: Basketball's Gimmicks Per Game
No, wait, don’t click away! This isn’t really about basketball (I know half of you leave at the slightest mention of sports). It’s about what I’d change about basketball. The first time I watched a basketball game, I was seven. It was the Lakers playing in the 2002 playoffs, and the only reason I had to turn off the television was when it became too static-y or because it had gone past my bedtime – I’d never willingly turn it off otherwise. But that’s not true of a lot of people; people who think that the only basketball worth watching is the last two minutes of a close playoff game, or people who’d rather watch baseball’s opening day (I just vomited slightly). For all of you, would these get you to watch?
Four Point Line – Make one team’s three point line the opposing team’s four point line! Now you completely change the way the last two minutes are coached, how many possessions a team is behind by, and inspire players to become four-point specialists. And you don’t even have to add another line! Basically, every trick shot artist on YouTube now has a viable chance at making an NBA team. Steph, LeBron, and Dwight (?) are on it already.
Warm-Up Area – You know how baseball has a bullpen for relief pitchers to warm up? No? Oh, you don’t watch baseball? Anyway, it’s true; you can see who’s about to come into the game and speculate from there. Now what if you added a mini 15x15 foot warmup area for basketball players… that’s entertainment. Maybe Kobe’s been ice-cold all game and he starts hitting his shots in the warmup area… as soon as Curry starts practicing, the opposing coach knows his best defender has to warm up too. Or coaches could try to trip each other up by fake-warming up players. Or players could throw down a couple of dunks get the crowd into it, change the momentum of the game.
Referee Body Cams – As if you didn’t have enough reason to boo the referees, now you can see exactly what they’re seeing. And fans can vote for the best referees, who get to referee playoff games.
Coaches Inbounding – Have the head coach throw the ball in on all dead-ball or out-of-bounds plays. Allows for all five players to be a part of the play, and also encourages coaches to stay fit over the years. I’m looking at you Phil Jackson… be more like your protégé.
Loaner Players – Let’s say your team sucks and doesn’t really have a shot at making the playoffs, and your best few players are wasting good performances for no reason. Loan your player out to another team! You’ll still pay their salary, but you can get compensation (not by receiving players in return, but in the form of draft picks or lottery ping-pong balls… yeah we’re making those tradeable too). Plus, you can set minutes restrictions and add further compensation clauses if they get injured. A few exceptions: your two best players (in terms of Player Efficiency Rating) cannot be loaned, you can only loan and be loaned a max of two players at a time, the loan must be in increments of 10 games, and no loans are allowed for the playoffs. So you’re not only keeping your major stars on your team to make your games watchable and giving rotation guys experience, but adding thrill to the end of the regular season and to users of the Trade Machine. And you get potential mini-rivalries – when the Mavs refuse to loan any players to the Clippers because of the DeAndre Jordan saga , or when the Kings’ Vivek Ranadive forgets to put a minutes restriction and loans someone to Tom Thibodeau (who consequently runs that player into the ground) because he still thinks he can play 4-on-5 defense.
Penalty Box – Similar to hockey. If a player commits an offensive foul, they must immediately be substituted out of the game for two minutes. We’ll actually build a glass box that’s suspended right above the backboard on each side, so everyone can laugh at that player. Encourages taking charges, especially against star players.
Lowered Courtside Seats – The first couple of rows of seats should be lowered so that the floor of the court is about chest-level. Makes it easier for players to dive out of bounds and not kick someone Bruce-Bowen-style in the face, and makes the view for courtside-seat-holders a more movie-theater like experience.
One-Plus-One – Players shooting free throws would have the option of either shooting the normal two free throws, or a single free throw for two points. Might be a good choice for the not-so-good free throw shooters in the league, and it’s a more high-risk play.
The Sixth Man – Every team has up to fifteen players, twelve active and up to three inactive. Designate one of your inactive players as your sixth-man: he’ll sit under the opposing team’s basket and yell obscenities. We could even get trash-talk analytics out of it… which players are affected the most? Which curse-words or phrases get under people’s skin the most easily?
The Halftime Show – The most boring part of any game by far. Have each team pick one starter from the opposing team, and have those two go one-on-one for either five minutes or up to five points (in ones and twos, like in street ball). Fan’s motivation: awesome for individual rivalries. Player’s motivation: the five players who have the highest win-loss total in these games are automatically designated as all-stars.