On the 15th of November, James Palmer of the Aqua Caliente Clippers made 11 of his 17 two-point shots and one of his three-point shots. He also shot seven for seven from the charity stripe. How many points did he score in total? Did you say 29? Wrong answer. But don’t bother to try again. First, read on about this season’s crazy G League rule.
The NBA often uses the G-League to try out experimental rule changes before bringing them to the big show. For example, last season after an offensive rebound the shot clock only reset to 14 seconds, which had been tested in the G-League the season before.
In an effort to speed up games the G-League will experiment with a “one free throw for all the points” system this year on all trips to the line. That will apply all game, except for the final two minutes of the fourth quarter and overtime.
Under this new experimental NBA G League rule, one free throw worth one, two or three points will be awarded in the event of any foul that would typically result in one, two or three free throws being shot under standard NBA rules.
In other words, when a player lines up a three-point attempt and is fouled on the closeout, then that player will walk up to the free-throw line and take just one shot. Make it and he gets all three points. Miss it and he gets none. That’s how James Palmer accumulated 36 points instead of 29 in the example above.
But this makes a mess out of every box score because the made free throws and field goals don’t add up with the points. What about the averages per game and per 48 minutes? Not to mention the advanced stats (that have become the new religion in the NBA)? The new G League rule has basically made all stats worthless. The impact reaches far beyond the US borders because many G League players are on the radar of overseas teams. But if those teams can’t trust the stats then the resumes of the G League players won’t be taken seriously. As a result, their market value decreases.
Even Golden State Warriors superstar Steph Curry voiced his displeasure regarding the new G League rule. He said that it would affect the historical significance of the 40/50/90 achievement (40% from the field, 50% from 3-point range and 90% from the free-throw line).
Statistically, the chances of shooting 90% from the line would go down with the rule. According to NBA advanced stats, players shoot 73.3% on their first attempt from the line. That number goes up to 78% on their second attempt and jumps to 85.7% on their third attempt.
The new procedure could also change the strategy around late-game fouling. Because a single make or miss at the line becomes much more significant in tight contests.
G League head of basketball operations Brad Walker believes the rule will shave six to eight minutes off the average game. But if that’s the goal then the G League might as well play 40-minute games instead of 48.
Who came up with this crazy rule? Which process and protocol lead to the decision? Did somebody have too many bears and then came up with this G League rule out of the blue? Without any consultation with stakeholders such as players, coaches, media, fans, e.t.c????
Anyway, every single G League player who doesn’t make it to the NBA is paying thousands of dollars out of his pocket for this bizarre rule. Because that’s the effect the G League rule has on their global market value.