A New Baseline for the NBA: Staying In Bounds Behind the Net

The NBA has to decide if it wants to put its baseline courtside seats and cameramen as close to the net as they used to be before Covid. Having more open space this season may be allowing players to drive at the net with more speed and less risk of injury. But, of course, keeping that space open next year would mean that some high-paying fans will be further from the action.

I’d like to propose a compromise of sorts: not only should the NBA keep the baseline space open, it should also push the baseline out-of-bounds line back by about 3 feet. In other words, players should be able to stand behind the net without being out of bounds, sort of like how they do in hockey.

Consider the potential consequences of doing this:

  • there would be even more room for players to drive at the net
  • baseline courtside seats would still be close to the action, despite being further from the net than they were pre-covid
  • there would be fewer baseline out of bounds plays, and therefore fewer stoppages of play and end-of-game out-of-bounds video reviews
  • there could be more passing opportunities for ball handlers: just imagine what Steve Nash could have done with this space…or what a Jokic or Lebron or Doncic could do
  • there could be more opportunities for inside scoring, perhaps helping to combat the league’s 3-point-shooting frenzy a little bit
  • there could be defensive opportunities: deflecting or rejecting a ball and then grabbing it before it goes out of bounds..
  • there would be the occasional awesome high-arching shot over the backboard, presumably taken at the end of a shot-clock in most cases (at least, until Curry masters it and reinvents basketball again)

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