The NBA May Radically Alter Free Throws


A proposal that has been kicking around the NBA hierarchy would change the league's decades old standard on foul shots.

Here is how it would work: If a player is fouled in the act of a two point shot, he would get one foul attempt from the line, worth two points. On a three point shot, the foul shot would be worth three points and in a penalty situation, the player would get one shot, worth two points. The rules for technical fouls and fouls on made shots would remain the same.

According to an ESPN analysis , this would eliminate almost 50 percent of all foul shots -- from an average of 47 to 26 per game -- and also shave five minutes off of game times.

Overall scoring should be unaffected, since a 72 percent foul shooter would still hit the one foul shot he is given about 72 percent of the time. (There is some evidence that players are more accurate on their second foul shot, but the difference would be very small.)

Any new rule like this would be tried out in the D-League before hitting the NBA and, as of now, there are no plans to test it.

When you get past the shock of such a major change, it's actually a pretty good idea. Games do get bogged down in foul shots, especially at the end when the drama should be at its height.

Of course such a rule would deny basketball fans the comedy of watching a Dwight Howard or a DeAndre Jordan struggle through two foul shots when they are sent to the line. And that comedy is worth something.




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