NBA G League Experimenting With New Free Throw Rules In 2019/20

The NBA G League is experimenting in 2019/20 with a new rule that will result in players taking just one foul shot every time they’re sent to the line, reports ESPN’s Zach Lowe. As Lowe details, that single free throw would be worth either one, two, or three points, depending on the nature of the foul.

For instance, if a shooter is fouled while attempting a three-pointer, he’d only get one free throw try — it would be worth three points if he makes it, and zero if he misses. A standard foul would result in one foul shot that would be worth two points if it’s converted. And-one attempts following made field goals would be unaffected.

The idea – which has been discussed by the NBA’s competition committee at recent meetings, according to Lowe – is intended to improve the flow of games and to speed them up a little. G League head of basketball operations Brad Walker estimates that the change will trim about six to eight minutes off each NBAGL game, says Lowe. The average game took about 2:05 last season, so the new rule could help push that average under the two-hour mark.

The new rules won’t apply during the final two minutes of regulation or in overtime, Lowe notes. The G League will use traditional free throw rules during those stretches, and has considered extending the window for the traditional rules to the last five minutes of games, or even to the entire fourth quarter, since there are concerns the new rules would further incentivize intentional late-game fouling.

Deviating from “historical statistical standards” is also a concern for those opposed to the change, according to Lowe, but the NBAGL will evaluate the new rule over the course of the 2019/20 campaign and decide whether to keep it or scrap it going forward.

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