Report: Teams have pitched rule change of not counting missed heaves

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Players frequently bypass end-of-quarter heaves in order to protect their shooting percentages.

Zach Lowe of ESPN:

I think the league should change the rule where any heave past halfcourt doesn’t count to your field-goal percentage. I would support. I know teams have pitched that as a rule change. That’s not just pie-in-the-sky blogger guys talking. Teams have actually pitched that.

It’s like a shooting foul, almost. If you make it, it counts. And if you miss it, we erase it from the record like it never happened.

The effect of this rule would be players pulling up from beyond halfcourt when they could get a little closer. It wouldn’t fully incentivize playing the right way.

But so what?

Players already aren’t playing the right way. This rule would also result in players attempting more heaves, and those are always fun.

I suspect top players – who are also more likely to make those heaves – will get a lot of the attempts. Stars have the cachet to demand the free shot at extra points, the same way they sometimes take technical free throws over a teammate who’s a better free-throw shooter.

Sure, it’d artificially boost shooting percentages. But it’d leave a player’s 3-point percentage far more telling than if he played the right way now. He could miss a couple extra 3s per game now, which would have a huge effect. An occasional extra make without those missed heaves counting would have a much smaller effect.

More entertaining plays, more-accurate statistics – it’s hard to see a downside.