Lost in some of the crazier story lines of the NBA is just how much the reduction of timeouts has influenced the scores. It may not seem like much, but coaches are hesitant to take an early timeout for a teaching moment because they may need one to sub out an injured player:
(Yes…the Magic played 36 seconds of 5 on 4 defense until they secured the ball allowing Fournier to call timeout to get his injured teammate out of the game. This doesn’t quite make sense to me).
Or to stop a game changing run:
(MIA was charged a timeout in the 2nd quarter at 4:17, then Spoelstra had to burn another one at 1:39 as MIN went on a 9-0 run to tie the game at 55.)
When they memo came through, it stated that the total number of timeouts would decrease from 18 to 14. Each team has 7 at their discretion, but can only utilize 2 of those in the last 2 minutes of the game. That last part eliminates 2 timeouts from the total allotment because no coach will get caught without them in fear of needing one to win the game at the buzzer. So that means 5 timeouts per team during the normal course of play.
Each team ends up using 1 per quarter for the media timeouts, at the under-7 stoppage and under 3-stoppage. My math gets a little fuzzy, but I think that means that 4 timeouts are spoken for to pay for the new salary cap.
SO, 2 timeouts to hold onto for the last 2 minutes of the game. 4 during the course of the game to show TV ads. That means that each head coach has 1 discretionary timeout. That is unless the timeout the head coach needs to call falls into their rotation of the media timeouts. So if you’re the home team, you can take one 3 minutes into the game because your starters didn’t get back in transition. But if you’re the visiting team and your point guard turns his ankle on the second possession, it’s better for a player to take a foul since he has 6 of those to use instead of the 1 timeout.
I think we’ve seen an increase in pace, less timeouts to set up calls so players just play, which is what the Board of Governors wanted. There will be negative effects though, DET @ LAL was played in under 2 hours. It seemed the refs were in on that one too as DET didn’t shoot their first FT until late in the 4th quarter:
I’d be interested to see what the merchandise sales were in that Pistons/Lakers game. It seems reasonable to think that the longer fans are in the arena, the more money they’ll spend.
Maybe the BOG wants the BRI to come in low to recoup some more revenue. Whatever the reason may be, the higher ups should have taken one of those timeouts they got rid of to think through the big picture a little more.