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Commentary, news, analysis and reader-driven discussions focusing on this year's NBA playoffs.
2:30 p.m. ET, 5/15/07

Frustrated By Foul Play

Posted by Jack McCallum
Chauncey Billups (right), shown here with Danny Crawford, has been among the big-name players saddled with foul trouble during the playoffs.
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
The most dreaded words in the NBA -- besides "Uh, oh, Stephen Jackson's at a strip club" -- are: "He's in foul trouble, and we gotta get him outta there."

As exquisite as Monday night's San Antonio-Phoenix game was, it could have been even better if not for the minutes that Tim Duncan and Amare Stoudemire (both of whom finished with five personals) had to spend on the bench because of foul trouble. And it's happened before to those two prime-time players. Plus, in the past week I've either been at or been watching games in which Detroit's Chauncey Billups and practically the entire Utah Jazz team have been in foul trouble. Jazz point guard Deron Williams was sitting on the bench next to Jerry Sloan with two personals before most of the Game 3 fans at Oracle Arena in Oakland had spread the mustard on their pregame hot dogs.

This is not to suggest that this season's playoff teams are encountering foul trouble among their top players at any greater rate than in past years. It's always been an issue. But this is the first year that it's driven me nuts -- have you seen the Pistons play without Billups? -- and led me to ponder this question:

On what stone tablet is it written that players have to foul out?

Basketball is one of the few sports that expels its players on a nightly basis. You can go offsides all day or commit six pass-interference penalties and you're still legal in football (though you'll probably be benched by the coach). You have to throw a couple pitches at a guy's head or a haymaker at an umpire to get ejected in the majors. Nothing less than a charge of second-degree homicide will get you tossed from an NHL game.

So why should a player have to go to the bench for, say, some charging call that's probably a block? (By the way, in my world, 90 percent of block-charge calls would be called blocks.)

The NBA instituted the six-foul limit in 1947. That's 60 years ago if you're counting at home. The Providence Steamrollers were in the league. Neither George Mikan nor Bob Cousy was playing then. Since that year, there have been countless alterations of the rule book, including a widening of the lane (twice); adding a three-point line, the 24-second clock, 20-second timeouts and a third referee; eliminating the center jump in the second, third and fourth periods; and legalizing zone defenses, among many others.

So what's so magical about six fouls? Sure, it's part of the mythology of the sport. Superstars like Wilt Chamberlain and Moses Malone were legendary for avoiding the six-foul limit, avoiding fouls altogether, as a matter of fact. You know how? They either stopped playing defense or were protected by referees who were -- still are -- reluctant to call a sixth foul on superstars. I don't blame the refs. I wouldn't want to send Duncan to the bench and watch the Spurs play down the stretch without him.

So why even raise that possibility? Why make a team take a superstar out in those all-important minutes right before halftime, which is frequently when a prime player collects his third foul?

Generally, the pattern goes like this. The referees, with league support, want to keep the game from being too physical. So they call one early foul that's legit. Then they make a ticky-tack call or a call that could go either way. Then they make a bad call. There are eight minutes left in the first half and an important player has three personal fouls, two of which, quite possibly, shouldn't have been called. This isn't a comment on the refereeing -- it's about the draconian stipulation that allows a player, in an extremely physical game, to commit only one foul every eight minutes.

What could be done? Lots of things. Raise the foul limit to eight. Abolish the limit altogether. Give the opposing team an extra possession on a player's sixth foul but let the player stay in. The idea that players would begin fouling indiscriminately is ridiculous, as the opposition still would shoot free throws. Such a rule change would only marginally affect statistics -- foul-prone notables such as Stoudemire, Miami's Shaquille O'Neal and Washington's Gilbert Arenas might get about two more minutes per game -- and it would only enhance the quality of the game by keeping the best players on the floor.

posted by SI.com | View comments |  


Posted: 2:42 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
I don't mean to be particular about the refs but I will say that I watched game three with the jazz and warriors, the one where Deron Williams had three fouls at the end of the first quarter and all of them were dumb dumb fouls. I also watched the cavs and nets game 4 with Dick bavetta reffing and I have to say that there were a ton of fouls in that, I don't mind the rule of 6 fouls, but i don't necessarily think that every person that raises there arm in the paint and it is not an exact straight line should get a foul, or a dumb little hand check. They are making them too soft, I think the leage should let them play.
Posted: 2:43 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
Officiating in the NBA is starting to look a lot like high school officiating. Traveling calls and 3 second lane violations are at an all time high. If this is the consistency of calls in the NBA now, just T-up players for any indication a player gives for "questioning a call." I spent plenty of minutes on the bench for questioning officiating in high school.
Players in the NBA are too spoiled, and obviously, money and fines aren't a deterent to their immature behavior. The next best thing might be to bench them because being out of the limelight is more valuable to them than any amount from a fine.
Plus, I believe the fans/spectators would appreciate a little tough love because if we wanted to watch a bunch of spoiled individuals running after a ball, we would just go to any playground in America that is located in a rich part of town (and it's free!)
One option would be to count only defensive fouls toward a player's foul limit.
Posted: 2:47 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
And then we can give them helmets, pads, and sticks and call it ArenaBall! If you removed the threat of going over your foul limit and being removed, you'd have a game that really slowed to a crawl in my opinion. There would be off the ball fouls like crazy in situations when the defense was beat. No way you can get rid of the rule. 6 fouls is perfect the way it is. If you don't want to leave it in the refs hands, make smart decisions Tim Duncan and Amare. Tim could have avoided his 2 by going for a hook instead of layups, Amare by anticipating rather than reacting defensively
Posted: 2:49 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
How about the NBA players start playing basketball avoiding the constant fouling, it would make the game much smoother as it was initially designed like the similar to the college game. Removing the limit is a terrible idea!
Posted: 2:53 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
If you do away with the foul limit, you would slow the game down to a crawl. Without the fear of fouling out, the key would become a war zone; and driving to the basket would be limited to those players with a deathwish.

Besides, were they still playing in college, they'd have to make due with five fouls.
Posted: 2:55 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
Yes you can have lots of penalties in hockey - but your team plays a man short for at least two minutes. Penalties in golf cost you strokes. I think that if you want to let players stay in for more than six penalties then it has to result in foul shots and possession of the ball for the other team when they go over the limit. Or give three foul shots for shooting fouls (four on 3 point shots) when the offender is over six penalties. There should still be an upper limit of 8 penalties for an individual otherwise all we will see is Hack-a-Shaq play.
Posted: 2:55 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
I am definitely with you. As a Rocket fan during the Hakeen haydays, it drove me crazy how much of the game was dependent on whether he was called for fouls early or not. Ridiculous rule. On one hand, the NBA overemphasizes its stars over teams ("Kobe against LeBron tonight on TNT"), and then they have a rule that often takes the best players off the court.
I like the foul limit, it prevents tactics that ruin the game, imagine hack a shaq if you could just take the big guy down every play, I remember there was a rule for one season in college football that allowed a team that if they were in the lead and kicking off to run down the clock infinitly.
Posted: 2:56 PM, May 15, 2007   by jjc58
I concur with Scott. Defensive fouls and loose ball fouls should count. Player control fouls, namely, charging should not count against a player's total.

As mentioned in the Mannix article, "flopping" is beginning to become a problem in the Association. I'd prefer to phrase it differently, changing strategies towards an increased emphasis on defensive positioning (as opposed to shotblocking) has altered the game. Players such as LeBron and VC are "settling for jumpers" in part because of the increased (at least as perceived) frequency of offensive foul calls.

We do not want to reward or incentivize jumpshooting by our superstars. Charging should be considered a turnover.

I leave it to my fellow posters to determine the treatment for other offensive fouls, such as moving screens.
Posted: 2:56 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
How about after a player gets 5 fouls, the opposing team get 3 free throws for evey foul on that player?
Posted: 2:57 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
"One option would be to count only defensive fouls toward a player's foul limit."

This combined with a rule that you can't foul out on a non shooting foul would clear things up.
Posted: 2:57 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
Yes! Yes! Yes! Please get rid of the disqualification rule. So much bitching, whining, technicals, and even fighting will be mostly removed from the game. Time after time, replays show how incompetent the refs are. It should be the players' game, not the officials.
Posted: 2:57 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
I'd go the other way, lower the limit to 4 fouls. Now players would actually have to pay attention to how they play. At the same time though, with a severe penalty, refs would be less likely to call all the ridiculous ticky tack fouls that no one can discern what the difference between that and 20 other plays was.

In football, refs could call holding in on almost every play, but they don't because it ruins the flow of the game, and the price is usually pretty high, so they only call the plays that matter.
Posted: 2:57 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
Why don't the players just stop fouling each other so much?
Posted: 2:58 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
This is ridiculous! How about just play good clean defense...eliminate the foul limit and you open flood gates for dirty play...imagine the bad boy pistons of the 80's without a foul limit. Laimbeer running wild!
Posted: 2:59 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
NBA players are spoiled enough as it is. Be like anyone else and go back to FIVE fouls and play the game like it was intended to be played.
Posted: 3:00 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
Basketball is already in danger of turning into baseball, in terms of how much standing around there is. Removing the foul limit would almost certainly mean more fouls, and even more stoppages and standing around. Football works well with a stoppage for reset between each play; basketball would be awful that way. Here's an idea: reduce the foul limit to 3, so players actively avoid fouling.
Posted: 3:00 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
I think it would be interesting to see some sort of "penalty box" rule come in to play after the 6th foul. Make the offending player sit out for 60 seconds or so.

This would be a big deterant for players fouling since the other team would get free throws and at least 1 posession of 5 on 4.
Posted: 3:01 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
An even better idea would be to adopt hockey's method of not assessing the foul until there is a break in the action. Let the guys keep playing after a handcheck or a bump and try to score (the ref just raises his hand to signify a foul), then if they don't make a basket, they get the free throws. The game would have more flow and you're not rewarded for fouling to stop a play.
Posted: 3:01 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
If you get rid of the foul limit...the Bulls might as well cut Ben Wallace...and the game would be way too slow...would be many more steal attempts/fouls and free layups...would get rather dull fast I think.
Posted: 3:03 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
A bigger complaint is all the fouling at the end of the game. I would give the fouled team the option to take the ball in from out of bounds with a new clock, instead of shooting free throws.
Posted: 3:04 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
Go back to the way the game was intended to be played? Why not get rid of the 24 second clock? That was the way it was intended.
Posted: 3:04 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
There's so many problems with the NBA. This is just one of many.
Posted: 3:04 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
This article was stupid. Taking away a limit on fouls would mean two things. First, the bad defensive players in the league (Stoudamire being one-although he has improved greatly) would never need to try to practice "actual defense." Players would foul on every play, because they can get away with it. Second, the game would drastically change. Hack-a-shaq would be the normal for every game, espeically against teams where their best players are poor ft shooters. The average game span would increase at least 15-30 minutes a game. Why make excuses for bad defensive players? Why is there a need to change? There isn't. Just because Amare (and others) does not know how to play solid defense doesn't mean turn the table upside down. This was a terrible terrible article. If you are frustrated with the fouls, then try to give a solution that is truly helpful. Maybe spend time with Amare (and others) and teach them how to play defense.
Posted: 3:04 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
I think 6 fouls are too many. The problem is that the offensive player has a lot of advantages in either starting contact or trying to get past a defender. That said, defensive technique is at an all time low. There is no footwork, just a shove or foreare shiver.

Call fewer fouls if you want but make it an automatic ejection for a flagrant foul with the possiblity of missing the next game.

And call traveling for a change.
Posted: 3:05 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
Fouled player gets a bonus free-throw for 7&8 individual player foul. Two additional throws for 9&10 and three for any additional foul.
The NBA is basically a free-throw shooting contest anyway. That's were the game is usually decided.
Posted: 3:05 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
I don't think they call enough. The stars get away with murder. Call them all and maybe they will stop some of the cheap things they do.
Posted: 3:06 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
Let's be honest. This isn't about foul trouble, it's about "star" trouble. TV networks, websites and magazines don't get their numbers when the big stars don't get their's. Ever wonder why the NBA is slipping in ratings? It's because it's turned a team game into a individual game for marketing purposes. Want to improve the game? Make the limit much smaller, like 3. That would limit contact dramatically because players would have to stop using their bodies as a defensive weapon and actually play basketball.
Posted: 3:07 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
Getting rid of the foul limit won't reduce the number of bad calls; it will just cover up a portion of the results of the ref's incompetence.
Posted: 3:07 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
I think this is a terrible idea since the games already drag during the last two minutes of each half. I think that fouls in the last two minutes of the game should give the player 3 or 4 shots so they would stop using the foul as a method to control the clock.
Posted: 3:07 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
I think I can agree with this if an offsetting rule change is made.
You can't just say well, no more foul-outs. But if a foul by any player over the limit meant one free throw and opponent possession with a reset shot clock that would be very effective.
People can foul all they want to a point and after that their opponent keeps getting free shots and the ball back unless you stop fouling. Kind of like the final two minute thing now but this could happen at any point in the game if certain players are fouling too much.
Posted: 3:08 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
For the 5th foul and beyond, 3 foul shots should be awarded the opponent. The stars can stay in the game, but at 50% greater risk of giving freebies away.
Posted: 3:10 PM, May 15, 2007   by AJ
I disagree. The six foul limit rule keeps the game clean and in it's purest form. I think eliminating it would absolutely change the game. More then just the 2 extra minutes of star time that you suggest. Keeping players concious about there physical play is what keeps the players safe. MLB is plagued with constant stars being on the DL. This is one of the reasons that you see the decline in fan base. Why go see your team if you can't see the players that you pay to see? If I go to see a Cleveland Cavs game it is to see Labron. Period. If there was no penalty for fouls then teams would constantly be head-hunting for superstars like him. NFL and NHL is different. You can penalize NFL teams with yardage penalties and you have penalties which result in power plays in the NHL. Both of which negatively effect your team and the overall outcome of the game. Thus detering players from commiting penalties. Unless you are suggesting a point penalty or power plays in the NBA for fouls. Keep the super stars on the floor, keep the great highlights rolling into ESPN, and let us be entertained by the great ones.
Posted: 3:15 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
I'll bet you prefer the American League in baseball (you like the designate hitter!) The six foul limit means that you need an intelligent manager. If you want to eliminate the six foul limit, I suggest we just toss a ball out on the court and instead of the team that scores the most points winning the team that survives wins!
Posted: 3:16 PM, May 15, 2007   by Derrick
The CBA has used "Two shots and the ball" for fouls on players over the limit for years. Most players over the limit are sat down as the other team keeps scoring and you don't get the ball. Problem solved!!
Scott's comment about not counting offensive fouls toward the personal foul limit is brilliant. They already don't count toward total team fouls. That is a great idea, especially considering how many charges the refs call nowadays. When I was a high school official, I always gave the benefit of the doubt to the defense. Defense is much harder to play than offense. I think this business of calling a foul on a defensive player when the offensive player is leaning in or initiating the contact needs to stop.
Posted: 3:17 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
Removing the 6 foul limit is like removing the net from tennis. Anyone playing knows how to NOT foul. Just don't do it and you stay in the game! Fouling gives an amazing advantage because you play the thin line with the referee. If there's no line, the game would be significantly changed to one more like football!
Posted: 3:18 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
And what's sacrosanct about having the person fouled be the foul shooter? Let the team choose who shoots the foul shots. That way, no more hack a Shaq and the excruciating spectacle of watching the free throw challenged.
Posted: 3:18 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
Ok, so I think we all agree that eliminating or even raising the foul limit is a really stupid idea.

The whole idea is for the game to be played without undue physical contact. Simply: you can't belt somebody to make them miss a shot.

But today we're seeing a game that is getting more and more physical - not less. The foul rules were adopted at a time when the game was extremely violent: the court was often caged in with chicken fence, players were often bloody and had various broken bones - mostly noses.

Do we want to return to that?

I think the best way to reduce the violent aspects of the game and keep marque players on the floor is not to eliminate or raise the foul limit but to instead lower the limit. Make it a three strikes rule and then you're out.

Don't you think players would watch what they do a little closer then?
Posted: 3:18 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
I think that at the six-foul limit, you call a technical foul on that person. That would mean the opposing team would get a technical foul shot and the ball. After each subsequent fould, you would charge another technical foul. I would make it like the defensive 3 second rule. I think that would be a good compromise.
Posted: 3:19 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
So, with no 6 foul limit, teams could then play hack-a-Shaq (or hack-Tim-Duncan) with impunity, and fans would get to watch poor foul shooters attempt to raise their free-throw percentages up to 50%? I don't think so...
Posted: 3:19 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
Here's how it should go. Make the foul total 5 instead of 6, with a limit to 3 fouls in the first half. After a player gets his third foul in the first half, he sits the remaining minutes of the half. Then he is allowed to come back the second half, with two fouls left. Also, make all fouls shooting fouls instead of the team foul limit,
I think teams should be rewarded for having a bench, and actually using it. Your key guys gets in foul trouble, he sits. Too bad. Better have somebody else who can play.

But I also think the refs need to call the games fairly. Same standards across the board, ref to ref, game to game, superstars to scrubs. That way everybody knows the deal, and guys that can't figure it out, sit on the bench.
Posted: 3:23 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
What if the league started holding offensive players accountable for initiating contact.
Posted: 3:35 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
Personally, I think they should go back to the 5 foul limit. HOWEVER, the refs have to be more on the ball; I mean, that foul on Duncan when Nash was driving past him last night? Give me a break!
I would have to approach this like a hockey game, after the 6th foul, the player must sit out for 2 minutes and they other team will have a 5 on 4 advantage. Just tacking extra free throws slows the game and this could make some interesting matchups
Posted: 3:37 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
As long as the penalty is severe enough, removing the 6 foul limit wouldn't necessarily to result in players fouling whenever they want and slowing the game down. Instead of fouling out after 6 fouls by a player, the rule could be after 5 five fouls the other team gets two free throws and the ball. Then the penalty gets more severe as you commit more fouls, maybe a technical at 8 fouls and fouling out of the game at 10-12 fouls.
"The idea that players would begin fouling indiscriminately is ridiculous, as the opposition still would shoot free throws." But what if that person is a 50% free throw shooter at best...like Shaq? He'd be fouled everytime he touches the ball, and rightfully so.
Posted: 3:41 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
ABSOLUTELY NOT! Never ever remove the foul limit, the traveling calls, or any other rule. Winners adjust, losers complain. Don't let the losers take away a key strategy of the game.
Posted: 3:42 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
All of you that are against the rule change: You think it is good for the game (and the fans) to have a team's best player sitting for the rest of the half after foul #3 with 7:00 left in the 1st Q? I want to see each team's best players on the court, not on a chair for half an hour.
Posted: 3:43 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
I think the six foul limit is reasonable for a 48 minute game. If the rule was removed, there will be blood on the court. Think back to the Hubie Brown's Atlanta teams of the 80's. The problem is the NBA refs call too many "automatic" fouls. They should see it before they call it.
Posted: 3:43 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
Without a foul limit, the games would take six hours. Removing the foul limit is just idiotic. What reason would there be not to foul? You could just send in an endless stream of goons to hack, push, and grope Kobe, LaBron etc. Sure they'd make their free throws, but they'd get beat up and the game would get even more boring than it already is.
Posted: 3:44 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
Leave it alone. If you don't like don't watch. By the way, I don't watch.
Please, its part of the game, players need to play smart and not commit such stupid fouls and then whine about them right away. This a rule of the game, and you want to throw it away so you can watch what you think is a good game, stupid. Players are drilled from junior high on to play smart and not to commit stupid fouls that will get you in trouble. As a player you have to have a feel of how the refs are going to call the game, once you get that feel, then you can make the adjustments if any are needed and play the game. I wish I could watch a game that when a player does commit a foul that they would go ahead and accept that they made a mistake instead of getting in the face of the ref and acting like a 3 year old kid and crying. NBA was fun to watch once, now there are too many whiners and players in it just for themselves.
Posted: 3:45 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
I like that idea stated earlier about only counting defensive fouls toward the 6 foul limit. I think they used to count technical fouls toward the limit, and they stopped that. So they could stop counting offensive fouls toward the limit too. That way teams would not be able to commit a bunch of fouls in late game situations, but the stars of the game(who are usually the ones driving to the basket) wouldn't have offensive fouls count against their limit and they would spend more time in the game.
Posted: 3:46 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
Not only should they keep the foul limit, they should decrease the fouls allowed to 5.

I'm sick of the football style play that has swept the league in the past few years.
Posted: 3:48 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
I totally agree.. get rid of the 6 foul limit.. replace it with a 5 foul limit. Everyone else plays with the 5 foul limit and most of us are called for a lot more ticky tack calls than what we see in the NBA. And with fewer fouls "to give", there will be less defense played with the hands and more with positioning and help. I think it would be a better game if there was a lot less of the grabbing and pushing off that occurs on both offense and defense.

As for the world where 90% of the block/Charge calls are block, why are you so opposed to a defensive player having just as much right to a spot as the person with the ball? If a player sees a play developing, moves in front of it to block it from occuring, does not leave a legal defensive stance and does not cut the player driving, then it should be a charge, each and every time. The legal right to the floor does not extend more than a couple of feet for any player, even if their name is Iverson, Kobe, or Nash. At best, this should be 50/50.
But as long as we are on the subject of fouls, I'd like to see the NBA try something like Soccer. Call a foul for faking a foul. Nothing looks sillier than a multimillion dollar a year athlete throwing up their arms like they have been mugged when everyone can see in the replay that they haven't been touched. Good luck enforcing that, but it would be nice to leave the acting to the professionals and let the athletes just play the damn game and shut up for 48 minutes.
Posted: 3:50 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
Sure... let's watch basketball
go down the drain the same way
professional hockey has gone.
Their fans are more interested in the fighting than quality play.
You're not a sports fan.
Go watch the WWF.
how about an extra foul for each overtime?
Posted: 3:50 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
Imagine what kind of game it would be if there were no limit on fouls--boring!! You'd have people on the line half the time. The analogy to football is pretty lame because the last time I checked they were different sports. What's next, let's let boxing rules into tennis?
I like the rule of giving two shots, plus the ball, to the opposing team for every foul after the sixth. For teams with good foul shooters, that would be almost a free two points for every foul, which would discourage rampant fouling.
On a more ridiculous note, someone mentioned the NHL penalty rule, why not invoke that? For every foul after the fourth one (arbitrary), make the player sit down for three minutes of game time, until the next whistle after that. So the players aren't fouling "out", they're just serving a bit of time.
Posted: 3:52 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
Make it 2 fouls per quarter. A player has to sit out the quarter once he gets 2 fouls, but the slate is clear the next quarter.
Posted: 3:53 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
Sure the rule was instituted 50 years ago when there was no shot clock but if you think about it there should be less fouling now that there is a shot clock and the limit should be lowered if anything. The only way to make the other team shoot in some cases back then was to foul them. That just isn't the case anymore.
Posted: 3:54 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
No foul limits would reduce the game to a war. Completely nuts to take it out of the game unless there is some penalty for every foul (e.g. non shoot foul is a free throw for the guy fouled). Regardless would really slow the game down.
Posted: 3:54 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
Unfortunately, fouling in the NBA at the end of games can be an offensive weapon. If the number of fouls is increased, the penalty per foul should also escalate.
Posted: 3:55 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
dumbest thing i've ever heard. let's stop calling penalties in the nfl too.
Posted: 3:56 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
After the 6th foul, the FOULEE will automatically be rewarded 2 pts. without having to shoot free throws.

That would keep the FOULER in the game, but add an effective deterrant to excessive fouling as a game strategy.
Posted: 3:56 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
Without the foul limit, the typical NBA score would be 50-45, why wouldn't you foul every time down the court. It's obvious that the team that shoots the best free throws would win. I've seen these games on the asphalt of the nearest college.
Posted: 3:57 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
Leave it the way it is. Fouling is part of the game and if a player gets 6, he should be removed from the game. Basketball is not a "contact" sport like football or hockey. Yes, there is a degree of contact involved but let's not compare it with these other sports. I believe it would ruin the game if we changed the foul limit. Personally, I think we should make the hoops bigger so there are more three pointers made ;) haha.
Posted: 3:57 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
In this vein, I would support abolishment of free throws. Frankly, the entire end-game in the NBA is dull because it ends up being mostly free throws.

Here's a better idea. Don't track fouls at all. Defensive penalties result in an automatic 2(3) points for the opponent, and offensive penalties result in a change of possession. Who's going to 'hack-a-shaq' if it guarantees 2 points every hack.
This is a great article, but how about a better solution.

Eliminate Free Throws.

Instead of free throws, award 2(3) points for every defensive penalty after 5 per quarter, and offensive penalties count as turn-overs. Free throws are the worst part of the end game of basketball anyways. And an automatic points would do more to stop penalties than free throws currently do.
Posted: 4:02 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
I could not disagree with McCallum more on this topic. The 6 fouls rule brings stratgey into the game. Getting rid of the rule would not only eliminate stratgey, but their would be far more fouling going on. Better officiating is the real solution.
Posted: 4:03 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
This is single dumbest idea I have ever heard. Why not give up watching basketball and try something more suited to you, say ROLLER DERBY.
Posted: 4:06 PM, May 15, 2007   by Will W
I like the 8 foul limit idea. Throw in this idea as well.
7th foul awards the opposing team a freethrow (along with whatever else would have happened). It'd be similar to an automatic technical foul without the fines and such.
8th foul awards 2 free throws.
Posted: 4:06 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
Get rid of the 6 fouls. here is what will work. Up to 5 fouls the rules are the same. At 6 or more fouls the player remains in the game but for each additional foul the other team would automatically get 2 points plus 3 free throws and get the ball back. This would keep the star players and nip the fouls in the bud.

Also what could help, raise the basket 2 feet higher. It's no fun any more because the players are tall and slam dunks after awhile are boring. Let's bring back the excitement by doing this.
Posted: 4:07 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
"it would only enhance it by keeping the best players on the floor"

So you're saying the best players are the ones who foul the most?! And then let's start that last minute of foul hacking at the five minute mark, making your typical game go a half hour longer as down-by-12 teams hold out hope for bad streaks of free throw shooting. In fact, let's just legalize fouls and give everyone helmets and shoulder pads.
Posted: 4:08 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
Keep the six foul limit, it is part of the strategy. If you are knowledgeable about the sport you understand that a superstar may foul out. To me that is good strategy and execution by the opposition not punishment to the team and the fans.
I love this suggestion, it will take away most of the conspiracy theory away from the game, when it comes to fixing games...etc. The game will be better...
Posted: 4:11 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
How can you compare apples and oranges? Baseball, if anyone has noticed, doesn't really have such things as "fouls." And hockey penalties result in the loss of the use of a player for two minutes. Hello? Not to mention, in football, interference calls result in first down at the spot of the foul. The six foul rule stops defenders that are beat hacking the player and forcing them to take a free throw (a lower percentage shot than a layup). There needs to be incentive to keep the key from becoming overloaded with fouls.
You've got to be crazy. The game today is nothing like the 60's and 70's when teams actually passed the ball and made jumpers instead of trying to overrun the opposing players. Without a foul limit the league would turn into a glorified hockey match with no scoring other than free throws. If you feel a need to extend the length of the game that would definitely accomplish it. The league has gotten far enough away from the days of Magic, Bird and Julius without allowing it to turn into a total joke. You think seeing Duncan sitting out a few minutes with 5 fouls is painful wait til he's missing multiple games with a broken jaw.
Eliminating the 6 foul limit would turn the NBA into the WWF. You could call it Xball instead of basketball. The last time I looked this was still a TEAM game anyway! Every year the play gets a little more physical. As far as the refs calling walking, these guys are supposed to be the best. Play basketball like it was meant to be played!
Posted: 4:14 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
The NBA should cleanup the game like the NHL did. How about making it 4 fouls? The better players would rise and the hackers would sit.
Posted: 4:14 PM, May 15, 2007   by Charles
You've GOT to have a foul limit. If not, then 90% of the players would be mugging each other the entire game. Every game would consist of 200 free-throws due to fouls, not to mention player ejections from on court fights. This would limit Shaq's scoring because the dude can't hit from the charity stripe. Great defense can still be accomplished without fouling the opposing player. The 6-foul rule does NOT need to be changed, unless of course you lower it to 5?

Charles - Alex City, AL
Posted: 4:16 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
You missed the obvious! Every game would become a Hack-a-Shaq type game. Boring!!!
Posted: 4:18 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
How about a penalty box? It would be funny at the very least to sit Shaq sitting in shame in a little box near the scoring table.
Posted: 4:18 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
Oh yeah. That will make it so much more exciting. Any game with Shaq will now take five hours....

How about no. If anything, make it five - the games are meaningless until the last 30 minutes, er, seconds anyway.

Let's just get the games over with with some sense of purpose.

How about unlimited number of timeouts instead?
Posted: 4:26 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
Dumbest article / idea I've ever read. This would completely ruin the game of basketball.
Posted: 4:26 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
The biggest issue with eliminating the foul-out would be the Hack-a-Shaq where players could foul a poor free throw shooter left and right because the guy isn't a good shooter. So what if you send the guy to the line if he is going to miss alot of the shots?

My issue really is with some of the tick-tack fouls. Your telling me that if a guy gets lightly brushed on some part of his body that he can't make the shot? There have been some calls this year that are ridiculous. There is a ton more contact in college.
Posted: 4:27 PM, May 15, 2007   by Marino
This is only a problem in one series right now, in which the players have probably been too physical and the officiating has been pretty crappy ("Watch Steve Nash get mugged every time he drives into the lane -- tonight on TNT!"). In most cases, players learn to play without getting in foul trouble.
Posted: 4:29 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
A better idea is INSTANT REPLAY. If its a bad call, then they could challenge it. To those who say it would slow down the game, taking away a time out if they're wrong would definiately limit it (unless the ref's are totally out of it). Then it would embarrass them into getting their act together.
Posted: 4:30 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
Just play the game.
I dont like this idea. Going after a player to foul them out is part of the strategy. By eliminating this you take away from the good defenders who know how to defend without fouling and you also hinder the great OFFENSIVE players from driving because of fear that they will get fouled by everyone.
Posted: 4:34 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
The problem isn't the foul limit, it's the BS calls being made by the ref's, especially against the Jazz. AK can stand in one spot and get a foul. But Richardson can knock Omar right out of the air and yet he's still playing game five. If the ref's were calling the shots right, instead of letting the fans get to them, the six foul limit would be legit.
I thought that Saturday's Pheonix-SA game was horribly officiated. It actually looked like the refs had an axe to grind with Amare because he called out Bowen. How can you call a phantom foul on a first-team NBAer with four fouls already. Let the players decide the outcome of the game. It was horrible. The NBA has a real problem on its hands. Are the refs crooked or just plain incompetent? Neither is good.
Posted: 4:35 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
I would say to leave the foul limit. I think one of the biggest reasons for stars sitting is the refs call fouls that they think happen, not what they actually see happen. Also I do believe that some refs have personal biases against players or teams. I have never seen Danny Crawford call a fair game when the Pistons are playing, he and his crew always seem to heavily favor the other team, as evidenced by the last game against the Chicago floppers, I mean Bulls. I have almost stopped watching the NBA because of inconsistent officiating.
Posted: 4:35 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
Why is fouling considered playing defense? By removing the six foul limit you would kill the pace of the game. Every lazy player that was beat could indiscriminatly foul a player especially if they are a poor free throw shooter. Keep the limit and have your team play better defense.
Posted: 4:35 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
Getting rid of the foul limit is the dumbest thing I've heard. There are rules learn to play by them.
Posted: 4:35 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
The comparison to soccer is ridiculous. You don't see expulsion in soccer because a penalty box foul is bad enough as it is. It's harder to score in hockey and soccer. However, if you perhaps gave the free throw shooter three or four shots for two point buckets and four or five shots for three point foul shots, that could make the game more interesting and a reason not to foul people.
I agree with some of the comments above. I'm only a casual basketball fan, but "only" getting a foul and possibly some free throws called against someone for an infraction (whether justified or now) seems like not punishment enough to me. If a basketball player had to sit in a penalty box and the team played with one player short for a few minutes (like in hockey), or if a player was ejected for two hard fouls(like in soccer), I bet basketball players would be less inclned to foul, wouldn't be able to "hack-a-Shaq" to stop an overpowering player, and would generally have to learn how to play better defense. Also, getting a foul in hockey or soccer is potentially much more catastrophic to a team since the scores are so low and the chance of getting a power play goal or a free kick goal can win a game singlehandedly! This is not true in basketball where points scored via free throws can almost hurt a team due to the 3-point play... Another pet peave: I'm always amazed at the whining and complaining that NBA players and coaches seem to get away with and wish they would just be given a red card and elected from the game.
Posted: 4:37 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
What a bunch of non-sense. You are talking about Basketball. It was invented as a NON-CONTACT sport. The Pro Players should get LESS fouls than a 10 year old playing the same game. If the players played the game as it was designed to be played, than they wouldn't foul. While were at it what about walking calls that aren't made? The way the game is played today, the greats of other times couldn't get of the floor today.
If the NBA allows more fouls several major things will happen:
1) The games will resemble brawls not b-ball
2) Fans who appreciate the real game will tune OUT
3) Shaq will have to retire
Maybe the big boys should start playing basketball for once. It really can be that simple. And then maybe the fans will come back. And then maybe the league will have a reputation that is respectable.

But instead you make a suggestion that will make it an even lousier game.
Posted: 4:40 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
Some of the highlights of any NBA game are when two players are going to the basket, one to score and the other to deny the score. Its mano-e-mano. I would hate to see someone not try to go to the hole and someone else not try to stop them. Come on, admit that Amare trying to stop a Duncan stuff is a big part of the draw of this game. A jump shooting contest is not all that exciting.
Posted: 4:42 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
Was Jack McCallum a credible journalist before this article? Because he certainly isn't credible now. That is one of the most ridiculous ideas I've ever heard. Eliminate the possibility of fouling out and the game of basketball will inevitably become nothing more than a sloppy hack-fest, and why wouldn't it? It's like taking away the threat of jail time for thieves. The police will blow the whistle when you're caught, and you give up what you were trying to steal at that moment, but as soon as they leave you can do it again... and again... and again. No possibility of jail time; keep trying until you succeed. Ridiculous. Laughably ridiculous. Go watch hockey Jack. Leave basketball alone.
Posted: 4:42 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
I quit watching NBA, The outright fouls should be called more often and the players banned for the season. Fighting should be grounds for dismisal from the team and banishment from the league. I see traveling, palming, double dribble, hanging on the rim,and other uncalled violations constantly. Lets get the GAME back.
Posted: 4:43 PM, May 15, 2007   by hasan shaikh
i like the foul limit but i think some of the fouls called on players is revolting to watch. these players are physically gifted and this sport highlights those talents. why then if someone is going down the lane and there is a slight bump, there has to be a foul called. what makes me feel even worse about it is that you often see players flopping or yelling as there is some contact and the referees fall for it every time. basketball is getting too soft. they should wear ballerina outfits next season.
The 6 fouls isn't the problem. The problem is the inconsistency from the referee's and the NBA league.

A superstar should get no more "leeway" than a bench player. A foul is a foul is a foul.

UNFORTUNATELY, because of people like YOU who would rather be ENTERTAINED than understand the sport, you want to see the "flashy" superstars play instead of good basketball.

That's why the NBA has gone to the toilet.
Posted: 4:44 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
A solution to the Hack-a-Shaq is to allow the team that is fouled to choose who will shoot the free throws.
The idea that a foul-limit is the only thing preventing an all out brawl in the NBA is just plain stupid. There's no limit in the NFL and I don't see them fighting. The reason: stiff penalties on personal fouls. How about this: when you are over your foul-limit, penalize intentional fouls by giving the other team possession and 2 foul shots.
Posted: 4:47 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
Most folks here haven't realized that you have a noble goal - keep the stars playing the game. It's just your solution that's stupid :)

There is no need to foul out, but you still want to penalize a team for fouls, just like in the NFL and the NHL. So award 1 point and possession for every foul. Get rid of free throw shooting - it just slows down the game. And cut each teams timeouts to 1 per half while we are at it. These games should be easily done in under 2 hours. That would force fitness to be an issue as well.
Posted: 4:48 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
I would lower it to 5 fouls and every foul over that would be treated like a technical - the other team gets foul shots and also gets to keep possession. It would then be the coaches choice as to whether it was worth the risk of leaving in a player with 5 or more fouls.
Posted: 4:48 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
Let's ponder this, if the limit was eliminated then what would keep teams from fouling the guy who shoots 50% from the line everytime? How about this scenario, everytime Shaq or LeBron beat you all you have to do is whack them really hard and put them on the line. The probability of giving up 1 or 0 points on that possession greatly increase thus slowing down the game and penalizing the so called stars you are trying to keep on the floor. If these stars can't consistently hit free throws (also note that Duncan and Amare are not known for their free throw shooting) then they will ultimately be benched due to the liability they now serve on the offensive side of the floor.
Posted: 4:50 PM, May 15, 2007   by Boo Radley
Why three outs in baseball? That rule is older than the six foul rule. Let's let each team hit until they get tired. makes perfect sense.
Posted: 4:50 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
Move it back to five (5) fouls, as in college. Michael Jordan said "you get six, use 'em." With only five fouls there's no bargaining; instead, they're to be avoided. What's so magical about the pros that players get six fouls? They're supposed to be good enough at this stage of their careers that fouls sort of happen by accident, not on purpose. Five fouls.
Here's a thought on fouls, keep the fouls at 6, player doesn't leave the game but opposing team gets 2 points automatically for every foul after 6 except for 3 pt shooting, the fouled player gets 3 automatically. This would eliminate all the foul shooting that slows the game down anyway for players getting the 6th foul. Also on offensive fouls, no foul to the offense but ball goes to the other team.
If players have unlimited fouls, then Shaq, Duncan, etc are going to be fouled every time they touch the ball. Hack a Shaq is awful enough to watch in the last 5 minutes of the 4th quarter.
Posted: 4:53 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
I agree with the posters who believe eliminating the six-foul limit altogether would slow the game down to a crawl and ruin its integrity. However, you could avoid this very simply -- by awarding the team whose player is fouled 1 or 2 points automatically if the foul is committed by a player who already has 5. Those points would come in addition to free throws if it was a shooting foul. That would remove the incentive to foul indiscriminately, especially when it comes to those good players who are poor free throw shooters.
How about 40 minute games and 5 fouls, like college and international ball?
Posted: 4:54 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
give each player a new rule book and tell them next year we play by these rules!!!! if you do not want to play be these rules go play somewhere else....
Posted: 4:56 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
Here is another idea... how about you can let the player play after 6 fouls, but for every foul after the sixth the other team automatically gets 2 points (and possibly the ball as well). This rule would save Shaqs butt for sure because he wouldn't even have to shoot the free throws anymore, the points would be automatic if the player kept fouling him intentionally.

This could also partially solve one of the other problems we have now as well. Which is that other teams can "intentionally" foul poor free throw shooters (Like Shaq) and basically get away "scott free" because they know he probably won't make the free throws.
Posted: 4:56 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
Agreed, but how about reducing the time outs? It seems the last 2 min. of a game can take 15 min. to play and we end up watching tv commercials most of this time.
Posted: 4:56 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
Better officiating is all that's required. There's no need to tamper with the rules at all.

Raising the foul limit is ludicrous. For example, the Mavs with Diop / Dampier would be able to literally beat up opposing teams.

You want exciting basketball? Get officials calling the game properly, not changing the rules.
Posted: 4:56 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
Removing the foul limit would be wrong. Good coaches use fouls to their advantage by attcking players who play poor defence and get in foul trouble....if a player can't stay in the game they should improve their style of play.
Posted: 4:59 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
Unfortunately, the number of permitted fouls doesn't quite get at the core issue. Over the years the players have gotten bigger, faster, stronger, and the court has stayed the same size. (Not to suggest changing the court! No, I want to get rid of the three point shot; for another day.) The challenge to the referee is huge, on top of concerns about star treatment and the like. Not to mention an exhausting travel regimen.
NBA games already suffer from too many stops and starts. (The last minute of the game is hideous.) I can't see keeping the stars on the court a couple more minutes as a good tradeoff against more slow down from more fouls.
Posted: 5:02 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
Agree with the block/traveling 90% block percentage for sure. But you don't want basketball to turn into a foul-fest. Just think of the Bad Boys in Detroit in the late 80s who just fouled a lot (and got away with it) instead of playing good defense. Getting rid of the foul limit will only make this worse. Make teams play team defense. Call traveling (Tony Parker's Kobe move in the lane, which Chick Hearn called the bunny hop in the bean patch, is now the status quo). These guys are professionals. They ought to know how to dribble.
Posted: 5:03 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
I definitely agree that defensive fouls and loose ball fouls should be the only ones that count towards the players. Offensive fouls should be counted as turnovers. It makes the game more cohesive and we wouldn't have to worry about the superstars fouling out. That Utah and GS game 3 was a complete debacle since Deron Williams, one of their best player, was limited to sitting down and I'm a Warriors SUPERFan! I just want to see a game where the refs don't decide the outcome of the game.
Posted: 5:04 PM, May 15, 2007   by Paul- Durham NC
OK, here's the answer to all the people who say no foul limit would slow down the game. When a player commits his 7th or higher foul, the other team gets 2points, AND possession, not free throws. This way, there is no incentive to foul, because the other team gets the points, AND they can still run clock because they also get possession. Then the game doesn't slow down and there's no hack-a-shaq advantage.
For all the people who say LOWER the foul limit, that's crazy, because the Refs call too many touch fouls as it is, so even though the foul limit is currently 6 a player actually only gets 3 or 4 REAL fouls.
Posted: 5:07 PM, May 15, 2007   by ihuntduck
The 6 foul rule keeps things from getting too far out of hand and should stay. What should change are suspensions for the arbitrary, subjective tech's. The one Piston's game I was able to go to this year (in Milwaukee), Rasheed didn't play, play because he was on suspension for Tech's. So who gets punished? Certainly not Sheed, he can afford the fine. The fan is the one that gets cheated by not getting the full package.
Posted: 5:07 PM, May 15, 2007   by Alan Dryburgh, Wellington, New Zealand
I agree with what appears to be the consensus among the earlier comments. Keep a limit and keep it at 6. There is too much heavy contact going on as it is. It is meant to be a game of finesse after all. You don't see the NBA level of fouling in European basketball, at the Olympics or in the World Champs etc. By the way, some people have forgotten or don't know why the NBA allows 6 fouls versus College's 5. The pros play one-fifth more time (48 minutes v 40) so are allowed one-fifth more fouls.
Posted: 5:07 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
Revert back to the five foul rule with no penalty. The sixth foul requires a player to go out of the game for five minutes of playing time. Foul number seven requires sitting out ten minutes of playing time. Foul number eight and you are out for the remainder of the game. This system could result in some players ending the game on the bench for time penalties, however, it penalizes excess fouls early and takes the player out of the rotation but not out of the game. One problem with allowing additional fouls is more free throws so you would need to increase the number of fouls each quarter prior to shooting free throws - possibly to eight or nine.
Posted: 5:08 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
Let's get rid of the silly "foul out" rule in baseball while we're at it. I mean, why make stars play be the same rules as everyone else? Rule changes are fine, but the reason behind the rule should be more than "only a few players are worth watcahing".
Posted: 5:08 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
While I think that allowing more fouls would result in a deterioration of the fundamental player skills over time, (I think taking a charge is an art and a beautiful thing). Why not let a player stay in after 6 fouls but make the team play short handed for, say 2 minutes if he commits his 7th. Is he that valuable to take the risk or is he just a thug?
Possession of the ball on fouls after 6 would also curb abuse, especially late in the game. I also think that flagant foul suspensions would have to be raised much higher (fines and games) to prevent injuries. The game has shifted emphasis to outside shooting with the 3-point line and that should reduce fouls as will zone defenses. Would referees stop calling touch fouls if there was no limit and their influence on the tempo of the game be limited? I doubt it. Free throws are boring and don't add anything to the exitement to the game. More fouls could make basketball as slow as baseball some nights.
Posted: 5:08 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
Unlimited fouls are a bad idea. They would allow a team to cease playing defense against players they could foul into oblivion. Imagine how bad Hack-a-Shaq would be if there was no penalty for fouling out.

Removing the foul count would be like geting rid of the shot clock. Pre-shot clock teams could get a small team and kill the clock. A foulless team could use fouls to force free throws on a team, targeting less good free throw shooters. Suddenly the game freezes and guys are at the line all the time.

And let's not forget how crazy injuries would become with unlimited fouls.
I have a better solution: No harm, no foul. Toughen these guys up so the don't whine and fall to the floor everytime somebody brushes past them. Street basketball. Those of us who consider the NBA to be the wuss league of the major sports might actually tune in then. Barring that, you might as well remove the foul limit. Heaven forbid you expect million-dollar athletes to be able to play by the rules.
Posted: 5:09 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
The NHL Second Degree homicide comment was a bit harsh there. Hockey gets a bad rap just because its a Man's sport. Any wimp can throw around a basketball but it takes a really tough person to play hockey.

The comment really perpetuates an unfair interpretation of hockey. Its a contact sport, stuff happens occasionally, but thats why they get paid the big bucks. Its always been that way and it always should be. Regardless its a lot more exciting than watching a bunch of 7 foot guys drop a ball in a basket that is way too low to the ground. Even the midgets can dunk these days.
Posted: 5:10 PM, May 15, 2007   by Ken E
Eliminating the 6-foul rule would most certainly slow the game down and ruin the game, because there would be no penalty for fouling someone in the lane; just hack his arm off, knock him down. If he misses any of his free throws, good foul, or if he makes both, at least he's shaken up.

But if you award "automatic" points, then you get talented drivers who can draw fouls to get easy points without actually having to make a basket. Run in, do a little juke, jump into player. Rinse and repeat.

The 6-foul limit forces players to think about what they are doing, including taking a risk on taking a charge/driving to the hoop, because they know they could ride the bench if they get too many fouls.

And for all the fouls the stars get called on them, there are just as many times where refs don't call the foul. It all balances out in the end. Good players are just more aggressive, and that's why they get more fouls.
Posted: 5:10 PM, May 15, 2007   by ms5
Getting rid of the foul limit would ruin the integrity of the game of basketball. In fact, the NBA needs to do just the opposite and make the limit five fouls as it is in every other sanctioned form of basketball. Rather than looking for yet another way to deviate away from the purest form of basketball in attempting to highlight stars and create unnatural drama, the NBA needs to look itself in the face and realize that it is not the rules that have caused interest to lack, but rather the association deviation from them. Many people simply prefer college basketball because it is sport in its purest form. Forget the issue of salary, college athletes simply work harder. While the NBA has become more of a show than an athletic event (see music playing during play, dancers during every break, loudspeaker louder than fan noise, etc), college basketball is comprised of pure athletes. I strongly feel that those who are currently playing in the NBA need to forget about fame, get back to work, and become athletes rather than celebrities. In doing so, these players will find no trouble in adhering to the rules of basketball and will once again be recognized as athletes on par with those in the NFL and MLB.
Posted: 5:11 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
It's just another part of a dumb game. Basketball sucks
Posted: 5:11 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
McCallum's contention is not only misguided, but it suffers from flawed logic as well. If players were able to commit fouls indiscriminately and without repercussion, several results would certainly occur: 1. Players would foul all the time. (Clearly the "threat" of sending the average NBA player to the free throw line is nonexistent, as few can hit their free throws anyway.) 2. The excessive fouls would slow down the game. (Isn't the fast-paced play of the Suns drawing in more viewers than ever before?) 3. More fouls mean more injuries. 4. More injuries would mean that the superstars who we want to watch - McCallum included - will be less likely to be on the floor come playoff time.
"This is not Nam . . . There are rules."
-Walter Sobchak
Posted: 5:12 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
Removing the 3rd referee would cut don on fouls.
Posted: 5:14 PM, May 15, 2007   by Paul- Durham, NC
Oh, by the way. To all the people who say the foul limit is already too high and allows the hack-a-shaq nonsense to take place... The guys who commit those hack-a-shaq type fouls are usually guys who only have 1 or 2 fouls, or scrubs off the bench. The guy with 5 fouls don't usually commit his 6th one in a hack-a-shaq situation unless he's an expendable player.
Posted: 5:16 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
I agree!!! 6 fouls makes no sense. The league should also change the game format to 5 quarters. Oh wait, that doesn't make sense, and neither does changing the foul limit. Change for changes sake does nothing.
Posted: 5:16 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
Here's an idea: The superstars can stop fouling and stop acting like the rules shouldn't apply to them.
Posted: 5:16 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
its a rule of the game, change this and where do the rules go from there, you cant use be backboard, only swishes? maybe the better rule change would be to simply enforce the rule of traveling instead of giving every player 4 steps to get the basket and 5 more for a continuation
Posted: 5:24 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
Is it me or have most people and lost consciousness of what is that makes people good at basketball. Its the balance of good defense and and offense, and you put the best player on the court that will do the best job on both ends. When I hear people even playing with things like getting rid of fouls so some over rated, over paided player, who has part time job as a (LDI)lap dance inspector can stay in the game, makes me question where has the NBA gone. You might as well take pads away from football, and the stick away from the hockey players. If you want a game of wit and entertainment, please continue to watch deal or no deal, and give up on sports point blank.
Posted: 5:25 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
Change the foul limit? It's seems you're looking for a way to make it easier for the superstars. Why don't you just make them play basketball. Ya know, the "game" they are getting millions to play! Start enforcing the palming/double dribble issue. Enforce the 2 steps then shoot or pass issue. But I guess if you they are going to change the foul limit, make it no limit. However, on the sixth foul, the player that was fouled gets 2 shots AND that players team gets possesion. This way, the superstarts are still in the game at the end but now instead of fouling in a close game, this may actually force them to play basketball.
Posted: 5:26 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
The foul limit needs to stay. Red cards are no fun either and in UEFA/World Cup it actually causes the player to miss the next game. What needs to change is the types of calls being made. An inadvertent rake across the arm b/c of a cross over should not be a foul. Touching someone's arm after the ball is half way to the basket is not a foul. It's almost to the point where any physical contact whatsoever is a foul, and the game is not fun to watch sometimes. Automatic freethrows after 6 team fouls or 2 fouls in the last two minutes should be altered too. It slows down the game way too much, and I'm tired of watching teams lose b/c of a missed freethrow. I'd rather see them lose on a turnover or bad offensive possession. Who wants to watch 30 seconds over the course of 15 minutes?
Posted: 5:26 PM, May 15, 2007   by paul- Durham, NC
To the guy with the hockey comments above, I sort of agree with you. Hockey is a tough sport, and basketball players are in the habit of falling and sliding 6 feet across the floor anytime they get touched. It's EMBARASSING!!! However, I kind of agree with the second-degree-murder comment. Hockey players nearly have to kill someone to get noticed, and they seem happy to try.
Posted: 5:27 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
The old ABA had the best solution. After 6 (or more) fouls you did not foul out of the game. But the opposing team got to shoot free throws and got the ball back. So there was no incentive to foul. But good players could stay on the court down the stretch and into overtime.
Posted: 5:27 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
I disagree with you. Do you see any complaint about fouls in college basketball, or on the world stage?? Sure you have guys like Greg Oden who consistently foul out, but that is part of the learning curve. If a player truely is a superstar then he will find a way to keep up the good stats, and not foul. Kinda like Steve Nash. How often do you see him foul out of a game? Basketball has always had a foul limit, and always should. 8 fouls would just be ridiculous. Players should learn how to contain themselves. Yes basketball is a physical sport, but players should learn how to play within the rules.
Posted: 5:29 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
Stop hating the game! In every level of basketball play, there are fouls. Just because other sports don't remove players doesn't mean this game has to adopt such rules. Six is lenient enough for the pros and should be enough to keep them on the floor. They need to improve on their defense or the coach needs to have a good backup. Or how about changing the refs and not the rules.
Posted: 5:30 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
People, please let it go. Let the game be what it is. The foul limit is certainly needed.
Posted: 5:31 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
Foul numbers are not the problem with the NBA, if anything, too many are allowed already. Here is a starter list of what makes the game unwatchable (at least to me):

1. Too many offensive charge calls. Somebody said about 90% charges should be blocks, and I totally agree. A player has to be pretty much STANDING, not moving with the offender or throwing his body into him.

2. Watch the traveling, for crissakes! International refs don't seem to have a problem calling it, but NBA refs are blind to it.

3. Draconian penalties for lightest infractions - let's see what the Suns and Spurs get (I bet 3 Spurs and 2 Suns will be suspended for the next game). Ridiculous. I'm not saying it should be like hockey, but something more in tune with what damage was actually done by the player being punished.

4. Punish flopping. Ginobili and Parker are the notorious offenders here, make them sit on the bench more.
Posted: 5:34 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
Get rid of the six foul limit? Sure, but any fouls after six results in the other team getting five free throws shot by the player of their choice.
Posted: 5:34 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
I'm against the prospect of eliminating the foul limit, but if a compromise is needed here we go.

One shot per foul on the player. If you want to let superstars play and cause fouls giving the other team 7 free throw shots, either the player is that good to risk it, or the coach isn't thinking!
Posted: 5:36 PM, May 15, 2007   by Marfie
The NBA more resembles a rugby scrum half the time as it is; increasing the number of fouls is not a good idea. These guys whine about refs not "letting them play." Please. Have some cheese with that whine.
Posted: 5:36 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
Um, how would you deter bad-action? You see, this is where your analogy to other sports and their rules fall flat. There is a deterrence in all the other sports -- 15 yard penalties, suspension from the game, going to the penalty box, etc. Have you ever heard of a fact-checker, or an analogy-checker?
Posted: 5:37 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
You guys who are saying without a foul limit everyone will foul constantly are being ridiculous. If you were correct, every player would end every game with 5 fouls, because the limit is the only thing preventing them from fouling more according to you...sheesh!
Posted: 5:40 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
Removing the foul limit is not a good idea. The game would become too rough and it would take forever to play due to all of the foul calls.

One thing I'd suggest is to change the rules so that a defender doesn't get called for a foul when the offensive player runs into him and/or initiates the contact. I see too many instances where a defender gets called for a foul when he is just standing with his arms in the air or even when he is trying to avoid being run into by the offensive player. The rights of a defender to his space has been so compromised that the defender is not entitled to any space. Why should the defender be called for a foul when the offensive player leans into the defender in order to create contact?
Posted: 5:42 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
My position is the opposite of the commentary. In my view the professional foul limit certainly shouldn't be any high than the college limit of five. This will make basketball a team spot again rather than a show for just one or two players on each team.
Posted: 5:44 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
To Alan Dryburgh, Wellington, New Zealand, who wrote "The pros play one-fifth more time (48 minutes v 40) so are allowed one-fifth more fouls,".

What kind of math are you doing?
Posted: 5:44 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
It seems to me there are a number of options to consider on the 6th foul:
1) Allow the foul shots to be taken by a person of choice.
2) The first shot would be worth 2 points.
3) The team being fouled would retain the ball.
4) The person fouling would need to sit for a time (3 minutes?).
5) A player who had 6 or more fouls in a certain number of games would be required to sit out an entire game.
Let's be creative.
Posted: 5:45 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
How about instead of getting rid of the foul limit the players start playing and the refs officiate with some consistency? Or instead of a foul limit do a hockey style penalty - without any repercussions there will be entirely too many hard hits in a game where it's already got too much of that. On top of that the refs need to decide what they're going to call and what they will let fly - if you let someone get elbowed in the head without a call you can't call a slap on the wrist at the other end of the court a foul.
Posted: 5:46 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
What's next? Short skirts instead of shorts? Spiked wrist bands? Geeze, leave the game alone. The foul-limit was established to control behavior. Oh, I get it. You want to eliminate behavior control. Removing the rule bodes poorly for a sport that has already become gladiatorial.

At least wait until I die.

Posted: 5:46 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
You hit the nail on the head. This rule is outdated and needs to be changed. While we are at it, let's change the rule in college as well. It was frustrating to watch Hibbert and Oden "battle" during the final four. Neither wanted to get into foul trouble so both played too conservative and disappointed those who wanted to see the two best big men in college get at each other!!!
Posted: 5:47 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
I recommend getting rid of the mandatory free-throws (after the limit has been exceeded) on fouls. Make the foul a penalty even for poor free-throw shooting teams and give the fouled team the option of shooting free-throws or taking the ball out.
Posted: 5:49 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
David Stern mandated that stricter policies regarding defense and the outcome was more scoring and offensive advantages for standouts like Lebron and Kobe. That's why you'll see them charge the lane everytime, because any touch will be construed as a foul in the favor of the shooter. If you're going to change the rules in the favor of offensive strategy, it is only fair that level things out on the defensive end. Either get rid of the pansy touchy feely stupid foul calls, or get rid of the foul limit that everyone now falls victim to. It's really that simple.
Posted: 5:50 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
Are you looking for a murder to take place on the court. This is the stupidest idea I have heard in years. If Duncan gets infoul trouble get a better back up.
Posted: 5:50 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
To the guy that doesn't understand math:

48 / 6 = 8

40 / 5 = 8

The pros and college players get the same number of fouls per minute.

20% or 1/5th more than 40 is 48.

20% or 1/5th more than 5 is 6.

Get it?
Posted: 5:51 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
I believe that rather than dumping the six foul limit, the NBA should relax foul rules. Because defenders receive little to no freedom, a great amount of fouls are called. Handchecks are aggressively whistled by refs, which makes defenders wary of reaching for the steal. Take notice to the decrease in the number of steals compared to previous seasons. Crackdowns on perimeter and inside contact leave defenders with two options: draw the charge or draw back. Otherwise, the defenders risks committing a foul. Giving defenders more freedom would make the game more fair and more interesting.
Posted: 5:52 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
Instead of taking a player out of the game at 6 fouls, how about taking them out for a fixed period of time. Say, 3 minutes. This isn't as harsh as taking them completely out, but still leaves a strong incentive to stay foul-free.
The fouls committed that get these superstars in foul trouble are often obvious fouls that are just dumb decisions by young adults.

Watching last nights spurs - suns matchup, the fouls were often just wastes of defensive attempts. Did anyone watch barbosa bump ginoubli (or whatever) on his way to an easy spur's layup. The ensuing free throw was a present.

Foul trouble should be kept, players should just keep their heads, and only foul when it's smart, or in a tough battle.
I don't know what the solution is but I certainly no what isn't the solution. Getting rid of fouls altogether would lead to a tremendous slow down of the already slowed down game. Imagine playing the Heat. Would you rather play them legitimately or would you rather foul Shaq each time they went on offense? Fouling Shaq would lead to less points than facing them straight up.
Posted: 5:55 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
well i think thet should kick him out for all that he did but i just think he coud use another chance.
Posted: 5:56 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
The refs don't call travelling or offensive fouls. It's not the game I played when I was younger and this is why I have very little interest in the NBA these days.
Posted: 5:56 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
I gotta disagree with you on this one. This is not soccer, where you can foul someone constantly and still be in the game (although there's enough flopping in it to put the World Cup to shame this year). The foul limit is one of the rules that gives this sport a uniqueness that no other major sport can touch. Eliminating this rule would essentially turn this game into a street ball game, with teams like the Spurs getting away with nothing short of manslaughter as people come into the lane. As entertaining as the games at Rucker Park in NY or the And 1 tour is on TV, I'd rather spend my time and money on the more organized version of the game. Last I checked, refs in every sport make mistakes -- that's part of what makes the sport so entertaining. Unless your team had Wilt, every one of them before or since has had to deal with losing a great player to fouls. It's a great testament to an entire team to win without a star player and one that I think every NBA champ should have to go through at some point to win a title.
Posted: 5:58 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
dont do the crime if you cant do the time,just ask paris.
Posted: 5:58 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
With respect, this idea is a bad one and the comparisons to other sports inappropriate. In hockey, where the scores are low, one or two power plays can have a meaningful impact. In basketball, two free throws is inadequate in and of itself to deter rampant abuse, particularly considering the bricks that are being passed off as foul shots.
Posted: 5:59 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
who would want to watch a free throws game?
Posted: 6:02 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
There has to be some limit on the amount of fouls a player can get, otherwise the entire game would be determined by the free throw line.
Posted: 6:04 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
Ha, I couldn't disagree more. I think the foul limit should be reduced to 4 or 5. These guys are professionals, let's see them play defense with their feet instead of handchecking.
Posted: 6:04 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
Great idea.
And you are correct about blocking/charging. It is mis-called at least 90% of the time. Video replays show that the defender is ALWAYS moving when the contact occurs. But the refs are not looking at the spot, they're watching the ball.
Posted: 6:08 PM, May 15, 2007   by Pam
I think there should be foul limits but I also think that the refs need to be more careful during the playoff games. During one game they may call a lot of fouls whereas in another game they don't call as much. I know it is hard because they don't see everything, but they have to realize that every call is important to these teams.
Posted: 6:09 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
I say give 5 fouls/half.
You fould 5 times in the first half - you sit out until the second half.
I don’t agree with this. There's a bigger issue here in that the game has gotten more physical even though it's a "non contact game". Why not reduce the number of teams so that “defensive specialists” meaning “guys who are really big but aren’t really basketball players” don’t have jobs? That way, only the best players get to play and there’s more incentive to play basketball and less to foul the crap out of people. Physical play is the problem, not foul calls.

Money drives the league and as long as teams are added and players are rewarded with contracts for playing physical basketball, players will go to the bench with foul trouble. Teams with depth are the ones that win but it’s hard to build depth when there are so many teams chasing the good players. So either work hard to add depth or don’t foul as much.

While I’m at it: eliminate the jump stop, it’s actually a walk. Call palming the ball. Call changing the pivot foot (a walk too).
Posted: 6:11 PM, May 15, 2007   by B.Nichols
In a league that loves scoring, the refs and the rules will always revolve around penalizing defensive players. If the refs called it according to the rule book, instead of what gets them on TV, then maybe no player would reach 6 fouls. Call the charge more, and the block less. The offensive charge is the most under called foul ever. When a defensive player has defensive position and has to step out of the offensive players way in order to not draw a foul - ridiculous. What's the point of playing D?
I don’t agree with this. There's a bigger issue here in that the game has gotten more physical even though it's a "non contact game". Why not reduce the number of teams so that “defensive specialists” meaning “guys who are really big but aren’t really basketball players” don’t have jobs? That way, only the best players get to play and there’s more incentive to play basketball and less to foul the crap out of people. Physical play is the problem, not foul calls.

Money drives the league and as long as teams are added and players are rewarded with contracts for playing physical basketball, players will go to the bench with foul trouble. Teams with depth are the ones that win but it’s hard to build depth when there are so many teams chasing the good players. So either work hard to add depth or don’t foul as much.

While I’m at it: eliminate the jump stop, it’s actually a walk. Call palming the ball. Call changing the pivot foot (a walk too).
Posted: 6:13 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
Except for playoffs, modern day professional basketball is a joke. It begins with the height of the basket and continues by virtually every play having a callable foul by someone by real basketball definition. Maybe any contact should be a foul and fewer fouls, not more, allowed is the way to go. Someone needs to seriously review how the game used to be played.
Here's an idea. Eliminate the six foul limit but increase the number of free throws awarded from 2 to 3. That would limit fouling but keep the players in the game.
Posted: 6:15 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
There's too many posts to read them all - has anyone pointed out that the NBA plays 20% longer than any other league? Therefore, 20% more fouls makes sense.

As for the argument about keepign the best players on the floor - you obviously mean best "offensive" players. If they were all that good on defense, they wouldn;t have to miss time too often, now would they?

Also, the whole thing about keeping a player out due to fould trouble is a falacy anyway. I'd much rather have 32 minutes of Duncan with a foul-out with 2 minutes left, than only 26 minutes, but he's in at the end. Unless your bench guy is almost as good as your starter, your always better off lettign the starter play more even at the risk of fouling out. Basically, I'd rather be playing short-handed witha lead, than even handed and tied.
Posted: 6:15 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
By the time a player is in the NBA, they should be able to play good defense and not foul. On the same token, the NBA has tightened up the officiating so much that high school basketball is almost just as physical. I say let them play and call the fouls that need to be called.
Posted: 6:15 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
Its a little complex, but I would like a system where there is 3 foul per quarter limit. More than three fouls in a quarter . . . you sit until the next quarter starts. That way two quick fouls doesn't take a star out of the game for the rest of the half.
Posted: 6:16 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
Good article, considering MOST of basketball "fouls" are completely arbitrary. The NBA has cornered itself into basketball going from a "non-contact" sport to a brutal, pounding game.
The other day i watched Ilgauskis just push and push his defender closer to the basketball (at least 5 non-called charges) until the whistle blew in his favor. When are they going to ask big men to once again use a little athleticism and footwork to create a shot?
I can go on for days about refs blowing charging/blocking calls...and the way they call those fouls ruining players' incentive to play REAL defense...
Posted: 6:17 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
I think eliminating the foul out would massively change the game. Think of how people would play someone like Shaq whose a scoring force on the court but can't hit a free throw to save his life. I would foul him everytime he touched the ball. He would score less. The problem is that foul penalties are minor. Think about a player that shoots 40% from the field and 70% from the free throw. This player averages 10 shots a game. If you foul him hard everytime he's scores 7 points. If you don't foul him he scores 8. Do the math, unless you raise the foul penalty to three or four shots per foul then against certain players it be better to foul every time. That doesn't sound like fun.
Posted: 6:19 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
You are going the wrong way. REDUCE the number of fouls to just 3. Then we will see somne basketball, rather than a poor imitation of Aussy Scrums.
Posted: 6:21 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
Here's a novel concept -- why don't we require a bunch of spoiled, over-priced crybaby athletes to play by the rules? There are 12 men on a basketball team for a reason, and if the superstars cannot control themselves enough to avoid foul trouble, then they sit and another multi-million dollar athlete replaces them. This is the stupidest thing I have ever heard! Six fouls has been around forever, and it never seemed to phase Larry, Magic, Havlicek, Moses, the Big O -- they all had to learn when to give in because you got beat and when to take the chance on a play or deliberately lay a hard foul to intimidate the opposition. It's basketball, for Pete's (Maravich) sake -- it's not rocket science!
Posted: 6:23 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
i believe the nba officiating should be looser with their fouls on the defense, and maybe a little more liberal with their offensive fouls. i do not agree with your statement about block-charges because the charge is really the only weapon a defender has left after all the rule changes to end hand checking and increase point production. i must admit my bias towards physical play and gritty grind-it-out games. 6 fouls is a gracious plenty number of fouls. i think that todays NBA player is more physically gifted and, for the most part, more skilled than ever before. the mental game is the poorest it has ever been. if players want to stay in the game maybe a little more film time and quicker feet would be in order. (and for anyone who believes the officiating is horribley you should strap on a whistle and try it. officiating is not as easy as ti looks)
Posted: 6:25 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
Hey, these guys are supposed to be professionals. If they get paid for being so good, give them three fouls only. Then there would be less hacking, fewer collisons, fewer flops and maybe a cleaner game. Less of a highly paid playground style of basketball.
Posted: 6:25 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
Get rid of the 6 foul limit?? ABSOLUTELY NOT! We should enjoy a more fluid game versus a wrestling match. My recommendation- stay out of foul trouble to begin with! Basketball is sooo much more enjoyable when it is a fast paced game. Instead of going to the bench with foul trouble, get out of the way and don't foul. The superstar on the floor is more important for 5 minute stretches than one stinking basket.
The ABA used the no foul out rule with success in the last season or two. I believe the CBA copied the rule. I'm all for it
Posted: 6:28 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
I get a kick out of the TV people talking about not making certain calls during the playoffs. If it is a rule why wouldn't it be a rule in every game? The NBA almost isn't real basketball anymore, it is part theater, part big time wrestling with an emphasis on pushing and grabbing. At least the 6 foul rule adds a bit of coaching strategy to the game.
Posted: 6:34 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
Totally disagree. Increasing the foul limit would only further disrupt the flow of NBA games. No one watches the NBA to watch guys shoot free throws. It's absurd, for instance, to have a team get 40% of its points from the free throw line. That's not basketball. I would like to see the foul limit lowered to 5 while also raising the bar as to what constitutes a foul. There are so many cheap fouls called that often change the game. Adopting these changes would help the flow of the games.
Posted: 6:40 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
They need to go back to 2 referees.
Posted: 6:40 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
The only thing I really don't think is fair is that it's much harder not to foul in the post. So the big men in the middle get in foul trouble constantly. Maybe give the post players an extra foul before they foul out. There is no excuses for players on the outside to foul jump-shooters. So give them only 5 fouls. I think that would be fair.
Posted: 6:41 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
How in the world can they call a foul when they allow players to lean on each other and push each other the whole game? At what point does it become a foul? And as far as traveling and carrying the ball are concerned, give me a break! I wouldn't increase the number of fouls at all. I would enforce the rules that are already in place.
Posted: 6:42 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
I'm a Buck fan so I really haven't been a fan since Jack Sikma played. I don't like the three point shot or the favoritism showed to keep stars in the game.
Outstanding article. I agree some experiments should be tried. As long as the NBA is willing to try things out and not get all dogmatic about one limit or another.. the game will be better for it.
Posted: 6:45 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
Sure, eliminate the foul out rule. And while you are at it install a penalty box so when a foul is committed that prevents that prevents the ball from going in, the player giving the foul has to sit for 2 minutes while the team has to deal with a 5 on 4 disadvantage. That will reduce the number of fouls REAL quick. Hockey has the greatest rules. There are not nearly as many fouls than in Basketball.
Posted: 6:48 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
NBA refs are by far the worst of any league. they have way too much say in the outcomes of the games and they abuse that power with gleeful impunity every night. We all talk about how players are cocky and spoiled and never held accountable, but at least they can be traded or benched or dismissed. I think anyone out there would LOVE to have the job security enjoyed by david stern's hacks. where else can you be as god aweful at your job to the point that people seriously think youre doing it on purpose - and face zero reprocussions. so either get better refs (hasnt happened yet, so no reason to expect that) or get rid of the current limit. it wont take care of all the nba's problems. they still seem to be convinced that we want to see SCORING so they call fouls every other posession like were actually entertained by foul shots. we want ACTION, and we dont want our stars sitting on the bench during the playoffs.
Posted: 6:49 PM, May 15, 2007   by Ike
Although basketball is a physical sport, I don't think that they should get rid of the foul limit,what they should do is increase it like you said to eight per game. Doing away with the foul limit only allows players to foul other players with a bad free-throw percentage with reckless abandon.And also it could lead to players being fouled hard and probably causing an injury becasue the players know they can foul and still remain in the game.
Posted: 8:28 PM, May 15, 2007   by Damian
My God! This is simple everyone. Keep the six foul rule for players. Every foul over the 5 team fouls rule in a quarter,the other team gets two foul shots and the ball. I will bet my house that fouls will decrease.
Posted: 8:36 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
It actually should go the OTHER way - drop it to 5 fouls and you're out. Scoring would increase and the game wouldn't stop all the time.
Posted: 8:39 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
I like having the 6 foul rule. Without being able to keep the game in control we'd end up with a hockey like atmosphere of checking, roughting etc.... Whats wrong with encourging athletes to handle difficulty with tactfulness instead of rudeness. If you want a "let em play" attitude, they should start a new league where anything goes. Buckwheat Donahue Skagway, Alaska
Posted: 8:44 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
I agree the foul limit should be eliminated, but you need to make excessive fouling very punitive. I would propose that after some limit (5?), each successive foul by that player would result it a free throw(or free throws) plus possession. I'd also like to see a limit on the number of times a player could be fouled with similar penaties (i.e. eliminate the hack a shak type strategy).
Posted: 8:50 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
i think the emphasis should be on clean play so why not introduce a system similar to soccer.

If you reach 6 fouls you sit out the next game.

I bet the game would flow much more smoothly then and stars would stay in the game and it would be cleaner game all round.
Posted: 8:51 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
Way to be 100% wrong on that one.
Posted: 8:52 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
i agree with only count defencive fauls,it's a good choice.
Posted: 8:53 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
This concept is ridiculous. Fouls, as they are called now, are virtually ruining the game. The league should be doing everything it can to limit the fouls. I can't stand watching players intentionally violate the rules so another player can't get an "easy" basket. Basketball is a great sport because its a fast paced all out war. I cannot stand watching the last 2 minutes of a close game these days. Foul, timeout, tv break, 10 seconds, basket, rinse and repeat for the next 10 minutes.
Posted: 9:00 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
Just call the games the way they should be. Watch some classic 80s and into the 90s games. Man, they could play defense without climbing all over someone—because they called fouls the way they were suppossed to.
The NBA lets players literally mug each other - so no wonder no one knows what a foul is!
Posted: 9:18 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
I think your damned both ways. It either means players don't play defense or refs allow too much contact meaning nobody gets in the lane.

I like watching small guards with ball handling skills get in the lane for high percentage shots rather than seeing 3 after 3 clank off the rim. The game stops too much anyway when it takes half an hour to watch the last 4 minutes of a close game.

Why don't players just play sound defense without fouling - the stars get their points on one end and don't foul out on defense. Now teams are getting more proficeint with zones perhaps these stars should pass and move the ball more to stop picking up charges.

And please - less time outs!
Posted: 9:22 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
ALL fouls should be cosidered flagrant-- either one free-throw and possession or, if the other team is in the penalty-- two free-throws and the possession.
Posted: 9:24 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
The foul shot is the most boring play in all of sports.
Posted: 9:25 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
This is crazy, 6 foul rule is part of the game, it makes a team adjust to who's on the court, don't take that away. If anything counsel the refs on cheap fouls.
Posted: 9:26 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
For all the debate this has generated, there is not one comment on this page which addresses the real problem: The reason guys started fouling in the first place is that refs stopped calling travels, carries, and double-dribbles. You cannot "defend" against a guy who isn't dribbling; you can only tackle him. You want to make the games more fun to watch? Increase the diameter of the basketball, use the whistle, and give the defenders a chance.
Posted: 9:27 PM, May 15, 2007   by Dan B
Get rid of 6 fouls??? Then how would David Stern and the refs control the outcome of games???
Posted: 9:30 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
Okay, change the rules, but don't stop with allowing more than six fouls. How about these? The 6th-8th fouls are three shots and over 9 is four shots. In the final three minutes of a game run off ten seconds for every foul by the trailing team. Why should a game be decided by foul shooting ability rather than offensive flow?
Posted: 9:33 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
Yeah, just turn the league completely over to the thugs. Sounds great. If they kill each other on the court, we can all sit back and congratulate ourselves for not snitching.
Posted: 9:34 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
I don't exactly know when limits being set on players became a problem. The game of basketball created a limit on fouls simply because fouls were not supposed to be committed. The reasoning, if you break the rules enough times, you will no longer be allowed to play in the game. If refs call games closer than others, MAKE ADJUSTMENTS, and stop beating your head against a stone wall.
Posted: 9:35 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
Offensive foul would result in 1 free throw for the other team, but would not be counted toward a personal foul.
i agree with the person below this box. Im a basketball player in the eight grade( soon to be a fish). But , i do think that the NBA officials are making the game to soft. They shouldn't get rid of the 6 foul your out rule. They should, like this article said, increase to 8 fouls or have the refs not call little ticky-tac fouls.
Posted: 9:45 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
I'm personally just tired of these NBA players acting like WNBA players when they get fouled...TAKE IT LIKE A MAN and don't flail like a girl but I also believe the refs should just let the "guys" play and not call fouls EVERY TIME someone gets a touch on the wrist.
Posted: 9:48 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
Let's not stop at the limit on fouls! I think they should get rid of traveling calls, palming, moving screens, charging, blocking...all of those stupid rules that just slow the game and get in the way of all out war! It might mean that all the guys will end up wearing helmets, face guards, shoulder pads, shin guards etc., but who cares! No wait...here's the idea...let's put them on rollerskates and make the court a circular track...we could call it Rollerball!!
Posted: 9:50 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
I have this idea. In moving up to the pros players have the 3-point line moved back to make the game harder. They have a shorter clock to make scoring a priority and to have hard work be the basis for scoring. So why give thse guys more fouls to play with? They are pros now, so I propose dropping the number of fouls to four. Get that fourth foul, you're gone. Gone would be the days of Hack-A-Shaq and Bullyball. The return of the graceful game (as Bird-Johnson so entertained us with) would bring about a new age with fans in droves watching competitive, exciting ball.
Posted: 9:52 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
For starters, raise the basket to 12 feet. This lowers the dunks which lowers tons of fouls. Then, go back to the game being a dribbling, passing and shooting skill game. Any defensive contact with body parts is a foul. Six fouls is enough. Now, see how long the game can be played before running out of players. Teams will adjust.
Posted: 9:53 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
In no other game can one MISSED call in the FIRST quarter ruin a teams chances victory. One legit foul followed by one bad one and a key player may be done for the half. Maybe don't remove the limit but raise it.
Posted: 10:00 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
There are other "old" rules:

5 men on the court per team.
Putting the ball in the basket for points.
Having to dribble instead of just walking with the ball.

Let's get rid of those too!
Posted: 10:09 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
Keep the fouls in the NBA. Perhaps Hockey and Baseball need to change to include removal of offending players
Posted: 10:13 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
There would be off the ball fouls like crazy in situations when the defense was beat.

No, there are already rules place (technicals) to prevent that.
Posted: 10:14 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
Refs should be held more accountable for calling tick tack fouls on rookies, etc and for non-calls on superstars. The obvious logic is that good players are more skilled at defense and therefore don't foul out. What is the incentive for playing good clean tough D if some players are just out there hacking? There have to be serious consequences at some point and DQ after 6 has worked for a long time.
Posted: 10:17 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
Wilt Chamberlain hardly ever came close to fouling out of games. If referees were protecting him, they were protecting him from pretty much all fouls. I think a more likely theory is that he was a superior athlete and a defensive superstar who was so big and quick that he didn't have to foul - why foul when you can block? So, to echo other comments, play better defense and you won't foul.
Posted: 10:17 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
How come this only comes up when Tim Duncan is involved. This guy is just spoiled and can do whatever he wants.

This is a joke. Keep the rules better player like Kobe and Garnett can play through it.
Posted: 10:19 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
Eliminating the threat of fouling out is like giving these thugs a club and saying its okay to knock out any player on the other team that might score. Sure, six fouls is still gives these guys five free hits, but removing the risk of being kicked out would make the sport a blood-bath.
Posted: 10:25 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
My senior year of high school, I played the "6th man" role and only collected 3 fouls all year, two were intentional, all while playing good defense and smart offense (point guard).

The moral of the story? You can play without fouling. Come on, it's supposed to be the pros, of all people, they should be able to play cleanly for a whole game, or close to it.

If you did away with fouling out or raised the foul limit, you would lose part of the strategy needed in close games at the end.
Posted: 10:31 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
Basketball is supposed to be non contact. Foul outs should occur at 2. That would bring elegance back into the game. Basketball should be basketball, not rugby
Posted: 10:37 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
NBA foul calls are reviewed more often than Peruvian election returns. The difference is that in the NBA, no one has been able to detect any bias. And no one has been able to make a credible case for foul-advantage during the course of an entire playoff series.
If they had, they would have published those statistics (a notable ommission from this article).

The reason there are more foul calls in the playoffs is that players are committing more fouls. In the playoffs, great players and great teams learn to play within themselves. This is called maturity, and on the court, championships are won by players who play with maturity.
Posted: 10:38 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
The only way you could eliminate the foul limit is greatly increase the penalty for a foul say two free throws and possession. If you didn't the power inside players like Shaq would never get a shot off.
Posted: 10:39 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
Revise rules so that fouls after the sixth require a 5 minute visit to the bench. possibly add one free throw for each additional foul. The best way would be to require refs to call fouls as they are defined in the rule book, especially offense initiated contact to "create" a foul. Further, call only fouls actually seen by the ref.
Posted: 10:41 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
Sure, refs call some fouls that aren't really fouls sometimes, but they also fail to call fouls that actually happen at other times. I don't think it's clear that the number of fouls called actually ends up being greater than the number of fouls that happen. What's needed is greater accuracy - and the obvious way to achieve that is by hiring more refs so that they can actually see what's going on all the time.
Posted: 10:41 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
Okay, so let's just eliminate the foul limit. Maybe eventually we need to raise the number of players on a team because of the number of injuries that will likely go up. Heck, let's just make it full contact basketball with helmets and facemasks and shinguards. The logical progression would be to eventually allow tackling. Why not? We should allow NBA basketball become AS violent as the NFL and the NHL. I say "give the people (sportswriters) what they want". Heaven forbid that a "star" should spend a moment on the bench for hacking another player. What a great idea! Such a wonderful message for the youth of America!!!
Posted: 10:42 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
Maybe one of the dumbiest arguements I have heard in awhile. Comparing offsides or icing to a foul is not accurate. And soccer you can get two hard fouls and get disqualified. And hockey you can get you a game misconduct for certain pentalies.

Bad arguement - the last thing this sport needs is less controls. Maybe they should just add strippers to the sideline w/ a stripper pole
Posted: 10:49 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
What about allowing a player who fouls out an extra foul if the opposing team is awarded 10 points
Posted: 11:47 PM, May 15, 2007   by Anonymous
In response to Anonymous, who asked:
"To Alan Dryburgh, Wellington, New Zealand, who wrote "The pros play one-fifth more time (48 minutes v 40) so are allowed one-fifth more fouls,".

What kind of math are you doing?"

Correct math? One fifth of 40 is 8...one fifth MORE than 40 is 48.
One fifth of 5 is 6. one fifth more than 5 is six.

In other words: in college, there is one foul per 8 minutes (8*5=40), and in the NBA, the same is true (8*6=48).
Excellent and long overdue article. I'm working on a list of improvements for the game and this is high on that list. As for the arguments that the game would become a foul-a-thon, you are totally wrong. Every coach knows that the best offensive/worst defensive possession is when you get to the foul line. Percentages show that you average the highest points per possession when you shoot free throws (John Calipari had the number at 1.2 points per possession at a coaching clinic I attended last year). Coaches don't want defensive fouls. I would add that referees should be instructed to ignore all "drawn" fouls where the offense throws itself into a defender on purpose to get a whistle. This isn't basketball, but it gets call after call. Make those two rule changes (let's dump the leaving the bench things while we're at it) and I think you have an instantly improved game.
Posted: 12:33 AM, May 16, 2007   by Anonymous
keep the 6 fouls just stop calling all the tickytack fouls and weak off the ball fouls, they just slow the game down. but i always hear "NBA is the only league where stars get preferential treatment". if its a foul, its a foul. just call real fouls and dont worry about the name on the jersey.
Posted: 8:02 AM, May 16, 2007   by Paul
I've suggested this for years, even wrote a letter to the NBA office: AN "OFFENSIVE" FOUL SHOULD NOT BE A FOUL. Simply treat an offensive foul as a turnover unless it's flagrant. This would cut down on personal fouls and would also make offensive players more likely to penetrate into the lane without fear of the dreaded "offensive foul".
Posted: 8:18 AM, May 16, 2007   by Anonymous
I think they should get rid of the three second rule, widen the lane again and bump the foul limit up to 8. Also, the NBA players should work on moving their feet AND avoiding contact. With that being said the refs should let them play and when it becomes TOO physical start calling fouls.
Posted: 9:57 AM, May 16, 2007   by Anonymous
ridiculous! the game would slow to a crawl, there would be no greater consequence for a player obviously playing against the rules by committing a foul. Not to mention increase in injuries to the very star players you are trying to protect consistently getting banged up.
Posted: 10:28 AM, May 16, 2007   by Anonymous
Stu Jackson is a complete moron. When he was the GM of the Vancouver Grizzlies. He amassed the WORST winning percentag in ALL of professional sports over a five year span! Yes, that includes basketball, baseball, football and hockey, which includes about 50 - 100 years of statistics for each sport. NO GM in the history of any professional sport had a worse losing record than Stu Jackson. If anyone can prove me wrong, please do so. I remember reading it somewhere while I was living in Vancouver.
Posted: 10:41 AM, May 16, 2007   by Anonymous
I think the NBA ref not doing a really good job, they dont let players develop a really good game, some simple touch they been calling foul for no reason dont let the game get be interesting like in the 80's now the game's been turning so boring to follow.....
Posted: 10:57 AM, May 16, 2007   by Anonymous
I think the to many fouls called is a problem with the younger fan base and sports high lights. They just want the highlights and not the game. Their the MTV crowd. I want it now crowd.

I would go to 5 fouls per game and a limit of say 50 fouls for the year. After 50 fouls your gone until next season. I like basketball not brawls. Plus 50 fouls per year would mean that the coaches and players would have to really think about playing the game as it is tied to the season.

Also after a foul let the players have the ball right away so they can run a fast break and catch the other team sleeping. Now th Ref waits till the other team is set.

Posted: 10:59 AM, May 16, 2007   by Anonymous
Yeah...let's just totally abolish one of the cornerstone strategies of the game. I was getting real tired of watching teams attack the basket in the area guarded by an opponent in foul trouble. While we are at it, let's bring back the spread offense and Ol' Hickory's three pass before you can shoot a 12 foot jumper rule.

Or maybe we can place on onus our the athletes to not commit fouls.
Posted: 11:33 AM, May 16, 2007   by Anonymous
just call less fouls for bs. And eliminate posession changes on shots when teams are over the limit in the final x minutes so the games don't drag on forever. So too bad, if you are behind by 1 w/24 seconds left then yes, you will LOSE. Sorry, don't get in that situation in the first place.
Simple solution: 4 foul shots and possession for every defensive foul past six on any player (only defensive fouls should count).
Posted: 12:25 PM, May 16, 2007   by Anonymous
I think the 6 foul limit rule is perfect. It's up to the players on how to manage their fouls. The NBA should review the performance of the refs during the playoffs. There are a lot of inconsistent calls that makes the players frustrated. And by the way, players should not penalized for clapping. Refs are too sensitive on these matter...
Posted: 1:52 PM, May 16, 2007   by JL
I believe the foul limit is the ONE rule that should never be changed. You change that rule and basketball will become football or rugby! Oscar Robertson told me when I was a kid at his basketball camp that basketball is not a non-contact sport; it is a non-collision sport. It must be maintained as that. Changing the foul rule or limit would completely change the game!
Posted: 4:56 PM, May 16, 2007   by Anonymous
From watching both series, the Jazz are clearly dirty and love taking people out of their games. The Warriors were easier to take out than the Rockets. The Spurs won't have it, and the Suns might. The Jazz don't do intentionally dirty stuff, but their dirtiness goes slightly past the line and should taint their legacy.
Posted: 6:19 PM, May 16, 2007   by Anonymous
I'm going to make this plain and simple - your crazy. There is a reason there are foul limits. It makes perfect sense. Otherwise Shaq would be fouled every time down the court, or Ben Wallace, or whoever. Just be quiet now and think before you write.
Posted: 6:27 PM, May 16, 2007   by Anonymous
There are some good ideas in her, like 4 foul shots after a player goes over 6 fouls. Why not double every 6 fouls. I also like the idea of only counting defensive fouls against the six. The obvious problem with just allowing players to get an unlimited number of fouls is that a guy like Shaq would never attempt a field goal. Just foul him as soon as he touches the ball. He has the worst free throw percentage and one of the best field goal percentages in the league so this would happen for sure. If he ended up taking 4 free throws for every foul, fouling him would be as enticing. This would also allow a guy like Tim Duncan to be more aggressive defensively and guys like LeBron to be more aggressive offensively. If a couple charging fouls along with some defensive fouls doesn't get you tossed then they are not such a big deal.
Basketball rules are basketball rules. Just because its the NBA doesn't mean you can ignore the basketball rules. One reason why I dread watching NBA games now is the ignorance players give to the rules. Learn how to play defense and you wouldn't get in foul trouble.
NO, NO NO. You must keep the foul limit.

Re Seeding in the Playoffs is something tha needs to change...
Posted: 12:31 AM, May 17, 2007   by Stephen N
If any thing decrease the foul limit. Or as noted above find some other way to discourage fouling. Your comparisons to other sports are a little skewed. Say there is no foul limit in B-ball, the consequence for fouling is at worst 2 points out of ~100 in a game. in hockey if you foul the consequence is a power play giving a much better chance to give up 1 goal in a ~3 point game. I’d take 5-15 yards and an extra down in the NFL over 2 points in the NBA. The consequence has to out weight the advantage gained from fouling. 2 free throws alone is not enough to discourage fouling.
Posted: 12:42 AM, May 17, 2007   by Anonymous
PLEASE leave the league's rules as is; the league should focus more on better officiating and cleaner play instead. NBA games played without a foul limit could potentially become sluggish free-throw contests and/or nightly brawls. That aforementioned end result would be sad for a league which has already lost a huge chunk of its former glory.

Superstars should try to exemplify the traits of an ideal professional athlete, they should be able to perform well WHILE playing by the rules thus avoiding reduced playing time, fouling out, and possible ejection. Unjust leeways on the NBA's most profitable players would turn them into untouchable, pompous a-holes who would play ENTIRELY for financial gain and/or global prominence.
Posted: 11:36 AM, May 17, 2007   by Anonymous
When charging (or offensive fouls due to defensive flopping) is not counted as a team foul then it shouldn't be counted towards a player's 6 personal fouls either. For the game it's considered as both a turnover and a foul on that player (a double whammy). Just leave it at a turnover and don't penalize an offensive player double because of some flopping garbage.
Posted: 7:38 PM, May 17, 2007   by Anonymous
Only morons think that defense is at an all-time low. Just watch any old game on ESPN Classic -- there was zero defense being played back in the day.

People want the foul limit to be less? Oh, yeah, that would be great -- let's watch Francisco Elson or Pat Burke play more minutes. That's a fantastic idea.

No idea why people would like to see superstars sit on the bench because of foul trouble, but that's what many people are essentially saying.

I think they should do away with the foul limit. Give the other team an extra free throw -- like a technical foul, after a player exceeds five fouls.
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