Once considered a heads-up play, it is now the move that our panel of 29 players, coaches and executives would most like to outlaw. Asked to name the one rule they would change if they could, nine voters wanted to prohibit players who are sailing out-of-bounds with the ball from taking a timeout. To the voters' way of thinking a player shouldn't be allowed to call time unless he has complete possession of the ball and both feet planted on the court. Heat forward Ed Pinckney spoke for the plurality when he said, "That falling out-of-bounds thing—I hate that."
Seven voters urged that zone defenses be allowed. Two favored moving the three-point line from 22 feet to its original 23'9", and two advocated relaxing the restrictions on hand-checking.
The other choices varied. Golden State G.M. Dave Twardzik wanted to cease compiling individual statistics in order to promote greater team play (a change that might also signal the retirement of Dominique Wilkins). Sacramento VP Geoff Petrie voted not to make a new rule but to enforce an old one. "Given the way guys are allowed to dribble today," said Petrie, "it makes no sense to have the palming rule even in there." And then there's the measure Bulls guard Ron Harper would like to see on the books. "I want seven fouls," he said.