There is a way to change the game for the better with minimal negative side effects on the court of play. It just requires such a dramatic alteration to our cherished numeric symbols that even I’m not in favor of the proposal.
I am quite serious about phasing free throws out of the NBA, though it’s hard to convince people that such an inclination is anything more than a joke. It’s a dead-ball aspect of the game that bores and suctions valuable time from our eyeballs. It’s a part of the game that bears a greater resemblance to golf–one individual, against a stagnant back drop–than to the basketball action that fans cheer on. Obviously, I don’t have the power to remove free throws by fiat, but I would celebrate the movement gaining traction eventually.
There is an impediment to such a movement, though, and it isn’t just tradition. The obvious argument against removing free throws is that the live ball action would be changed for the worse. If, as I’ve suggested, all free throws were instantly converted to points, flopping could increase substantially as teams chase a 2 point value as opposed to the roughly 1.5 point value that an average foul line trip means.
The challenge in creating a free throwless game is doing so in a manner that doesn’t fundamentally change the game, aside from nixing freebies. There is a way do this, though it will never happen. There is a way to erase free throws without increasing flopping, but it requires a conceptual shift that we’ll never be ready for.
The wacky HoopIdea suggestion would be to award 1.5 points for every foul line trip. In this scenario, the rare “And-1″ would result in 1 point, and the rarer three-shot foul would result in 2