The balance of offence and defence in the NBL
Andrew Price (Lob Pass to Abercrombie) had a disturbing graph on his site recently showing trends in team points per game, and fouls per game across the years.
This 2013 season is the first season that the points to fouls ratio has gone under 2.0...
While there are many who don't mind a tough slogfest, the majority would presumably favour a more free-flowing and scoring game. That is, more points and fewer fouls, and a game that favours offence slightly before defence.
I think the NBL are in a tough position here because one way to quietly tweak this balance is to penalise the defence for bumping, holding and so on. That is, calling more fouls. Which doesn't really improve the spectacle in the short term, and possibly just encourages coaches to use their bench to absorb fouls.
What other answers are available to the league? Illegal defence?
Or maybe reducing the foul limit to four per game, but also remove the concept of players fouling out? No more watching benches battle in a second overtime, or seeing your stud centre ride the pine for the second and third quarters after picking up a third early foul. What if, after a fourth foul, every subsequent PF gave shots and possession?
(Ideally we could leave 40 vs 48 minutes out of this discussion.)