I am still waiting on my copy of Tyler Cowen’s Discover Your Inner Economist to arrive. Tyler is a co-contributor to Marginal Revolution, one of my favorite blogs. I ordered the book the other day when Tyler was offering free podcasts for those who purchased the book. I asked him the following question:
What rule change would you make to the NBA?
The rule can improve the game for you or society, and I would like to know why you suggest this rule and its implications for the game.
You can hear his answers here.
I asked about the NBA because I know that Tyler likes basketball. I was afraid if I asked about baseball he’d suggest eliminating baseball to improve the NBA talent pool.
What would I change about the NBA? Let me give you some background. I grew up in Charlotte and my dad went to Duke. North Carolina is basketball crazy, and ACC and Hornets basketball were popular topics of conversation. I liked the NBA game better as I got older, and by the time I moved to DC for graduate school, I’d occasionally sit in my car to listen to the games broadcast from Charlotte. I was a big fan.
Now, I don’t even care about the NBA. I actually prefer to watch soccer. I don’t know what it is about the game that has changed—maybe it’s my preferences that have changed—but I don’t enjoy the game very much any more. I think the problem is that there are too many people on too small of a court. Sometimes I feel that I’m watching a rugby scrum, waiting for an orange ball to pop out towards the hoop and hope that there is no whistle. My solution would be to increase the size of the court, which of course won’t happen since the court is constrained by the size of arenas. I think this would open up more passing and reduce fouling. I think Tyler would disagree with me as he seems to be happy with basketball as it is. But, listen for yourself.
I’ll post a review of his book as soon as I finish it. Though I am one of his former students, I really don’t know Tyler well and I didn’t spend much time with him in graduate school. Yet, his influence on me has been immense. I’ll explain more when I review the book.