WNBA announces rules changes for upcoming season

Photo Credit: Kirby Lee/USA Today Sports

In addition to a team in Las Vegas and a new owner for the New York Liberty, the WNBA on Thursday announced the implementation of new rules that will take effect starting with the 2018 regular season.

The changes were approved by the WNBA’s Board of Governors last month.

The first involves the WNBA Draft. It now allows teams to trade first-round draft picks in consecutive drafts starting on February 1. Prior to this, teams had to retain at least one first-round pick in either the upcoming draft or the draft after it.

The second involved who All-Star coaches will be as the league announced that the coaches for both conferences will be those of the teams with the best record in each conference on the Friday two weeks prior to the All-Star Game. The 2018 All-Star Game will take place on July 28 in Minneapolis at the newly renovated Target Center, meaning that the Friday in question in terms of the coaching selection is Friday, June 13.

Previously, the head coach of the conference champion was the All-Star coach for that respective conference given she or he remained in that same role. Of course, this rule comes on the heels of the WNBA completing its second season under its updated playoff format where the playoffs participants are decided regardless of conference – simply the top eight teams.

The third involves players shooting free throws as a delay of game penalty will now be assessed against said free throw shooter going beyond the three-point arc in between attempts.
The fourth is an update to the WNBA’s concussion protocol. Other than for Flagrant 2 fouls, if a player cannot participate in free throws or jump balls, she cannot return to the game. The release says it is a rule that is similar to the NBA’s concussion protocol. It states that if a player is removed from a game and passes an evaluation and checkup in the locker room which deems the player concussion-free, she can re-enter the game in spite of the circumstances regarding jump balls and/or free throws.

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