The WNBA is taking a page out of the hockey playbook ahead of it’s annual All-Star game on Saturday — one that may end up causing quite a bit of confusion out on the court.
The league will allow live hockey-style substitutions during the All-Star game on Saturday afternoon at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada, one of several adjustments made to All-Star weekend.
“I think it’s a little weird,” Minnesota Lynx rookie Napheesa Collier said, via SBNation. “I don’t know why we’re doing that ... I have a feeling it’s going to be like mass chaos with people running on and off the court.”
Teams will be able to sub players in and out of the game while it’s going on, rather than wait for a dead ball. Per the Associated Press, teams may only use the live hockey-style substitution while on offense, and the player must still check-into the game near half court. Teams are still only allowed to have five players on the court at a single time, and substitutions will still be allowed during a dead ball.
While this is a simple way for the league to speed up the pace of play, it’s not an easy adjustment by any means. Players won’t have much time to get used to the rule change, given that they only have one practice together before Saturday’s game — something that isn’t likely to be taken seriously.
Teams will have a 20-second shot clock during the game, too, instead of the normal 24-second clock. Being the All-Star Game, however, that isn’t likely to be as big of a factor. The league also implemented a three-point contest and skills competition on Friday, and aired its All-Star team draft live on TV for the first time.
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