I am just putting this up to think about, and it may well be an ‘air-ball’;
Lately I’ve gotten in the habit of only tuning in to NBA games to catch maybe the last quarter or (optimally) just the last 5 minutes. It seems that that’s when play is most intense and the games are often decided. Granted, I don’t know enough to appreciate the nuances of all the play.
I would propose some system where points-towards-standings are awarded for each period of play. Then we’d have more intense ‘action’ in the ending minutes of each period. My original idea was of having 3 15-minute periods with one point awarded for each of the 3 periods. This way even if a team was ‘blown out’ in the first two periods there would still be ‘hope’ and a strong motivation to make an all-out effort to salvage the last period. I can think of other scenarios where points are awarded for each period-play and also overall scoring.
I realize there is zero chance of this ever being implemented and am just throwing it out as something to chew on. On the other hand, if someone were ever starting an alternative league (remember the ABA?) it might be a way to distinguish themselves from the incumbent league. Or perhaps it could be used in some form of tournament play.
Ultimately what would count would be what the media thinks of it - can we sell more advertising? Given that it could keep more ears or eyeballs attached to the game, they may like it.