As the NBA game continues to evolve, players learn new tricks in order to maximize every advantage they can find. This often leaves the league and officials searching for ways to combat things that may take away from the spirit of the game.
Last season saw an emphasis on allowing players to land after jump shots. This further came into focus during the Western Conference Finals when Golden State Warriors center Zaza Pachulia closed out recklessly on San Antonio Spurs star Kawhi Leonard during Game 1, leading to a badly sprained ankle for the Spurs forward.
The NBA is now looking to fix that as the league has announced that referees will now be able to review plays of that nature and potentially assess flagrant and technical fouls via Pro Basketball Talk:
“NBA referees will be able to call flagrant or technical fouls on defenders who dangerously close on jump shooters without allowing them space to land, as Zaza Pachulia did on the play that injured Spurs star Kawhi Leonard in last season’s playoffs.”
Another point of contention for the league has been differentiating between regular fouls and shooting fouls as players such as James Harden have blurred the lines.
The league will now require players to be in their shooting motion before contact is made in order for it to be determined a shooting foul:
“With the fouls on the perimeter shots – often coming when the offensive player has come off a screen and quickly attempts to launch a shot as his defender tries to catch up – officials will focus on the sequencing of the play. The player with the ball must already be in his shooting motion when contact is made, rather than gathering the ball to shoot such as on a drive to the basket.”
The new rules look to be a good attempt to quell some things that are concerning in the NBA, especially with concerns to allowing players to land. Many injuries have occured due to players landing on someone’s foot and any move the league can make to end that, they will do.
The shooting foul rule may be more difficult to crack down as players will always argue that they were actually shooting the ball. Regardless, the league is smart to try and end certain things before they get out of control.