There are a handful of things that, over the last few years, had become supremely annoying about NBA basketball, one of which was the precipitous uptick in 3-point shooters drawing phantom fouls by throwing themselves into closing — or even oftentimes stationary — defenders.
Thank the basketball gods the league decided to stop rewarding these bailout plays. This season, non-basketball moves/unnatural shooting motions used to draw contact will not be whistled as defensive fouls, and if the contact initiated by the shooter is beyond marginal, a foul will actually be called on the offensive player, as should’ve been the case long ago.
Below is a clip of Stephen Curry still trying to play by the old rules in the Warriors’ preseason opener against the Blazers on Monday, throwing himself forward in such an unnatural manner that he has to heave the ball with his left hand.
In years past, Curry would’ve been heading to the line for three free throws. But as you can hear the Portland announcers say on the telecast: “Not this year.” For clarity, here are the unnatural offensive-player motions that will not be rewarded with a defensive foul call this season, per Shams Charania of The Athletic.
NBA officiating staffs will be trained to identify and properly rule overt non-basketball actions to initiate contact with defender — such as an offensive player launching into a defender, abruptly veering off path, kicking leg at an abnormal angle or his off-arm hooking defenders. If deemed more than marginal (offensive player’s contact impacts the defender’s speed, quickness, balance or rhythm), the play results in an offensive foul. A no-call should result if the contact is deemed marginal.
There is no question this is a step in a better direction for NBA games.