One of the worst parts of the modern-day NBA is foul-hunting from superstars. You saw it with Trae Young in the Hawks series, where he’d lean in and look for contact in an effort to find his way to the stripe. A lot of times this results in offensive players prioritizing this contact-seeking instead of actually putting the ball in the basket. It junks up the game, slows it down, and rewards embellishment.
This year, the league is cutting down on these types of fouls, and the NBA released some explainers with video to help fans and media understand what the new focus is going to be:
The non-basketball move highlighted in this segment shows a shooter launching or leaning into a defender at an abnormal angle. pic.twitter.com/4bChPtIHWI
— NBA Official (@NBAOfficial) September 30, 2021
Key takeaway there is that they are going to start whistling these as offensive fouls, which should go a long way in discouraging shooters. And if the contact is marginal, as the NBA explains, then the refs are going to be instructed to hold the whistle entirely and not call anything. That’s also a benefit. Fewer whistles makes for a free-flowing and more up-tempo game, lest this become a reprisal of the 2006 Big East tournament.
Apropos, I shared this clip a few months ago on Twitter, and it was played 78,000 times:
— Kevin Kinkead (@Kevin_Kinkead) June 9, 2021
Under the new interpretation, plays like these will no longer result in bogus foul calls. Good move by the NBA. This makes the game so much better.