NBA FIX 1 – The Fast Break Reborn!

Hostile Act Inbound

The Rockets, indeed, the whole Association, should benefit from these changes.

NBA FIX 1 is the first in what I hope will be a fun series on suggested, proposed, or merely longed-for fixes, or changes, to improve the game we all love.

Also, it’s a bit of the other kind of fix, as we’re not into training camp yet. The NBA continues to provide generally interesting and non-depressing entertainment year-round, but this is still a bit of a dry patch.

Sometimes Adam Silver hears your prayers. (Sometimes he doesn’t.)

If you’ve read my writing, or comments, long enough you’ll know that I hate, despise, loathe and revile basketball rule violations that give an advantage to the team violating the rules.

Don’t leave, this isn’t another disquisition on “Hack-A”!

No, this is a discussion of an absolutely meritorious rule change proposed by the NBA competition committee late this summer. The story was reported to what I thought would be universal acclaim. Perhaps because it was the dog days of August and NBA pundits were frisking on the Adriatic, or wherever, no one seems to have said much all that much about it. There should have been fireworks, at least.

The NBA proposes the fix a situation that has truly gotten out of hand: the murder of the fastbreak at the hands of cheap touch fouls.

We’ve seen the situation all too often, on a turnover the team winning the ball attempts to get out on the break for one of the most exciting plays in the game. But wait, no, stop: foul. One player grabbed another’s wrist far away from the play. On the floor, side out. No thunderous dunk. No exciting layup, or chase down block. No fun.

This, to put it mildly, is disgusting. It has been depressingly common since what I believe to be its widespread introduction to NBA players via FIBA play. One team is deprived of an easy basket, the fans are deprived of enjoyment, and the team committing the rule infraction clearly benefits the most.

And it seemed no “Clear Path” foul would ever be called, no matter how clear the path appeared. That infraction that was historically treated by the referees as something akin to “The Nuclear Option”, such was their reluctance to call it. Now they may have little choice. This is the NBA’s proposed new language is quoted herein.

Numbers one and three should eliminate much of the cheap fast-break fouling. Number two is roughly the call almost no referee would make, because that bit of judgement, unlike all the other hundreds of items of judgment in a game, was too much, somehow.

The changed call would result in the current clear-path violation outcome – two free free throws, and ball side-out to the team that was fouled.

It is difficult to see how the referees can NOT call this now, under these rules. It is delightful to contemplate.

There were two more proposed changes: resetting the shot clock to 14 seconds, instead of 24, after an offensive rebound. Again, count me in.

Finally, the referee TV instant review terms for a “hostile act” have been broadened to included hostile interaction with a coach, referee, or fan, rather than simply another player. It is currently unclear whether actions initiated by Clutch The Bear would also trigger a review. Fine by me.

The rule changes go before the NBA owners on September 21st for a vote, requiring a 2/3rds majority for passage.

Pray for them.

Read more at The Dream Shake.

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