NBA should look to FIFA, not FIBA, to fix fast breaks
The NBA skews Europe more these days in more ways than the players. After the 2021 Olympics, the league embraced some of the leniency these umpires showed when it came to foul-finding. There was some objections at the start of the seasonbut the complaints pivoted to inconsistency as they usually do.
It’s safe to say that ridding the game of players rushing at defenders for no other reason than to foul was a good thing. People who view finding calls — not making contacts, that’s different — as a skill are likely taking advantage of loopholes, tax breaks, and quick-stop faults. Well, sorry to smother another oily tactic, but the the league approved a rule change Tuesday night to try to discourage fouls preventing highlights.
If a referee decides that a player has committed a gripping fault, the opposing team may take a free throw by a player of their choice (who is already on the field) and the ball. It’s basically straight out of the FIBA rulebook; the only difference is that it’s two shots and the ball away. The other caveat concerns the last two minutes of the fourth quarter and overtime is exempt.
OK, cool, but what about the cleared track that was taken out at Miles Bridges or Jaylen Brown? Are we getting a two-on-one lane? Nope? If the NBA really wanted to have their climax and make it count too, it would be a step towards the Euros not towards FIBA but towards FIFA.
He already has the continuation rule, so why try an advantage rule? If you foul a player who is in the process of starting a break, play should continue as in football with a foul called at the next stoppage. This preserves the Windmill dunk while penalizing the culprit. And to clarify, there would also not be an opportunity and an opportunity added to an advantage. Any three or four points should come as usual: from a foul on the spot. And transgressions that take place during an advantage would also count. It’s an advantage, not martial law.
If the team misses the dunk or misses transition 3 it is their fault, but the fault still applies. It is up to the player at the time, however, to stop and take the free throws if he is in the bonus. Regarding fouls during an advantage, the offender may play until the next dead ball, in which case he will be substituted.
The devil’s advocate is that the fouls could in theory become more intense to prevent the game from staying alive. To that I say, have you seen what constitutes a flagrant these days? If you want to train tackle TJ McConnell to stop a layup, go ahead, but that will likely get you kicked out of the game if he’s not suspended as well.
This could be something to do in the workshop in the G League before implementation. The take fouls are a step in the right direction – unless they add more video reviews. If it’s run like FIBA where the referees have authoritative control that can’t be challenged, then it’s fine.
However, the last thing any NBA fan wants is more referees huddled in front of a monitor, trying to figure out Final Jeopardy as if they were Sean Connery. Scott Foster and Co. better figure out “What is a grip foul?” quickly or the product will be trampled on more than it already is.
That’s really what Adam Silver strives for: pure uncut NBA basketball that’s dangerously addictive with fast breaks so loud they’ll give you a heart attack. Taking fouls further helps this cause, but playing the advantage would propel him to feverish levels.
And sports so good they affect brain composition, that’s all anyone really wanted in the first place. Well, that or literal free cocaine, but we’re more than one rule away from that.