Raptors get refresher on NBA rules old and new
The meeting between the Raptors and the man in charge of training and developing NBA referees went on indefinitely at the team’s training facility.
A scheduled half-hour meeting stretched to 60 minutes, then 90 minutes, then some more as the NBA’s Monty McCutchen went over the new rules, new interpretations of the old rules and covered the “points of attention” for the season which starts next week. .
And when it was over, when the questions were asked and answered, and the video study was completed in the theater-like setting in the back hallways of the facility, Precious Achiuwa was on the court for a few minutes with McCutchen reviewing some of the best elements of the presentation.
“I wish there was a way to tell us how to get the referees to give us more fouls, but it doesn’t work,” Achiuwa joked after his private session ended.
Instead, Achiuwa and the Raptors got their annual session with the man in charge of officials so they can ask questions, get advice and try to figure out what will or won’t be called.
The big deal this year is the league banning “catch” fouls, where a defender doesn’t play on the ball at all to thwart fast breaks or kill the clock late in close games. The team fouled will get a free throw and the ball, further aligning the NBA with FIBA play.
“It’s quite simple, isn’t it?” said coach Nick Nurse. “But getting used to doing it, like anything (that’s another thing). If you get on the floor and I come out and put both hands on you…as soon as you put both hands on you, it’s a foul. You don’t attempt a ball.
McCutchen’s visit allowed the players to establish a personal connection with him and, by extension, with the league staff.
The interaction between referees and players is an important part of the game. Players like to know which officials will engage in conversations and explain calls and which will not mock.
“It’s educational,” Achiuwa said. “You learn the rules and you know what you’re talking about when you talk to the referees.
“If something happens, you don’t just speak out of emotion, you actually know what it should be. So it’s good to talk to someone like (McCutchen, who) has been doing this for so long. You learn from him – he tells (officials) the same thing, and then you can hold them accountable.
Whether the “accent points” hold throughout the season is up for debate. It seems like every year there is a tendency to tighten up some facet of the officiating or the game, but that loosens up as the season progresses.
McCutchen’s visit and relationship building gets to the heart of the matter.
“I understand umpires aren’t perfect, but we’re not all perfect individuals,” Raptors veteran Thad Young said. “They are going to miss something, we are going to miss something. We’re going to feel a certain way, they’re going to feel a certain way.
“I think the most important thing is that it’s about respect for the game, respect for each other and if something happens, being able to communicate and talk about things.”
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