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Rules and enforcement and zebras, oh my!

The NBA sent referees and crew chiefs around the league to drop some knowledge on the media members for every team. Here is the pertinent information from the disquisition.


Rule Changes:

  • During the last two minutes of the game and in overtime goal tending, basket interference and restricted area fouls are reviewable. It will be interesting to see how this plays out. The reviews will be subject to the same "incontrovertible evidence" to overturn the call on the floor, so referees maybe more likely to call a goaltend in order to make it reviewable, but then if it's a really close play it makes it harder to overturn. Since there is the possibility of something like this happening at a pivotal moment, I guarantee this exact situation will occur during game seven of the NBA Finals.
  • Each team has 90 seconds to take the court for the jump ball after the horn sounds. If a team is not ready they will be charged a delay of game penalty, which forfeits their one freebie before technical free throws are assigned.
  • Fine for flopping. Since the opprobrious nature of this infraction is paralleled by the ridiculousness of the implication that this rule will in any way deter the action... I don't have much to say about this.

Points of Enofrcement (P.O.E.'s for those of us in the know.....). These are the areas of increased emphasis for referees this season:

  • There will be a heightened sensitivity to actions that restrict freedom of movement (F.O.M. - these guys seem to be enamored with acronyms... OMG) such as screens and touching. The league wants to encourage the ability of the athletes to move without restriction or impedance in order to aggrandize the phenomenal athleticism of its players.
  • Illegal screens will be monitored more closely including arriving late and movement including extending arms, hips and knees. The screen needs to be set within the envelope of the shoulders. I have already noticed instances where I think they are more cognizant of these issues.
  • Touching will also receive more scrutiny. This includes touching with two hands, body checks and grabs. A momentary touch is allowed in the lower box below the free throw line. This includes watching for defenders stepping under or making low touches on shooter taking jump shots. Conversely, they will be looking for leg kickouts by the offensive player. The jump shooter needs to be going up and down (as opposed to side to side) when attempting to draw contact from a defender who has left his feet.
  • Delay of games and technicals will be assigned to coaches stepping on the court. I'm sure this will be enforced and discourage this type of action (rolling eyes).
  • Intention plays into ruling on flagrant fouls, but they can still be assigned based on the result of the play disrespective of the intent.
  • The ruling on charges is that the tie goes to the runner (offensive player). I'm not expecting to see much improvement here as it seems like the league has incentivized defensive players running to a point, not being set or allowing the offensive player time to alter course, and still being rewarded with the call every time (think Miami Heat). A player will, supposedly, not receive a defensive foul for jumping straight up and down with arms extended above the head.
  • Discontinued dribbles (fancy name for carry) will be hahahaha... I can't finish this...
  • Referee's will also be watching for "spliiting the feet" where a player.... hahahaha - I still can't get over that joke about them calling carries. Next thing you know they'll be saying a player only gets two steps... lifts his pivot foot prior to initiating his dribble. This rule actually does get called. Sometimes multiple times in a game and sometimes erroneously.
  • Overt reactions (air punching, throwing the ball down and away) will result in technicals.
  • Fake shots after fouls will not be rewarded with free throws. The referees aren't stupid (insert obligatory joke here).
  • If a player receives the ball in the lower defensive box it eliminates the restricted area rules governing charges and some forms of contact.

Additional Notes:

  • The hardest call is out of bounds. Think about it. The game is rushing by at a breakneck pace and suddenly, in a flash, the ball is out of bounds. Who touched it last? Makes sense.
  • The referee's mantra is to focus on the defender first, then secondarily on the offensive player.
  • The crews working games this year consist completely of returning referees. The veteran experience should lend itself to well officiated games.
Hopefully this helps anyone that isn't already up to speed. We have a pretty erudite following here so I'm sure you will want to be informed and keep an eye on some of these issues.

A full copy of the official rules for the 2012-13 NBA season is available online for the true masochist fan.

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