NBA plans to address players using unnatural shooting motions to draw fouls in offseason, per report

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With just a few days left in the regular season, and all but two playoff seeds still up for grabs, most of the NBA is focused firmly on the here and now. But it’s never too early to start looking ahead to the future, and the league office is already making plans to address some key issues in the offseason.

There are still some major financial questions related to the pandemic, and the relationship between referees and players is concerning to many executives. But perhaps the most interesting item on the league’s agenda, at least as it relates to play on the court, is addressing players using unnatural shooting motions to draw fouls. Via ESPN:

The NBA has issues to modify with the game itself as well. Most agree the product has shifted too far in the offense’s favor, that the scoring is unnaturally inflated. In the offseason, the NBA plans to address the unnatural shooting motions of star players like James Harden and Trae Young that get foul calls under the rules in the NBA — but would get eye rolls on the playground.

While Harden and Young are among some of the worst offenders — earlier this season Nets head coach Steve Nash called out Young for his style, saying “that’s not basketball — they certainly aren’t the only ones who who try to grift their way into foul calls. Turn on any game and you won’t have to wait long to see a player jump sideways or backwards to try and earn a trip to the free throw line. 

If you aren’t familiar with the issue, this compilation of Young drawing fouls is a pretty good summary.

On the one hand, you have to give players credit for using the rules to their advantage. Their job is to win games, and getting free points at the free throw line makes it easier to do that. As Steph Curry said in regards to Harden’s foul drawing tactics a few years ago, “there’s an art to that.”

At the same time, there’s a certain point where it gets a little ridiculous, and defenders are left in an impossible situation. The incessant stream of whistles also makes for a slower and less entertaining game. It’s still unclear exactly how the league is going to try and fix the problem, but it’s not surprising that they’re taking a closer look. 

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