Friday, January 28 2022
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The NBA made a significant change to its rules, or rather to the enforcement of its rules, this past offseason when it decided to stop rewarding “non-basketball moves” with foul calls, which has had an immediate impact. We’ve seen free-throw attempts decline and most would argue the games have been far more enjoyable to watch without all the theatrics in search of phony contact.

Next up on the docket is “take” fouls: When defensive teams intentionally foul offensive players to thwart a transition opportunity. On Tuesday, Shams Charania of The Athletic reported that the NBA‘s competition committee has asked the league to put a stop to these fouls by eliminating the incentive to commit them. 

In other words, the committee is asking the league to punish what are clearly intentional fouls, perhaps — though this isn’t part of the report — with two free throws and possession of the ball to the offended team. Whatever punishment they might come up with, count me on the side of the committee. 

These take fouls — sometimes referred to as Euro fouls for their popularity in European basketball — are a bogus tactic, as are all intentional fouls, whether at the end of games to stop the clock or when a team is up by three and wants to eliminate the possibility of a game-tying shot. Fouls are supposed to hurt, not help, the offending team. 

This is to say nothing of the entertainment value of the product the NBA is selling, which would be unequivocally improved with the elimination of these fouls. Fast breaks are one of the most exciting parts of basketball. Nobody, and I mean nobody, wants to watch players grabbing each other to stop those fast breaks. Lakers coach Frank Vogel recently said as much. 

Let’s hope the league doesn’t have to wait until the offseason to rule on this. It’s an obvious change. Let’s get it done and take another step back in the direction of playing basketball rather than trying to win games via rule manipulation. 



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