NBA

Unnatural shot motion rules enforced in Vegas

LAS VEGAS — The NBA announced Sunday afternoon ahead of the start of its annual Summer League here that it will begin enforcing the rule changes enacted this offseason to curb players attempting to use non-basketball moves to draw fouls.

In a series of tweets from its NBA Official account Sunday afternoon, the league laid out the various ways it has changed the rules this offseason, including:

  • When a shooter takes shots by either leaning into or jumping into a defender in an abnormal way;

  • An offensive player either abruptly goes sideways into a defender, or simply stops in front of them, giving them nowhere to go but running into them;

  • Shooters kick their legs either out or to the side in an unnatural way to draw contact with a defender;

  • An offensive player uses their non-shooting arm to hook the defender.

The league then sent out several clips highlighting plays that would be impacted under the new rules, explaining why some calls would result in no foul being called, and others resulting in offensive fouls due to how the offensive player is initiating contact.

As offense has exploded across the NBA in recent seasons, players have grown more and more adept at finding ways to accentuate contact and get trips to the foul line — with stars like Brooklyn Nets guard James Harden and Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young among those who are most successful at doing so.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported in June that the league’s competition committee was exploring potential ways to change these rules, in order to try to give defenders more of a level playing field in trying to slow down the game’s elite perimeter scorers.

The league has done similar things in the past, such as turning the “rip through” move — when a player quickly moves the ball through the defender’s arms to draw a foul, a move stars like Kevin Durant, Chris Paul and Brook Lopez had all perfected — into a non-shooting foul.

Before each season, the NBA shares the points of emphasis they have passed along to their officials with all 30 NBA teams, and then typically make a point of enforcing those rules strictly during the preseason in an attempt to commit them to muscle memory for both players and officials alike.

Given the nature of these changes, however, the league is choosing to begin that process this week instead.

The NBA’s Las Vegas Summer League kicked off Sunday afternoon, and will go through Tuesday, Aug. 17.

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