[caption id="attachment_22543" align="alignright" width="300"] Players like Dwyane Wade (right) could draw two penalties for the kick-out practice popularized by Reggie Miller. (Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
By Ben Golliver
Every intramural hooper knows this truth: "The shooter who kicks out his legs to draw a foul" just barely beats out "The close-out defender who purposely slides under a shooter" on the list of most despicable basketball actors. Thankfully, the NBA has looked to curb the kick-out practices in recent years, with the Boston Globe reporting this weekend that the league plans to make the former violation a point of emphasis with its officials this season.
Officials will emphasize the “Reggie Miller rule” for a shooter who kicks his legs out during jump-shot attempts to create contact and draw fouls. Officials plan to call offensive fouls on shooters who blatantly kick out their legs to initiate contact.
What's most interesting here is that players who are found guilty of the leg kick could actually be subject to double jeopardy for the first time this season. Not only could they be whistled for an offensive foul on the court per this point of emphasis, they could also be hit with a retroactive "flopping" determination during a postgame review.
Earlier this month, the NBA released a video explaining its new anti-flopping rules, which come with fines and possible suspensions for repeat violators. In the video, Miami Heat All-Star guard Dwyane Wade was singled out for flopping on a play in which he kicked out his leg to draw contact from Boston Celtics wing Mickael Pietrus.
The video's narrator explained Wade's infraction: "After releasing the jump shot, the shooter, No. 3 in the white uniform, extends his right leg attempting to draw a defensive foul. While there is marginal contact on the play, the flail and spin to the floor by the offensive player is an over-embellishment and it's inconsistent with marginal contact."
The original play last season was whistled as a defensive foul. The same play next season is likely supposed to be a no call on the court, due to the "marginal contact" noted by the narrator, with flopping assessed during the postgame review.
To summarize: it's possible that a player could be whistled for an offensive foul and not a flop if there was legitimate contact and no embellishment; as noted, it's also possible a player could draw a flop and not an offensive foul if the contact wasn't deemed significant. But there really is a new, double risk on these plays for the offensive player. Should a player like Wade both kick out his legs to create significant contact and then exaggerate the effect of the contact after the fact, he would potentially be subject to both an offensive foul on the court and a flopping determination afterward.
Remember, players can be fined up to $30,000 for repeat violations plus be subject to suspensions. Will that, plus a crackdown on making momentum-swinging offensive foul calls, be enough to rid the league of this scourge? We'll soon find out.