Last month, the NBA implemented new rule changes to address the issue of "non-basketball moves" (offensive players hunting for fouls). On August 8, the league gave fans a first-hand look at the rule changes with a Twitter thread including videos with specific examples.
According to the post; Overt, non-basketball moves used by offensive players to initiate contact with defenders will include when:
- The shooter launches or leans into a defender at an abnormal angle
- The offensive player abruptly veers off his path (sideways or backwards) into a defender
Moves by offensive players that would meet this criteria will also include when:
- The shooter kicks his leg (up or to the side) at an abnormal angle
- The offensive player’s off-arm hooks the defender (often in the process of attempting a shot in a non-basketball manner)
One of the first players to come to mind is Brooklyn Nets star, James Harden. 'The Beard' has made a living off his unorthodox movements and body control. But with every action, there is an equal or greater reaction. As a result, Harden's herky-jerky playstyle has alienated a broad swath of basketball fans.
Another player who has crafted the art of drawing fouls is Atlanta Hawks point guard Trae Young. The 6'1 All-Star tied Zion Williamson for third-most free attempts (8.7) per game last season. Like Frank Constanza, Young knows the art of "stopping short." The technique results in the defender running up his back and committing a foul.
In January, it became a national storyline when the Hawks took on none other than James Harden and the Nets. Brooklyn's head coach Steve Nash said, "that's not basketball" regarding Young's stopping short. The comments from the two-time MVP and Hall of Famer resonated with a lot of people, perhaps even the league office.
So will these new rule changes hamper Young's playing style? No. Young still has the ability to blow by defenders and force them to make bad decisions between guarding either him or the big. Clint Capela led the league in points at the rim, thanks in part to Young's 9.4 assists per game (second behind only Russell Westbrook).
Additionally, Young has had all summer to make the necessary adjustments. We've seen him in the lab adding to his mid-range game. His floaters were already devastating. Plus, he leads the league over the past quarter-century in points scored beyond 34 feet.
Any decline in free throws will be offset by other means of scoring. When it comes to the 22-year-old basketball savant, you can't stop him. You can only hope to contain him.
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