Quite overlooked in the past few weeks, there have been a few rule changes which could have serious effects on the outcomes of games. And when you consider how jam packed the Western Conference playoff seeding is, these could have real consequences on who wins the title. Maybe no one saw this because it was buried under a story about the Charlotte Hornets future name change at ESPN.com, and I saw no sign of it at NBA.com. I figured someone would have posted something about this by now, but since I haven't seen it mentioned I'll throw out a link and a question.
It would seem that the rule change with the biggest impact would be the ability of refs to further stop play after block/charge calls in the restricted area to check if the player was in or out of the circle. I like this call. I like replays and don't really care how long we have to wait for the right call. If we fans get to see it, then the refs should see it.
Other than the restricted area, there are some other changes which apply to use of replay. Check to see if a player was in shooting motion during a foul? That one could have a big impact, too. Add a flagrant foul during a replay, even if it wasn't called during the play? Sounds reasonable.
I'm not really sure how much affect the clear path foul change will have, as there are so few of these. The rule change states that if a defender is in front of the offensive player at any point during the play, then it's not a clear path. I don't see an issue with that.
I'll let you check them all out and talk amongst yourselves.
Link to ESPN article:
The NBA owners handled several other pieces of business at the meeting, including:
• They voted to expand the use of instant replay to include reviews on block/charge calls in the restricted area, better known as the "no-charge zone." Officials now can stop the game to check whether a defender was in the restricted area on such a call.
"You always try to level the playing field and basically get it right," said Kiki Vandeweghe, the league's new vice president of basketball operations. "That's the main focus is getting calls right."
Stern said the move could add time to games, and the league was continuing to look at creating a centralized replay system in which offsite officials would judge replays to speed up the game. He said the league might add a fourth referee to the playoffs next season to act as replay official on the sideline.
• Officials also will be able to use instant replay to review whether a player had started his shooting motion on shooting fouls and whether a foul was committed before a ball was inbounded.
• Instant replay also can be used during any instant-replay situation to assess penalties for flagrant fouls observed during the review.
• It will no longer be considered a clear-path foul if the defender who commits the foul is ahead of the offensive player in the frontcourt at any point before the foul.
• The controversial flopping policy the league instituted last season will be left alone for the 2013-14 season. Stern hinted during the NBA Finals that flop warnings followed by $5,000 fines for second offenses were not enough of a deterrent. No player was given a fine for a third offense last season. The league's competition committee recommended no changes.
• It will now be a violation and an automatic turnover if an offensive player stands out of bounds and doesn't immediately return to the floor. This addresses a recent trend in the league of players standing out of bounds under the basket in an attempt to pull defenders out of position or hide from the defense. There will be no penalty for extenuating circumstances such as injuries or saving a loose ball.
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