A new era of NBA basketball debuted last night as officials were empowered to not call those ridiculous fouls created when a shooter jumps into a defender. The change in approach was first reported over the summer and Monday night was the first opportunity for it to be put into practice.
And what better test case than Stephen Curry, legitimate superstar who has used a large bag of tricks to get to the line through the years, often times by simply creating unneeded and unnatural contact from beyond the arc. Thankfully, it appears that even he is constrained by the new rules as his attempt to draw a foul on Nassir Little went unrewarded in Portland.
The only thing that would have been better is if this had been deemed an offensive foul, which it can be if:
•A shooter launches or leans into a defender at an abnormal angle.
• A shooter kicks his leg (up or to the side) at an abnormal angle.
• When an offensive player abruptly veers off his path (sideways or backward) into a defender.
I have no idea if people are going to love this or loathe it. Personally, it's long past time for there to be some sort of common sense in this area, though there will be an inevitable freakout when James Harden picks up three offensive fouls in the first six minutes of a playoff game. If officials are even making this a point of emphasis down the road.
Typically what happens with these new rules is that they are vigilantly enforced for a brief period before there's a return to normal. Hopefully the whistleblowers keep their resolve and continue to do the right and fair thing.