Milwaukee Bucks welcome NBA changes in officiating ‘abnormal non-basketball moves by offensive players’ – Milwaukee Journal Sentinel - Techy Hunters

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Thursday, September 30, 2021

Milwaukee Bucks welcome NBA changes in officiating ‘abnormal non-basketball moves by offensive players’ – Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

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Milwaukee Bucks Media Day

Milwaukee Bucks players pose for photos on Media Day while Giannis Antetokounmpo searches for more followers on social media.

Mike De Sisti, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

One of the more controversial personal foul calls in the NBA — the offensive player contorting his body in some fashion to draw contact on a shot — will be officiated differently during the 2021-22 season.

The NBA announced, “there will be an interpretive change in the officiating of overt, abrupt or abnormal non-basketball moves by offensive players with the ball in an effort to draw fouls.”

Milwaukee Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer felt his team didn’t have a player who took advantage of the previous rules to the degree of some others but acknowledged it’s something to be mindful of going forward.

“It affects everybody from 1 to 15,” Budenholzer said. “If you play in the league you gotta understand the rules and maybe adjust a little bit. And defensively, I think for us, hopefully that’s an area where we try and emphasize and not give free throws or put people on the free throw line. Hopefully it helps us be even better in that regard.”

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To assist teams in explaining the officiating changes to players, the league created several videos of non-basketball moves.

Such moves include:

  • A player launching or leaning into a defender at an unnatural angle.
  • A player overtly extending a portion of his body into a defender (usually leg extension after a shot).
  • A player using his off arm to create contact.
  • A player veering off path into a defender abruptly. (A foul call on Bucks guard Donte DiVincenzo was used as an example in the video, in which Golden State guard Steph Curry stopped his drive and essentially jumped backward into DiVincenzo.)

“I like it,” Khris Middleton said of the overall points of emphasis. “I think people think that I lean in or try to make awkward moves to draw fouls on jump shots, so something I’m going to have to clean up too if I do it to a certain extent. I think it’s good for the game of basketball to get more on the side of naturally moving, naturally trying to play basketball instead of just draw a foul on somebody, a cheap foul.”

As a team, the Bucks like to challenge shooters and this change could only benefit what has traditionally been one of the best defensive teams in the league.   

“I personally think you gotta wait to see how it gets refereed. That’s a really tough call to make especially when it’s a new rule or a new point of emphasis,” said Pat Connaughton, who contested 234 three-point attempts last season. “We always want to defend without fouling.

“I’ve been trying to rearview contest, block shots from behind my entire career, so if they’re not going to give me the leeway to essentially go through somebody who’s jumping backwards to block it, great. But I don’t think we’re going to bank on it. It’s nothing I’m going to bank on. It’s still going to be smart about contesting without fouling.”

Guard Grayson Allen felt there could be more freedom in defending the pick and roll, specifically.

“I think a lot of times the defense is in a little bit of no-man’s land because you have to fight to get over and against good shooters some guys jump back and when you’re fighting to get over it’s very hard to stop on a dime against a good shooter and avoid  that contact,” he said.

“Hopefully that cleans it up and makes it a little bit easier for when you’re guarding on ball to play without getting a cheap foul called on you. The same with those pump fakes. We see a lot of guys jumping forward or into the defender. You still have to be disciplined defensively, but hopefully it allows you to own your own space a little bit more.”

In the second points of education video released by the NBA, it reviewed “respect for the game” which highlighted proper and improper interactions with officials and reactions to foul calls.

This season, it’s possible that players who “air punch” to show displeasure with a foul call — whether it is directed toward an official or not — can be whistled for a technical foul. Throwing or kicking a ball after a play can also get a technical foul.

Certain aspects of bench decorum, such as using props to distract a free throw shooter or moving around the bench to distract on-court play, can be whistled for technical fouls as well. Audibly counting to 10 on free throws was not highlighted in the video, however.

NBA tinkers with replay again

Citing a concern over game flow, the NBA announced Wednesday it has removed the ability for referees to initiate a replay of out-of-bounds violations during the last two minutes of regulation and last two minutes of any overtime period.

Coaches now have to decide to challenge out-of-bounds plays throughout the entire game. A total of 53 out-of-bounds calls were challenged all of last season, with coaches winning 33 (62.3%) of them.

“It’s just something where it wasn’t part of the equation, it wasn’t part of the consideration, so, you know, in essence there’s just one more thing that we have to think about that could be used for the challenge,” Budenholzer said. “I guess if you’re being very literal, it’s probably harder on us now. But I think for the flow of the game, I think the NBA and the officials and the coaches and everybody; I think we were probably just going to the review too often, too much, taking too long. Now, the referee’s gotta get the call right — which they do way more than they don’t — and if and when a coach wants to use it he’s gotta use that, or on an out-of-bounds play or a block-charge play or a foul. It’s just one more thing that kind of goes into our ‘when we do or don’t use it’ (process).”

This change will only be in effect for this season on a trial basis.

Budenholzer went 10-7 in his regular season challenges last year, with a primary focus on personal foul calls.

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