Point-of-Emphasis Fouls to Know
A look at what fouls the League’s refs are looking for.
by Kyle Stack / @KyleStack
You already know about the myriad of ways players can get a technical foul called against them this season. If you don’t, you can read it in my post from yesterday. But there was more to the NBA’s annual referee meeting last week in Jersey City, NJ than just outlining the criteria for Ts. There were many other point-of-emphasis calls brought to the attention of the referees, media and league and team executives in the audience.
I’ll go through the other areas of emphasis that were pointed out by director of officials Bernie Fryer, accompanied by videos through NBA.com. For those who don’t know, the League began a great microsite on NBA.com last October called NBA Video Rulebook. It’s there for fans to learn the different calls refs make, understand why they make those calls and review rule changes from one year to the next. It’s a perfect resource if you have the time and energy to learn about the parts of officiating you might not understand.
I’ll get to some of the videos they provide as I run through this season’s point-of-emphasis calls:
-A hop travel, where a player hops slightly off the ground while using a shot fake then might take another hop after pulling up his dribble as he drives to the hoop. Pay attention to the top video of the two provided here.
-Shuffling feet in the post. Pay attention to the top two videos at this link. A lot of players who post up will lift the pivot foot before starting a dribble, for obvious reasons. It helps them gain a half-step or so on the defender. Yet that’s illegal and the League wants to crack down on that post shuffle.
-Getting feet behind the three-point line. I can’t find a video on this but the crux of this call is when a player picks up his dribble as he steps behind the arc to shoot. Videos at the ref’s meeting showed players taking one too many steps as they set up to get behind the line.
-Extending the leg outside the body of defender. This is a pretty simple theory. An offensive player must hold his position as he sets a screen. If he has to move a foot to one side or another to cover the path of the oncoming defender, that results in an illegal screen. You can see this in full action on the bottom video of this link, with Chris Bosh as the culprit.
-Moving Pick’n roll. In one form or another, a screener can impede the progress of a defender by not giving the defender room to move around the screen. That’s a no-no. The top three videos at this link best represent this point.
Locks and clamps
-Any video from this link exemplifies the point Fryer made. A player cannot lock and clamp down another player’s arm as he goes up for a rebound.
Block/charge (the bain of every referee’s existence)
-Verticality. It sounds like a term that should have been coined by Bush II. Instead, it’s what officials refer to as a defender who maintains distance between himself and the offensive player as he goes up to make a legal defensive play. Practice verticality and the NBA official near you will let you live to make another defensive play. Here are examples of players not practicing verticality.
-Defender lifting knee in post. These three videos do a good job of detailing when a defender illegally lifts his knee into a offensive player’s backside to dislodge his position. The middle video of Jameer Nelson illegally dislodging Andrei Kirilenko is the most accurate representation of what Fryer explained.
-Offensive player grabs defender’s shirt/shorts. As an offensive player posts up for position, he cannot grab the shirt or shorts of the defender guarding him. That can be seen clearly in the bottom video at this link.
-An offensive player may not extend his arm to create space between himself and the defender. As seen here, Carl Landry attempts that move versus Travis Outlaw. The example shown at the meeting was of an offensive player extending his arm to the face/neck of an opponent; Landry extends his arm to Outlaw’s shoulder but it’s the same action in theory.
-Defender impedes offensive player’s progress as they run down the floor. When two players are running toward the basket, the defender can’t impede the offensive player’s ability to set up shop in the paint. Contact can be made but the defender has to let the player he’s guarding establish position. I couldn’t find a video detailing two players running toward a basket but the second video from the top on this link basically outlines it.