NBA's proposed rules to limit non-basketball moves: From James Harden to Trae Young, who can be in trouble?

Trae Young of the Atlanta Hawks draws a foul on Mike Conley
Trae Young of the Atlanta Hawks draws a foul on Mike Conley
Kunal Sethi

The NBA finally listened to the voices of its fans and coaches and investigated rule changes to unnatural shooting motions. Several offensive players and guards draw unnecessary fouls on their defenders by launching themselves into the defender or kicking their leg out while shooting. It has caused a lot of rage among fans for players like Trae Young, Luka Doncic and James Harden. Naturally, these three names come up first because they are masterful in drawing fouls. Many analysts have even said that their entire game depends on it.

Almost everyone was ecstatic about the NBA's rules changes. Nobody is interested in watching a player draw unnecessary or "cheap" fouls and make 15-20 free throws a game. James Harden has faced major criticism for this. He often drops 20+ points on free throws but makes just two field goals. However, the final rule changes will be implemented at the start of the next NBA season and the referees will be accordingly trained for the same.

Known as "non-basketball" moves, the NBA investigated three main overt actions that players use to initiate contact with their defenders. These motions are now deemed illegal and offensive fouls or no calls,

  1. When a shooter launches or leans into a defender at an abnormal angle
  2. When a shooter kicks his leg (up or to the side) at an abnormal angle
  3. When an offensive player abruptly veers off his path (sideways or backwards) into a defender

So when crafty players lean in or jump into defenders for their shots, the NBA's new rules dictate that it should be called an offensive foul. Moreover, if the player leans backwards or sideways to initiate contact, it will likely be a no-call.

Are Trae, Harden or Luka in trouble after the NBA's new rules?

James Harden argues with a referee
James Harden argues with a referee

During the New York Knicks-Atlanta Hawks first-round NBA playoff series, Young did his usual foul baiting and it naturally caused the fans in the arena to curse him. It reached a point where the mayor of New York City, Bill de Blasio, called out Young for his unnatural game during a press conference.

Steve Nash, head coach of the Brooklyn Nets and a two-time NBA MVP, said Trae's style of play "is not basketball." Arguably, though, his own player James Harden is far worse than Trae Young.

James Harden, Luka Doncic and Trae Young will certainly have to upgrade their game due to the new NBA rules. They can certainly no longer bait defenders and draw fouls like they love to do and you can either see a new version of these players or watch their free throw numbers drop significantly.

Also Read: Is Rudy Gobert overrated? Here's what the numbers say about the Utah Jazz star

Edited by Arnav Kholkar


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