The new NBA rules on foul-baiting aim to curb the players’ penchant for drawing fouls instead of trying to score. The best shooter to ever play the game was the first “victim” of this rule change, but he shouldn’t be too concerned. This change will only differentiate the real scorers from the foul hunters.
Steph Curry first tested the rule change
In a preseason game between the Golden State Warriors and the Portland Trail Blazers, Curry did what he had been doing in the past - get the defender to bite on his move and then jump into him to earn a trip to the charity stripe. Old habits die hard, but this one needs to go.
The new rule is set to take effect this year. The NBA decided to stop foul-baiters and floppers to push the game’s pace as they tend to slow down due to the whistles and free throws. The new rule also eliminates the move often used and abused by star players such as James Harden, Trae Young, Kyrie Irving, Steph Curry, and Damian Lillard to score extra points. The NBA explained the new approach on September 30th.
As the season goes, there will be discussions on this, and video replays to check the intention and motive behind the player’s moves would mean additional delays. The real challenge is how to view the angle of the shot and when to call it. To be fair, when an offensive player throws himself awkwardly to the landing spot of the defender, he would put not only himself but also the defender in situations that might cause injuries.
Last season, Brooklyn Nets coach Steve Nash called out Trae Young for his foul-baiting tactics and prompted him to say that the move was not part of basketball. Drawing fouls is not illegal and considered a “smart” play, but if a player uses it repeatedly to gain an advantage, then it is no longer a regular basketball play.
Real scorers should not worry about new rules
The new rules, however, should not worry the real killers on the court. Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, James Harden, Steph Curry, and Damian Lillard should continue scoring despite the foul-baiting rules. The natural scorers in the NBA should get excited over the new challenges posed by defenders who will be more ruthless in challenging shots now that foul-baiting moves are now considered let-go plays.
Last season, Curry and Bradley Beal went toe-to-toe for the NBA scoring title - Steph won by a slim margin. With Klay Thompson back in the roster, Steph will have someone who can share the offensive load. His scoring might scale down this season, but it’s interesting how Curry and other scorers in the NBA will adapt to the new rules.