This past offseason after many complaints from players and fans, plus a worldwide look at new officiating through the 2021 Olympics, the NBA has finally changed some troublesome rules.
Players have been accused of “foul baiting” for the past couple of seasons and the NBA has finally decided to make a change in the way the game is officiated. After seeing some of the NBA’s top talent struggle in Tokyo with the “FIBA” style of rules, many fans pressured the NBA to follow suit to make the NBA more competitive. This new style of officiating is now rewarding good defense and not letting the offensive players get away with an unfair style of play. This would include offensive players throwing themselves at defenders and pretending to take a shot in order to get free throws and points in a way that was very unrewarding and not entertaining to watch.
Many of the NBA’s top stars have struggled to start this season off such as James Harden of the Brooklyn Nets, and Damian Lillard of the Portland Trailblazers. For example, James Harden is an NBA player who once averaged over 10 free throws a game but was the main player known for foul baiting. This season he is not getting nearly as many foul calls and he is letting it be known he feels targeted. This article by Sports Illustrated is just one example of Harden speaking about the officials. Damian Lillard is another NBA All-Star who’s stats have seen a substantial dip in production this season and he recently spoke out about the officiating calling it “unacceptable”, according to NBC.
However, despite lower production from a few of the NBA’s All-Stars, ratings have never been better for the league. Fans and players alike feel like it is a more fair, skill based game, and for some it is even reminiscent of the physical play of the 1990’s. Not to mention, not everyone has seen a dip in their stats. Stars such as Devin Booker and Stephen Curry have been playing up to their usual standard and seem to be adjusting to the new style just fine. Only time will tell whether or not these players will adjust and return to their All-NBA form, or if they’ve become too used to a forgotten style of play.