The NBA’s Board of Governors adopted five new rule changes Thursday, with one specifically aimed at a strategy the Miami Heat used during its playoff run.
These rule changes will take effect at the start of the coming season.
- When reviewing a block/charge play to determine whether the defender was inside or outside the restricted area, officials will be permitted to reverse or uphold the call based not just on the defender’s location but also whether he was set or not.
- Replays can be used to determine whether an off-ball foul occurred before or after a player has begun his shooting motion on a successful shot attempt, or before or after the ball was released on a throw-in.
- While reviewing a play, the officials will be permitted to assess penalties for unsportsmanlike and unnecessary acts that they spot during the reply.
- Also, a clear-path-to-the-basket foul will not be assessed if at any point before the foul is committed the defender is positioned ahead of the offensive player in the frontcourt.
- A team on offense will lose possession if one of its players leaves the floor and does not immediately return, unless he is injured, attempting to save the ball or in other extenuating circumstances.
That last rule specifically targets a strategy that the Heat used (and other teams, to be fair, but the Heat took some flack for it in the NBA Finals) to spread out its opponents and space the floor.
(Image via Zach Lowe of Grantland)
In this snapshot, you can clearly see Chris Bosh standing out of bounds with 14 seconds left on the shot clock in order to force Tim Duncan, who is supposed to be defending the paint for the Spurs, closer to the sideline and thereby further from the rim – a.k.a. LeBron James’ point of attack.
Oh, and who has the ball? LeBron (with no headband). With Duncan out of position and Ray Allen and Mario Chalmers keeping Manu Ginobili and Kawhi Leonard out of the play respectfully, Tony Parker and Danny Green are left to keep LeBron out of the paint. Good luck with that.
Bosh plays the ultimate floor spacer for the Heat. Even more so than Ray Allen, due to the inherent fact that Bosh can draw bigs away from the basket.
Unfortunately for the Heat, they will no longer be able to do this without losing possession. And the team lost another floor spacer when it amnestied Mike Miller. But this change was expected around the league, and surely head coach Erik Spoelstra will adjust.