This season saw a number of new referee points of emphasis. The refs have been paying more attention to illegal screens (sorry KG), palming the ball and traveling — particularly after a pump fake. But there’s a new delay of game rule in place any time an offensive player touches the ball after it’s fallen through the twine. Orlando’s Kyle O’Quinn ran into this problem against the Celtics on Friday night, and his ensuing pirouette shows just how difficult it is for players to avoid the infraction.
The NBA’s VP of Referee Operations and Director of Officials, Donnie Vaden, answered a question about the new delay of game rule in a Q&A last month. Here’s what he said about how referees will call the violation:
“This season you will notice a change in how we enforce the delay of game penalty based on conversations with the Competition Committee. It’s not a ‘no-touch’ provision, but players will no longer be permitted to direct the ball after it clears the net. Going forward, an offensive player who catches the ball after a made basket and passes it to a referee will receive a delay of game warning (if team’s first delay) or a delay of game penalty if it’s their second.”
So that second time it’s a technical and a foul shot for the other team. Reddit’s excellent r/NBA community posted a link to a gif of O’Quinn dancing his way out of a delay of game penalty. Ironically, the balletic shimmy by Kyle ended up costing the Celtics even more time acquiring the ball.
Reddit’s discussion of the rule and the way referees are calling it is fascinating stuff, so check it out. But the emphasis seems to have triggered an overreaction on the player’s part as they do anything to avoid hitting the ball, even inadvertently, after it falls through the net. Kyle O’Quinn certainly did.
What do you think of the NBA’s new rule?
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