One of the most frustrating things to watch in the NBA is when a team gets out on a fastbreak after coming away with a turnover, and instead of seeing a highlight dunk, the opposing team commits a foul to stop the possession. It’s a momentum killer and takes some of the excitement away from the action. But for the 2022-23 season that might be changing. The league’s Competition Committee has drafted a proposal that will change the handling of the transition take foul, according to Chris Haynes.
The change would give the team on offense one free throw and possession of the ball if the team on defense commits a take foul. The team on offense will also be allowed to choose which player shoots the free throw, similar to what the G League does with take fouls, according to Fred Katz. Previously, the team on offense was just given the ball out of bounds if the opposing team committed a take foul, so this would be a significant change for the upcoming season. The take foul is commonly used around the league as a way to stop fastbreak opportunities, and from a strategic standpoint it’s a smart foul. But it also bails out the defense by stopping play. The Competition Committee plans to present this rule change to the Board of Governors, where it is expected to be unanimously approved, per Haynes.
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Another rule change we could see for the upcoming season is around bench decorum, which became a highly talked about topic during the playoffs, specifically with the Dallas Mavericks. Throughout its run to the Western Conference finals, Dallas was slapped with several fines for violating the league’s bench decorum rules. In total, the Mavericks were docked $175,000 during the playoffs as their bench players regularly stood for the entirety of the game, and, in some cases, walked onto the court during game action. The Competition Committee is looking at heftier penalties for violations like this as fans complained during the playoffs for not being able to see while players stood for most of the game, per Haynes. It’s unclear what those stiffer penalties could be, but it’s clear the league didn’t enjoy the Mavericks’ lively bench during the postseason.
Aside from some potential rule changes and heftier fines, the Board of Governors is also expected to approve the inclusion of the play-in tournament for future seasons, according to Adrian Wojnarowski. That comes as no surprise given how exciting the play-in tournament has become in each of the last two years. In the first year of the play-in, we got an exciting showdown between the Memphis Grizzlies and Golden State Warriors, in which Ja Morant and the Grizzlies sent Stephen Curry and the Warriors home packing. This past season was even more entertaining as Patrick Beverley and the Minnesota Timberwolves celebrated their play-in win over the Los Angeles Clippers like they just won a championship. Since its creation, the play-in has done its job of making games toward the end of the season matter more and has incentivized more teams against tanking, so it makes sense the league wants to keep it around.