There’s a big change coming to the NBA in the next year and it’s going to have long-term effects on how the game is played for years to come. During the offseason, the NBA decided on rule changes to prevent offensive players from making purposeful maneuvers to bait fouls. The maneuvers involve sudden sharp moments, feigns, and leaning into defensive players to draw out a foul and initiate contact.
These moves were frequently used in the playbooks of some of the NBA’s best and most strategic players, much to the chagrin of defensive players, coaches, and spectators. These kinds of plays were seen as unsportsmanlike and left little option for defensive players to combat the tactic. Their only choice was to give the offensive player space and try to block the player without getting too close.
The head coach of the Brooklyn Nets, Steve Nash, infamously ranted about the use of the tactic by the Atlanta Hawks’ Trae Young. The coach saw the practice as “not basketball”.
In the Golden State Warriors’ first preseason game on Monday, Stephen Curry learned that the rule change was for real and that the days of foul-baiting were behind the NBA. Curry tried to bait a foul with referees giving no whistle. “Not this year!” was the commentary from the announcers.
Curry himself has come out in support of the change, saying that it was a change for the good and that it would help preserve the “purity” of the game. Though he also commented that it would make defining a defensive foul a far harder task and could lead to complications.
“But definitely the purity of the game, the goal is to put the ball in the basket and not be out there just living and dying by trying to get to the free-throw line any way you can,” Curry said. “I love the effort.”