What are NBA refs cracking down on this season?

Photo by Sam Wasson/Getty Images
Photo by Sam Wasson/Getty Images /

Referees across the league are looking to do away with some of the reckless and controversial fouls that heavily impacted last season.

Have you ever wondered how James Harden was able to seemingly draw a foul on command? Or how Zaza Pachulia got away with his dirty closeout on Kawhi Leonard? Don’t worry, you aren’t alone. Luckily for NBA fans, referees are cracking down on these sorts of plays come next season. Sorry, Warriors, looks like you’ll need to find a new way to slyly injure an opponent.

In the case of Harden-esque shooting fouls, the officials will first determine if a foul is present during the play. Now, that may seem a bit self explanatory, but the way officials view driving and shooting fouls has changed. If the play mimics most of Harden’s drawn fouls last season, the ruling will likely be a common foul, if any foul at all. The key is whether or not the player gathered the ball upon contact. However, in some cases, shooters will receive an offensive foul for leaning into contact.

Furthermore, closeouts, such as Pachulia’s, are subject to review by officials. The replay will determine whether the closeout is considered a flagrant or technical. But in any case, reckless closeouts will hopefully be eliminated. The league and other individuals will assess each closeout multiple times following the game and eventually, the severity of the foul can change.

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Ultimately, NBA fans should be relieved to hear about the new changes. From here on out, players will need to find new ways to manipulate the rules. All things considered, the changes are nothing new. Of course, the refs are not perfect. But, it’s nice to see them cracking down on and improving some aspects of the game that heavily and unfairly impacted outcomes last season.