Watching the replay of last nights WC Semi of the San Antonio Spurs vs the LA Clippers, I witnessed one of the craziest foul calls I think there is in the game today.
The offensive player is dribbling up the court as the defense is jogging back…the ball handler swerves in front of the defense and stops dead in their tracks…resulting in a defensive foul.
Last night this happened to Matt Bonner as Eric Bledsoe darted in front of him and threw on the brakes.
This post is not to complain about the call but to rather open up a discussion of a foul that rarely occurs but is always called on the defense (I have never seen this called a player control foul). In my opinion, I think this type of call needs to be discussed by rules committees on some basis, and this is why.
NBA Rule No. 12: Section II-By A Dribbler states a. A dribbler shall not (1) charge into an opponent who has established a legal guarding position, or (2) attempt to dribble between two opponents, or (3) attempt to dribble between an opponent and a boundary, where sufficient space is not avail-able for illegal contact to be avoided.
(1) In the above example Bonner was not exactly in a legal guarding position, but I think jogging back on defense he has every right to his clear path without impediment, especially a ball handler jumping into him. Additionally, the first part of the rule states that the dribbler shall not charge into an opponent. Is that considered charging by throwing themselves into the defender?
(3) Technically, the half-court line is regarded as a boundary/timeline on both sides of the court AND there was sufficient space available to Bledsoe to avoid the contact.
Furthermore, a block/charge foul occurs when a defender tries to get in front of his man to stop him from going in that direction. Should this rule be expanded to include when a dribbler tries to get in front of his man to stop him from going in that direction?
I honestly do not think this rule will ever be touched because of the rarity that it occurs. But the next time it does happen, I guarantee you will start thinking about it (especially if you’re the team penalized).
Until next time, Keep Bouncin…