Reggie Miller is long gone, but his legacy continues to live on—this time in the form of instant replay.
Also, officials will emphasize the “Reggie Miller rule” for a shooter who kicks his legs out during jump-shot attempts to create contact and draw fouls. Officials plan to call offensive fouls on shooters who blatantly kick out their legs to initiate contact.
Even in retirement, Miller is still able to have an everlasting impact on the game of basketball, specifically on the league's jumpshooters.
Miller became famous for his three-point shooting prowess, and now, with the "Reggie Miller rule" in full effect, he will be recognized for a tactic current stars like Dirk Nowitzki and Dwyane Wade employ that he seldom receives credit for—the leg kick.
We've all seen it: a player initiates contact by extending his leg as he glides through his shooting motion, providing an opportunity to convert on a potential and-one or get to the line at the very least.
Now, this very strategy has been stripped from the Association's current jumpshooters. No longer can they capitalize off this tactic, because if anything, it can now be used against them.
And believe it or not, that's going to be quite an adjustment for some.
The leg kick has become second nature for players like Nowitzki and Wade. After all, who wouldn't want to incorporate a move that not only draws fouls, but creates extra space as well?
Which is where the greatest adjustment comes in: when a player is attempting to create space or capitalize off a contested jumper.
When Miller was left wide open, he had no trouble avoiding the leg kick. There was no need for it. But in traffic, when posting up and attempting a fadeaway, or when simply taking a contested shot from the outside, that very leg kick became a useful tool.
Kobe Bryant himself has admitted he uses his fadeaway to create space, to allow him to "elevate and shoot" over longer defenders. And wouldn't you know it, the Black Mamba's trademark fadeaway comes complete with his very own, Miller-inspired leg kick.
And while such a strategy has never been officially condoned, it has gone overlooked. The ability to review such occurrences, though, ensures shooters will be held accountable.
Gone are the days where Nowitzki can simply turn around and extend his leg to give himself a better look at the basket. Gone are the days Wade can draw self-imposed contact as he attempts a shot in traffic. Gone are the days LeBron James can showcase his flexibility on strong-side fadeaways.
These stars—and plenty of others—will now be tasked with creating space the old fashioned way. They'll have to dribble out of double-teams or simply become deft at converting on contested looks. If they wish to draw contact, they will have to do so on full-fledged rim attacks, not pull-up jumpers.
For some shooters, this will mean nothing. Steve Novak has made a living off uncontested, catch-and-shoot threes—the kind of shot that doesn't call for a leg kick.
But for the Kobes, the LeBrons, the Wades and the Nowitzkis, it's going to be an adjustment. A healthy portion of their offensive mindset will be forced to evolve.
Does this mean we'll see more drives to the rim and contested jumpers? Most definitely. It will also likely result in, at least for the habitual, self-sufficient jumpshooters, a slight decline in shooting percentages.
For those who opt to ignore the NBA's latest reality, an increase in the number of offensive foul calls called is inevitable as well.
Most importantly, though, it takes the burden of proof off the defender. No longer must Tony Allen and Luol Deng think twice about contesting jumpshots, because this rule protects aggressive perimeter defenders just as much as it exposes the shooter.
This minor tweak changes everything. It is going to change the way Nowitzki and Bryant operate with the ball in their hands; it's going to change the way Wade attacks the paint.
Simply put, it's going to change the way plenty of the league's deadliest shooters and most lethal offensive assassins, well, shoot. If it doesn't, they'll suffer the consequences in the form of a whistle, an air ball or a steep drop in efficiency.
So, let the games begin—the same games that just got more difficult, more complex and a lot more methodical for the jumpshooters we have come to idolize.
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