Report: NBA 'Cracking Down' on Reckless Closeouts, Creating Contact to Draw Foul

Alec NathanFeatured ColumnistSeptember 21, 2017

OAKLAND, CA - MAY 14:  Kawhi Leonard #2 of the San Antonio Spurs grabs his legs after an injury in Game One of the Western Conference Finals against the Golden State Warriors during the 2017 NBA Playoffs on May 14, 2017 at ORACLE Arena in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2017 NBAE (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)
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NBA officials have revealed new points of emphasis for the 2017-18 season. 

According to Bleacher Report's Howard Beck, officials will crack down on two primary areas this season. The first involves what the league is terming "reckless" closeouts on defense. 

The second revolves around shooters who actively attempt to initiate contact to draw fouls. 

News of the league's intensified interest in policing hard closeouts comes in the aftermath of a sequence that saw Golden State Warriors center Zaza Pachulia slide his foot under Kawhi Leonard during Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals. 

Leonard proceeded to miss the series' final three games with an ankle injury. 

According to Beck, officials will now have the ability to "use replay to determine whether the closeout constituted a flagrant foul" after calling the initial common foul. 

Beck also noted the league office will be able to retroactively upgrade or downgrade calls on closeouts as it does with more overt flagrant fouls. 

As far as the other point of emphasis is concerned, Beck reported referees "will be making distinction between fouls that occur on the drive or gather vs. fouls on actual shooting motion."

USA Today's Jeff Zillgitt added officials are specifically concerned with how players attempt to draw contact during the gather when navigating around screens—a move Houston Rockets guard James Harden seemingly perfected last season en route to attempting 10.9 free throws per game. 

From now on, according to Beck, officials will call a common foulnot a shooting foul, as was sometimes the case last seasonif the contact is made before a player begins his shooting motion.