NBA Rumors: 'Unnatural' Motions Like Trae's, Harden's Subject of Possible Rule Change

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVJune 14, 2021

ATLANTA, GA - JUNE 11: Trae Young #11 of the Atlanta Hawks shoots the ball during the game against the Philadelphia 76ers during Round 2, Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Playoffs  on June 11, 2021 at State Farm Arena in Atlanta, Georgia.  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 the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2021 NBAE (Photo by Scott Cunningham/NBAE via Getty Images)
Scott Cunningham/NBAE via Getty Images

There may be fewer free-throw attempts during the 2021-22 NBA season.

ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported the league's competition committee met Monday and discussed potential rule changes regarding "unnatural motions" such as leaning backward and sideways that players use in an effort to draw more fouls.

While Wojnarowski highlighted Trae Young and James Harden as two examples of "star players with greater usage and exposure who many people identify with this issue," he also pointed out "the league and teams generally see this as a universal problem throughout rosters that gives offenses too great of an advantage."

There are still multiple steps that have to be taken before any rule change is implemented.

The committee will discuss possible changes with the league's general managers to decide which motions it should recommend for elimination. After that, the recommendations will be brought to the league's Board of Governors, which will vote on the possible rule changes for 2021-22.

Frankly, there would be a number of benefits to eliminating the "unnatural motions" from the game.

It would lead to less frustration with officiating from defensive players and fans since such motions are only used to fool referees into making calls they shouldn't. It would benefit the flow of the game with fewer whistles and trips to the line and perhaps even improve the relationships with players and officials.

"Privately, team executives are expressing concern to the league office about the relentless strife and volume of players and coaches complaining to refs," Wojnarowski wrote in May when reporting on the same issue. "Even teams are worried it's turning off fans, and the league office knows it's an issue."

Fow now, these movements from offensive players will continue and remain a talking point, especially with players like Young and Harden still in the playoffs.

But there may be less frustration across the board as soon as next season.


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