Explaining the NBA’s Most Misunderstood Rules:
Defensive Three Seconds: A defensive player is not allowed inside the key area for more than three seconds unless he is guarding the player with the ball or is actively guarding any opponent. To be considered actively guarding, a defender must be within an arms length of his opponent. If an offensive player moves through the key, the defender must be within an arms length, and also move along with the offensive player. He can not just stand there and put his arms out to the new three-second count.
Goaltending: When a player shoots the ball, a defender may not touch the ball after it reaches its highest point. If so, the shot shall be ruled successful. A defender also can not touch a shot after it has hit the backboard and is going towards the rim, even if it is going up. Once the ball is on or directly above the rim, a defender can not touch the ball. If the ball is rolling on top of the rim, a defender can not touch the ball or the rim. If an offensive player touches the ball in any of the above circumstances, basket interference shall be riled and no points can be scored. Once the ball rolls to the outside of the rim, the shot is over and anyone can touch the ball.
Substitutions: During a full timeout all players may be substituted for. During a 20-second timeout, only one player may be replaced by the team calling the timeout. Only then can the other team make a substitution. If the calling team does not replace one player, the opponent may not make a substitution. All players may be removed if the 20- second timeout is called in the last two minutes of the fourth period or last two minutes of overtime. Once a player enters the game he must remain in the game until the ball is legally touched, a foul is committed, there is a change of possession, or for administration of the blood rule.
Hand Checking: A defender may not place and keep his hand on an opponent unless he is in the area near the basket with his back to the basket. A defender may momentarily touch an opponent with his hand anywhere on the court as long as it does not affect the opponent’s movement (speed, quickness, balance, rhythm).
Clear Path to the Basket: If a fast break starts in a team’s backcourt and a defender fouls any offensive player when the team is going to score an easy basket, a clear path foul has occurred. When the foul happens, no defender can be ahead of the ball where he could defend against the easy basket.
Flagrant Fouls: These fouls are considered unnecessary and/or excessive. There are two types of flagrant fouls, 1 and 2. A flagrant 1 is unnecessary contact. This is usually when a defensive player swings and makes hard contact with the offensive player or makes hard contact and then follows through. A flagrant foul 2 is unnecessary and excessive contact. This usually has a swinging motion, hard contact, and a follow through. Both fouls carry a penalty of two free throws and the team that was fouled retains possession. A flagrant foul 2 also results in an ejection of the player committing the foul. A player also is ejected if he commits two flagrant foul penalty 1’s.
Illegal Screens/Picks: A screen or pick is when an offensive player gets to a legal position on the court in the path of a defender for the purpose of slowing down the defender or making him change direction. An illegal screen/pick is when the defender does not get into a legal position. When picking a stationary opponent from the backside, you must give that player a step to stop and /or change direction since he cannot see you. If the opponent is moving, you must get to your position and give him enough distance to stop and/or change direction. The speed of the player will determine the distance. You cannot just jump in front of a player at the last second.
Blocks/Charge: A block/charge foul occurs when a defender tries to get in front of his man to stop him from going in that direction. If he does not get into a legal defensive position and contact occurs, it is a blocking foul. If he gets to a legal position and the offensive player runs into him it is an offensive foul. In both situations, if the contact is minimal, no foul may be called. To get into a legal position defending against the dribbler, the defender just needs to get in front of him. On a drive to the basket, the defender must get to his position before the shooter starts his upward shooting motion. For most other cases, the defender must get into position and allow enough distance for the offensive player to stop and/or change direction.
Restricted Area: Any player may be in the “restricted area” if the offensive player receives the ball in the lower defensive box. If contact between players takes place on this type of play it does not necessarily mean a foul has been committed. The official must judge whether the contact is negligible and/or incidental, judging each situation separately.
Traveling: To start a dribble, the ball must be released from a player’s hand before his pivot foot leaves the floor or he has committed a traveling violation. A player who receives the ball while in progress or upon completing his dribble is allowed a one-two count after gathering the ball and preparing to stop, pass or shoot. A player, who falls to the floor while holding the ball or while coming to a stop, may not gain an advantage by sliding on the floor. A player who attempts a shot may not be the first to touch the ball if it fails to touch the backboard, rim or another player.
Incidental Contact: The mere fact that contact occurs does not mean a foul has been committed. Players are allowed to contact other players when reaching for a loose ball, or when performing normal offensive and defensive movements. The hand is considered “ part of the ball” when it is in contact with the ball and contact with a players hand when it is in contact with the ball is not a foul.