The NBA is trying to eliminate what are known as non-basketball moves by enforcing existing rules differently to discourage players from baiting defenders into fouls in obvious and calculated ways. No longer will NBA referees allow players to lean into defenders who bite on pump fakes.
The culprits are infamous, guys like James Harden and Trae Young. And given it's seemingly a select few that benefitted greatly from the previous rules, most NBA players don't seem to have a problem with the league's new initiative.
Several Wizards players expressed support for the change.
"I’m definitely a fan of the rule change because on offense myself, I don’t use that basically at all. I rarely pump fake," Davis Bertans said. "I think it has to be a basketball play. You have guys that go into the basket and they suddenly stop and jump backwards just to find contact. Like, come on, that’s not basketball. I understand you have to take advantage of the rules, but I think this is going to be a good thing."
Montrezl Harrell agrees with Bertans in part because he, too, isn't someone who uses those moves.
"It’s not going to faze my game. I don’t get calls as it is, for how aggressive I play. That ain’t got no bearing on how I play either way, brother," Harrell said. "As far as being somebody that has to guard that, I kind of feel it helps out a little bit more, especially for guys that come off screens and just flails his arms up and throws the ball at the rim. They won’t get that call."
Spencer Dinwiddie was more conflicted. Unlike Bertans and Harrell, he says he has exploited the rules in the past.
Dinwiddie was also teammates with Harden on the Brooklyn Nets and is sympathetic to those who have made it a big part of their offensive arsenal.
"I think outlandish stuff where they’re kicking their legs out or flailing and jumping backwards and hitting people in the jaw and things like that, yeah that probably needs to be cut out," Dinwiddie said. "But for people that are really crafty, a la James Harden, he’s going to do things that weren’t a foul called. He’s that crafty and that good at the game of basketball. Just because he’s that good, he shouldn’t be penalized for being able to create that contact."
Dinwiddie also added he thinks it will take time for the league's officiating crew to find the right balance as far as when to call fouls and when not to. It is going to be a learning process, he believes, which is common for new rules.
For some, adapting could be more difficult than it is for others.