Monday, March 23, 2009

Clear Path Foul

In the NBA there is a foul called a “clear path foul”. This occurs when there is a fast break opportunity and the newly defending team commits a foul. It is a clear path foul when there are no defenders between the breaking offensive player and the basket. The penalty for a clear path foul is the offensive team gets two foul shots and the ball (before 2006 it was one shot and the ball).

We were watching a Laker game and this foul was committed against Lamar Odom. My roommate could not understand how 2 shots and the ball was a just penalty for the foul.

I was sure that the NBA rule committee carefully evaluates the rules and associated penalties. They are likely approved by a majority of referees, players, coaches and administrators. I am fine with believing that they are making rules to provide a fair and marketable sport.

This article
provides evidence for my point of view:

“The ‘clear path’ rule would be tweaked because statistics showed teams are averaging less than 2 points when clear path fouls are called. (under the one shot rule)

‘The original idea behind the clear path foul was we didn’t want them to occur. But now, when they do occur, the offended team is not getting the yield point-wise that they should be,’ NBA vice president Stu Jackson told”

I wonder what the average point yield is now under the two-shots tweak. I also liked the insight into the team representation that is involved in the NBA rule changing process. It seems like it is a very bureaucratic system.

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