Monday, August 31, 2009

Sunday Officiating (Part 2): NBA Style Rules

This is part 2 of my series of posts on my experience officiating an adult league using NBA Style Rules. Today, I will discuss the adjustments I had to make while officiating.

I could write pages and pages about all the differences between the NBA, high school and college basketball rules. However, I'll just keep things short to some of the things I experienced on Sunday.

In high school and college basketball, players get ten seconds to get from the backcourt to the frontcourt. The NBA used to also have the ten second rule but changed this to eight seconds in an attempt to speed up the game. This was probably the easiest rule for me to adapt to. I just had to remind myself that it was only eight seconds versus ten seconds. Alas, this rule had minimal effect on the games I worked on Sunday.

The NBA lacks a five-second closely guarded rule. So the perimeter players can hold the ball or dribble as much as they want without penalty. This took some adjustment on my part as I am so used to initiating five-second counts when a ball handler is closely guarded.

Looking over the rules for the adult league I was working, I realized I neglected to watch for the NBA five second "Back to the Basket" rule. Essentially, a player could not back down a player (below the free throw line) for more than five seconds while dribbling. I don't recall this being called in the NBA much and it slipped my mind yesterday. I don't think it had any major affect on the game

In college and high schools, the games use a possession arrow anytime there are held balls between the two teams. In the NBA, the arrows are not used. Anytime there are held ball situations, the officials have the opposing players do a jump ball to decide who gets the ball. The reason colleges and high schools adopted the possession arrows was to speed up the game. However, doing a physical jump ball might be preferable to many coaches and players. It gives teams a chance to regain the ball whereas the possession arrow is pretty much set in stone. There were a few times where my partner and I had to perform these jump balls but it wasn't that big a deal.

Having a 24 second shot clock in itself wasn't much of a problem. After all, I officiate high school games which use a 35-second shot clock. The main issues was that the shot clock was run off of a small laptop computer at the score's table. The sound off of the laptop wasn't all that loud so it proved to be difficult to hear when there were shot clock violations. As a player in the league, it wasn't that difficult to glance at the laptop to see how much time was left. As an official, stealing glances at something at the scorer's table was a little difficult when I was facing away from the table. This is something I will need to adjust to as many gyms that this particular adult league uses do not have shot clocks built in.

For the most part, timeouts in the NBA are handled just like high schools and colleges. The only exception is at the end of the game. In the final two minutes, teams have the option to advance the ball to halfcourt after a timeout after a made basket or rebound, assuming they haven't tried to advance the ball upcourt. This isn't a particularly difficult situation to deal with. It just takes some practice to adjust to the rule and also remember to notice what happens after a team scores or secures the rebound.

This is probably one of the more obscure rules and the most difficult for everyone (players & officials) to adjust to. At every level of basketball, teams can inbound to the backcourt at anytime. However, the NBA is the lone exception. In fact, the NBA did not allow any backcourt inbounding for many years. While I don't have the year handy, I know the NBA eventually changed it's rules to allow for backcourt inbounding in the last two minutes of the game.

There weren't any issues that came about with this particular rule. Most of the players are veterans of the league and are used to it. As for me, I didn't have to call any backcourt violations though I had to remind myself of the rule when players were inbounding.

That's all I have for this post. I probably missed a ton of things, but this should give you an idea of what I went through on Sunday.

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