Friday, January 18, 2013

National TV's Basketball Rules Ignorance & TFFL Day 77

It's not just baseball and the Chicago White Sox's Ken "Hawk" Harrelson. As officials across nearly all sports have long known, ignorance of the rules is universally pervasive.

For a more confined case study, consider Thursday evening's NBA contest between the Miami Heat and Los Angeles Lakers during which TNT broadcasters Marv Albert, Steve Kerr and Reggie Miller discussed several rules intricacies: traveling as relates to a loose ball/falling on the ground, the eight-second rule and the clear path foul. The Qualities of Broadcasting Accuracy for each instance below is "incorrect":

Traveling: After a loose ball struggle, Kerr lamented that in college and high school basketball, players would routinely be called for a traveling violation upon diving on the floor for a loose ball. Later in the contest, Albert referenced a sequence in which Miami's LeBron James recovered a loose ball on the ground and stood up without being whistled for a violation.

Explanation: NBA Rule 10-II-a is fairly straightforward: "A player shall not run with the ball without dribbling it." For this discussion (player on floor), Rule 10-XIII-e is relevant:
e) A player who falls to the floor while holding the ball or stopping may not gain an advantage by sliding.

In NCAA college, Rule 4-70-6 states "it is traveling when a player falls to the playing court while holding the ball without maintaining a pivot foot." In NFHS high school, Rule 4-44-5 states that a player holding the ball "may not touch the floor with a knee" or if gaining control on the floor, "may not attempt to get up or stand." At these levels, a player is permitted to dive for a loose ball and possess it, but may not voluntarily violate a rule as specified above.

All codes agree—despite their differences, all levels require a player to hold the ball while committing a second act. During the play in question, James did not hold the ball while moving from the ground to standing. Replays indicate the ball maintained contact with the ground until James' feet were the only parts of his body in contact with the ground. Only then did James pick the ball up or "hold" it. This is legal at all levels.

Eight-Second Rule: Hastled in the backcourt, Miami's Dwyane Wade carried the ball over the midcourt line with 16 seconds visible on the shot clock. Albert and Kerr immediately stated they believed an eight-second violation had occurred while Miller proposed this apparently "new rule" had caused confusion resulting in what the broadcasters deemed was a missed call.

Explanation: When the eight-second rule was adopted in 2001 (prior to that, it was 10 seconds, a rule introduced in 1933), the math was simple: taking a shot clock of 24 seconds, officials were to rule a violation if a team was in continuous possession of the ball in its backcourt for more than 8 seconds, or at the 16-second mark (24-8=16). However, as I have previously stated, shot clock timing became more complex when the NBA converted to a tenths-of-a-second timer prior to the 2011-12 season.

Before 2011-12, shot clocks ran from 24-to-0, which in tenths-of-seconds, was 24.9-to-0.9, the violation occuring at 0.9 seconds (technically, 0.999999...). The reason for this is previous-model shot clocks only displayed full seconds, so instead of seeing 0.9 seconds, viewers would see 0 seconds, or, a violation. Accordingly, eight full seconds lapsed at 16.9 seconds on the shot clock, or as soon as the clock read 16.

After the conversion, shot clocks effectively lost nine-tenths of a second, running from 24.0 to 0.0, the shot clock violation this time occuring at 0.0 seconds (which, logically is really 0.09 seconds, meaning 24.0 seconds is really 24.09 seconds). Accordingly, eight full seconds lapse at 16.0 seconds, or a full nine-tenths of a second after the clock reads 16.

Because the clock does not operate in tenths-of-a-second above the five-second mark (sig digs!), officials have no full-proof way of knowing when the clock is equal to 16.0 versus 16.9 sec. Therefore, the common axiom is to whistle the violation at 15.9 (visible = 15) seconds, a 0.1-second margin of error.

Nonetheless, replays confirm the Heat advanced the ball into the frontcourt prior to 16.0.

Clear Path Foul: During a steal and pass from James intended for Wade, Los Angeles' Metta World Peace committed a foul on Wade. Albert, Kerr and Miller considered the possibility a clear path foul had occurred and were surprised when, after review, officials Joey Crawford, Mark Ayotte and Zach Zarba ruled the foul common and not of the clear path variety.

Explanation: Rule 12-B-I-Penalties-6 clarifies this exact situation: "If a defender is ahead of the player being fouled and has the opportunity to position himself between the ball and the basket, there is no clear path foul." Though the rule further specifies the requirements of (1) team possession, (2) backcourt origin, and (3) deprivation of opportunity to score, the aforementioned and explicitly referred to information clearly deliniates that the clear path foul call does not apply in this situation because World Peace was clearly ahead of Wade and between the ball and the basket during the foul.

2012-13 TFFL: Day 77 (4 Games, 2 Technicals).
505: 24 Mike Callahan, 6 Tony Brown, 74 Curtis Blair. Knicks' Chandler; 3rd, 10:59.
The New York Knicks ultimately won the contest, defeating the Detroit Pistons, 102-87.
This game was played at the O2 Arena in London, England.

506: 22 Bill Spooner, 42 Eric Lewis, 73 Tre Maddox. Bucks' Boylan; 3rd, 3:17.
The Milwaukee Bucks ultimately won the contest, defeating the Phoenix Suns, 98-94.

1. (111 pts) Boredcravens.
2. (107 pts) Bino.
3. (99 pts) Drjjulius.
4. (98 pts) flap0703.
5. (89 pts) Eagle_12, cyclone14


Jay R said...

In the NBA, it is legal to fall with the ball and to stand up with the ball. So even if James had been holding the ball it would have been legal.

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