The NBA Board of Governors unanimously approved rules changes in advance of the 2018-19 season.
Beginning with the 2018 NBA preseason, the shot clock will reset to 14 seconds in offensive rebounding situations, as opposed to 24; the clear path foul rule will be simplified; and the definition of a “hostile act” will be expanded for purposes of triggering instant replay review.
Details on each rule modification appear below:
The rule has been in effect in the NBA G League since the 2016-17 season, in the WNBA since 2016 and in FIBA play since 2014-15. The rule was also in place during 2018 NBA Summer Leagues.
A clear path foul is now defined as a personal foul against any offensive player during his team’s transition scoring opportunity in the following circumstances: the ball is ahead of the tip of the circle in the backcourt; no defender is ahead of the offensive player with the transition scoring opportunity; the player with the transition scoring opportunity is in control of the ball (or a pass has been thrown to him); and if the foul deprives his team of an opportunity to score.
As part of the clear path foul rule simplification, referees will no longer need to make judgment calls as to whether or not a defender was between (or had the opportunity to be between) the offensive player with the transition scoring opportunity and the basket. In addition, referees will no longer have to determine whether or not the defender was at any time ahead of the offensive player prior to committing the foul, nor will it be relevant whether or not a defender beat the offensive player with the transition scoring opportunity into the frontcourt. Further, plays of this nature will no longer have to originate in the backcourt (since transition scoring opportunities can originate in the frontcourt).
Under the simplified rule, a clear path foul cannot occur if the fouled player is in the act of shooting or if the foul is caused by the defender’s attempt to intercept or deflect a pass intended for the player attempting to score in transition.
If a clear path foul is committed, the offended team will continue to be awarded two free throws and possession of the ball on the sideline nearest the spot where the foul occurred.
To view examples of the clear path foul rule simplification, click on this link.
The NBA’s Competition Committee unanimously recommended these rules changes to the Board of Governors.