NBA rules changes: Expect more traveling calls, fewer time outs

Goran Dragic is one of the best at drawing fouls while attempting a 3 pointer. Officials are going to look closer at that play. (Getty Images)

MIAMI – The NBA will put an emphasis on traveling this season, something league officials stressed to the Heat during their annual visit Monday.

The league expects more travels to be called as officials will start focusing on which foot has been established as the pivot and making sure that foot stays down before a player makes his next move.

“I don’t know how I feel about it,” coach Erik Spoelstra said. “I know the basketball traditionalist would say there’s a lot of traveling going on in the NBA. I don’t know if the average fan really sees a lot of those nuances. But if it’s just going to be a bunch of blown whistles and 90 percent of the fans are saying, ‘what, why is there a change of possession. …?’

“I think we’re trying to get more flow, not less flow.”

Fouls on players guarding 3-point shooters will be called more judiciously. The league showed several examples last season when contact was made before the player started his shooting motion and a shooting foul was incorrectly called.

This season, officials will not award three shots unless a player is fouled after starting his shooting motion. Many players, including Miami’s Goran Dragic, perfected drawing contact then starting the shooting motion, which last year resulted in three free throws.

Fewer trips to the line in which players are taking three free throws should quicken the game’s pace, as should fewer time outs. The maximum number of timeouts in regulation will be 14, down from 18. The biggest difference will come at the end of games when teams will be allowed two time outs in the final three minutes instead of three.

All time outs will be 75 seconds, down from 100 seconds. The 20 second time out (which actually was one minute) has been eliminated.

Spoelstra said he has not noticed the change in the number of time outs yet because teams typically do not play “situational basketball” in the fourth quarter during the preseason.

“I haven’t known a difference other than the fact there’s a long flow,” he said. “For our guys they’d rather get out there and play. If you have a team that’s not in shape it’s probably a little bit tougher.”

Although coaches can never have enough time outs, Spoelstra said he notices how the flow of a game can be interrupted by time outs when he’s watching games on TV.

“All the studies are out there about attention spans for everybody,” he said. “So now we’ll cater to this generation and studies as much as everybody else. I get it.”

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