How NBA Stars like James Harden are Exploiting the Continuation Rule
Via STACKJames Harden is an expert at drawing fouls and getting to the free-throw line. In the 2016-2017 season he got to the line a league-leading 996 times, almost 11 times per game. He is one of the most gifted, pure scorers in the league, and while Harden does a great job of drawing contact as he drives to the basket, he also leads the league in fouls drawn in the act of shooting a 3-pointer. This is a relatively new phenomenon, a new trick that he has added to his bag, but he has been quite successful in putting it to use against his opponents. According to Basketball Reference, Harden drew 124 3-point shooting fouls during the regular season which accounted for 16.9% of his 3-point attempts, and is 69 more than the next closest player, Lou Williams, who drew 55 such fouls. But while Harden seems to have mastered the art of drawing fouls while shooting 3's he is not the only player doing so. The idea of drawing a 3-point shooting foul is not problematic by itself, but it is how they are drawing these fouls, taking advantage of the NBA's sometimes ill-defined "continuation" rule. This is what it looks like. [caption id="attachment_285113" align="alignnone" width="654"] Via GIPHY[/caption] [caption id="attachment_285114" align="alignnone" width="654"] Via GIPHY[/caption] The NBA Continuation Rule is as follows:
A shooting foul is called when contact is made to an offensive player who has started his shooting motion. The act of shooting starts when the ball is "gathered" and continues until the shooting motion ceases and the player returns to a normal floor position.When exploiting this rule for a 3-point shot you have to do a good job of blurring the line between when the contact is made and when your shooting motion starts. So you have to anticipate and often initiate contact with the defender, then almost simultaneously start your shooting motion. The shot is almost an afterthought in the sense that, while the goal is to make it a shooting foul and therefore you must get into your shooting motion, the focus is the foul and drawing that contact. Often NBA players will just chuck up a shot without any attempt to be accurate after they have made contact and heard the whistle; the goal is to get three free throws This type of foul most often comes off of a screen. As you come off a ball screen or screen away from the ball and you have your defender trailing close, you can draw the foul in a few different ways.
- On a jump shot, the shooting motion starts when the player starts his upward motion with the ball and continues through his release.
- You can quickly stop and pull up for your shot so your defender bumps into as he continues to recover.
- If your defender reaches their hand out you can quickly break into your shot while making contact with or even hooking your defenders outstretched arms.
- You can shoulder yourself into the moving defender, creating contact and simultaneously begin your shooting motion.
Former NBA referee for 19 years, Ronnie Nunn told Basketball Breakdown in an interview addressing these fouls and their legitimacy, "We're seeing a player actually develop a shot after a foul. You really want to see a player in his shot before he's [getting fouled]. The question regarding these plays is usually not the foul itself because there is illegal contact most times. The question that commissioner Adam Silver and league officials might have to address is whether it should be deemed a shooting foul or result in the ball being taken out of bounds. READ MORE:
Absolutely no way should this be a three point shooting foul. pic.twitter.com/P8Bps5sGee— Bailey Carlin (@BaileyCarlin) April 26, 2017
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