As expected to be the case for the 2018-19 season, the NBA Board of Governors approved three rule changes with regards to resetting the shot clock, a clear path foul and a hostile act that requires replay.
Under the new guidelines, the shot clock will now reset to 14 seconds for three scenarios: after an offensive rebound of a missed field goal or free throw that hits the rim; after a loose ball foul is called on the defensive team immediately following a missed field goal or free throw that hit the rim; or after the offensive team gains possession of the ball after it goes out of bounds immediately following a missed field goal or free throw that hit the rim.
With the clear path foul rule, the NBA has created “bright line” standards that are determined by the position of the players at the time of the foul. It aims to reduce the need for a referee to make judgment and the variables that could impact how the rule is applied.
Referees will no longer need to determine whether or not a defender was between (or had the opportunity to be between) the offensive player during a transition scoring opportunity and the basket.
Referees also won’t be asked for judgment on whether or not a defender was ahead of the offensive player prior to committing the foul. Furthermore, will it not be relevant whether or not a defender beat the offensive player with the transition scoring opportunity into the frontcourt.
Perhaps the biggest change is a clear path foul no longer need to be applied to plays that began in the backcourt.
A clear path foul is now defined as a personal foul against any offensive player during his team’s transition scoring opportunity when 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 prevents his team of an opportunity to score.
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 offensive team will still be given two free throws and possession of the ball on the sideline nearest the spot where the foul occurred.
For purposes of initiating a replay review, the definition of a “hostile act” has been expanded to enable referees to determine the appropriate penalty for players or coaches if they are involved in hostile encounters with each other, referees or fans.