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NBA takes first step towards eliminating the take foul

The Competition Committee is in favor of enacting rules that help eliminate the transition take foul.

Indiana Pacers v Golden State Warriors Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

It looks like the NBA might finally be ready to fix one of the worst rules — or lack of rules — in the league. According to a report from Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium, the NBA Competition Committee met on Tuesday to discuss take fouls, and encourage the league to enact a rule that would seek to eliminate such fouls.

The take foul, also know as the European foul (despite being banned in European leagues for many years now), is the transition play where a player is blatantly fouled to stop what would otherwise be a possession where the offense has a strong advantage.

The Golden State Warriors Draymond Green offered up a prime (and memorable) example of it during last week’s loss against the Memphis Grizzlies, when he bear hugged Ja Morant to halt the Grizzlies’ fast break opportunity, and force them to inbound the ball from the sideline.

Because Green was not behind the play (and because the Warriors had some defenders already back), this type of play is not a clear path foul, so it’s not penalized as anything other than a normal foul. But it costs the offensive team a high-efficiency opportunity that they earned (which is why Green took the foul), and heavily disrupts the flow of the game, while eliminating some of the most exciting plays in the game.

In short, it absolutely has to go, and that’s something that I think every NBA player would agree with.

Part of what has made the NBA slow to adjust the foul rules is that, unlike with a clear path foul, a take foul is not easily definable, and is many times a judgement call. Still, judgement calls are not an inherently bad thing, and I don’t think it’s an area where refs would struggle to make the right call.

These discussions come on the heels of the league adjusting the foul rules when contact is initiated by the offensive player, which has had wonderful results thus far. If the take foul is eliminated in the next year, the 2022-23 NBA season could feature a significantly more enjoyable breed of basketball than the 2020-21 season did.