offensive fouls are just offensive

This may be weird coming from a Rockets fan, having, as we do, on our roster two of the premier charge-drawing players in the NBA–Kyle Lowry and Luis Scola. However, I’ve been following this season closely and I will conclude that the thing that has annoyed me the most after the general state of refereeing, is the definition of an offensive foul.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I can see where the idea of the rule came from. It works as a way to prevent bigger, stronger, and more athletic players from moving you out of the way to get their shot. Believe me, I sympathize with that, given that I am a small, relatively rotund guard.

However, the idea of “drawing a charge” is getting out of hand. I don’t see drawing a charge as a particularly admirable skill. Especially if you are a center/forward. If you are a center the size of Nene Hilario, you have no business trying to draw a foul against the likes of Aaron Brooks, for example. Unless he is shoving you out of the way on a layup, or elbowing you in the face, there’s no real way that Brooks can create enough offensive contact to get a good shot. I think the NBA needs to move in and make more “common sense” rules. If you’re a center, play like a freaking center. If a puny guard is going up for a lay-up on a fast-break, go for a block, don’t just cover your genitals and fall over. This applies to Houston players as well, and I’m looking squarely at you, Luis Scola.

The offensive foul started out as a way to protect weaker defenders, but today it has become a joke that everyone in the NBA has attempted to pull. Much respect for Shaq, by the way, for publicly making fun of centers who take charges (I think it was a few years ago, and he was talking about Vlade Divac, but I may be mistaken). I mean, how much respect do you lose if you’re a 300-pound behemoth and fall over on a gentle drive.

At the very least, you should eliminate charges taken by secondary defenders. The situation I’m referring to is an offensive player using a pick and the secondary defender stepping into his path at the last moment and falling over. I mean, come on. Is that really worth a foul? Protecting a guy who wasn’t even initially defending? Punishing the offense for the defense unable to communicate and respond to a pick-and-roll situation?

They should also implement unofficial rules wherein a smaller player cannot commit an offensive foul on a larger player. I mean, it makes no sense if you’re a 150-lb guard and routinely run over NBA-caliber centers on the way to the basket.

This hasn’t been a very well-composed entry, but it’s something that I’ve had on my mind for a few days. I think rethinking the rules of offensive fouls would make NBA games more fun to watch and would eliminate the European football culture of diving that is slowly creeping into the game of basketball. The current rules make the definition of a good defender a joke–I’d much rather take someone with a lot of steals and blocks than a guy who takes 2-3 charges a game.

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