Officials are now closely monitoring contact away from the ball. The extra emphasis is intended to promote scoring by speeding up the action on the court. Defensive-minded teams, such as the Spurs, aren’t a fan of it whatsoever and Rudy Gay believes the league is going soft.
“The league’s going soft, man,” Gay told Sam Amick of the Athletic. “It’s tough, man. It’s a contact sport. A contact sport. I understand that you’re changing the direction of the player, but right now it’s overboard a little bit. I mean, it’s been a point of emphasis, but you’re trying to get – you can’t touch guys. Guys are about to run, and basketball is a physical game. That’s what we lift weights for, right?
“If you take the physical nature away from it, then – I mean obviously we have to adapt. It’s going to take some time. And if that’s the rule, then we’ve got to find a way to do it.”
On one hand, this makes sense. Fans aren’t coming to NBA games to watch defensive matchups. They want to see 3’s and high scoring games. However, for the teams and players, it’s easy to see why this new rule is frustrating. A team like the Golden State Warriors, who run off-ball picks all the time, are now given an advantage.
The Indiana Pacers reached out to executive vice president of basketball operations Kiki Vandeweghe to voice their concerns over the new rule. It’s safe to say Rudy Gay won’t be the last player to complain about the freedom of movement calls.