The NBA Has Officially Implemented A Stiffer Penalty For Take Fouls

The NBA has voted to officially implement a new penalty for take fouls, after adopting the rule for Summer League competition this month.

According to the league’s announcement, the change takes affect for the upcoming 2022-23 season and will look to stop the scourge that is players breaking up transition opportunities with a purposeful foul. When a player commits a take foul — defined as ‘an intentional foul committed by a defender to deprive the offensive team of a fast-break opportunity’ — the offensive team will get a free throw that any player on the court can take, they get to keep the ball, and the person who committed the foul is assessed a common foul.

The only time a take foul will now be allowed is in the last two minutes of the fourth quarter or in the last two minutes of an overtime period. A similar overall rule set has been used in the G League since the 2018-19 season.

In the same news release, the NBA announced that the play-in tournament will now continue on a full-time basis after it was used for the 2020-21 and 2021-22 seasons.

The take foul rule change makes a lot of sense and, frankly, is overdue. Take fouls have long been used by teams to bail themselves of bad turnovers on transition. Until now, a foul in the open court — even, and often, away from ball — stopped a team from an easy two points. This should largely limit those types of fouls and, in theory, lead to more transition baskets and highlight plays on the break.

There are two small kinks to watch in the rule. The first is the last two minute exception, which surely will be something coaches and players will have to think about in the last two minutes of games now. It also could, in theory, slow down the end of games. The league’s announcement stated that take fouls are allowed in the last two minutes of the fourth quarter and overtime because it allows teams ‘to use the longstanding tactic of taking a foul to stop the clock during an attempted comeback or prevent the opposing team from potentially tying the game on a three-pointer.’

The second is that the offensive team obstructed by a take foul gets to pick its free throw shooter. That eliminates the possibility of teams trying to manipulate the take foul penalty by fouling a bad free throw shooter and sending them to the line. Whether this completely eliminates take fouls or not remains to be seen, but it is at the very least a much stiffer penalty and should lead to fewer of them, which is great for fans because they often prevent some of the most fun opportunities in a game.