Pregaming: Spurs vs. Nuggets

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Didn’t get much of a chance to watch shootaround ahead of tonight’s game against the Nuggets, the referees for tonight’s game, led by crew chief Danny Crawford, gave the media a little presentation on the rules changes for this season. You may have seen the video on Deadspin.

  • Crawford told us the refs don’t have any role in the new flopping rule. They don’t make any calls on flopping, they don’t mark when possible incidents happen, they’re not involved. Crawford says he likes it that way, there’s a little less responsibility on their plates and it’s one less thing they have to track.
  • There’s a chance more traveling violations will be called when players start to make drives to the basket. The refs are trained to watch the defender, so they often miss those little travels when players first put the ball on the floor. This season the refs will be watching the offensive player if the defender isn’t pressuring the ball, so we might see a couple more.
  • The Spurs were given the same presentation earlier in the day, and on the video one plays shows Jack shuffling his feet before putting the ball on the floor. Crawford said Jack was kind enough to fess up to his crime.
  • One interesting rule change of note: The NBA is cutting down on the ritual handshake stuff pregame. Once the lights come on after the home intros end, teams have 90 seconds to get out for the tip. If any players haven’t made it out yet, it’s a delay of game penalty.
  • Refs will also be cutting down on the commotion near the team benches when players are shooting. Before, technicals were only called if members of the bench came out on the court to try and distract a shooter. Now, any sort of towel waving, stomping on the floor or motion in the direction of a shooter by someone on the bench (coach, player, etc.) it’s a technical.
  • I asked Pop pregame about Kawhi’s shooting struggles. Let’s just say he didn’t agree with my suggestion, but he was kindly sarcastic about it.