Call it the Kevin Rule.
There are two players in the NBA who take full advantage of the free throw line, averaging seven makes per game at a clip over 88 percent: Kevin Durant and Kevin Martin. They've used as much charity from the charity stripe as anyone. It's like they're getting paid millions of dollars, only they're buying all of their clothes from Value Village or Goodwill.
We can debate fouls and non-fouls all season long, but to put it simply: The NBA's fouling jamboree has slowly gotten out of hand over the last ten years. This isn't a fault of the referees, but of the rules. Fouls became a reward for having big balls and driving strong, and since everyone in the NBA outside of Brian Cook has some fairly big balls, the whistles became too large a determinant in deciding the outcome of a game.
To their credit, the Kevins found a glitch in the system and took full advantage. Now, it looks like a few of those silly rules are about to change.
From ESPN's Ric Bucher:
"Rip-through" moves, in which an offensive player swings the ball into a defender's outstretched arm and then attempts a shot once he has created contact, will be considered non-shooting fouls if the contact begins before the offensive player starts his shooting motion.
Also, on drives to the basket, a shooting foul will be called only if contact occurs after the offensive player has begun his shooting motion, not after he has initiated his leap toward the basket.
The league will also make traveling in the post and on the perimeter a point of emphasis, with a player hopping off of and landing on the same foot viewed as an automatic violation.
All good rule changes, as far as I'm concerned. But since we're Rockets fans and we want wins -- foul legitimacy be damned -- how does this affect our shining star scorer?
In short: it really shouldn't. Kevin Martin isn't a rip-through kind of guy. The move is more a Tracy McGrady-Chauncey Billups concoction and I don't remember Speed using it very often. The second rule change is more likely to hurt him, but consider this: If Martin was able to expertly adapt to past NBA rules, these shouldn't be too difficult a challenge. He'll still find his way to the line, and if that means he has to start shooting earlier on his drives... so be it. At the end of the day, he's still going to put a lot of opponents in foul trouble, and at the very worst, he'll draw a foul before he shoots and the Rockets will take the ball out of bounds. Chilling thought, I know.