The NBA Hand Checking Rule: How Did It Change The Game?

One of the most influential rules of the NBA that changed the entire nature of the basketball game was the hand checking rule. It completely changed the classic defense system of the NBA league. In addition, hands checking also steers the pace of the game in a faster direction.

So, what is the hand check rule? And why has it affected the NBA so much? Let’s find out with Scott Fujita in the article below!

What Is Hand Checking Rule?

The hand check rule prohibits a defender from placing and holding an opponent’s hand. Unless he is in the basket-near area with his back to the basket, all actions are illegal.

Defenders can momentarily touch the opponent’s hand anywhere on the field. However, the action must not impede the opponent’s movements in speed, rhythm, or balance.

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What is a hand check NBA?

The defender’s arms don’t have to stay fully extended. Just putting a small part of their arm on the offensive player’s body will make moving or scoring more difficult for them.

It is very detrimental to ball handlers when they want to attack. However, after the rule changes, defenders face more disadvantages.

As a defender, you will have to be much more careful when defending. You will mainly rely on your reflexes, movements, and sharp wits. After all, you don’t want the game to overturn because of your carelessness.

View more: Top 11 nba teams without a championship

What Is The Penalty Of Hand Check NBA?

Hand-checking is a personal fault of the player who committed the foul. If a team has five individual fouls in a match, their opponent gets a free-throw shot.

If a player commits six individual fouls, the referee will call them “foul-out” and send them off. The player was then allowed to sit on the bench unless the referee sent him off.

When Did Hand Checking Appear At The NBA League?

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Hand check rule appeared in the 2004-05 season

The NBA implemented the hand check rule in the 2004-2005 season. This rule clearly demonstrates an effort to reduce hand-checking. In addition, it clarifies fouls when blocking and implements the three-second defense rule.

The hand check rule completely messed up the NBA. In the past, hand check was the primary form of defense that defenders used for ball handlers to control their actions and speed.

Hand check play has been a hit in the NBA since the rule was amended in 1994. However, people later killed this tactic to make way for a more agile and free play.

How Hand Check Rule Changed The NBA

1. Basketball Games In The Past

If you’ve been a longtime NBA fan, you’ll probably remember the days when the big men dominated the league. The most special is the position of centers with all the giant players.

People said that a team to win the championship at that time needed an unrivaled center. Games were surprisingly slow at the time, and perimeter play was still underdeveloped.

Hand-checking indeed plays a vital role in this scenario. However, the coaches and executives at the time had a different view. So they allow hand check action to happen.

In a basketball game full of big men and where hand check is valid, the defense gets rougher. There are situations where, if we compare it to today, it’s entirely against the rules.

An offensive player at that time also had to fight harder. Not only does he have to be a competent ball-handler, but he also has quick reflexes to break through the opponent’s steel defense.

On the other hand, offensive players are often not interested in getting close to the perimeter. Too many towering walls would appear in front of them. Plus, they’ll probably get a few rough defenses but not any free throws.

2. NBA Hand Check Rule Change

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Michael Jordan changed the entire basketball game

Of course, that period of the NBA was not entirely all about the strikers. There were still perimeter stars that appeared during that time. We could tell you a few notable names like Magic Johnson, Reggie Miller, and Julius Erving.

And we have one more important name.

This player is the main actor who changed the NBA hand check rule – Michael Jordan. When the Chicago Bulls dominated the NBA, fans took a different approach.

The Bull’s attack system is revolutionary with two big perimeter stars, Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen. Along with that, the way to play perimeter became famous. Everyone at the time wanted to play like Jordan. He is the face of the entire NBA.

Michael Jordan’s way of playing is both new and attractive. It is completely different from the traditional slow gameplay before. Later, with the appearance of young players with other perimeter play, the NBA organizers saw an opportunity.

Following Jordan’s first retirement, the federation amended the tournament and deemed hand-checking illegal. Perhaps they do it because they want to encourage young players to learn how to play the perimeter. Maybe they did so because they were afraid that fans’ interest would decrease after Michael Jordan’s absence.

In the beginning, not many people followed the hand-checking rule. However, Michael Jordan shows up again, and that’s where the NBA hand check comes into play.

3. The End Of Hand Check Era

Michael Jordan’s two three-point throws changed the game. It only gives young players active perimeter play. And in the end, we don’t need a dominant center to win.

The hand-checking rule still has a bit of a stretch after Mike’s first retirement. However, everyone realizes that the new perimeter play is the future of the NBA. They know that this is the time for a change.

After the 2003-04 season, the hand-check rule changed the game officially. At this time, the old strikers also gradually retired. The new generation of players that will take over the competition is potential perimeter ball handlers.

A few prominent players like LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, and Carmelo Anthony shine in this era. The defense always has to find a way to stop them. This task is not easy, and that creates suspense for the audience when watching the match.

After a few seasons, the pace of the game gradually became faster. The NBA league is slowly regaining its appeal. We get to see firsthand the top-scoring phases.

Final Thoughts

The NBA basketball before and after the hand check rule are two completely separate eras. But even so, they survived both periods and thrived.

We have seen a lot of controversial opinions about the hand check rule. Many say that this rule changes the nature of the tournament and makes it too soft. However, now we all recognize the hand check rule that makes the game more unpredictable and exciting.

This rule causes defenders to think of ways to defend against offensive players. The game’s pace became faster and more flexible so that we couldn’t take our eyes off it.

Scott Fujita hopes that our article will bring you a lot of interesting knowledge. Don’t forget to follow our other articles!

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