The 2013-14 NBL season will be tipping off in less than a month, but fans of the Australian basketball league are still unsure as to how officials will interpret the league's rules.
Mal Cooper, NBL chief referee, has completed a comprehensive study of his referees' officiating during the NBL Blitz, a pre-season tournament, and has ordered his team to create a video detailing the correct way to interpret the NBL rules.
Despite new rule interpretations being implemented in the 2013-14 season, the Perth Wildcats are focused on making it to the finals series again, continuing a streak that stretches back to 1987.
While participating teams will be able to view the instructional video, it is not for public consumption, leaving spectators in the dark over the new rule and the way they are supposed to be interpreted.
Cooper is very confident that the new interpretations, especially those related to playing in the paint and on-the-ball defense, will result in a more exciting game in the coming season.
More contact will be allowed during post play -- but referees will ensure that the rough-and-tumble game will not degenerate into a wrestling match. Players guarding ball-handlers will also be required to show their hands.
The new rules are the result of analysing more than 30 hours of video footage taken from the Blitz pre-season tournament. Bits and pieces of footage were incorporated into the instructional video, which aims to provide a better understanding of the rules.
Players and coaches will be given the chance to watch the video prior to the Oct 10 season tip-off in Auckland. Fans, however, will have to adjust to what they might perceive as bizarre calls as the season progresses.
The first few days of the Blitz tournament showed that teams were still adjusting to the new rule interpretations, resulting in players fouling out early. As they warmed up to the calls, though, the foul count dropped.
"Teams are going to need time to adjust," Cooper said. "But from where we started ... to where we ended up on Sunday afternoon are poles apart."
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