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Old Sat Jan 18, 2020, 08:03pm
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NBA Free Throw Mechanics Question

In NBA (and G-League) games, you see the Slot official (Center official in amateur mechanics) administering the 1st of multiple free throws or an only free throw. This practice is not found at any other level of basketball. Where did it originate from, and why do NBA-affiliated officials do that? Is there any advantage to having the Slot administer the 1st free throw in a sequence, or is it just another attempt to be different from other leagues?

In the NBA Officials Manual (2018-19 edition), the Free Throw Attempts (Responsibilities) section says: "Line up the players as soon as possible. The official in the lead position will administer all free throws. You must make certain that there are two offensive and two defensive players on the lane lines before passing the ball to the free throw shooter. A third defensive player on the lane line is optional." Does the manual say that because no one bothered to update that section, or is it because the NBA Operations Department actually wants officials to do that? I'm curious, because all officials from the G-League to NBA Finals officials have the Slot hand off the ball for the 1st free throw, with no apparent backlash for not following proper mechanics.
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Old Sat Jan 18, 2020, 08:23pm
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FED used to do something like that, but I think maybe it was only for two person.

Gets more officials involved in the communication adn to be sure all is set on the FT lane before administering.
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Old Sat Jan 18, 2020, 09:00pm
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That's an interesting idea. If that was the case, then the Slot would also hand the ball off for the 2nd and for other free throws that would go live, or this would be adopted by levels other than the NBA. Right now, this is is a standard, albeit officially unapproved, practice in the NBA and G-League.
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Old Sat Jan 18, 2020, 10:12pm
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Originally Posted by ilyazhito View Post
That's an interesting idea. If that was the case, then the Slot would also hand the ball off for the 2nd and for other free throws that would go live, or this would be adopted by levels other than the NBA. Right now, this is is a standard, albeit officially unapproved, practice in the NBA and G-League.

You only need the communication on the first so all know (or confirm) that it's 1, or 2, or 3, or 1-for2, etc.

No one gets confused on the subsequent, and once players are in the required spaces, someone continues to fill that spot.
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Old Sun Jan 19, 2020, 12:16am
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From what I understand it was implemented as a time-saving mechanic.

And obviously NBA officials didn't unilaterally just start doing it on their own.

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Old Sun Jan 19, 2020, 08:18am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Raymond View Post
From what I understand it was implemented as a time-saving mechanic.
How does it save time?

Quote:
And obviously NBA officials didn't unilaterally just start doing it on their own.
Agreed.
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Old Sun Jan 19, 2020, 08:28am
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Originally Posted by bob jenkins View Post
How does it save time?

...
It's something I read or heard directly from an NBA official.



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Old Sun Jan 19, 2020, 08:56am
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Originally Posted by Raymond View Post
It's something I read or heard directly from an NBA official.



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I am not questioning you. I am just curious as to how ti saves time. If it does, I'd be in favor of implementing it at all levels.
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Old Sun Jan 19, 2020, 10:36am
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Originally Posted by bob jenkins View Post
I am not questioning you. I am just curious as to how ti saves time. If it does, I'd be in favor of implementing it at all levels.
Kind of fuzzy on the conversation/details because I really didn't care, but I believe it's intended to get the players lined up quicker.

I want to say it was part of a package of changes that were made to speed up the game.

I work a Pro-Am every summer that uses NBA rules, and we are expected to know the rules and mechanics no matter what level we work normally.

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Old Sun Jan 19, 2020, 11:48am
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"at all levels"

If "at all levels," you mean sub-varsity, not just NCAA, NFHS and FIBA, I doubt it would save time in 2-ref sub-varsity games.

In the old days, with two officials, the T would step into the lane with the ball, announce the number of shots, turn and hand the ball to the shooter, then step out and back. If I recall correctly, it was precisely to speed things up that the mechanic was changed to have the L administer FTs.

Why must 2-ref and 3-ref systems have the same mechanic on FTs, besides some abstract notion of consistency? Refs can adapt easily enough. Besides, if you hustle, get players lined up quickly and keep the game moving, how much more time would actually be saved?
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Old Sun Jan 19, 2020, 12:05pm
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Ancient Times ...

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Originally Posted by LRZ View Post
In the old days, with two officials, the T would step into the lane with the ball, announce the number of shots, turn and hand the ball to the shooter, then step out and back.
LRZ has a good memory. That was a really long time ago.

And if I recall correctly, the trail official was always on the left side of the free throw shooter (Cadillac position).

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Last edited by BillyMac; Sun Jan 19, 2020 at 01:24pm.
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Old Sun Jan 19, 2020, 12:45pm
LRZ LRZ is offline
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I think your recollection is accurate, BillyMac. In those days, we always "worked right," I think we called it: ie, as we faced the basket, with the play ahead of us, we were on the left side of the court, with the action ahead and to our right. If we had to be on the other side of the court, for a TI, perhaps, the mechanic was for the T to swing back over to the left side when he/she could, and then the L would rotate in tandem.
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Old Sun Jan 19, 2020, 01:02pm
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Working Opposite In Ancient Times ...

Quote:
Originally Posted by LRZ View Post
If we had to be on the other side of the court, for a TI, perhaps, the mechanic was for the T to swing back over to the left side when he/she could, and then the L would rotate in tandem.
Again, LRZ is correct.

We called this "working opposite". The trail dictated how long we would work opposite.

Different officials had different tolerances for how long they could work opposite. Some guys didn't mind it and we could go up and down the court a few times working opposite. Others, as the trail, swung around to working Cadillac position as soon as they could after the throwin, so fast it would make your head spin, even if it meant not covering the action from the best position.

Decades later, to this day, I'm still more comfortable as the new lead running up the court looking over my left shoulder (Cadillac position) than as the new lead running up the court looking over my right shoulder (working opposite).

And if I'm diagramming primary coverage areas to a rookie, I will always start the diagram with the Cadillac position.

A few years ago, after reporting a shooting foul to the table, as I became the new trail after a switch, I went to the left of the free throw shooter rather than opposite the table which was to the right of the free throw shooter (my partner, as lead, simply moved across the lane).

I swear that it was more than just a brain fart, but something that came up unconsciously from deep within the dark recesses of my mind.

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Last edited by BillyMac; Sun Jan 19, 2020 at 05:33pm.
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Old Sun Jan 19, 2020, 05:38pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bob jenkins View Post
FED used to do something like that, but I think maybe it was only for two person.

Gets more officials involved in the communication adn to be sure all is set on the FT lane before administering.
Used to be in 3-Person too. The Center used to administer the first of multiple FTs. It was that way for the first few years of my career, then they made the lead administer everything.

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Old Sun Jan 19, 2020, 07:18pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LRZ View Post
I think your recollection is accurate, BillyMac. In those days, we always "worked right," I think we called it: ie, as we faced the basket, with the play ahead of us, we were on the left side of the court, with the action ahead and to our right. If we had to be on the other side of the court, for a TI, perhaps, the mechanic was for the T to swing back over to the left side when he/she could, and then the L would rotate in tandem.


The board/association I currently work for in Virginia still uses this old school mechanic for 2-person. They even still call it Cadillac. Id bet were as rare as a multiple foul in that regard.


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