Georges Niang Sounds Off On NBA Rule Change

Georges Niang, Sixers

Getty Georges Niang #20 of the Philadelphia 76ers reacts during the third quarter against the Cleveland Cavaliers at Wells Fargo Center on October 05, 2022 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

One of the biggest storylines coming into this NBA season was the announcement that ‘take fouls’ had been banned. The NBA has defined this as “a foul in which the defender does not make a play on the ball” which prevents a transition opportunity. This was first experimented with in the G League and after its success, has been adopted by the NBA. It is still early in the season but the impact of this new rule is already being seen.

Georges Niang was asked about his thoughts on the change in rules and spoke highly of the decision. As he put it, “It was time for [take fouls] to go. The game was getting bogged down. Guys were just taking fouls as soon as they lost the ball. It was like you were playing tag out there, guys trying to evade other guys on the fast break.” This quote was recorded by Zach Kram of The Ringer as a part of an incredible deep dive into the impact of the rule change.

Impact of the Take Foul Ban on NBA

The reception of rule change has been extremely positive thus far. The 1.4 take fouls per game that were recorded last year were the highest in the league’s history and a 334% increase over the past four seasons. The clear tendency of players to opt to foul rather than play proper defense has slowed done the overall pace of play in the NBA.

It is still early in the season and players are adjusting to this required change. These fouls have still not been fully eliminated and resulted in players picking up technical fouls as a result. During the first three weeks of the season, there were an average of 0.33 take fouls called per game. This number came in at 0.37 take fouls per game in October but dropped to 0.27 per game to start November. There has been been a game with multiple take fouls since October 26th.

This has resulted in an overall increase in transition play throughout the NBA. Teams are averaging 14.4 transition points per game and averaging 1.26 points per transition possession which are each increased marks. These fast-break opportunities are some of the most exciting plays in the game and have increased the viewing pleasure of fans by allowing them to remain prevalent.

Impact of Take Foul Ban on the Sixers

Unfortunately for the Sixers, the loss of the take foul has not positively affected them. Philadelphia has struggled to defend in transition for several years. However, it has been especially poor to start the season. After ranking dead last in nearly every transition metric to start the season, there have been some signs of improvement from the Sixers.

Through the opening 11 games, they now rank 23rd in the NBA in opponents’ fastbreak points per game. They remain ranked dead last in opponents’ fastbreak efficiency. It is also worth noting that the Sixers struggle on the offensive boards, ranking 27th in offensive rebounds and offensive rebounding percentage, leaving no excuse for them not to be getting back on defense.

This rule change is not going anywhere so it is on the Sixers to continue improving in this area. There are not many tactical adjustments necessary other than each player giving an improved effort in getting back. Taking this challenge more personally will be essential to the 76ers finding their stride as a team. Like many of their other issues at a team, the solution to this can only be found by looking in the mirror.

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