The new rule reads: "A player who receives the ball while he is progressing or upon completion of a dribble, may take two steps in coming to a stop, passing or shooting the ball."
According to Joe Borgia, NBA vice president of basketball operations, referees were told to ignore the single step rule and allow players to take two steps. As we all know, unwritten rules generally lead to inconsistent officiating and so called superstar rules (that when the league's top players can get away with stuff other players can't).
"They go 20 feet to the hoop without dribbling one time," said New York Knicks broadcaster Walt "Clyde" Frazier. "This is what they are getting away with nowadays. Some of them are so obvious. You'll hear me on the broadcast saying 'That's a travel! Watch the feet!' Wilt [Chamberlain] would have averaged 100 points a game if they had let him do that."
Experts believe this is the first time, at any level of basketball, anywhere in the world, that an organization has officially allowed two steps.
The change is perhaps nothing more than updating the rule book to reflect what is actually being called on the court. Yet, this new rule does raise a serious question: will it mean that super stars now get three steps?
You are now able to see exactly what is and isn't traveling on a new video rulebook website launched by the NBA. This website gives fans access to video of actual NBA plays that are annotated with appropriate selections from the league's rule book.
The website is located at http://www.nba.com/videorulebook and it's meant to be used as a reference by fans interested in how the game is officiated.
"By adding a written explanation as well as video examples, it just gives the person time to gain more knowledge about the rules or context, and hopefully a little bit more data and therefore education," explained Sty Jackson, the NBA 's executive vice president of basketball operations.
The site has been a year and a half in the making and it includes 150 plays, some famous and some not so famous, in 11 categories. The clips are silent so visitors won't become confused if the announcer erred in describing a call.
The concept behind the site is very similar to training NBA officials receive.
"Certainly officiating this game is very difficult, we all know that. And whether we're using replacement referees or our normal staff referees, they're going to make mistakes and that's true now and certainly will be true if the regular referees come back to work," said Jackson.
This site is a great idea and will certainly bring a level of understanding and transparency to the league. There is one worry though. When a call is missed, fans who have scoured the video rule book may react with more fervor and angst than ever before.
In other words, the video rule book may not lead to more understanding but more frustration.