2015-16 Points of Emphasis Memos – Memo #11: FREEDOM OF MOVEMENT

We covered a number of Freedom of Movement plays in Memo #6 on December 30, including delaying cutters, passers and screeners, and open denies.  We want to continue to reinforce the competitive importance of Freedom of Movement throughout the game and in particular, on inbounds (including in the last two minutes of games).

Players cannot hold, push, charge into or impede an opponent from obtaining his desired position on the floor.  Players’ actions that prevent “Freedom of Movement,” whether by the degree of contact or the action itself (e.g., a grab) is not incidental – it is a foul. This applies to both on-ball situations, for example, contact that affects a player’s side-to-side movement or when he turns the corner to start a drive, and off-ball situations, including holds or impedes that affect the ability of offensive and defensive players to separate when they engage.

The same is true for inbound situations, whether preventing offensive players trying to get open or defensive players trying to disrupt an inbound pass – contact that prevents an opponent from obtaining his desired position is illegal and will be called.  Teams: this is particularly important to note during late-game situations when Away From the Play fouls will be assessed.


Here are a number of examples:

On these two off-ball plays, the highlighted players grab their opponents when they begin to cut.



On this off-ball play, the player in the blue uniform grabs the opponent screening him, which restricts his ability to move on from the play.


On this off-ball play, the defender in blue grabs the jersey of his opponent, preventing him from moving freely as he attempts to obtain the pass.


On this off-ball play, the player in white bumps his opponent as he attempts to position himself to establish a screen.


On these two on-ball plays, the highlighted players bump their opponents with the ball.



On these two inbound plays, the highlighted players prevent their opponents from moving freely.