Time and Distance

What is the toughest play for you to rule on? Many officials think their toughest call involves whether or not a defender has gained legal guarding position before a dribble driver has become airborne.

I think the toughest calls for me to make are the ones involving “time and distance.” Time and distance applies to screening and guarding situations. In screening, distance involves screening a stationary player from behind. The screener is required to give the player being screened a distance of one normal step before any contact.

Time and distance are also involved when screening a moving player. The screener is required to set the screen far enough away that the player being screened has time to stop or change direction. The distance required to fulfill this requirement is never more than two strides and depends on the speed of the player being screened.

Time and distance are also involved in guarding situations a well, specifically when establishing legal guarding position on moving offensive players who do NOT have the ball. In these specific guarding situations the screening principles of “time and distance” apply.

These difficult play situations that involve applying the T and D principles usually occur on outlet passes when the receiver is looking back for the ball and either before or after he/she has control of the ball there is a collision with a defender. Another classic T and D situation involves trying to pass over a fronting post defender only to result in a collision with a weak side help defender.

There are two main points to keep in mind when trying to sort out these T and D plays. The first is that if the offense secures the ball before the contact with the defender it is no longer a T and D play. It now becomes a guarding situation with a player who has the ball and as we know time and distance does not apply to these situations. A player with the ball, by rule, always has to assume that he/she is closely guarded.

It is on T and D plays when contact occurs before the offense has gained control that the “time and distance” principles have to be applied and this is never an easy task. Often offensive players are not going full speed, so, maybe one step is all the offense needs to, by rule, allow. The rule doesn’t stipulate that the offense has to have seen the defender. The defense only has to give time and distance as if the offense had seen the defense. See article4-23- 5 below.

The clip below shows a potential T and D play that I think you will agree is a tough call. Did the offense have the ball at the time of contact and did the defense give T and D if she didn’t yet have the ball. This is a very close play and could well be defended whichever way it was called.

There are five possible was to rule on these T and D plays.

1. If the offense has the ball it is a charge
2. If the offense doesn’t yet have the ball and the defense gave T and D, it is a charge
3. If the offense doesn’t have the ball and T and D was not granted it is a block.
4. A travel call may be the best way out and a better win-win then guessing
5. No call—Not a good option especially if someone went to the floor

RULES INVOLVED

4-40

Screen

ART. 4
When screening a stationary opponent from behind (outside the visual field), the screener must allow the opponent one normal step backward without contact.
ART. 5
When screening a moving opponent, the screener must allow the opponent time and distance to avoid contact by stopping or changing direction. The speed of the player to be screened will determine where the screener may take his/her stationary position. The position will vary and may be one to two normal steps or strides from the opponent.

ART. 4
When screening a stationary opponent from behind (outside the visual field), the screener must allow the opponent one normal step backward without contact.
ART. 5
When screening a moving opponent, the screener must allow the opponent time and distance to avoid contact by stopping or changing direction. The speed of the player to be screened will determine where the screener may take his/her stationary position. The position will vary and may be one to two normal steps or strides from the opponent.
ART. 6

Rule 4-23
Guarding
ART. 4

Guarding an opponent with the ball or a stationary opponent ¬without the ball:
a. No time or distance is required to obtain an initial legal position.
b. If the opponent with the ball is airborne, the guard must have obtained legal position before the opponent left the floor.

ART. 5
Guarding a moving opponent without the ball:
a. Time and distance are factors required to obtain an initial legal position.
b. The guard must give the opponent the time and/or distance to avoid contact.
c. The distance need not be more than two strides.
d. If the opponent is airborne, the guard must have obtained legal position before the opponent left the floor

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *