NBA Referees Twitter account claims Bradley Beal’s seemingly blatant travel was actually legal
The NBA Referees Twitter account reviewed the possession and determined the play was legal after all, given that Beal had momentarily lost the basketball and regained possession of it, quickly passing it out to the perimeter after he regained control and landed with his pivot foot:
The offensive player gathers with his right foot on the ground. He then takes two legal steps, before losing control of the ball. After regaining possession, a player is allowed to regain his pivot foot and pass or shoot prior to that foot returning to the ground. This is legal. https://t.co/0hVqgHw3w7
— NBA Referees (@OfficialNBARefs) February 12, 2019
This interpretation of losing control of the ball is murky at best with Beal bobbling the ball without it getting dislodged through contact, something plenty of players could potentially replicate in efforts to get away with the extra step:
Cancel NBA refs. pic.twitter.com/KybFya8cRh
— Complex Sports (@ComplexSports) February 12, 2019
Sam Amick of The Athletic agreed with as much:
After James Harden’s stepback, this could be the next step in NBA work-arounds: Learn how to look like you’re losing the ball every two steps, and a dribble-less paradise is yours… https://t.co/qIsbPxrRc8
— Sam Amick (@sam_amick) February 12, 2019
The travel call was so blatant that Blake Griffin couldn’t help but react while airborne before landing and demanding a call to be made.
Bradley Beal didn’t make much out of it, but opening the door for missing more obvious traveling violations is inviting a storm of criticism and losing the little integrity these new officials have managed to gain in two-plus seasons with the players.
The letter of the law is important, but at times, if it looks like a travel and replays as a travel — it’s just a travel.