Is this a Travel?

Henry Abbott of TrueHoop recently publised a five part series on traveling in the NBA.  Building on that I had to post this play from the Denver Nuggets’ win over the New Orleans Hornets on Wednesday.  Keep in mind a player gets two steps from the time he gathers the ball thus ending his ability to dribble.  In the comments let me know how many steps you think Chris Paul took after he gathered the ball.

Scott Hastings is typically all over the referees for any blown call and he did not say anything about this play so maybe it was not traveling.  You tell me.

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  • Othe33

    I think he gathers the ball in his right hand (after wrapping it around his back and running while it is in the air) on his left foot, and steps with his right foot while he flips the pass. That means left-right, two steps. Not a travel.

    The running alongside the ball is not a travel – to my understanding, there is no designation of how many steps can be made over the course of a dribble. As a guard myself, we were always taught to throw the ball ahead as we dribbled in space so as to allow ourselves added mobility.

    If your point is that he gathered the ball prior to wrapping it around his back, then the “missed” call would be a carry/double dribble.

    I think it was perfectly legal, even in slow motion.

  • Henry Abbott

    You can’t be traveling when you’re dribbling, so the steps during the around-the-back move are irrelevant. So it’s just after he stops the dribbling motion after all that. I make that to be two steps — which referees are instructed to allow players to take, even though the rulebook says just one. Quite frankly, in this setting, at the end of the dribble, with small steps, and on advantage conveyed, I’m quite sure he could have put that third step down and 99 out of 100 times no one would have called anything.

    What matters right now, though, is that the NBA is totally convinced that all basketball fans agree two steps is normal and should be allowed. But I’m not sure basketball fans agree. I think a lot of people think one is the truth.

  • Sephirot_MATRIX

    By FIBA basketball rules, I looked up and no. It´s says there´s no limit for steps within the dribble.

  • BeefySwats

    From the time after the wraparound when the ball was in his right hand, he took 3 steps.

  • Josh Hopp

    I say no travel. What’s more important is what do YOU think Jeremy?

  • Frontrange

    The steps before the pass doesn’t appear to be a baltenet travel if at all. The behind the back dribble could be a carry but is also very close.

    The rule book is pretty clear that a pivot foot may be raised but not returned to the floor:

    “g. If a player, with the ball in his possession, raises his pivot foot off the floor, he must pass or shoot before his pivot foot returns to the floor. If he drops the ball while in the air, he may not be the first to touch the ball.”

    This is sometime but not always mis-called as a traveling when a player pivots and then lift the pivot in slow motion before shooing/passing (last week in the SA-Houston game Oberto was called for traveling at the FT line on this move as Hubie Brown commented that the foot can be lifted but not slide). Since it is always a traveling if the player dibbles after lifting the foot, many people believe lifting the pivot creates the travel.

    In a lay-up in the NBA, everything happens so fast that rule essentially is tweaked to assume the front foot / first step is the pivot foot even though on occasion some players do grab the ball when the back foot is still on the ground. That is why the two count-rule differs from the NCAA / High school version. It makes it a lot simpler for the refs and speeds up the game.

  • DurangoNuggsFan

    2 steps. Not a travel. The behind that back dribble was just that, a dribble. The steps don’t count until he gathers the dribble after the behind the back dribble with his right hand. Once he gathers his dribble he takes 2 steps. It looks kind of odd because he goes behind his back with his right hand and takes a good 2 or 3 steps before gathering that dribble with his right hand again. He then takes 2 steps before making his pass. Not traveling.

  • TomD

    I agree with the majority of the commenters that this is not a travel: The behind the back move followed by steps while catching up with the ball do not count. Then he makes the two steps (apparently OK before he passes. Reminds me of the move I often make :). Thank you, Jermey for all thehard work you put into this site.

  • chris

    Looks legal to me, after he touches the ball after his last dribble he takes two steps before the pass. I’ve been noticing a new “move” lately Jeremy and was wondering if you could look at it. The first person I saw do this was Rip Hamilton; basically he starts his shot, leaves the floor and realizes his shot is about to get knocked into the fourth row, so in mid-air he dribbles the ball and comes back down, dribbles again and launches the shot while the defender flies into the first row-no travel called. I’ve seen this at least two other times this season, two non-calls and one travel call. I don’t know if it’s legal or not, I would think not, but maybe you might know or can ask someone who does.