Originally Posted by Rake2204
Well, I'm not entirely sure if I see your point. I don't have audio at the moment so maybe that's why. Was that LeBron clip not called a flagrant on Westbrook? I'm guessing it wasn't and that is your point. In that case, I think that issue has more to do with what I feel was a missed flagrant more than an issue with the rule itself. Westbrook's left arm actually made a good play, it's just his right came through in a spot it shouldn't, as players are very unstable when hit in the back while airborne.
Either way, if I had to choose between defensive players always fouling and grabbing players to easily prevent a breakaway and what would have been an automatic two points; and play being encouraged to continue and stressing it be up to the skill of the defense to make a play as opposed to the foul cop out, knowing breakaways can sometimes lead to tough fouls, I'd definitely take the latter.
Regarding punishment, as it stands, the penalty for both flagrant fouls and clear path fouls are steep enough to really discourage players from wanting to make either of those plays happen. There's no longer a lot of players in the league (if anyone) who feels it's worth "taking a flagrant" to send a message or because they deem the play to be worth the punishment.
The foul on Westbrook was ruled a flagrant one, as it should have been. My point is that the defense can commit a foul as possibly risky as that one AND at most suffer the same penalty as one where Richard Jefferson harmlessly bumps into Jason Kidd (who imo was trying to draw a clear path foul. He had a clear lane to the basket and made the smart play).
So if you're a smart coach, you will ALWAYS tell your players to wait until the offensive player on the breakaway rise up in the air first before fouling him from behind. Not necessarily because you're trying to injure anyone, but simply because at worst, the penalty is what it would be for a clear path foul. In my opinion, there is an imbalance in the amount of risk to injury compared with penalty to the defense for these types of plays.