The NBA is implementing two minor rule changes in an attempt to clean up the game from a safety and watchability standpoint beginning in 2017.
The first of those rules is being labeled as the "Harden Rule" -- unofficially named after Houston Rockets All-Star James Harden -- which will attempt to limit players from collecting cheap shooting fouls. This rule is essentially an extension of the rip-through move that was recently instituted, and is being termed as the "Harden Rule" for Harden's knack of drawing cheap contact and earning free throws by leaping into would-be defenders.
NBA refs cracking down on two areas this year: 1. "Reckless" closeouts (see Zaza); 2. Shooters creating contact to draw FTs (see Harden)— Howard Beck (@HowardBeck) September 21, 2017
Short version: If a player has not yet gathered the ball when contact occurs, it’s a common foul, not a shooting foul.— Howard Beck (@HowardBeck) September 21, 2017
The second rule change is yet another being unofficially named after an NBA player and is known as the "Zaza Rule." This rule will aim to eliminate reckless closeouts like the move Warriors big man Zaza Pachulia executed against Kawhi Leonard of the Spurs in the 2017 NBA playoffs, which led to injuring the MVP candidate.
Although Pachulia was whistled for a common foul in that specific instance, referees will be making this rule a point of emphasis and looking for malicious intent, which can be determined not only during the play but also under official replay.
After game, league officials will also review reckless closeouts and can retroactively upgrade or downgrade the foul (as w/other flagrants).— Howard Beck (@HowardBeck) September 21, 2017
Per NBA officials, if this rule interpretation had been in place last season, Zaza would have been assessed a flagrant for foul on Kawhi.— Howard Beck (@HowardBeck) September 21, 2017
Although it's yet to be seen how these new rules might impact the NBA moving forward, it's clear the league has heard concerns from a safety and sportsmanship standpoint that went into the institution of these new rules.
Of course, with new rules you also run the risk of more whistles in-game, but the NBA is sending a message that the goal of cleaning up the game is worth that risk.