In the 1997/98 season, the four foot radius “no-charge area” was first introduced. This was intended to promote freedom of movement and driving to the basket like the NBA in the past, before less offensive talented teams start winning games simply by working on their defense. And eventually evolving into all teams needed to play well defensively to win the NBA title, and taking a charge in the lane to prevent the highlight real dunk is an essential part of the game.
The “no-charge area,” formerly a two-by-six foot box where an offensive foul is not called if contact is made with a secondary defensive player who has established a defensive position, will be expanded to the area consisting of a half circle with a four-foot radius measured from the middle of the goal. – nba.com
An offensive foul should never be called if the contact is with a secondary defensive player who has established a defensive position within a designated "restricted area" near the basket for the purpose of drawing an offensive foul. – nba.com
Why this Rule
This rule originated to open up the lane, in the hopes of more (spectacular) dunks or encourage the players to go to the basket more often instead of settling for a jump shot. The NBA was doing this to generate more excitement in the game because they were losing they were losing fans during the regular season. This is due to a) the lack of excitement in the NBA because the season is too long, so each game do not count as much comparing to college basketball, b) improving technology, there are more affordable computer and video games and other sort of entertainments.
The Problem of this Rule
In this rule, it never said that a blocking foul should be called, therefore, it should be a no call. But, when I am watching games on tv, when a supposively charge occurs in the restricted area, a blocking call is almost always made by the referees. But in such situation, a no call should be more appropriate, if it is interpreted as defined by the rules.
To be fair, charge and block are the toughest calls to differentiate in basketball, the referees call charges and blocks wrong half the time anyway, regardless if the play is in the restricted area or not. But sometimes, really the refs intend to call a charge, and then they saw that it was obvious that the defensive player is in the restricted area, but they had blown the whistle already, thus they decided to make it a blocking foul instead of admitting their mistake and it is an inadvertent whistle and a jump ball to follow.
In my opinion, many NBA players and coaches think this way too, it should be a no call if they took a charge inside the restricted area and if their feet are outside of the semi-circle, then a charging foul would be called on the offensive player. But you won’t see too much arguing made by the defensive team anymore, because they are now used to this being a blocking foul, although this is not stated in the rulebook, and this is called consistently both ways by the referees. Unfortunately, you will actually see the offensive player get more upset and continues to argue after the play, when a no call was made by the referees. And the referees explanations is simply, the defensive player got the position, it is not a charge because he is inside the restricted area, certainly it is not a blocking foul. Hah!!!
This rule really works is in a contradiction to its original purpose of opening up the lane for spectacular plays for the offensive players. Even though the referees are calling most of the contacts inside the restricted area as blocking fouls, every team have players that would continue to step in underneath the basket. They are doing this because a) they are preventing the spectacular to change the momentum of the game, b) making the offensive player to earn the two points from the free-throw line. Therefore, other than giving the offensive players a couple of free-throws and maybe increase the scoring a little bit (not really! just a couple of free throws). Therefore, this rule fail of its main purpose.