What is the Restricted Area exactly?
The restricted area (also known as the “RA” or the “paint”) is a semi-circular area under the basket, marked by a solid half-circle with a radius of 4 feet from the center of the basket. It is called the “restricted area” because there are certain rules that apply to defenders when they are in this area.
Specifically, the restricted area is used to determine when a defender is considered to be in legal guarding position when trying to draw a charge on an offensive player driving to the basket. If a defender is inside the restricted area when contact occurs, a blocking foul is called instead of a charging foul.
Additionally, offensive players are allowed to stay in the restricted area for a maximum of three seconds before they must leave or they will be called for a three-second violation. The restricted area was introduced in the NBA in the 1997-98 season to try to reduce the number of collisions and injuries that were happening under the basket.