Possession arrows and how they work
Initial Setting of the Arrow
Before the game starts, the possession arrow is in the neutral position. Once the ball is tapped and a team gains control of the ball, the arrow is flipped towards the basket of the team that didn't get control of the ball.
On the rare occasion that two opposing players gain control of the ball at the same time before the arrow can be set to start the game, those two players undertake another jump ball to determine possession.
If one team commits a violation during the jump ball, such as hitting the ball out of bounds or committing a foul, the other team is awarded the ball and the arrow is turned towards the basket of the offending team who caused the violation.
The arrow direction is not changed at half time, and will determine which team receives the ball after they swap ends at half time. The arrow is switched after the ball is in-bounded in all of these situations.
When It's Not Switched
If the opposing team commits a foul or violation during a team's alternating possession throw-in, the arrow is not switched after the ball is in-bounded. For example, if the home team receives the ball for an alternating possession throw-in due to a held ball, and the away team commits a foul before the ball is in-bounded, the home team would receive the ball out of bounds again for a throw-in, but the arrow would not be switched once the ball is in-bounded because the throw-in is now a result of a violation.
Alternating Possession Procedure
The alternating possession procedure establishes a fair way to determine which team gets the ball in unusual situations when both or neither team has possession of the ball. The held ball is a frequent example of when the alternating possession arrow determines which team gets the ball. If two players simultaneously hit the ball out of bounds or if the officials cannot determine which team last touched the ball before it went out of bounds, the possession arrow determines which team gets the ball for the throw-in. The arrow is also used when two opponents commit simultaneous goaltending, or basket interference, violations.
Overtime period (Finals only)
In a period of overtime during finals, another jump ball starts the overtime period and the arrow starts in the neutral position again.