Much to the delight of many, the NBA recently announced changes to the way some games are officiated. In a vast Twitter thread At the end of September, the NBA officials’ report detailed its new change of interpretation on how the “abnormal and non-basketball movements” of offensive players will be refereed.
The main objective of this rule change was to no longer reward offensive players who come into contact with their defender in order to win free throws. In recent seasons, this strategy has become particularly prevalent with offensive players rushing towards defenders in an attempt to foul. With the NBA’s new interpretation of this move, the offensive player will now be assessed an offensive foul if the contact is excessive, or play will result in a no-call if the contact is marginal.
Fans got to see one of the first examples of this new interpretation during a preseason game between the Golden State Warriors and the Portland Trailblazers. In the first quarter of that exhibition game, Warriors superstar Steph Curry made his defender take off with a fake pump, then began to make contact by rushing forward. The game, which likely would have been free throws last season, ended in a no-appeal.
Steph Curry spoke at length about this piece in a recent podcast with David Aldridge and Marcus Thompson. When asked not to get an offensive call on that shot on Monday night, Steph said: “I leaned forward, the game in Portland, I leaned forward a lot. sort of judgment, in terms of, does the defender really and always stop in legal custody, or am I really the one initiating the contact? There’s going to be that gray area there. obviously I lost that conversation. “
While Curry admits he’s leaned forward a bit on this particular game, he also understands that this change is going to be difficult for players and officials alike. For the referees, Curry said, “There’s going to be some confusion to begin with, that’s for sure. Any emphasis they put from year to year, changes, it takes a while to get there. adapt. I’m sure there will be antics sooner. Like this [step-back] a few years ago umpires were trained to watch a certain thing, but a lot of other things are happening. They also have to adapt. “
Steph Curry mentioned himself, Luka Doncic, James Harden and Trae Young as the players everyone wants to talk about the most with regards to this new rule; However, Steph remains confident his game won’t suffer as long as the refs are consistent.
On the consistency he hopes to see from officials, Steph said: “It’s just a question, hopefully it’s consistent. It’s the most important thing we need from a football perspective. ‘refereeing, at all levels. I don’t care what you call it, because as long as you’re consistent with that, we’ll make the adjustments, and the game won’t suffer – or my game won’t suffer at all. .
Steph Curry is not only one of the best players in the NBA today, but one of the greatest players of all time. While some have recently made him the face of this new rule change, Steph’s game doesn’t depend on getting that appeal. Of all the NBA players who attempted at least 20 shots per game last season, Steph Curry’s .289 free throw rate was the 3rd lowest in the NBA. Only Kyrie Irving’s .201 and Jayson Tatum’s .258 were inferior.
Looking at where his all-time free throw rate ranks, it further reinforces the fact that Steph Curry’s game does not depend on “foul baiting”. Of all the players in NBA history who have averaged at least 17 shots per game, Steph Curry’s career free throw rate of .242 is the 2nd lowest in NBA history. Only Mike Mitchell, who played from 1978 to 1988, had a lower career free throw rate among those who attempted at least 17 field goal attempts per game.
For comparison, the other players Curry mentioned alongside him all had significantly higher free throw rates than his last season. James Harden’s free throw rate last year was 0.439, Luka’s 0.349, and Trae Young’s 0.491, leading all unnamed point guard Ben Simmons.
Steph Curry is confident the league’s new interpretive rules won’t negatively impact his game, and the numbers back that confidence.