Yes, Draymond Green actually applauds the referees, praising ‘pure basketball’

Draymond Green, among the league’s leaders in technical fouls for routinely berating officials over the past seven seasons, now suddenly compliments NBA referees.

In an impromptu aside in a post-game interview this week, the vociferous Warriors forward said, “Can I just say how satisfying it was to watch the basketball game without all of that? bulls – calls? … The guys would cheat at the game and catch the guys and get the foul. “

Green was referring to the NBA’s instructions to referees to avoid calling fouls this season for unnatural moves or non-basketball-related moves, such as an offensive player leaning over a defender or jumping on contact.

Mike McCutchen, the league’s vice president of referee development and training, said this week on a conference call that he was pleased with the early effects of the new tenure, but officials are still committed to the league calls it “freedom of movement”.

“I think this game was going to be: who can shoot the most fouls? said Green, who has been whistled for 128 technical fouls over the past seven seasons, leading the league in 2018-19 and 2015-16. “Nobody wants to watch this, and you sure don’t want to play in a game like this. You can feel the difference there for sure.

“It’s just purer basketball. It’s great for our game.

Stops for free throw attempts are already on the decline in the early stages of the officials’ new focus.

Utah leads the league with 24.1 shots on goal per game, just a year after Washington averaged 26.2. The Clippers topped the NBA with 28.5 just two seasons ago.

The Warriors were tied for 28th out of 30 NBA teams last season, being called for 21.2 fouls per game. This season, they are sixth with 17.8.

James Harden has been the league in free-throw attempts for six straight seasons, getting kicked off at least 10 times per game from 2015-20. In a 2019 game against San Antonio, Harden’s choppy style led to 24 on 24 of the Strip – the best in NBA history without missing a free kick.

“You started to see a lot of guys overpower it, but they learned from James for sure,” Green said. “He was the master before someone else picked him up.”

With the new rules, Harden placed 25th in the league with just 4.7 free throw attempts per game going into Saturday. He averaged 7.3 attempts last season. No one in the league has averaged nine shots on goal per game, while Stephen Curry hits the line more often than his career pace.

Typically a perimeter player and someone who was just learning to fool referees over the past two seasons, Curry is shooting 4.8 free throws per game this season with more focus on non-basketball moves and more focus on the distance from the Ball.

He averaged 4.2 free kicks per game in the first 12 seasons of his career.

“It’s obviously a lot better to watch,” said Curry. “There are fewer of those blatant games, where you know there is only one option out of your way to take a foul.”

Curry said he loved these games, especially when he figured out how to take advantage of the rules by kicking his legs and fighting.

He was almost tackled from behind in the Warriors’ opener of preseason in Portland, but no fouls were called under the adjusted refereeing. Mainly during the next quarter’s time-outs, Curry had a nearly 20-minute conversation with the referees, who explained that it was he who made the contact by moving left towards the retreating defender.

“It’s great for the game,” said Curry. “I know a lot of fans love it. Defensive-minded players love it.

That’s where the story goes to Green, the 2017 Defensive Player of the Year and six-time league defenseman.

Green, who would choose to watch a random G League game for most of his career, said he stopped watching even the most important NBA games for a brief period, because of all the “flops and the guys who cheated the game to get free throws.

Reinvigorated by winning a gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics as part of a FIBA-style game that allows for more physical play, Green believes the NBA is starting to understand what makes these games great after going ” so far to the left ”.

“The guys are pretty talented. If you can’t get your hands on a guy or if you’re going to get hooked and get fouled, you just can’t, ”Green said. “The guys are fast, strong, athletic, smart. You have to be able to touch someone a little bit. As a defender, it’s great to know that you’ve kind of returned to a level playing field. “

Rusty Simmons is a writer for the San Francisco Chronicle. Email: [email protected] Twitter: @Rusty_SFChron

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