The NBA is implementing new foul rules devised to prevent offensive players from baiting defenders into committing fouls. Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr is ecstatic about the new regulations.
Kerr has long been adamant about the league changing its approach to officiating and giving defensive players a bit more leeway. However, in this case, his enthusiasm about the NBA’s foul rules comes at the expense of Stephen Curry.
Steve Kerr says the foul-baiting rules are necessary, but Stephen Curry is concerned about “confusion”
The NBA’s foul rules are meant to prevent offensive players from making unnecessary gestures to seek out contact in the hopes of getting to the charity stripe. Warriors head coach Steve Kerr believes the NBA needed to make the changes, but Stephen Curry doesn’t seem sure how to feel.
Kerr made a comparison to playground basketball to demonstrate why the rules are vital.
“The game needs it,” Kerr told The Athletic. “I say the same thing all the time. If we’re making calls in the NBA that would literally start fights in a pickup game because they’re so egregious and non-basketball-related — in other words, if I come off a screen in a pickup game and literally hook your arm, flail my arms and then go up for a shot and call a foul, a fight is going to ensue. My whole thing is if we’re making those calls in the NBA, the greatest league in the world, when we couldn’t get through a pickup game, then we’re doing something wrong.”
However, Curry isn’t quite as convinced. The Dubs’ star point guard detailed his skepticism regarding the NBA’s citation of a play involving him during a game against the Milwaukee Bucks. He also suggested there is sure to be an adjustment period for players and referees.
“There’s going to be some confusion to start, for sure,” Curry said, via The Athletic. “Any emphasis they put from one year to the next, the changes, it takes some time to adjust…”
Steph did say he appreciates the effort the NBA is making to clear things up. Regardless, it already appears as though he will have to adjust his game. Curry experienced first-hand the implementation of the new foul rules on Monday night.
Stephen Curry drew contact during a Warriors preseason game on Monday, but wasn’t rewarded with a foul
Steve Kerr might have been less pleased with his emphatic endorsement of the NBA’s new foul rules after realizing how extensively they could impact his star player.
Stephen Curry jumped into a defender after using a pump-fake to get him in the air during Monday’s preseason game between the Warriors and Portland Trail Blazers. In the past, Steph likely would have been awarded three free throws. But, as the Blazers telecast noted, “Not this year!” The play merely resulted in a no-call.
Curry is hardly the most notorious flopper. But he has used the rules to his advantage. It’s not beyond Steph to initiate contact coming off dribble handoffs or occasionally stick a leg out when firing threes with defenders in his vicinity. His trickiness and ability to manipulate defenses are part of what makes him all the more dangerous.
Interestingly, Curry averaged a career-high 6.3 free-throw attempts last season. However, he might have to find different ways to get to the charity stripe with the implementation of foul-baiting in effect.
For his part, Kerr likely needs to find creative ways to help Curry create space and maximize his off-ball talents as a cutter and screener.
Kerr must scheme new ways to get Curry open
Part of Golden State’s offensive success stems from off-ball movement and cutting actions. Curry’s abilities as a screener and a weapon coming off picks play a prominent role in Steve Kerr’s system.
However, the 33-year-old might not be able to maximize his craftiness in manifesting space or drawing contact coming off dribble handoffs given the foul-baiting rules and trial-and-error on behalf of the referees. That places a lot of pressure on Kerr to find ways to generate opportunities for Curry, especially as the Warriors await Klay Thompson‘s return.
Kerr said he favors the new rules because they give defenders more of a chance in an era where it’s become that much harder to guard because of the emphasis on perimeter shooting. But it remains to be seen whether the new rules will have a decent impact on Curry as the reigning scoring champion tries to lead the Dubs back to the playoffs.
Stats courtesy of Basketball Reference.