You ever turn on an NBA game and watch players like Trae Young or James Harden play, notice that in their game, they get a lot more calls in their favour. People say they are ruining the game by exploiting the rules set forth for competitive play. It makes your blood boil if you support the teams they play against. Older NBA players and watchers say that the league is soft. The players now would not be able to play in eras prior to theirs.
What if I told you that there were more fouls called during the early eras of the NBA. Would you believe me? Well, it’s true. The trajectory of average Free Throw Attempts per game is on a downward motion. The 2020-21 NBA season has had the 2nd lowest FTA average in the league’s history. Also, this season the average personal fouls a game was 19.3. The lowest of all time. Crazy right?
Derrick Rose on Trae Young and the MSG crowd:
"The league has gotten so soft. The crowd is supposed to do that. I've been in series where drinks were thrown on people's moms…
You want to talk s–t, talk s–t, but next game it's going to be tougher" pic.twitter.com/6rbnzEn4gk
— Knicks Videos (@sny_knicks) May 26, 2021
Does that mean the league is not soft?
Quite the contrary actually. This stat I just told you is what people would use to convince others that the league is actually tougher to get fouls called in. The actual reason is that NBA players attempt more shots from outside the paint. This season, the average 3-pointers attempted per game is 34.6. That’s the highest it’s ever been. Logically, fewer shots from inside the crowded paint, lesser fouls called ergo older NBA is tougher.
But these are all just stats and numbers. You need some hard proof to believe me. And what’s better than looking at instances with your own eyes.
How was that for proof? The modern NBA let’s calls like these just get through. All the NBA players need to do is to able to act or flop a bit and game-changing decisions can be made on those.
What can the NBA do to stop this?
To better help the referees, the NBA has implemented the Instant Replay rule.
Sources: The NBA Board of Governors have passed the implementation of in-game challenge flags for head coaches for the 2019-20 season.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) July 9, 2019
The simple definition of the rule is, that one time every game when a call is made by the referee and the teams do not agree with it they can make the referees review the play in question. If they win the review the call gets overturned. If they lose the review, they not only not lose possession of the ball but also lose a timeout.
It does help at times but what would make the rule more useful is that if they win a challenge they should retain that challenge. This would be useful to limit the obvious mistakes made by the referees.
Another thing that they can do is they could just have a centre with multiple camera angles and mics on the court. This way the calls will simply be made when needed and not on emotion. It’s not correct to blame everything on officiating but those people have the power to determine the outcome of a game. Also, just like the NBA fines players and teams, they need to find referees who make glaring errors to let them know that they need to be good at their jobs.
Foul calling disrupts the flow of the game but they are a very important aspect of it. As much as we hate to see them, it is a joy to see players you dislike miss them or your team make them. Careers start on the free-throw line and some end there. An and-1 play can easily rile up an entire arena. It is a beautiful part of this game that is being treated harshly and that’s what needs to stop.