We’ve all been frustrated with the bogus foul calls shooters were getting by jumping into defenders and throwing up non-basketball moves just to force contact. The NBA responded by changing the rules, and their first notable “victim” was Steph Curry. The first unanimous MVP isn’t the most egregious practitioner of foul hunting, but that doesn’t mean he never used the refereeing criteria to his advantage.
“That muscle memory takes over. I never truly liked it. I knew you can use it to your advantage to get a foul call. Last night in Portland – I lean forward a lot, and that’s a judgment call. Is the defender truly stopping and in a legal guarding position? There’s gonna be that gray area there. Obviously, I lost that conversation.”Steph Curry, Hoops Adjacent
Steph was never big on foul hunting. He actually avoided getting fouled to such an extent it was something the Warriors were frustrated about. Probably because of his injury history and partly for his basketball philosophy, Steph didn’t want the contact. With time and trust in his ankles, Curry developed an inside game that created the balance needed to be unguardable on the perimeter.
“If you create the advantage, you should be able to use it. Especially like a 1-on-1 situation. If I get by somebody and then they’re out of control and they run into me, I should be able to take advantage. The ones in open space and you’re just seeking contact? There’s no place for that. Me, Luka, James, Trae are the ones everybody wants to take about, for better or worse. There’s gonna be a learning curve, and we all understand that.”Steph Curry, Hoops Adjacent
I hope that’s the case. The learning curve would mean the refs are sticking to the new guidelines. Remember the high-priority crackdown on flopping a few years ago? Exactly – it disappeared after a few weeks and was nowhere to be found. With the game’s gravity moving from underneath the basket to the perimeter, you have to give defenders a chance to play solid defense. If a guy leaves his feet and is flying directly into the shooter’s area, that should be a foul. But everything else, as Steph put it, “there’s no place for that.” In the end, Curry pointed out the most important thing in every officiating conversation.
“Hopefully, it’s consistent. That’s the biggest thing that we need for a referring standpoint across the board. I don’t care what you call, as long as you’re consistent with it we’ll make the adjustments.”Steph Curry, Hoops Adjacent
I 100% agree with Steph, but I prefer a world in which the refs are consistent about calling foul hunting, flopping, moving screens, traveling on step-backs, and don’t spend 10 minutes reviewing a call in the preseason. What can I say, I’m a dreamer.