James Worthy was entirely correct. And then he was laughably wrong.
The NBA Hall of Famer currently serves as an analyst on television broadcasts of Los Angeles Lakers games. He has seen plenty of basketball in his day, and given his personal success, you'd think he would know what he is talking about.
During the broadcast of the Lakers' exhibition game against the Dallas Mavericks on Thursday, Worthy echoed the same tired tune that we hear from all too many former players these days. The game was tougher when I played. Modern players don't play defense. Blah. Blah. Blah.
He got on the subject of how difficult it is to guard players today, given the changes in the rules, like hand-checking now being a foul. And that's not incorrect in principle. But when he took it a step further, all credibility went out the window.
"They've taken that away from the game, and you used to be able to use your forearm -- as long as you didn't extend it -- that's been good defense throughout the NBA. And I think that would, you know, challenge some of these scorers who, a lot of them, like (James) Harden and (Steph) Curry, you can't touch 'em -- you can't even breathe on them -- or it's a foul."
Lakers announcer implies Steph Curry gets too many foul calls.— TheWarriorsTalk (@TheWarriorsTalk) July 24, 2020
“Alot of them are untouchable like Harden or Curry...can’t even breath on them...”
Sorry, I wanted to give those compelled to roll around in laughter time to get up off the floor.
Let me be the voice of reason: HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!
He can't be serious. We've heard a lot of foolish comments these last few months, but that one is right up there with the most ridiculous of them.
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Worthy isn't wrong about Harden, whose league-leading 11.8 free throw attempts per game this season are nearly two more than second-place Giannis Antetokounmpo (10.0) and at least four more than all but five other NBA players average per contest.
Curry isn't one of those five. In fact, he's not even in the same stratosphere. The only unanimous MVP in league history averaged 5.2 free throw attempts over five games this season -- he didn't miss a single one -- which would have been tied for the ... wait for it ... 26th most in the league among all qualified players.
And that's not an outlier. According to Basketball Reference, Curry has never averaged more than 5.9 free throw attempts per game in a single season throughout his decorated career, nor has he drawn more than 148 fouls in any single campaign. In fact, across 699 career games played in the regular season, he has drawn a total of 1,131 fouls and been called for 929.
For an all-time great, that is a ludicrous ratio and suggests he arguably gets the worst whistle of any modern or former NBA player.
To compare, Harden's constant baiting and flailing has drawn 3,022 fouls across 826 career regular-season games.
There is no valid comparison between the two. None.
To attempt to do so is both ignorant and obtuse, and suggests Worthy lately has spent far more time talking about basketball than actually watching it.