The NBA has long had a flopping and flailing problem, and now the league finally is taking steps to address it. Or at least, that's the plan.
For the upcoming 2021-22 season, rule changes have been implemented in an effort to eliminate the foul-baiting techniques that have become so prevalent in recent years, with star players such as James Harden, Luka Doncic and Trae Young leading the charge -- pun absolutely intended.
It is going to be a significant adjustment for both the players and officials, which is why the league has been educating players on the rule changes throughout the offseason.
Ironically, though, when the NBA Official Twitter account provided a video breakdown of the type of play the league is trying to eliminate last month, none of the most egregious violators were used as its subject. Nope, instead, they used a video of Warriors star Steph Curry.
Let's just say that was an interesting choice. Curry certainly isn't completely innocent in this matter, but all you have to do is compare his free throw rate and fouls drawn to the other aforementioned stars and it should tell you everything you need to know. Which might be why Curry remains unsure about the new rule's accuracy.
"They said that wouldn’t have been a (defensive) foul (and actually an offensive foul)," Curry told reporters in Portland on Monday (h/t The Athletic's Anthony Slater). "I’m sitting there watching the video, like, uhh, I’m still confused on how that’s not a (defensive) foul."
Obviously, it's going to be a learning process. And Curry knows that works both ways.
"There’s going to be some confusion to start, for sure,” he added. “Any emphasis they put from one year to the next, the changes, it takes some time to adjust. I’m sure there will be some antics early … Like that (stepback) traveling thing a couple years ago, refs are trained to look at a certain thing, but there’s a lot of other things going on. They have to get adjusted too."
Warriors coach Steve Kerr inevitably will find himself on both sides of a controversial offensive foul many times this season, but he remains adamant that the new rule changes are sorely needed.
"It’s what every coach wants," Kerr told Slater. "As long as the refs follow through on what the league says they will do -- and I have every confidence they will -- we’ll get away from players manipulating refs and back to basketball. The defense, I think, has to be given a chance to guard. It’s never been harder to guard with all the shooting. I think the league recognized things had gone a little too far over the top giving every benefit of the doubt to the offensive guy. So eliminating some of these BS plays is really big."
It remains to be seen to which degree the new rule changes will be enforced, but if they're implemented effectively, the NBA will have fixed one of its biggest problems.