NBA shooters have become proficient at drawing fouls beyond the arc.
The formula is usually simple: Pump fake, get your defender in the air, lean into his chest, huck up a shot that has virtually no shot of going in and get awarded three free throws. During Saturday’s loss to the Dallas Mavericks, the Warriors fell victim to a particularly egregious lean-in foul.
Early in the contest, Andrew Wiggins received a whistle from the refs after Luka Doncic leaned in, drew contact and then stumbled down into the key after throwing up a “shot” attempt. NBC Sports Bay Area’s Drew Shiller shared comments from Steve Kerr about the situation.
But it could be a double-edged sword for the Warriors. Steph Curry definitely is guilty of drawing lean-in fouls, which is smart considering he’s one of the best free-throw shooters in NBA history.
Curry also shared his thoughts on the pickle that officials often find themselves in when making the bang-bang foul calls on the perimeter.
“Those are tough plays,” Curry said. “As a shooter, you always want to take advantage of a defender leaving his feet or coming into your space. It’s a fine line between going out of your way to look for that contact when you have an open shot and your defender’s not really moving towards you or invading your space. … It is a tough play to officiate.”
The NBA instituted a non-flopping rule before the 2012-13 season, so there is precedence for referees to show discretion in subjective situations. Until the league levies fouls and/or fines for players drawing obvious lean-in fouls, though, don’t expect players to stop working for free throws if it can lead to wins for their team.