I had the Hawks at No. 6 in my Power Rankings heading into training camp, which I think was higher than most preseason prognostications. Then I got some grief from a reader saying that I should have had you guys lower because the new rules designed to cut down on free throws awarded to players who initiate contact would affect your game greatly. How are you adjusting so far to the way games are being called?
Trae Young: I think it’s a more an adjustment on both sides, but also just me playing my game. I’ve been in a lot of meetings with [NBA head of referee training and development] Monty [McCutchen], trying to make sure of what’s a foul and what’s not. A lot of the [contract I draw] is a foul. Me going in front and stopping on a dime and defenders continuing to run into me, that’s still a foul. The league is good at that — being open to communicating about anything. Especially if a guy has questions. It’s not just me. I’m sure a lot of other guys have called and just tried to get more clarification on what’s a foul and what’s not.
So you’re not worried about a different sort of whistle this season affecting your game? Trae Young: Nah. I’m not, to be honest with you, even thinking about the refs and the foul calls. I can score without the free throws. But I’m a smaller guy, so a lot of guys like to be physical with me. I like using their aggression to my advantage. That’s really what it is.
James Edwards III: Casey, who is on competition committee, on offensive players (shooters) jumping into defenders: “It made our game look bad on TV. It took away from the purity of the game, from a defensive standpoint.”
“The game needs it,” Kerr told The Athletic. “I say the same thing all the time. If we’re making calls in the NBA that would literally start fights in a pickup game because they’re so egregious and non-basketball-related — in other words, if I come off a screen in a pickup game and literally hook your arm, flail my arms and then go up for a shot and call a foul, a fight is going to ensue. My whole thing is if we’re making those calls in the NBA, the greatest league in the world, when we couldn’t get through a pickup game, then we’re doing something wrong.”
Stephen Curry saw a tweet from the NBA’s officiating account recently. The league was using it to detail some of the rule changes this season. They’re attempting to cut out some of the strategic foul-baiting that’s run rampant in recent years, especially among star scorers. One of the examples they used was Curry.
“There was a play against Milwaukee — two guys guarding me at the same time,” Curry said. “I changed directions. I think (Donte) DiVincenzo came behind me. They used that as one of the examples. They said that wouldn’t have been a (defensive) foul (and actually an offensive foul). I’m sitting there watching the video, like, uhh, I’m still confused on how that’s not a (defensive) foul.”