Make no mistake about it, the charge-block call continues to be one of the least appealing aspects of the NBA and how it’s officiated, but there’s another annoyance climbing the pecking order in a hurry.
Fouls on 3-point shooters.
There are way too many called, and too frequently it’s because the shooter found a way to get a defender into the air, then lean into him to initiate contact. But it’s not just leaning in. Often it’s an offensive player purposefully drifting one way or the other and/or exaggerating when the invariable contact occurs.
Nobody likes seeing a 3-point shooter have to take a tough shot, late in the shot clock, then be rewarded because he was able to bait a defender and fool an official at the same time.
I don’t know about you, but I’d rather watch DeAndre Jordan take two free throws after a team intentionally fouls him than watch James Harden, Stephen Curry, Russell Westbrook or Isaiah Thomas go to the line for three after a gift foul.
The NBA already is a ridiculously offensive league and it’s likely not slowing down anytime soon. So you’re going to give the offensive player another edge? The 3-point shot is becoming more and more a foundation of the game, which means this is a play we’re going to see more and more of. I don’t have to look back into past years to know more fouls are being called now on 3-point shots than ever before — simply because of the volume of shots that are now taken beyond the arc.
Perimeter players now dominate the game like big men once could. And when big men used to go at it, we used to say: “Let ’em play.” Well, same should go for the 3-pointer now.
On the one hand, the NBA is a league that wants to encourage a fast pace and movement and athleticism. On the other it’s all too willing to constantly stop the game with too many whistles and a subsequent three-shot foul.
I’d like to think the NBA would make this a point of emphasis heading into next year — to stop calling fouls on the defense when an offensive player uses an unnatural shooting motion to cause the contact. It’s an unfair advantage for the shooter and it’s too severe a penalty for the defender and his team.
Sooner we can clean this up, sooner we can fix the block-charge.