SAN FRANCISCO — From an arena where he played four seasons in the late 1990s and early 2000s, Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said he doesn’t quite want hand-checking to be re-instituted, but that he believes the NBA too generously calls fouls on offensive players.
But Kerr isn’t blaming the players. He believes the NBA has gone too far in awarding offensive players when they are trying to fool officials.
“We have to decide as a league, are we going to call fouls that people would laugh about at a pickup game?” Kerr said before Tuesday night’s game against the Spurs at AT&T Center.
Within the last week, Golden State has played two of the top foul-drawers in the league in Rockets guard James Harden and Mavericks guard Luka Doncic. Both rank in the top four in free throw attempts per game.
Harden, in particular, makes getting to the free-throw line a priority and often moves to draw contact. He attempted just one free throw in Golden State’s win on Wednesday, nearly 11 below his season average.
“I think we need to get back to the point where players need to earn fouls and earn it by beating their man and drawing contact in a natural way and not flopping, and flailing and grabbing arms,” Kerr said. “That’s going on all over the league.”
On Saturday, NBA officials made headlines when Trail Blazers forward Anthony Tolliver was called for a foul on Lakers forward LeBron James. Tolliver chased down and swiped at James, making slight contact. James flailed, missed the layup and fell.
Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts, believing James exaggerated the contact, called a timeout and asked for a coach’s challenge. After review, officials confirmed the foul.
Many on social media widely panned James, but Kerr questioned the league itself.
“I don’t blame the players. If the league is going to allow it, then the players should 100% do it,” Kerr said. “More power to him.”