Believing that he is drawing numerous uncalled fouls, LeBron James has a bone to pick with the officials. But not wanting to get a fine, James isn’t directly commenting about officiating.
Instead he is dancing around the issue and is letting team sources vouch for him, which is a savvy move.
From ESPN’s Dave McMenamin:
Cavaliers superstar LeBron James has become increasingly frustrated with the way he has been officiated this season, multiple team sources told ESPN following Cleveland’s 100-92 loss to the Utah Jazz on Tuesday.
James’ frustration boiled over with 2:09 remaining in the first quarter, when he shouted at referee Tyler Ford and was assessed a rare technical foul — just his second of the season — after Utah’s Shelvin Mack fouled James and put him on the foul line after an and-1 layup. While James got that call from Ford, he was upset from his previous trip down the court, when he felt like Mack fouled him on another layup attempt and there was no whistle.
When asked if it was a result of frustration over the way he has been officiated lately, James conceded: “It is, it is. It is. But I know what the main thing is — the main thing is to win — but it is. It is. It is.”
James may have a point as he is a behemoth of a man and routinely get hit as he makes his way to the basket. And although he frequently scores and drives and in the paint, he doesn’t get to the free-throw line at an extremely high rate. Averaging 7.1 free-throw attempts a game, James is 10th overall in the NBA. Other players ahead of him are mainly guards but Kings big man DeMarcus Cousins, who spends a lot of time in the posts, averaged 9.6 free-throw attempts a game.
But this has been a reoccurring problem for James throughout his career. He is so big and strong that sometimes players just bounce off him appearing like that didn’t really impede his progress, when in fact they actually did foul him. Officials, who have a hard job as it is, sometimes have difficulty assessing what is a foul and what isn’t when it comes to James. This is very similar to how things went with Shaquille O’Neal, a fact that Cavs coach Tyronn Lue alluded to in the Finals last season.
Whether or not James and the Cavs talking about officiating will cause a change remains to be seen. But by bringing this topic of conversation up, it could possibly make officials focus a bit more on how players defend James, which is what the Cavs and LeBron hope happens anyway.
Source: General Sports