I think pretty much everyone will agree that the NBA's rule changes when it comes to baiting the officials into fouls has vastly improved the product. The game flow is better for sure, and now when you watch a game you don't have to worry about a foul being called every three seconds for some bullshit. Who knows if they keep this same approach 3 months from now, but at the moment it has absolutely helped.
I'd say the only people who don't love it are guys that have relied on whistles. We heard James Harden already cry about it already because he's suddenly turned into a mostly pedestrian player. Whether that's due to his injury recovery or his actual approach is yet to be determined. Then there's Trae Young. With him it's a little different because his production hasn't cratered like Harden, he's still putting up 24/3/10 on 44/29% shooting, but it's also true that his FTA have been basically cut in half, going from 8.7 to 4.4 a night. In terms of his FTA rate, that's dropped from 49% last year to just 21% this year. That's an insane drop but it goes to show that he's being called differently compared to previous seasons. Last night we got his thoughts on the whole thing after he took just 3 FTA in their loss to the Wizards
Does he have a point? Sort of. It wouldn't surprise me if the worst offenders like Harden, Young, Luka, Steph etc get treated a little differently. Not just with the non-basketball moves but with some of what he was talking about in terms of hand checking or bumping off the line. That stuff has been a foul in the past and I get why that would frustrate players. But I also love that they are letting defenders be more physical. It's about time really. For years all the NBA did was take things away from defenders in order to increase the offense. There's nothing wrong with giving them a little bit of power back. If the league is going to let guards get bumped off their spot now, so be it. You adjust. Young hasn't seemed to have much of an issue doing that, so I see no point in complaining about it. Just play through it.
Free throws across the league are down and the product is more watchable. These changes are working whether these guys are ever going to stop crying about it or not. It's here to stay. While we're on the subject, you know what has to come next? These fouls that stop fastbreaks. It's time to adopt the FIBA rule. Players will stop doing it if it costs them points. That's the one thing the owners need to rectify this offseason, and now that we've seen they are even willing to make changes in the first place, I bet that happens. You combine these new foul rules with eliminating that play, and you'll really be onto something.