Atlanta star Trae Young speaks out on officiating changes
WASHINGTON (AP) — Trae Young paused in the middle of his postgame comments, perhaps wondering if he was going too far — or sensing that he already had.
“I don’t want to get fined too much, but it’s frustrating,” the Atlanta star said.
There’s no telling how the league will receive Young’s latest words. This wasn’t some unhinged rant, but he certainly had plenty to say about the officiating after the Hawks lost 122-111 to Washington on Thursday night. Young was one of five players who received a technical foul during the game, and another one was given out for delay of game.
“There’s a lot of missed calls,” he said. “It’s basketball. It’s just, it feels that they’re learning, and they’re just — I don’t know. It’s frustrating.”
Young went into more detail moments later. There’s a new crackdown this season on non-basketball moves designed to draw contact. Officials aren’t supposed to call defensive fouls when that happens, and Young and James Harden are often mentioned as players who could be significantly affected.
Young averaged 8.7 free throw attempts a game last season. He’s averaging 4.4 this season after taking only three Thursday.
“I saw James said it’s about him, but it’s not targeting just one player or two players,” Young said.
Young mentioned Damian Lillard and Devin Booker, a couple other star scorers off to relatively slow starts.
“You can watch basketball. Damien Lillard’s never averaged 17 points probably since his rookie year,” Young said. “There’s a couple guys. I mean, Book’s averaging 18. There’s a lot of things that, when guys are driving straight and guys are getting knocked off balance — it’s still a foul, whether they’re using their lower body or their hands.”
Young said he isn’t completely against the changes, but he still wants certain contact to be whistled.
“Veering back and jumping into guys -- that’s different,” he said. “There are certain things that, I agree with the rule changes, but then there’s things that are still fouls, and guys are going to get hurt. Especially a smaller guy like me who’s going up against bigger and stronger defenders, they’re using their body and they’re using their legs and their hands to stop me.”
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