Steve Kerr

NBA commissioner Silver cites Kerr's plea in decreasing foul explanation

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Steve Kerr’s outspoken nature about the NBA’s foul issues has paid off.

On Wednesday, commissioner Adam Silver noted a decline in foul calls on defenders during the 2023-24 NBA season, citing the Warriors coach as a major proponent and influence.

“I think there was a sense earlier in the season that there was too much of an advantage for the offensive players, whether — I think Steve Kerr said offensive players were using themselves as projectiles or hunting for fouls, however you want to call it,” Silver told reporters (h/t Associated Press’ Brian Mahoney). “So that was a point of emphasis on behalf of the league.

“So yes, there was a bit of an adjustment made along the way. But again, the context is two fouls per team per game, and the end result, most importantly, we think is a better game.”

The NBA, on average, has eliminated a pair of foul calls per team, per Silver.

Silver’s citation of Kerr comes after the 10-year Golden State coach complained about officiating after the Warriors’ 120-114 loss to the Denver Nuggets on Christmas Day. 

Kerr did not hold back, despite the holiday spirit. 

“I have no problem with the officials themselves. All across the league we have really good officials,” Kerr said on Christmas. “I have a problem with the way we are legislating defense out of the game. That’s what we’re doing in the NBA. The way we’re teaching officials, we’re just enabling players to BS their way to the foul line.

“If I were a fan, I wouldn't have wanted to watch the second half of that game. It was disgusting. It was just baiting refs into calls. But the refs have to make those calls because that’s how they’re taught.”

In that Warriors-Nuggets meeting, Denver superstar Nikola Jokić attempted 18 free throws, five less than all of Golden State.

Kerr always has been vocal about areas he believes the NBA can improve. Recently, he advocated against the use of instant replay.

Sometimes, Kerr’s complaints lead to dead ends. But not this time, as Silver noted Kerr as a reason why officials are swallowing their whistles more often.

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