For as big and strong as the Greek Freak is, even he seems to be frustrated with the current trends of NBA officiating.
In this modernized era, the league has become perimeter focused and there has been an emphasis on protecting the shooter. But what about contact that happens under the rim? According to Giannis, there isn’t enough attention to what happens down there.
“It’s kind of hard because in the NBA, the way it’s built, they want you to flop,” Antetokounmpo said of playing physically. “It wants you to be weak, kind of, because sometimes I think when you’re strong and you’re going through contact, they don’t call the foul. But when you’re flopping and kind of going into the contact and throwing the ball out, they’re just going to call foul, but that’s not who I am, that’s not what I’m gonna do.
“I’m just gonna try to power through contact. It’s going to be … where if a guy grabs me or pushes me, I’ve got to show it more, but I think I’ve done a better job of showing it more so the refs can see that the guys are holding me, pushing me and just being physical.”
For those that have made it a routine to exaggerate and draw contact they are reaping the full benefits of a changed officiating style.
But for guys like Giannis and LeBron James who resist using those tactics, and who are constantly being abused with contact at the rim, they are struggling to get the kinds of calls they’re hoping for.
Giannis has always been a player who has fought against the accepted norms of “superstar” tendencies in the NBA. He has preached nothing but loyalty to the Bucks and has shown no desire to join a superteam and has kept his priorities in-line as he seeks to win his second-straight MVP.
His refusal to sell foul calls is just the latest evidence of who he is as a competitor.