Steph Curry explains 'shock factor' of NBA foul-baiting rule change

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Steph expects 'shock factor,' frustration with NBA rule change originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

Steph Curry admitted after the Warriors' preseason win over the Portland Trail Blazers on Monday that there would be confusion with the NBA's rule change to eliminate foul-baiting techniques.

"There’s going to be some confusion to start, for sure,” Curry said. “Any emphasis they put from one year to the next, the changes, it takes some time to adjust. I’m sure there will be some antics early … Like that [step-back] traveling thing a couple years ago, refs are trained to look at a certain thing, but there’s a lot of other things going on. They have to get adjusted, too."

The Warriors star went further into the "shock factor" some players will have during his appearance on The Athletic's "Hoops, Adjacent" podcast with David Aldridge and Marcus Thompson III.

“I knew there was going to be kind of a shock factor to it, there was going to be some confusion, possibly frustration from the players’ perspective, because you’re so used to certain reads, and that muscle memory takes over,” Curry said. “. … Like [Monday] night, I did lean forward, the game in Portland, I leaned forward a lot. That’s kind of a judgment call, in terms of, is the defender truly stopping and still in legal guarding position, or am I the one truly initiating the contact?

"There’s going to be that gray area there. Obviously, I lost that conversation. The other ones where, as an offensive player, if you create the advantage, then I feel you should be able to use that, no matter what. Especially like the one-on-one situation where, if I get by somebody and then they’re out of control, they run into me, I should be able to take advantage of that. The one, like it’s in transition and you’re in open space and you’re just seeking contact, there’s no place in the game for that."

While the two-time NBA MVP knows the rule change will take some getting used to, he's not concerned about it impacting how he plays.

“Me, probably Luka [Dončić], James [Harden], Trae [Young], we’re probably the ones that everybody wants to talk about, for better or worse," Curry said. "There’s going to be a learning curve, and we all understand that. And we’ve all adjusted to rules changes in the past.

"It’s just a matter of, hopefully, it’s consistent. That’s the biggest that we need from a refereeing standpoint, across the board. I don’t care what you call; as long as you’re consistent with it, we’ll make the adjustments. And the game won’t suffer -- or my game won’t suffer for it, at all.”

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While Curry believes the offensive player should be able to benefit if he has the upper hand on a defender, the Warriors star never has spent much time focusing on the non-basketball plays for which Harden and Young are known.

“The one that I do, for sure, is obviously the pump fake, and you look for contact if somebody leaves your feet,” Curry told Thompson and Aldridge. “I feel like that’s been a part of the game for a while, not just my generation. It’s not like we invented it, or created it. But the other parts where you just forget about what the goal of the game is -- just putting the ball in the basket -- I still have a pretty strong point of view on that part of the game.

"Like the sweep-through, or trying to sell contact, or using your off arm to engage and all that type of stuff, I’ve never been good at it. So, it’s something I never really took time to learn, or to try. And part of that is maybe I don’t get as many calls as I probably should, or could. But obviously, you try to stay efficient and effective. You’ve got enough to worry about already, in terms of how defenses are strategizing against you, and where your shots are going to come from and all that. I kind of chose not to add another element to kind of bog my mind down a little bit.”

It will be interesting to see how the rule change is enforced this season, but it won't impact Curry's game as much as some of the NBA's other top stars.

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