Yesterday, many of you readers sent us a link to a post by Henry Abbott over at TrueHoop that appeared to be stirring up speculation that LeBron James is getting preferential treatmentby the NBA referees. Admittedly, I was a bit perturbed by the post at first. However, after re-reading it, and exchanging a few emails with Henry himself, it was merely “tossing out the question” type post where he hoped readers would respond with evidence that tilted the pendulum one way or the other.
If you missed it, Henry essentially posted an email that he received from a unbelievably biased Celtics blogger that used hackjob references to LeBron James not being whistled for calls. Using lines like “While he is a virtuoso on offense, he hacks more than an asthmatic in the veterinarian’s office on defense” to get his point across not only screams lack of wit, but also lack of truly watching games and simply looking at box scores; then running along side the words of Sam Smith like Doc with a huffy’d up Little Mac.
TrueHoop reader Michael Truax made that video, and also supplied a catalogue of every potentially relevant play. Even though he is a Cleveland fan, he swears he has been even-handed and invites others to audit his work. “I watched the video,” he explains, “cataloguing every screen he set (one total), every charge or block opportunity (one total), every time LeBron’s man posted him up (one total), every hard-fought board (one total), every reach-in (a handful, one questionable), and every time he made contact with a jump shooter (none).”
As a few of the WFNY writers discussed, James’ defense cannot be tallied by looking at box scores and being baffled that he has low foul totals based on his minutes per game. James can tend to get called for fouls when in the post due to his large frame and physical nature. However, the majority of the game finds James playing more of a fluid role by filling up passing lanes, altering shots and simply being the better basketball player that can take up a lot of space and simply make it difficult for the opposition.
He’s quick enough where he can reside far enough away from his man and still manage to close when needed. His body control is possibly his most heralded skill, allowing for very little sloppy play – typically what causes a lot of blocking fouls away from the hoop. But in the same, his quickness allows for him to alter his body so that he doesn’t create contact and the “dumb” foul.
I’m glad that Henry was able to wrap up this issue within 24 hours of originally posting the question. Here’s to Mr. Truax for his in-depth look at the game. And here’s to said hack Celtics blogger actually watching a game instead of just the box score the following morning.
Now, if we want to discuss the non-calls when a 280-pound, MVP forward storms to the hoop, I’m game.