Don’t count the Knicks among those teams complaining about the NBA’s adjusted rules aimed to limit fouls called on non-basketball moves.
While James Harden and the Nets — and other stars around the league — have groused over the changes, coach Tom Thibodeau and the rising Knicks continue to have no problem with the directive to curtail the initiation of contact by offensive players to draw fouls.
“Yeah. F— yeah,” said Evan Fournier, following Saturday’s win in New Orleans. “It was actually very frustrating for me. For years — I don’t like to compare anything — but coming from Europe we have guys that aren’t as physical, aren’t as athletic, and yet the game is more physical there.
“So as a rookie, I kept fouling and fouling and fouling. And I was like, ‘What the hell?’ I’m skinny. I’m not strong. So I think the league did a great job, and we have to adapt and adjust. I think as a fan, it’s better. You don’t want to see guys just trying to trick referees all the time. … I like it, 100 percent.”
Thibodeau believes the league is “headed down the right path” with the changes, which already have resulted in a decrease in free-throw attempts around the league.
“If you went back to 20 years ago, and some of us can, you’d have to make an aggressive move to the basket to get two free throws,” Thibodeau said. “The intent is to have a rhythm. If a player makes an aggressive move to the basket and he gets fouled, he should be given two free throws, but if you’re trying to trip up the game, in the old days, the veteran officials, they’d call the foul on the offensive player. That usually eliminated it right there.
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“So I like the path that we’re on, because I think no one wants to go to a game and watch 80 free throws being shot. There’s no rhythm to that game.”
Knicks center Nerlens Noel (knee) has been listed as questionable to make his season debut in Monday’s home game against the Raptors. Toronto forwards Pascal Siakam (shoulder) and Yuta Watanabe (calf) have been ruled out.