Carmelo Anthony is mad as hell, and he's not gonna take it anymore!
The Knicks forward has been called for technical fouls in each of his last two games for complaining after he thought he was fouled. Clearly, Melo isn't ready to let this issue die. He took to the pulpit Wednesday after a team shootout in Utah to set the record straight regarding his relationship with the refs:
"They just tell me I'm the most difficult player to referee in the NBA. I've heard that a couple of times. It's unclear on who is creating the contact. My goal is to go to the basket. If I'm creating the contact going toward the basket [and] I get hit, it's a foul.''
"I always get fouled. That's what's frustrating me. You play so hard, work so hard and don't benefit from that. You look at other guys, you touch them and look at them wrong and get fouls. It's a frustrating thing for me as a guy who likes to go to the basket, play in the paint. I like to play physical. It's frustrating."
And Melo was just getting started. Here are his thoughts on "selling" fouls.
"See, I don't know how to flop, that's the thing. Nowadays guys know how to flop, get hit and put their head back. I don't know how to flop. I won't even look right trying to do that. I won't even feel right trying it.
"A lot of times I get hit and I still continue to get to my spots just because I'm big and strong. A lot of guys get hit and they stop. I'm not saying they're flopping, but they're lighter than me. I can take a lot more physicality."
Knicks fans have debated the Melo foul controversy for as long as he's been in New York. As with most sports debates, it's far more complex than we'd like to asmit. Here are some of the numbers, via NBA Stats:
2/2 But he ranks near the bottom in foul rate in pick-and-roll. (5.1% foul rate PNR, 16.3% foul rate iso, 15,9% foul rate in post-up)— devin kharpertian (@uuords) December 9, 2015
Melo isn't wrong on a few points here. He is one of the strongest, most physical forwards in the league, and often gets hacked without a whistle. He generally doesn't do a lot of the whiplash head-snap movements which have proven effective for some of his contemporaries. Whether that is noble or foolhardy is a matter of opinion.
There is, however, a flip side to that coin. Melo doesn't attack the rim nearly as often as the likes of LeBron James or James Harden. And the refs usually allow him to be quite physical in the post. If I were Melo, the thing that would most annoy me is when the refs suddenly call offensive fouls in the fourth quarter on stuff that they let him get away with in the previous three. Those possessions are usually far more costly to the Knicks.
Refereeing is a difficult job. Some are relatively good at it, some are terrible. This imperfect system provides certain players a window for exploitation. Whether Melo is a victim or beneficiary is open to debate.