Reigning NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo says the league wants players to flop, be weak
Antetokounmpo isn't a big fan of the way that some aspects of the game are being called
With his combination of size and strength, reigning NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo is one of the league's more physical players, which you would think would work to his advantage, as he is able to physically dominate smaller players. However, Antetokounmpo thinks that often the opposite occurs and that he is actually punished for his strength, while weaker players that flop are rewarded with foul calls. Despite this perceived imbalance though, Antetokounmpo doesn't plan to alter his approach.
"It's kind of hard because in the NBA, the way it's built, they want you to flop," Antetokounmpo said, via NBA.com. "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."
However, as he has continued with his physical play, Antetokounmpo has noticed some players trying to draw fouls on him by falling to the floor, which he deemed dangerous.
"I've been watching a lot of clips and I've seen a lot of plays where guys try to take a charge but they fall down before [contact]," Antetkounmpo said. "That's really dangerous because I could sprain my ankle. Especially when I'm about to spin, they can trip me.
For what it's worth, Antetkounmpo's coach, Mike Budenholzer, agrees with his superstar's assessment.
"I think it's a huge concern," Budenholzer said. "If and when players are falling before contact, there's speed and knees and legs that are basically putting Giannis in a dangerous place. I think it's a tough game to call. Giannis is always in attack mode. But if there's no contact and guys are falling and/or underneath him, that's dangerous."
"I cannot be thinking about plays if I am going to get hurt. I think I am pretty good about avoiding situations that you can get hurt and avoiding guys on the floor," Antetokounmpo added, via ESPN. "If somebody is taking a charge, you have to step in the right place so you don't sprain your ankle, or for you not to step wrong and hurt your knee or something, but I think I'm pretty good with that. I know how to avoid contact. I was pretty skinny my whole career so I know how to avoid the contact... I just try to be aggressive and try to be in the moment and my instinct is going take over."
Antetokounmpo isn't' the first player to feel like his size and strength are being used against him in the league (just ask Shaquille O'Neal), but it will be interesting to see if his public comments about the issue alter the way that he is refereed at all.
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