Have NBA Referees Been Unfair to the Pacers?

paul-george-indiana-pacers-mad-refereesIndiana Pacers star Paul George is getting frustrated and feels his team is being treated unfairly like a little brother by the referees. His comments came after a tough 90-85 loss to the Chicago Bulls.

George only made one trip to the free throw line the entire game. He only averages 4.3 free throw attempts per game, which is pretty low for a star player.

In regards to the Pacers not getting calls, he said, “Ever since I’ve been playing, ever since I’ve been in this jersey we’ve fought this battle. Maybe the league has teams they like so they can give them the benefit of the doubt. We’re the little brother of the league. We’re definitely the little brother of the league.”

Does George have a case or is he just mad the Pacers have lost three-straight games?

The Indiana Pacers have been a slow, plodding offense since George came into the league. That was supposed to change this season with the Pacers averaging 103.8 points per game, which is 18th in the league. They only averaged 102.2 points per game last season, which isn’t a huge increase given their offseason focus on implementing an uptempo offense.

Free throw attempts should ‘somewhat’ correlate with either field goal attempts per game or points per game. The more uptempo an offense is, the more potential free throw attempts a team could have.

There will always be outliers in free throw attempts because sometimes it is based on style. The Memphis Grizzlies only averages 97.5 points per game, but because of their physical offense in the paint, they are 11th in the league with 24.1 free throw attempts per game.

The Pacers are 21st in the league in free throw attempts this season, so based on the other factors, I don’t see a huge issue. Offseason addition point guard Jeff Teague is averaging a career-high 5.4 FT attempts per game. He slashes towards the hoop more than George who shoots twice as many three-point attempts as Teague. Also, second-year big man Myles Turner is doubling last year’s FT attempts with 4.1 per game this season.

Every NBA team will have gripes toward officials, especially when they are on a losing streak. Will airing your issues in the media help the problem? If a player can eat the fine levied at them by the NBA, I believe it can make a difference. Phil Jackson was a master at manipulating officials through the media long before the NBA started fining players and coaches.

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sweetbob-author-picAbout the Author…

Bobby Roberts (otherwise known as Sweetbob) is the creator of ‘America’s White Boy’ and contributor at Project Shanks. His writing has been featured on ESPN’s ‘SportsNation’, Sports Illustrated’s Hot ClicksGuyspeed, and various other sites. You can follow him on Twitter at @Sweetbob.

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