Friday, April 26, 2013

Defending the Double Foul

Blake Griffin and Zach Randolph are both power forwards. They're both physical players, if in different ways. 34.8% and 44.2% of their respective offenses come from post ups, per Synergy (hyperlink please). As one would expect, it's been a rough and tumble battle for positioning down low. The refs have called the dubiously viewed double foul in each of the three games, quickly met by wide spread derision on the medium of communication known as twitter. Problem is, nobody can actually explain this derision.

My question: what is actually bad about the double foul? Does it take anything away from the game of basketball? Two players receive personal fouls, heightening the chance of a foul out, but it's not as if they haven't been battering each other with fouls all game. It's not a copout—two players really can foul each other at the same time, especially if it's a tussle for deep positioning which we see on a possession-by-possession basis between Griffin and ZBo.

If anything, the double foul is a good thing. It's not random—sometimes refs will just alternate between guys in the battle, hoping to get it correct. It punishes both players for puling the same crap over and over again, and retaliating. It can speed up the game by eliminating free throws.

So why do people become so enraged over these simple double fouls? It's an outlet for anger against the referees in general. This rage can be unleashed when the ref calls what to many seems a copout; the referee was just too lazy to figure out who actually committed the foul first.

Nobody should be surprised when a double fouls are called in the next however many games this series will take. Now, let's change our attitudes towards them and realize what they really mean. 

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