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Austin Rivers Shares Controversial Take on Steph Curry

Austin Rivers believes Golden State Warriors star Steph Curry gets help from the refs

Golden State Warriors superstar is undoubtedly one of the NBA's toughest covers, but Minnesota Timberwolves guard Austin Rivers believes he gets help from the refs. When asked on a recent podcast episode who the toughest cover in the NBA is, Rivers said Steph Curry, but for an interesting reason.

"Steph," Rivers said. "It's not even close... you can't touch him, they give him every f-ucking call, they set illegal screens for him the entire game... they don't call it cause they want to see him shoot."

While Rivers was also complimentary of Curry during this episode, these comments were interesting. Amongst all players in NBA history to average at least 24 PPG for their career, Curry's free throw rate ranks dead last. Free throw rate is the ratio of free throw attempts to field goal attempts, and Curry's 24.3% clip is the lowest amongst all players in NBA history averaging at least 24 PPG for their career. In comparison, James Harden's career free throw rate is 52.1%.

While a common rebuttal to Curry's low free throw attempt rate is to cite his high volume of three-point attempts, indicating his play-style naturally eludes contact and trips to the line, this does not account for the way he is defended off the ball. In constant movement, Curry is regularly held, grabbed, and bumped off the ball without whistles. This does not even account for the regular instances when Curry is hit on three-point attempts and drives without whistles as well.

While Austin Rivers may have a legitimate gripe when it comes to moving screens, albeit a league-wide issue when it comes to the inconsistent enforcement of that rule, his comments about Curry getting "every" call have no statistical backing. 22-4 vs. Rivers in his career, Curry has dominated that matchup, averaging 29/6/5 on 51/45/94 shooting splits in those 26 games. His 29 PPG in that matchup have come on just six free throw attempts per game.

Steph Curry may very well be the NBA's toughest cover, but the way he is officiated - especially compared to others stars, is not the reason why.

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