What you're reading came about because of a discussion a fraternity brother (a LeBron fan) and I are having that started during Game 3. He complained about the "hack-job" officiating that was going on toward LeBron, and I countered with the terrible reffing that was on the behalf of the Heat, specifically the 11-2 free throw led run, the technical on Taj, and the egregious 4 point play given to D-Wade. At that point, he claimed that LeBron and Wade get more fouls called because they play to get to the rim, therefore creating more contact and are more deserving of calls than Derrick Rose. I claim that Derrick Rose hasn't been getting such calls and plays the same way. He then said it was a matter of perspective. I then decided to drop some stats on his ass. More after the jump.
The basic team stats taken from basketball-reference and 82games.com show that Miami ranks third in free-throw attempts, while Chicago ranks 15th. To break it down concerning the 3 players stated in the title, Rose attempted 7.1 free throws a game, while Wade and James attempted 8.59 and 8.39 free-throws a game, respectively. This doesn't tell much of a story, but it is interesting that the combo of Wade, James, and the Boshtrich attempt around 23 free throws a game, which is more than 8 entire teams (Milwaukee, New Jersey, Boston, Detroit, Portland, Philly, Atlanta, Golden State).
To get a better sense of how these fouls are drawn, I went to 82games.com to see how exactly these players get their points. During the regular season, Rose scored 69% of his points on jumpers, 29% on close range shots, 2% on dunks, and 31% inside. On the other two players, Wade scored 39% of his points inside, and LeBron scored 31% of his points inside. Wade had a foul drawn rate of 18.6%, James had a foul drawn rate of 15.4%, and Derrick Rose has a foul drawn rate of 13.3%. To show just how atrocious that is for someone who gets 31% of their points in the paint, Kevin Durant scored 13% of his points in the lane (87% on jumpers) and drew fouls at a rate of 13.7%. (Raw numbers show that Wade and James drew 72 and 26 more fouls than Rose, respectively).
During "clutch moments (<5 minutes in the 4th; overtime)" the numbers average out a bit: Derrick scores 38% of his points in the paint, LeBron scores 44% of his, and Wade scores 28% of his points in the paint. Derrick draws fouls at a 17.5% rate, LeBron at a 22% rate, and Wade at a 15% rate, although I think Derrick's still getting jipped when he's drawing only 2.5% more fouls than someone who's shooting a jumper 72% of the time in clutch times.
So what does all this mean? It means that 1) Refs are blowing the whistle more for Wade (somewhat justified) and James (not at all justified) than Derrick Rose. For two "superstar" players, you would assume that both James and Rose would draw around the same number of fouls. Although no actual statistical tests were done (although I may work on some at some point in time), it seems as if LeBron took significantly more free throws than Derrick Rose does. Wade takes more than both of them, but that's a given because he scores around 40% of his points in the lane; 2) refs are potentially showing a bias toward LeBron on drives and not Rose. This could be because Rose tends to avoid contact and LeBron flops at the first touch, but contact on Rose should be called as consistently as it is for LeBron, and 3) either the refs need to give Rose more calls, or Rose needs to start pulling a Cristiano Ronaldo.