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Tuesday, June 01, 2004

What to Make of NBA Officiating

The conspiracy theorists certainly are out there, arguing that Game 6 in the Western Finals two years ago pitting the Lakers against the Kings was "fixed", especially in the final two minutes (they forget that had the Kings shot better than 14-30 from the foul line in Game 7, they and not the Lakers would have made it to the NBA Finals anyway). Apparently, in last night's Lakers-T-wolves game, one of the officials ran to the sidelines to ask the official scorers how many fouls one of the key players had, prompting a diatribe from ESPN's color commentator, Tim Legler, as to why a ref would ask that question. Legler is a straight-up, honest commentator, and he certainly would be one of the last ones to ever argue that the games are fixed. But shouldn't the refs just call the game without worrying who has how many fouls? They should call the games consistently and the way they see them. But, unfortunately, they don't. Check out Phil Taylor's article at on the vagaries of modern officiating. Should anyone care? The NBA has major quality issues as we speak -- poor shooting, horrible scores, games that have football-like contact. We're not suggesting a Questec-like system for NBA officials, but they should all be reading from the same rulebook.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

SportsProf knows that NBA officiating has been horrible for decades. SportProf was there in 1981 Game 6 Sixers-Celtics with baseline front row seats when Andrew Toney drove and got mugged -- no call! Celtics and Larry Joe Bird win and win Game 7 and the series, after being down 3-1. It is admittedly an impossible game to officiate at anything close to 90% accuracy (an "A" grade).

5:03 PM  
Anonymous theLegend said...

I have a few points to make. The biggest problem with the NBA is selective officiating. There seems to be this idea that if the refs called every violation, foul, etc. that the game would bog down into this unbearable thing to watch. This idea has got to go. It would be a vast improvement if the NBA players were held to higher standard...we all know that they are athletic and talented enough to comply. Look at the NFL, those players comply to standards much higher than the college game (two feet in bounds, various illegal hits, blocks etc.) and I have yet to hear anyone complain that the quality of the NFL game is down. The NBA would benefit from such enforcement of ideas. Another problem with officiating in te NBA is that simply there is too much to absorb for the official. For example, I no longer think it is possible for an NBA ref to make a correct charge/block call. The defensive circle in the lane is the main culprit, I agree that a player must be out from under the basket to take a charge, but for an official to have to look at the players feet to tell if he is outside the circle and also judge to see if he is set, leaning one way or the other, etc, is too much. Basketball is a game of judgement calls(which inherently is difficult) but the NBA is trying to much to take the judgment away from the on training the officials the right way and give them the freedom to make the calls as they see them...without regard to time, player, circmstance, or previous call. The NBA game would be the better ofr it.

Last of I the only one who is bothered by the fact that nobody cares about traveling anymore? I just love it when on a replay a player takes 4 or 5 steps and the annoucers say "He may have had an extra step there". Drives me crazy. A fouls' a foul, a travels' a travel, unless its the NBA.

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