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Will The NBA Address Its Biggest Problem?


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#1 Marbleheader


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Posted 26 September 2011 - 04:10 PM

NBA officiating had reached a low point this spring, at times making watching games unbearable. They are the worst referees in any sport, and it's not even close. The officials have made themselves as much of the story as the game itself, and game has lost much of its appeal to this lifelong Celtics fan as a result. It is my understanding the that referees union's CBA expired as well. If you're going to have a lockout and lose games, you might as well address everything. Stern has to address the integrity of the games and the officiating, or all the other measures they are discussing right now are going to considered relatively meaningless by many fans.

#2 maufman


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Posted 26 September 2011 - 05:00 PM

NBA officiating had reached a low point this spring, at times making watching games unbearable. They are the worst referees in any sport, and it's not even close. The officials have made themselves as much of the story as the game itself, and game has lost much of its appeal to this lifelong Celtics fan as a result. It is my understanding the that referees union's CBA expired as well. If you're going to have a lockout and lose games, you might as well address everything. Stern has to address the integrity of the games and the officiating, or all the other measures they are discussing right now are going to considered relatively meaningless by many fans.


You presume Stern thinks the officiating is a problem? I don't think he does.

#3 Dead Balls

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Posted 26 September 2011 - 05:14 PM

I believe the NBA tries its best to choose its Champions and Stern is the architect. There is too much evidence and those who choose to ignore it choose to do so out of naivete and ignorance.

#4 John DiFool

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Posted 26 September 2011 - 05:15 PM

Will The NBA Address Its' Biggest Problem?


That nobody knows how to run an efficient coherent fast break anymore?

#5 TheGazelle

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Posted 26 September 2011 - 05:19 PM

NBA officiating had reached a low point this spring, at times making watching games unbearable. They are the worst referees in any sport, and it's not even close. The officials have made themselves as much of the story as the game itself, and game has lost much of its appeal to this lifelong Celtics fan as a result. It is my understanding the that referees union's CBA expired as well. If you're going to have a lockout and lose games, you might as well address everything. Stern has to address the integrity of the games and the officiating, or all the other measures they are discussing right now are going to considered relatively meaningless by many fans.


Building on the highlighted, one of my biggest problem with the officiating is that there are several officials who seem to have it out for various teams/players (Celtics/Kennedy and Spurs/Crawford, for two quick examples) and, despite that, continue referee games involving those teams. This puts aside all of the standard complaints about officiating, which go on in every sport (check the Pats forum for some evocative commentary on yesterday's officials). Having said that, NBA refs are terrible at their jobs.

#6 BigMike


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Posted 26 September 2011 - 05:56 PM

Officials in all sports make mistake. It is the nature of sports, especially the nature of trying to have 60 year old men officiate a sport being played by people bigger faster, and way more athletic than they are.

Sometimes in other sports officials cost teams games.

Sometimes there are questions of integrity towards specific players. Some QB's get all the calls some get none, some defensive players have a rep and don't get the holding call, and do get the PF call when it is close.

But really in no other real sport is there a very strong believe that the officiating is fixed and actively (perhaps with support of the league) attempting to influence the outcome of games.

I know more people who believe the NBA is "fixed" then believe that it is completely honest, and it really does make the sport difficult to watch

#7 BucketOBalls


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Posted 26 September 2011 - 06:49 PM

I know more people who believe the NBA is "fixed" then believe that it is completely honest, and it really does make the sport difficult to watch


I'm not sure I believe in a fix, but there is definitely a problem. I see three possibilities.



1)There is a fix
2) There is no fix but:
2.1) The officials are grossly incompetent
2.2)They arn't incompetent, the game is just impossible to call as defined


I think it's the last two rather than the first one, but either way....it should be addressed.

#8 The Social Chair

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Posted 26 September 2011 - 06:58 PM

I believe the NBA tries its best to choose its Champions and Stern is the architect. There is too much evidence and those who choose to ignore it choose to do so out of naivete and ignorance.


NBA truthers are almost as bad as the real thing.

#9 Brickowski

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Posted 26 September 2011 - 09:21 PM

The situation will not improve so long as Stern as the commissioner. I doubt if Stern choosesw the NBA champions, but Las Vegas might. Right now the level of quality of the officials is so poor that you can't tell the crooked ones from those who are merely incompetent.

#10 ifmanis5


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Posted 26 September 2011 - 09:48 PM

Thought this thread was going to be about the WNBA. My mistake. Carry on.

#11 Grin&MartyBarret

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Posted 27 September 2011 - 07:38 AM

Can we merge this thread into the one from the playoffs about how the Heat were receiving such an unfair officiating advantage that nobody would have a shot to beat them? Or maybe the one from last year about how the NBA was never going to let the Celtics beat the Cavs?

#12 CreightonGubanich

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Posted 27 September 2011 - 09:24 AM

At this point, people's perception of NBA officiating is a bigger problem than the officiating itself. There's been this pervading belief the last few years, mostly among casual NBA fans, that games are rigged or calls are orchestrated for a particular team to win a game or a series. That's morphed into the "NBA picks its champions!!" rally cry that we've all heard.

Little of that is actually true. The problem is, casual fans hear the talk, and then see what they want to see when they watch the games. Let's face it, a basketball foul is tough to call. So much happens on any given play that could be whistled as a foul. But if officials called every touch foul every time down the floor, the game would have no flow whatsoever. Add to that the very fine line between a block and a charge, and confirmation bias rears its ugly head - if people want to see an agenda against their team they're going to see it.

And so often you see people citing free throw discrepancy as if that's conclusive of anything. Teams play different styles; when the Celtics decide to bomb jumpers all game because they don't have anyone that can get in the paint anymore, of course they're going to shoot fewer free throws than Miami, who has two strong guys whose best chance of scoring is to careen into the paint like a freight train. They draw fouls because that's the only way to stop them.

Of course, the officiating needs to improve. There needs to be clearer standards as to what constitutes a foul and what doesn't. Individual officials need to be held accountable. They should probably do away with the practice of not disclosing who the officials for a given game will be before game time. But the bigger problem is people's impression of the officiating. I think that's a tougher problem to solve.

#13 wutang112878


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Posted 27 September 2011 - 10:29 AM

Let's face it, a basketball foul is tough to call. So much happens on any given play that could be whistled as a foul. But if officials called every touch foul every time down the floor, the game would have no flow whatsoever. Add to that the very fine line between a block and a charge, and confirmation bias rears its ugly head - if people want to see an agenda against their team they're going to see it.


Lets compare this to football, where a very standard saying is 'there is holding on every play' but there isnt much complaining about holding to the degree we complain about NBA officiating. Its an equally difficult sport to officiate, but the criticism in football officiating isnt anywhere close to that in the NBA. So I cant agree that NBA officiating is difficult so we should accept mediocre officiating performances.


NBA officiating needs to improve no question about that. But Stern has little interest in doing anything about it, just consider the fallout he should have had over the Donaghy thing and almost nothing was done. I would love to see them do something, but I dont see it happening while Stern is the Comish.

#14 Grin&MartyBarret

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Posted 27 September 2011 - 10:55 AM

Lets compare this to football, where a very standard saying is 'there is holding on every play' but there isnt much complaining about holding to the degree we complain about NBA officiating. Its an equally difficult sport to officiate, but the criticism in football officiating isnt anywhere close to that in the NBA. So I cant agree that NBA officiating is difficult so we should accept mediocre officiating performances.


NBA officiating needs to improve no question about that. But Stern has little interest in doing anything about it, just consider the fallout he should have had over the Donaghy thing and almost nothing was done. I would love to see them do something, but I dont see it happening while Stern is the Comish.


What do you mean by this? What should have been done that wasn't?

#15 wutang112878


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Posted 27 September 2011 - 11:27 AM

What do you mean by this? What should have been done that wasn't?


Lets see, Donaghy was found to be betting on games and calling Scott Foster over 100 times before games during the same time he was making calls to a bookie:

The records show Donaghy placed 134 calls to referee Scott Foster more than the 126 calls Donaghy made to his bookie between October 2006 and April 2007, the period during which he has confessed to either betting on games or passing on game information to gamblers.


Scott Foster is still a ref. He should at least be fired, and we should have gotten some answers on why Donaghy called him as many times as he did, we got neither. But Stern went with the 'Donaghy was a rogue ref acting on his own' and everyone pretty much accepted it and moved on. Much more should have been done to investigate and oversee the refs and it never happened.

#16 Grin&MartyBarret

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Posted 27 September 2011 - 12:08 PM

Lets see, Donaghy was found to be betting on games and calling Scott Foster over 100 times before games during the same time he was making calls to a bookie:



Scott Foster is still a ref. He should at least be fired, and we should have gotten some answers on why Donaghy called him as many times as he did, we got neither. But Stern went with the 'Donaghy was a rogue ref acting on his own' and everyone pretty much accepted it and moved on. Much more should have been done to investigate and oversee the refs and it never happened.


There was an 18 month investigation about the relationship between Donaghy and Scott Foster. What the FBI and independent investigating agencies determined was that any involvement that Scott Foster had in the Donaghy scandal was without his knowledge, and that he was in no way involved in any illegal activities. The NBA did investigate the situation thoroughly, as did the FBI and several independent agencies. Now, I get that it works much better within the narrative of what you believe about the state of NBA officiating to say that the NBA didn't investigate the situation well enough, but what about the FBI and the independent agencies? Also, you want answers on why Donaghy called Foster? Read the report: http://hosted.ap.org...ba_pedowitz.pdf.

Edit: To save you some time, just go read pages 27-35.

Edited by Grin&MartyBarret, 27 September 2011 - 12:14 PM.


#17 Lose Remerswaal


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Posted 27 September 2011 - 01:54 PM

Poor use of the apostrophe?

#18 lexrageorge

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Posted 27 September 2011 - 09:07 PM

I'm no basketball junkie, but to me it seems to be one of the most difficult sports to officiate, and many times officials are truly in a "no win" situation. Consider LeBron James, for example. King James has a pretty amazing assortment of moves when he has the ball, moves that cause defenders to end up falling onto his arm or elbow or otherwise impede his progress to the basket. Most players cannot do those same moves, at least on a consistent basis. Additionally, these "contact incidents" happen in an instant. In real time, the official has to decide if the contact is worthy of a foul and blow the whistle. The referee can't think about it; once he blows the whistle, the foul is called, and there is nothing the official can do about it. And, while there are obvious fouls, there are many that are in the borderline category.

If he decides to call the foul, he has to deal with the fact that he slowed the game down, and get criticized by all for showing LeBron favoritism. Of course, if he doesn't make these calls there's a chance the game turns into a 69-64 snoozefest, which the NBA hates for obvious reasons. Or worse, there's a chance that the fouls get harder and harder until it gets out of control and punches are thrown. There is a delicate balance between "letting the teams play", the pace of the game, the scoring, and keeping the game in check; there's also the chemistry with the other officials, and dealing with the constant chirping by the players and coaches that seems to occur on every foul call. Noone should call this job easy.

So, when folks claim the officials are "incompetent" across the board, I have to ask: are they just parroting what they hear in the media? Are they upset that their team lost a playoff series 8 years ago on a bad call? Do they feel their favorite player is getting shafted? Or are they looking at it from an objective "I see lots of inconsistencies between fouls called, even in a single game by the same official"?

Having said all that, it is a fact that the NBA does have bad officials, or at least guys that should be retired (Dick Bavetta). The fact that these same guys are back year after year and continue to officiate big games is something the NBA could fix if it felt compelled to do so. Certainly, officials that constantly lose their cool at specific coaches or players and call needless technicals should be disciplined as well. These are problems that the NBA seems to have more so than other sports.

MLB gained a lot of credibility when they allowed umpires to discuss calls they made and even admit mistakes. The NFL does sometimes expand upon calls that generate controversy. The NBA meanwhile just fines the coaches that violate the sacred gag order and says nothing.

The evidence that there is a "fix" is absent, and in fact there is a lot of evidence that such a fix doesn't exist. However, the NBA does have a quality problem, a transparency problem, and a PR problem when it comes to its officials, and unfortunately Stern does not seem all that interested in admitting any of those problems exist. Unfortunately, such hard headedness just gives the conspiracy folks more food for the fire.

#19 wutang112878


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Posted 28 September 2011 - 10:51 AM

There was an 18 month investigation about the relationship between Donaghy and Scott Foster. What the FBI and independent investigating agencies determined was that any involvement that Scott Foster had in the Donaghy scandal was without his knowledge, and that he was in no way involved in any illegal activities. The NBA did investigate the situation thoroughly, as did the FBI and several independent agencies. Now, I get that it works much better within the narrative of what you believe about the state of NBA officiating to say that the NBA didn't investigate the situation well enough, but what about the FBI and the independent agencies? Also, you want answers on why Donaghy called Foster? Read the report: http://hosted.ap.org...ba_pedowitz.pdf.

Edit: To save you some time, just go read pages 27-35.


So I never read this in detail [before now], but to summarize it seems the investigation found that the calls were 'odd' but didnt provide specific reasons as to why Donaghy was calling, but noted that there were instances where Donaghy talked to Foster and then to his bookie. Seems odd to me. Personally I think this could have been investigated further, I mean Foster provided the call records the FBI didnt get them from his provider. Just my personal opinion, but yeah I still think more could have been done.

Edited by wutang112878, 28 September 2011 - 10:52 AM.


#20 Grin&MartyBarret

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Posted 28 September 2011 - 11:06 AM

So I never read this in detail [before now], but to summarize it seems the investigation found that the calls were 'odd' but didnt provide specific reasons as to why Donaghy was calling, but noted that there were instances where Donaghy talked to Foster and then to his bookie. Seems odd to me. Personally I think this could have been investigated further, I mean Foster provided the call records the FBI didnt get them from his provider. Just my personal opinion, but yeah I still think more could have been done.



You're seriously reaching here.

edit: To review the report, here are the factors that led the NBA to conclude that Foster was not involved:

1. The FBI, despite interviewing Foster, does not believe he was involved.
2. Donaghy himself did not implicate Foster, though failure to do so could have resulted in a longer sentence.
3. After the article by Fox News about Donaghy and Foster's phone records was published, the bookie (Martino) went on record as saying that Foster had no involvement.
4. The frequency of the calls is explained by Donaghy and Foster's close friendship of fifteen years. Foster is a godfather to Donaghy's child, and they were hired by the NBA in the same year.
5. The fact that the majority of the calls lasted only 2 minutes actually meant that no conversations took place. It was determined that both Foster and Donaghy's phone carrier would report a missed call that went to voicemail as a 2 minute call.
6. The incidents of calls between Foster and Donaghy that were followed up by a call from Donaghy to Martino were so few that there was no connection could be drawn.

7. The frequency of the calls was completely in line with how frequently Foster spoke to other NBA refs, and how frequently other NBA refs spoke to each other. Foster and Donaghy called each other 170 times during the time of Donaghy's involvement with Martino. Foster spoke to Matt Boland 153 times during that time. After Donaghy and Foster stopped speaking, the frequency of Foster's conversations with Boland did not decline.
8. The timing of the calls to Donaghy was not inconsistent with timing of calls Foster placed to Boland, or other NBA refs.
9. Other NBA referees who were investigated had similar calling patterns in terms of frequency of calls made to other NBA refs, and timing of calls.

I really dont know how, given that evidence, you still think Foster should have been fired and that there was more that could have been done.

Edited by Grin&MartyBarret, 28 September 2011 - 12:04 PM.


#21 wutang112878


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Posted 28 September 2011 - 12:07 PM

You're seriously reaching here.


If you are the NBA and found out one ref admitting to gambling and trying to use inside info, and found out that that ref was also calling another ref before games and then calling his bookie, you wouldnt at least want a few specific examples of why they were talking over 100 times before games? Thats really too much to ask for before you continue to employ the 2nd ref?

Think of it in a different place in life. If I worked in a warehouse and am caught stealing after hour and there is video of me walking out with a co-worker after hours through the warehouse multiple times. Before they continue to employ the other guy, are you telling me its unreasonable to ask him he specifically was doing in the warehouse at these times? I dont think so.

#22 wutang112878


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Posted 28 September 2011 - 12:14 PM

You're seriously reaching here.

I really dont know how, given that evidence, you still think Foster should have been fired and that there was more that could have been done.


I replied before your edit refreshed. Anyway, I am not saying Foster should be fired, but if they are going to continue to employ him I would want to know some specifics of what they were talking about when they did speak. Basically, to use my warehouse analogy again, if someone is caught stealing and there is someone connected to that person with evidence, yeah I would want to investigate that like crazy before I could trust that person again. Its unfortunate but considering the ramifications [if Foster were indeed helping Donaghy, even without realizing what he was using the info for] its pretty freaking significant.

Also, not shocking that Donaghy wouldnt talk to his bookie if he didnt get info from Foster, he still would need to put picks in. And as for Donaghy and the bookie not implicating Foster, thats some bad logic considering when Donaghy made some outlandish claims about the NBA Stern was the first to chime in and note that he was a desperate criminal trying to save himself and he couldnt be trusted....

#23 Grin&MartyBarret

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Posted 28 September 2011 - 12:33 PM

I replied before your edit refreshed. Anyway, I am not saying Foster should be fired, but if they are going to continue to employ him I would want to know some specifics of what they were talking about when they did speak. Basically, to use my warehouse analogy again, if someone is caught stealing and there is someone connected to that person with evidence, yeah I would want to investigate that like crazy before I could trust that person again. Its unfortunate but considering the ramifications [if Foster were indeed helping Donaghy, even without realizing what he was using the info for] its pretty freaking significant.

Also, not shocking that Donaghy wouldnt talk to his bookie if he didnt get info from Foster, he still would need to put picks in. And as for Donaghy and the bookie not implicating Foster, thats some bad logic considering when Donaghy made some outlandish claims about the NBA Stern was the first to chime in and note that he was a desperate criminal trying to save himself and he couldnt be trusted....


Those specifics are in the report, and are pulled from Foster's testimony to the FBI about the phone calls.

And I'm not even gonna bother with that last paragraph. You clearly have your mind pretty well made up here, and I'm having a lot of difficulty even following your logic in that first sentence. We're in complete agreement that it would raise major red flags if after Donaghy and Foster spoke, Donaghy then regularly called his bookie. However, that didn't happen. I really don't get your argument. You keep saying you want this to have been investigated in more detail. It was investigated in detail. I'm not sure where the disconnect is. What more detail would you like?

#24 wutang112878


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Posted 28 September 2011 - 01:51 PM

Those specifics are in the report, and are pulled from Foster's testimony to the FBI about the phone calls.

And I'm not even gonna bother with that last paragraph. You clearly have your mind pretty well made up here, and I'm having a lot of difficulty even following your logic in that first sentence. We're in complete agreement that it would raise major red flags if after Donaghy and Foster spoke, Donaghy then regularly called his bookie. However, that didn't happen. I really don't get your argument. You keep saying you want this to have been investigated in more detail. It was investigated in detail. I'm not sure where the disconnect is. What more detail would you like?


Let me rephrase, on the days that Donaghy spoke with Foster and then spoke with a bookie, I would specifically like to know what they spoke about and specifically how long those conversations lasted. Because the report did not say 'there were never any instances where Donaghy spoke with Foster and then spoke with a bookie'. If I was Stern and was technically responsible for the integrity of the NBA I would want these specifics. Maybe I am missing it, but I dont see anything in this report that indicates that Stern has that info, and would you agree that as the CEO/ultimate guy responsible for the NBA would you want to know about this? Thats one of the specific things I would like Stern to have investigated and communicated about this, to my knowledge I havent seen that.

And I am biased and a conspiracy believer towards the NBA ref situation? Sure. But lets remember that Kings/Lakers Game 6 happened, so unfortunately there is some evidence there to indicate that there are some problems, so in my personal opinion in very sketchy situations such as this one I think the NBA should prove its innocence beyond a reasonable doubt.

And as far as my argument goes, this Donaghy thing should have forced a complete revolution on how refs are managed, evaluated and monitored. I dont think that ever happened, yes they got a new former general or whatever to oversee refs but I dont think there were any significant changes beyond that. And even if Donaghy was a 'rogue' ref acting by himself, wouldnt/shouldnt that also shock the NBA offices at the core to realize someone did this stuff and they didnt even notice so therefore they should make some major changes to make sure this never happened again? And if you agree with that, do you think they have taken appropriate actions?

#25 Grin&MartyBarret

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Posted 28 September 2011 - 02:19 PM

Let me rephrase, on the days that Donaghy spoke with Foster and then spoke with a bookie, I would specifically like to know what they spoke about and specifically how long those conversations lasted. Because the report did not say 'there were never any instances where Donaghy spoke with Foster and then spoke with a bookie'. If I was Stern and was technically responsible for the integrity of the NBA I would want these specifics. Maybe I am missing it, but I dont see anything in this report that indicates that Stern has that info, and would you agree that as the CEO/ultimate guy responsible for the NBA would you want to know about this? Thats one of the specific things I would like Stern to have investigated and communicated about this, to my knowledge I havent seen that.

And I am biased and a conspiracy believer towards the NBA ref situation? Sure. But lets remember that Kings/Lakers Game 6 happened, so unfortunately there is some evidence there to indicate that there are some problems, so in my personal opinion in very sketchy situations such as this one I think the NBA should prove its innocence beyond a reasonable doubt.

And as far as my argument goes, this Donaghy thing should have forced a complete revolution on how refs are managed, evaluated and monitored. I dont think that ever happened, yes they got a new former general or whatever to oversee refs but I dont think there were any significant changes beyond that. And even if Donaghy was a 'rogue' ref acting by himself, wouldnt/shouldnt that also shock the NBA offices at the core to realize someone did this stuff and they didnt even notice so therefore they should make some major changes to make sure this never happened again? And if you agree with that, do you think they have taken appropriate actions?


Okay, that makes your point more clear. I'll try and address it a paragraph at a time.

A couple of things in regards to your first paragraph: First, how are you going to find that information. I think by pretty much all accounts, it's pretty clear that Foster is innocent and did not knowingly provide Donaghy with information that Donaghy then passed on to bookies. With that in mind, I'm not sure how he could be expected to recount the details of 3 specific phone calls that had taken place on random nights years earlier. Those nights likely did not stand out as unique in any way for Foster. What's he gonna say that would appease you? Suppose, somehow, he did remember and could say "Yeah, we talked about the golf course I played in Phoenix the day before." Is that gonna do a single thing to alleviate your suspicions? I don't really think it would. That said, Stern does have the lengths of those calls, and I'm confident enough in the NBA/FBI/etc to believe that if those calls raised any suspicion whatsoever, that they wouldn't be ignored.

It takes a really, really huge leap of logic to get from very poor officiating in Game 6 of the Lakers-Kings series to "Scott Foster's phone records weren't sufficiently investigated". I get that game 6 raised your suspicions in general, but neither Donaghy nor Foster officiated that game, and drawing a connection between that game, and Tim Donaghy would require a belief in a very vast conspiracy, of which I'm not convinced there'd be any motivation for the league to undertake.

And, what further steps do you propose? What are they gonna do, herd the officials from arena to arena like sequestered jurors and make sure they don't have any contact with the outside world? Myself, I simply take the other side of the argument. Donaghy was on his own in this, and is the one person of the hundreds who have refereed NBA games who got caught up in gambling, and his case doesn't suggest any sort of epidemic and organizational chaos that needs to be cleaned up.

Are there improvements that could be made to how games are called on the floor? Sure. But they don't relate to what goes on off the court, or the Donaghy scandal, and I think it takes us further away from a rational, meaningful discussion of NBA officiating when people insist that the issues stem from some conspiracy or Stern picking winners from on high.

Edit: Oh, and lastly, just sort of a hypothetical question. . .If the conspiracy exists, and the NBA subtly or overtly makes suggestions to referees about who should be getting the bulk of the calls in an attempt to outcome games, why is it that Tim Donaghy was such a terrible gambler? Remember, publication of his book was cancelled due to factual inaccuracies and the insider information he used to make bets was examined and didn't hold up when it was examined against the actual game logs. It would be one thing if Donaghy was winning a huge percentage of his bets, but this is a guy who was so bad at picking games that he ended up trying to provide insider information to a bookie to get out from under the debts he'd accumulated.


Edited by Grin&MartyBarret, 28 September 2011 - 02:27 PM.


#26 Brickowski

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Posted 28 September 2011 - 04:02 PM

Once again, my view is that the Donaghy thing is a side show.. Maybe there were more bad apples, maybe not. The problem is that the NBA's every day, garden variety officiating by officials who are presumably honest is so inconsistent that it is almost impossible to catch the crooked ones. The NBA's officiating problem isn't dishonesty, it's inccompetence, plus a league and commissioner who have thus far resisted putting a meaningful replay system into place.

#27 BucketOBalls


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Posted 28 September 2011 - 04:39 PM

Once again, my view is that the Donaghy thing is a side show.. Maybe there were more bad apples, maybe not. The problem is that the NBA's every day, garden variety officiating by officials who are presumably honest is so inconsistent that it is almost impossible to catch the crooked ones. The NBA's officiating problem isn't dishonesty, it's inccompetence, plus a league and commissioner who have thus far resisted putting a meaningful replay system into place.


Well, it's either incompetence or the game is impossible to officiate. I think there are a few officals who are terrible and should be pushed into retirement, but think mostly the problem is that the rule set doesn't work. Much like the NFL, they put in rules to increase scoreing, but also made the game much harder to call consistently. I think they need to look at alternatives. Best one I've seen(and now I can't find it, arg!) was to have two baskets at each end either on opposite sides of the court or in the corners. This spreads the defense out and increases scoring, but means you can allow more contact(it also would help with the 'lane and paint' thing so you would't have to be as restrictive there either.

#28 Brickowski

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Posted 29 September 2011 - 01:09 PM

Well, it's either incompetence or the game is impossible to officiate. I think there are a few officals who are terrible and should be pushed into retirement, but think mostly the problem is that the rule set doesn't work. Much like the NFL, they put in rules to increase scoreing, but also made the game much harder to call consistently. I think they need to look at alternatives. Best one I've seen(and now I can't find it, arg!) was to have two baskets at each end either on opposite sides of the court or in the corners. This spreads the defense out and increases scoring, but means you can allow more contact(it also would help with the 'lane and paint' thing so you would't have to be as restrictive there either.


Well yes, the rule set is a big contributor, but so is selective enforcement of the rules. They simplified the "anti-zone" rules, but now they hardly call offensive three seconds any more. Palming is still a violation, but with a few exceptions they only call it against rookies in the preseason. Stars get preferential treatment. And the list goes on.

There also need to be fewer whistles. Who wants to watch a game with no continuity where the teams shoot 75 free throws? The officials are ruining the product. For starters they can go back to allowing incidental contact (offensive and defensive). I'd also go back to two officals. Let the players play.

#29 wutang112878


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Posted 29 September 2011 - 01:10 PM

A couple of things in regards to your first paragraph: First, how are you going to find that information. I think by pretty much all accounts, it's pretty clear that Foster is innocent and did not knowingly provide Donaghy with information that Donaghy then passed on to bookies. With that in mind, I'm not sure how he could be expected to recount the details of 3 specific phone calls that had taken place on random nights years earlier. Those nights likely did not stand out as unique in any way for Foster. What's he gonna say that would appease you? Suppose, somehow, he did remember and could say "Yeah, we talked about the golf course I played in Phoenix the day before." Is that gonna do a single thing to alleviate your suspicions? I don't really think it would. That said, Stern does have the lengths of those calls, and I'm confident enough in the NBA/FBI/etc to believe that if those calls raised any suspicion whatsoever, that they wouldn't be ignored.


I dont know if Foster could have provided the details of what they talked about, but I think the NBA and Stern at the very least should have asked the question and tried to find out what they talked about on days that Donaghy talked to Foster then the bookie. And, the NBA also should have gotten Fosters actual call records from his provider [not from Foster]. Would the results of these actions satisfy me? I dont know, but if the NBA actually did this it would indicate that they really did take this seriously, thats a big problem for me that there was a connection and I do feel they could have investigated it further.

It takes a really, really huge leap of logic to get from very poor officiating in Game 6 of the Lakers-Kings series to "Scott Foster's phone records weren't sufficiently investigated". I get that game 6 raised your suspicions in general, but neither Donaghy nor Foster officiated that game, and drawing a connection between that game, and Tim Donaghy would require a belief in a very vast conspiracy, of which I'm not convinced there'd be any motivation for the league to undertake.


Game 6 isnt bad officiating, that was officiating to alter an outcome, maybe we disagree on that but we will have to disagree. My point isnt that Game 6 is somehow related to Donaghy, but Game 6 indicates there are some serious problems, and the NBA has credibility issues in terms of officiating so when another officiating credibility issue comes up they should treat it much more seriously than any of the other major sports.

And, what further steps do you propose? What are they gonna do, herd the officials from arena to arena like sequestered jurors and make sure they don't have any contact with the outside world? Myself, I simply take the other side of the argument. Donaghy was on his own in this, and is the one person of the hundreds who have refereed NBA games who got caught up in gambling, and his case doesn't suggest any sort of epidemic and organizational chaos that needs to be cleaned up.


As for further steps, how about demanding that refs allow the NBA to review all cellphone and hotel calls made by refs? If refs want to still talk to bookies sure they could still do it, but after the Donaghy fiasco would that seem like relatively reasonable due diligence? I agree that the Donaghy situation doesnt indicate that this was just the tip of the iceberg, but it does indicate that the NBA did not have adequate procedures/processes in place to find a ref who wanted to use inside info for gambling purposes. If I was Stern this would concern me a great deal, and I would want to change things to ensure this never happened again, I cant say that he really did.


Are there improvements that could be made to how games are called on the floor? Sure. But they don't relate to what goes on off the court, or the Donaghy scandal, and I think it takes us further away from a rational, meaningful discussion of NBA officiating when people insist that the issues stem from some conspiracy or Stern picking winners from on high.


One thing we both agree on, the NBA, if they truly wanted to, could improve the performance of officiating. Would you agree that they really havent made much of an effort to do so?

Edit: Oh, and lastly, just sort of a hypothetical question. . .If the conspiracy exists, and the NBA subtly or overtly makes suggestions to referees about who should be getting the bulk of the calls in an attempt to outcome games, why is it that Tim Donaghy was such a terrible gambler? Remember, publication of his book was cancelled due to factual inaccuracies and the insider information he used to make bets was examined and didn't hold up when it was examined against the actual game logs. It would be one thing if Donaghy was winning a huge percentage of his bets, but this is a guy who was so bad at picking games that he ended up trying to provide insider information to a bookie to get out from under the debts he'd accumulated.


I understand and agree with your point and for the most part agree, if Donaghy had both inside info and was a good gambler he should have been very successful. Unfortunately gambling addicts generally arent good gamblers. I remember my uncle asking me once about my thoughts on an NBA game before he placed a bet. He never watched basketball and couldnt have named the top 2 players on each team but he was still going to bet on it based on my feedback. Its entirely possible that while Donaghy had 'theories' on gambling strategy, they were very bad theories that simply didnt work or his gambling impulses didnt allow him to make good decisions.

The counter argument to your point would be why, if there is no inside info to be gained, do leagues not announce the ref selections when schedules are announced? The NBA releases them the day of the game [I believe] and the NFL [which I think is probably the best officiated league there is in terms of the major 4 sports] releases them only a few days in advance of the game. Basically, all the leagues realize that there are biases and trends for officiating crews so they keep the officiating crew information private for a degree of time. If he was a 'good' or intelligent gambler Donaghy should have been able to use this inside information to beat the odds but not all gamblers are good. Which is why there are so few who actually consistently beat sports books and why casinos still have sports books because if they

#30 FL4WL3SS


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Posted 29 September 2011 - 02:08 PM

Lets compare this to football, where a very standard saying is 'there is holding on every play' but there isnt much complaining about holding to the degree we complain about NBA officiating. Its an equally difficult sport to officiate, but the criticism in football officiating isnt anywhere close to that in the NBA. So I cant agree that NBA officiating is difficult so we should accept mediocre officiating performances.


NBA officiating needs to improve no question about that. But Stern has little interest in doing anything about it, just consider the fallout he should have had over the Donaghy thing and almost nothing was done. I would love to see them do something, but I dont see it happening while Stern is the Comish.

The NFL is always actively changing rules to make the game more fair and competitive which is why I think most fans have a hard time complaining. There is a competition committee that meets every offseason to determine which rules need to be revised/rewritten/removed to make the game better and evolve with the game. Players have gotten stronger and faster and the game has evolved and isn't the same as it was even 20 years ago. Likewise, the NBA has similarly gotten stronger and faster and is a different game, yet it still has the same rules as it did 50 years ago.

I think the officiating is a problem, but I also think the players have outgrown the game. I think rules need to be changed to make the game easier to officiate and more fair. Until that happens, I don't think this problem is going away.

#31 Brickowski

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Posted 29 September 2011 - 05:50 PM

The current NBA rules are quite different than they were 50 years ago. Let's start with the three point shot, and the various locations of the three-point line. The illegal defense rules have completely changed. There is no hand checking under the current rules. The travelling rules were changed significantly abot 10 years ago, plus they added the 4 ft. circle under the basket to distinguish travelling from charging (huge change). They added a third official and limited instant replay.

I don't think the players have outgrown the game. IMHO the game has outgrown the officials.

#32 Grin&MartyBarret

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Posted 29 September 2011 - 06:57 PM

I dont know if Foster could have provided the details of what they talked about, but I think the NBA and Stern at the very least should have asked the question and tried to find out what they talked about on days that Donaghy talked to Foster then the bookie. And, the NBA also should have gotten Fosters actual call records from his provider [not from Foster]. Would the results of these actions satisfy me? I dont know, but if the NBA actually did this it would indicate that they really did take this seriously, thats a big problem for me that there was a connection and I do feel they could have investigated it further.


We don't disagree here, exactly. Where we do disagree is that while you assume the NBA never did this, I assume the NBA, FBI, and everybody else did their due diligence and once it became clear to them that Foster was not involved in illegal activities, they no longer thought what he and Donaghy spoke about was relevant. They were already well aware that Donaghy used insider information, their goal was to determine if anybody else was knowingly in on it. And as for who the call records came from, I really highly doubt that the NBA, private investigators and whoever else didn't take the necessary steps to determine that the phone records were accurate. I think that's a safe assumption to make.


Game 6 isnt bad officiating, that was officiating to alter an outcome, maybe we disagree on that but we will have to disagree. My point isnt that Game 6 is somehow related to Donaghy, but Game 6 indicates there are some serious problems, and the NBA has credibility issues in terms of officiating so when another officiating credibility issue comes up they should treat it much more seriously than any of the other major sports.


Personally, I think Game 6 of that series has taken on a life of its own, and I'm willing to bet that though it's the game every NBA truther sites as their most damning example, nobody can site which calls were actually terrible. Was it a well-officiated game? Nope. Were there some iffy calls? Yes. But plenty of rational people have gone back and watched that game paying very close attention to the officiating and simply see a poorly officiated game, and not a fix. For instance: http://82games.com/l...kingsgame6.htm. And ultimately, even when you read Donaghy's allegations about NBA refs, even he's not insinuating the level of conspiracy that so many people here seem to be. Hell, one of his "major" allegations was that an NBA ref was friends with and played tennis with a coach, and that another used a team's practice facility to workout. I don't know how the NBA made it through such allegations.


As for further steps, how about demanding that refs allow the NBA to review all cellphone and hotel calls made by refs? If refs want to still talk to bookies sure they could still do it, but after the Donaghy fiasco would that seem like relatively reasonable due diligence? I agree that the Donaghy situation doesnt indicate that this was just the tip of the iceberg, but it does indicate that the NBA did not have adequate procedures/processes in place to find a ref who wanted to use inside info for gambling purposes. If I was Stern this would concern me a great deal, and I would want to change things to ensure this never happened again, I cant say that he really did.



Sure, I guess. But again, they already did that when they reviewed their records from 2006-2008 in the wake of the Donaghy scandal, and I'm confident that if they felt the need to do this, they'd be doing it. That said, this isn't done for judges, or police officers, or any of the other dozens of professions where integrity is essential except in instances where there is cause, so this feels like overkill to me.



One thing we both agree on, the NBA, if they truly wanted to, could improve the performance of officiating. Would you agree that they really havent made much of an effort to do so?

I understand and agree with your point and for the most part agree, if Donaghy had both inside info and was a good gambler he should have been very successful. Unfortunately gambling addicts generally arent good gamblers. I remember my uncle asking me once about my thoughts on an NBA game before he placed a bet. He never watched basketball and couldnt have named the top 2 players on each team but he was still going to bet on it based on my feedback. Its entirely possible that while Donaghy had 'theories' on gambling strategy, they were very bad theories that simply didnt work or his gambling impulses didnt allow him to make good decisions.

The counter argument to your point would be why, if there is no inside info to be gained, do leagues not announce the ref selections when schedules are announced? The NBA releases them the day of the game [I believe] and the NFL [which I think is probably the best officiated league there is in terms of the major 4 sports] releases them only a few days in advance of the game. Basically, all the leagues realize that there are biases and trends for officiating crews so they keep the officiating crew information private for a degree of time. If he was a 'good' or intelligent gambler Donaghy should have been able to use this inside information to beat the odds but not all gamblers are good.


We do agree on that, which is why I'm confused that your suggestions involve monitoring phone records and investigating Scott Foster some more. I'm all for improving NBA officiating, though I have no idea how you go about doing that. Maybe an additional referee could be added, or replay could be implemented where possible. It would be a nice addition if there was some sort of unbiased oversight committee that held officials responsible, and that the referee assignment process was more transparent. That said, I also agree with the other posters in this thread who have opined that basketball is an extremely difficult sport to officiate, and that ultimately, the NBA is fighting an uphill battle. In my mind, the NBA is really just guilty of shitty public relations, and allowed this issue to fester for so long that, without realizing it, they began to lose fans. I hope they take steps to make improvements, though, I also believe that the product on the floor is as good as it's ever been, and I'll be watching regardless.




#33 HomeRunBaker


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Posted 29 September 2011 - 09:11 PM

Once again, my view is that the Donaghy thing is a side show.. Maybe there were more bad apples, maybe not. The problem is that the NBA's every day, garden variety officiating by officials who are presumably honest is so inconsistent that it is almost impossible to catch the crooked ones. The NBA's officiating problem isn't dishonesty, it's inccompetence, plus a league and commissioner who have thus far resisted putting a meaningful replay system into place.



I have put this challenge out there on a few other occasions over the years. Anyone who feels that NBA officials are incompetent and are physically able to do so should invest time into getting involved in officiating in rec leagues, CYO leagues, etc and then advance to higher levels of training to become a high school or collegiate official. This will give those skeptical fans a true understanding of how difficult it is to manage a live game that isn't even in the same stratosphere as officiating at the NBA level.

What is the solution? The replay system would destroy the flow of the game so that is out. Aside from a small handful of tenured officials you have the best of the best basketball referees in the world officiating these games. If you don't believe this go YouTube (or watch next summer, or the following) a Las Vegas Summer League game that features officials a tier below that of the NBA. You had players will double digits in personal fouls and games with no flow whatsoever so that the games are unwatchable.....the tier below NBA officials aren't able to manage this level of play so where are the officials who can manage an NBA game better than those out there now? Simple answer, there aren't with the exception of the small handful being held back by the Bavettas of the league.

#34 bowiac


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Posted 30 September 2011 - 01:55 AM

What is the solution? The replay system would destroy the flow of the game so that is out. Aside from a small handful of tenured officials you have the best of the best basketball referees in the world officiating these games. If you don't believe this go YouTube (or watch next summer, or the following) a Las Vegas Summer League game that features officials a tier below that of the NBA. You had players will double digits in personal fouls and games with no flow whatsoever so that the games are unwatchable.....the tier below NBA officials aren't able to manage this level of play so where are the officials who can manage an NBA game better than those out there now? Simple answer, there aren't with the exception of the small handful being held back by the Bavettas of the league.

Why is sacrificing some of the flow of the game automatically too high a price to pay for better officiating? The NFL did it, and I think most people think it's been an improvement. Maybe I'm wrong on this point, but in spite of some growing pains, it seems like most people like replay there. The same might be true of the NBA. If anything, I would guess it would have a smaller impact in the NBA, given that foul calls are already so prevalent, and the flow of the game is regularly disrupted. I'm personally not so married to the majesty of point guards and shooting guards taking a foul shot that I'm not willing to delay that in order to get the call right.

#35 Brickowski

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Posted 30 September 2011 - 08:41 AM

I would put in a challenge system similar to the one in football, except that I would also allow coaches to challenge non-calls, such as the guy who takes 4 steps on his way to a dunk or a blocked shot that was clearly a goaltend. Once again, I would couple that with allowing incidental contact. There are just too many whistles for dinky little things that would have no impact on the game, except for the fact that the whistle was blown.

I have officiated (high school and AAU). It's not that difficult to get it right moist of the time. And if you do make a mistake, admit it. IMHO NCAA officials do a better job overall than NBA officials. I attribute this to the fact that in the NCAA, coaches have more power, and if the coaches in a conference agree that an offical isn't very good, they can make sure that he does not get much work the following year, especially since there is no union, no senioriity system, etc. So, college officials can't screw teams the way NBA officials can.

Edited by Brickowski, 30 September 2011 - 08:44 AM.


#36 wutang112878


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Posted 30 September 2011 - 08:57 AM

The NFL is always actively changing rules to make the game more fair and competitive which is why I think most fans have a hard time complaining. There is a competition committee that meets every offseason to determine which rules need to be revised/rewritten/removed to make the game better and evolve with the game. Players have gotten stronger and faster and the game has evolved and isn't the same as it was even 20 years ago. Likewise, the NBA has similarly gotten stronger and faster and is a different game, yet it still has the same rules as it did 50 years ago.

I think the officiating is a problem, but I also think the players have outgrown the game. I think rules need to be changed to make the game easier to officiate and more fair. Until that happens, I don't think this problem is going away.


This is a good point, the NFL is active in trying to make the job easier for the officials. A good example is the 2 feet inbounds for a catch rule, it used to be up to the official to decide if the receiver could have got 2 feet inbounds if he wasnt pushed out, now its mandatory 2 feet for a catch. I cant think of the NBA doing much along these lines in a long time.

That said, how could the NBA game be made easier? The contact calls that are most difficult are those in the lane during a drive and outside the lane handchecking/swiping type calls. I cant think of a simple rule change that would make these more clear or easier to call because the game happens so fast. So if you want to improve the accuracy of these calls, at least IMO, officiating simply needs to be better.

#37 wutang112878


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Posted 30 September 2011 - 09:34 AM

We don't disagree here, exactly. Where we do disagree is that while you assume the NBA never did this, I assume the NBA, FBI, and everybody else did their due diligence and once it became clear to them that Foster was not involved in illegal activities, they no longer thought what he and Donaghy spoke about was relevant. They were already well aware that Donaghy used insider information, their goal was to determine if anybody else was knowingly in on it. And as for who the call records came from, I really highly doubt that the NBA, private investigators and whoever else didn't take the necessary steps to determine that the phone records were accurate. I think that's a safe assumption to make.


Its just a personal thing with me, but yeah I dont trust Stern. In looking at the problem I think he had 2 options: 1 - Thorough investigation and find everything, or 2 - Make it go away, I dont trust him to do the right thing in that situation. I mean the guy still has Dick Bavetta as an active ref and that guy is what over 70 and can hardly run? Just an example of a situation where Stern could clearly do better from an officiating standpoint and doesnt have much of an interest in doing so, and why I therefore think he never wanted to really open pandoras box if he could avoid it. We probably wont convince one another on this one, so we can just agree to disagree and I will admit I am biased against Stern.

Personally, I think Game 6 of that series has taken on a life of its own, and I'm willing to bet that though it's the game every NBA truther sites as their most damning example, nobody can site which calls were actually terrible. Was it a well-officiated game? Nope. Were there some iffy calls? Yes. But plenty of rational people have gone back and watched that game paying very close attention to the officiating and simply see a poorly officiated game, and not a fix. For instance: http://82games.com/l...kingsgame6.htm. And ultimately, even when you read Donaghy's allegations about NBA refs, even he's not insinuating the level of conspiracy that so many people here seem to be. Hell, one of his "major" allegations was that an NBA ref was friends with and played tennis with a coach, and that another used a team's practice facility to workout. I don't know how the NBA made it through such allegations.


One thing Donaghy did claim, which makes perfect sense to me, is that the NBA doesnt tell refs to fix games but they influence them with their 'emphasis points' given to refs. So before a game they give the refs examples of previous calls that were bad or missed and emphasizes getting these correct. Donaghy alleged that sometimes these were completely swayed towards one team, which again could be perfectly logical. However, I would argue that at times these emphasis points can confuse the crap out of refs because at times in playoff series we do see things called differently from one game to the next. In the same way that MLB tried to standardize the strikezone with Questec, the NBA could clearly do some work in this area at the very least, especially after something like Game6 where the Lakers suddenly got calls that they werent getting in other games.



Sure, I guess. But again, they already did that when they reviewed their records from 2006-2008 in the wake of the Donaghy scandal, and I'm confident that if they felt the need to do this, they'd be doing it. That said, this isn't done for judges, or police officers, or any of the other dozens of professions where integrity is essential except in instances where there is cause, so this feels like overkill to me.


Overkill? Entirely possible. Although I would also argue it would be a great PR move by Stern to show 'I am trying to do everything I can'.


We do agree on that, which is why I'm confused that your suggestions involve monitoring phone records and investigating Scott Foster some more. I'm all for improving NBA officiating, though I have no idea how you go about doing that. Maybe an additional referee could be added, or replay could be implemented where possible. It would be a nice addition if there was some sort of unbiased oversight committee that held officials responsible, and that the referee assignment process was more transparent. That said, I also agree with the other posters in this thread who have opined that basketball is an extremely difficult sport to officiate, and that ultimately, the NBA is fighting an uphill battle. In my mind, the NBA is really just guilty of shitty public relations, and allowed this issue to fester for so long that, without realizing it, they began to lose fans. I hope they take steps to make improvements, though, I also believe that the product on the floor is as good as it's ever been, and I'll be watching regardless.


I agree that the NBA is difficult to officiate, but [I had made this point before] so is the NFL but there is much less controversy there and I think that most fans would agree that officiating is better in the NFL than the NBA. They are very different sports but the ratio of officials to players is approximately the same, as is the ratio of sq footage to officials, and the 'touch' calls are equally difficult because lets face it things like pass interference, illegal contact on defense and holding are all analogous to the touch calls in the NBA. Technically you could call a penalty for one of these in the NFL on every single play but IMO the NFL gets this right at a higher % than the NBA gets their calls correct.

So if we are talking about how to improve NBA officiating, I would look to the NFL first where they clearly have a pretty good evaluation and improvement process. If I was Stern Step#1 would be too simply go to the NFL [and considering they arent a direct competitor with the NBA, they might help] and try to find out what they are doing that the NBA isnt, or what they are doing better than the NBA.

They could also devote more resources to improving the officiating. We need to consider the source, but I dont think this is an outlandish claim by Bill Simmons and this really struck me as ridiculous that the NBA wouldnt be actively trying to recruit future refs, not the other way around:

The following is absolutely true: Last week, the NBA sent out a memo for its Development League Referee Tryout Camp, which is scheduled for June 19-21 in Los Angeles. Participants officiate two games with prospective D-League players and need a minimum of two years experience at the high school level or higher. Not only do the participants have to pay their own way to get there, but the NBA charges them a $550 fee that covers "lodging for two nights at the camp headquarters, transportation to and from the games, and a camp officiating jersey." YOU HAVE TO PAY TO TRY OUT! The NBA, where amazingly dumb happens.



#38 HomeRunBaker


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Posted 30 September 2011 - 09:50 PM

Why is sacrificing some of the flow of the game automatically too high a price to pay for better officiating? The NFL did it, and I think most people think it's been an improvement. Maybe I'm wrong on this point, but in spite of some growing pains, it seems like most people like replay there. The same might be true of the NBA. If anything, I would guess it would have a smaller impact in the NBA, given that foul calls are already so prevalent, and the flow of the game is regularly disrupted. I'm personally not so married to the majesty of point guards and shooting guards taking a foul shot that I'm not willing to delay that in order to get the call right.


Without the game having any flow it turns into half court grind it out games like the Knicks of the Anthony Mason days.....the quality of the game will suffer with this "better" officiating. More arguing fouls, game slowing to a halt, more free throws, more stars in foul trouble.....how does this all improve the game?

The primary difference is that NFL players can't foul out of a game. In the end, the NBA game is entertainment and competing for the consumers discretionary dollars. The fans are paying top dollar to see the stars play.....not to sit on the bench with 2 fouls in the first 5 minutes of the game.

#39 Brickowski

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Posted 01 October 2011 - 06:50 AM

If you improved the officiating there would be fewer fouls called, not more. Good officials know how to let the players control the game. Bad officials get whistle happy. For starters you would eliminate most of those make up calls, since there wouldn't be so many crappy calls that need to be made up.

#40 jose melendez


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Posted 15 October 2011 - 01:22 AM

I agree that the biggest issue is that the game is simply extremely difficult to call. However, the problems are real and even if not all have solutions, some do.

If they could even out the star calls versus the non-star calls--which seems to me the thing they could improve most easily, it would be a huge step forward. I find it infuriating that "a rookie doesn't get that call" is explicitly talked about as part of the game.

If the game is too fast--which it is-- it should be too fast when dealing with both stars and non-stars.

#41 bowiac


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Posted 15 October 2011 - 01:58 AM

I agree that the biggest issue is that the game is simply extremely difficult to call. However, the problems are real and even if not all have solutions, some do.

If they could even out the star calls versus the non-star calls--which seems to me the thing they could improve most easily, it would be a huge step forward. I find it infuriating that "a rookie doesn't get that call" is explicitly talked about as part of the game.

If the game is too fast--which it is-- it should be too fast when dealing with both stars and non-stars.

I think this is among most difficult things to fix - not the easiest. Besides the fact that stars are faster (which is also a factor), the reason stars get calls and non-stars don't is clearly tied up with the speed of the game. The refs don't know what exactly they just saw, so the bias is to assume the very good player did something right, and the very bad player did something wrong. Fixing this requires a way to eliminate confirmation bias or something.

Edited by bowiac, 15 October 2011 - 01:59 AM.


#42 CaptainLaddie


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Posted 19 October 2011 - 04:22 PM

They need to expand the court. The players are so much faster and bigger now than they were even 20 years ago. Expand the court, add a ref under each basket at all times, and stop it with the star system.

#43 Brickowski

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Posted 19 October 2011 - 08:49 PM

I want fewer officials, not more of them.

#44 wutang112878


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Posted 20 October 2011 - 03:27 PM

They need to expand the court. The players are so much faster and bigger now than they were even 20 years ago. Expand the court, add a ref under each basket at all times, and stop it with the star system.


But will expanding the court fix the problem or just change it? I think it would lead to more isolation for 1-3s, leading to less attractive basketball, and force officials to make more touch calls like reaching in and handchecks than they currently do which are probably just as difficult to officiate as the fouls in the paint.

#45 bowiac


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Posted 21 October 2011 - 10:54 AM

I want fewer officials, not more of them.

Care to elaborate?

#46 HomeRunBaker


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Posted 21 October 2011 - 07:29 PM

They need to expand the court. The players are so much faster and bigger now than they were even 20 years ago. Expand the court, add a ref under each basket at all times, and stop it with the star system.


I have been preaching this for a decade. When the flow of the game slows, there is more gray-area physical play which seems to be the problem many have with the NBA product. Better spacing would result in a more efficient flow resulting in less physical play and less whistles.

For those complaining about the best officials in the world you guys are in for a treat when you watch your favorite player in Italy, China, Greece, etc this winter. Oh boy.

#47 Brickowski

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Posted 22 October 2011 - 04:19 PM

Care to elaborate?



Sure. Today there are way too many calls for incidental contact and other trivial things. Let the players play. We pay to see NBA basketball players play the game, not a bunch of marinets in striped shirts blowing whistles. Go back to two officials instead of three. Revise the rules to permit hand checking and other incidental contact. Take away that stupid 4 ft circle under the basket. Let them play zone-- why not? That way, the coach can protect his stars. They oifficials don't have to do it.

Once in awhile I'd like to see two minutes of continuous action without a single free throw. But when they do make a call, let's hire officials who (1) won't play favorites, and (2) get what calls they do make right most of the time.

#48 Turrable

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Posted 22 October 2011 - 04:51 PM

We keep hearing about how football is being ruined by bigger and stronger players, but I think this is causing more damage to the NBA. It felt like on half of Miami's plays, either Lebron or Wade would say "screw it, I'm just gonna charge into the lane and force the ref to call something." Because those guys are so talented, coupled with the fact that they are allowed to travel/charge, the "screw it, I'm going to the hole" play became one of their most reliable scoring plays. The results were hideous and almost unwatchable. I don't trust the NBA to fix this problem any time soon, and that depresses me.

#49 Brickowski

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Posted 22 October 2011 - 10:50 PM

We keep hearing about how football is being ruined by bigger and stronger players, but I think this is causing more damage to the NBA. It felt like on half of Miami's plays, either Lebron or Wade would say "screw it, I'm just gonna charge into the lane and force the ref to call something." Because those guys are so talented, coupled with the fact that they are allowed to travel/charge, the "screw it, I'm going to the hole" play became one of their most reliable scoring plays. The results were hideous and almost unwatchable. I don't trust the NBA to fix this problem any time soon, and that depresses me.


Just do what the FIBA officials did when LeBron first went to the Olympics: don't blow the whistle.

#50 finnVT

  • 1,121 posts

Posted 23 October 2011 - 05:54 PM

Officials in all sports make mistake. It is the nature of sports, especially the nature of trying to have 60 year old men officiate a sport being played by people bigger faster, and way more athletic than they are.

Sometimes in other sports officials cost teams games.

Sometimes there are questions of integrity towards specific players. Some QB's get all the calls some get none, some defensive players have a rep and don't get the holding call, and do get the PF call when it is close.

But really in no other real sport is there a very strong believe that the officiating is fixed and actively (perhaps with support of the league) attempting to influence the outcome of games.

I know more people who believe the NBA is "fixed" then believe that it is completely honest, and it really does make the sport difficult to watch

Sorry for bumping an old post, but for me, the problem isn't one of "integrity", but one of randomness. The officiating is so bad, I have no faith that the better team on any given day is going to win.

Also, I hate the "it's hard" explanation. What do I care if refs have a hard job? Sure, I sympathize with them, but the result is that it's a poor product. If the refs can't do their job, (1) find refs who can, or (2) change the rules so the game can be officiated. Just saying "it's hard" and letting things stay as they are doesn't make the game any more appealing for me to watch.