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Will The NBA Address Its Biggest Problem?


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#151 wutang112878


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Posted 13 April 2012 - 01:44 PM

I wish someone could convince Stern that the officiating is actually costing him casual fans, because that is the only way this will change. Just over the past few weeks we had the Celts/Hawks game the other night, and the Celts/Heat game where in the first 2 quarters the Celts kept trying to make it a blowout and the refs simply wouldnt let them, and Bradley got called for a foul for just playing defense on Lebron. I wont make the case that the refs were trying to fix the game, but the performance of the officials was simply unacceptable. The NBA has not made any effort whatsoever to fix these problems, and when they have the 97 year old Dick Bavetta out there for a national game its really beyond a joke. Stern claims that the NBA has the best officials on the planet, but they still cant find a younger, faster ref than Bavetta? Its an absolute joke.

#152 BigSoxFan


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Posted 13 April 2012 - 01:52 PM

Again, I love the "where is the data?!?!?!" crowd, as if there's a single metric that will prove or disprove either side of the argument. Here are the top 10 players in FTA:

Dwight Howard
Kevin Love
LeBron James
Kobe Bryant
Kevin Durant
Blake Griffin
Carmelo Anthony
Corey Maggette
Russell Westbrook
Derrick Rose

Those are all superstars except for Corey Maggette. But, of course, that doesn't exactly prove that it's a "superstar" league since those guys are all primary scoring options on their teams. And that's where you get the disconnect in the argument - because there is no way to conclusively point to any bias, which leads to easy rebuttals by people who don't agree. The crux is that there is a lot of qualitative evidence that impacts people like me who believe that refs let more shit slide for superstars. If LeBron and Sasha Pavlovic both take 4 steps on a fast break dunk, Pavlovic will get called for it more often. Can I prove that with hard data? Of course not. But it doesn't mean that my point is invalid. If you're old enough to remember watching that Knicks/Pacers game at MSG, Patrick Ewing took like 5 steps on his failed layup attempt. Don't even try to attempt to explain to me that the no-call there was the result of simple "incompetence".

#153 slamminsammya

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Posted 13 April 2012 - 03:09 PM

Those are all superstars except for Corey Maggette. But, of course, that doesn't exactly prove that it's a "superstar" league since those guys are all primary scoring options on their teams. And that's where you get the disconnect in the argument - because there is no way to conclusively point to any bias, which leads to easy rebuttals by people who don't agree.


You are almost making my point for me, which is that rather than having any objectivity behind your argument, it is almost entirely a subjective impression. I am not saying your impression is wrong, I am just surprised at the extent to which the "superstar league" phenomenon is widely accepted as fact, when it seems most SOSH posters are pretty sensitive to the idea of confirmation bias, imperfection of memory, personal bias towards the home team/against anything involving Lebron, etc. which is why we value statistics in baseball, for example, so much more highly than arguments like "JD Drew sucks! Did you see him strike out last night? Swing the bat."

Another reason that the "superstar league" theory is so hard to test is because it is not very coherent. If you believe the superstars get preferential treatment, then who is a superstar and who is not? And why are they getting preferential treatment? What do you count as a superstar call and what do you not? Are you saying the refs make incorrect calls, or that they make correct calls but usually the close ones favor the superstars? Do you believe it is a conscious bias by the referees? By the league? Or is it just unconscious?

Also, I do find it hilarious that people complaining about the "superstar calls" problem in this discussion have been using the Heat Celtics game as an example. Not saying the refereeing was good, but Lebron and Wade get calls and KG/Pierce/Allen, all superstars at one point or another (arguably) don't? Do they not qualify as superstars?

And like I said, citing FT attempts does nothing to convince me, nor should it convince anyone else, because getting to the line is arguably more constitutive of being a superstar rather than a result of it. Furthermore, refereeing goes far greater than free throws. There are many more calls every game which do not result in free throws, so citing this is at best a very incomplete picture.

Edited by slamminsammya, 13 April 2012 - 03:12 PM.


#154 slamminsammya

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Posted 13 April 2012 - 03:14 PM

Also, unfortunately I can't find the original Sporting News article, but they did some research on this theory and came up with the following. I know its not perfect, but its a better attempt than "well Lebron shot lots of free throws so CONSPIRACY".

To the contrary, The Sporting News last March added up player offensive touches (shot attempts, assists, offensive rebounds, turnovers), then divided the total by free-throw attempts to get a crude idea of which players get to the line most frequently.
The results? Duncan got fewer calls per touch than Dwight Howard. Austin Croshere beat out James. And the most prolific whistle-inducer in the league was none other than Danny Fortson, whose 1.9 touches per foul shot topped the likes of O'Neal (2.2), Iverson (3.5) and Garnett (4.4).
Unless Fortson has deeply compromising photos of league officiating director Ronnie Nunn, superstar favoritism is vastly overrated.


Source: http://sports.espn.g...ge=Hruby/051104

#155 BigSoxFan


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Posted 13 April 2012 - 03:30 PM

Nice post...except that I wasn't trying to make a conclusive argument. I simply cited one of the few statistics available that would be useful in such an argument. Hell, I even offered the caveat that the "stars" have the ball more than the non-stars, or whatever we want to call them. You cannot compare baseball to basketball because baseball has far better metrics with which to pull conclusions from and not everyone on SoSH is interested in nerding up these discussions. The bottom line is that neither side can successfully "prove" their conclusion. All I can offer is mostly qualitative examples and all you can offer is plausible explanations to refute them.

#156 Brickowski

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Posted 13 April 2012 - 04:53 PM

The superstars benefit from non-calls that don't involve fouls. When is the last time you saw palming called on a star? Wade travels routinely when he makes that spin move but it isn't called. Statistics on number of free throws attempted and fouls per minute are only part of the story.

Edited by Brickowski, 13 April 2012 - 04:53 PM.


#157 simplyeric


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Posted 13 April 2012 - 06:12 PM

Absence/evidence/absence og fl. But there are shades of various levels of referee involvement.
Full-blown conspiracy? Prob not.
Sometimes I feel like it's a Polian-esque 'competition' thing, except that instead of codified emphasis, it's talking points and other unofficial reinforcements.


#158 wutang112878


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Posted 13 April 2012 - 06:52 PM

This isnt qualitative whatsoever, but food for thought. We have forums for all 4 major sports, why is the most popular 'the officials suck' thread basketball? I dont think we even have one for football or hockey. Doesnt that say something about the quality of NBA refs?

#159 JakeRae


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Posted 13 April 2012 - 07:48 PM

One of the more interesting stats to look at in this regard would be FTA/Points in the Paint, but unfortunately the latter seems to only exist for teams. That would control FT attempts for aggressiveness in getting to the rim and would give us a better way of looking at this. Anyone have any idea where I could find PitP stats for individual players?

#160 slamminsammya

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Posted 13 April 2012 - 09:08 PM

One of the more interesting stats to look at in this regard would be FTA/Points in the Paint, but unfortunately the latter seems to only exist for teams. That would control FT attempts for aggressiveness in getting to the rim and would give us a better way of looking at this. Anyone have any idea where I could find PitP stats for individual players?


Here ya go: http://hoopdata.com/shotstats.aspx

#161 ifmanis5


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Posted 15 April 2012 - 05:27 PM

I know this may seem like a bit of a shock, but the Lakers got every close call down the stretch against the Mavs and took 12 more FT's. I know, right?

#162 Dummy Hoy


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Posted 15 April 2012 - 05:28 PM

I know this may seem like a bit of a shock, but the Lakers got every close call down the stretch against the Mavs and took 12 more FT's. I know, right?


That doesn't prove anything. You can't prove anything.

#163 EL Jeffe

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Posted 15 April 2012 - 05:37 PM

That Matt Barnes (non)goaltend was unreal. The word unreal gets thrown around a lot, but honestly - unreal.

Edited by EL Jeffe, 15 April 2012 - 05:38 PM.


#164 Lazy vs Crazy

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Posted 15 April 2012 - 06:13 PM

The NBA still employs Joey Crawford, Ken Mauer, andBennett Salvatore, all of whom were convicted of tax fraud. It is not an organization that values integrity in its officials. These guys are known to have broken the law and hidden it in order to line their pockets. That's exactly the kind of behavior that should get you disqualified from this kind of job but nope, once you get out of prison, David Stern gives you your job back.

#165 Brickowski

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Posted 15 April 2012 - 07:22 PM

Mauer is a decent official IMHO. Crawford used to be decent but started sucking about 5 years ago. Bennet Salvatore has always sucked-- one of the very worst officials the NBA has ever had.

#166 JohnnyTheBone

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Posted 15 April 2012 - 10:54 PM

Mauer is a decent official IMHO. Crawford used to be decent but started sucking about 5 years ago. Bennet Salvatore has always sucked-- one of the very worst officials the NBA has ever had.

This is absolutely RIDICULOUS!!

Ken Mauer better go home to his wife, because nobody here loves him!

#167 JakeRae


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Posted 16 April 2012 - 12:12 AM

This is absolutely RIDICULOUS!!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EjU3nvru9wA
Ken Mauer better go home to his wife, because nobody here loves him!

Remember when ESPN was worth watching?

#168 Brickowski

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Posted 16 April 2012 - 01:26 PM

Ok, you convinced me. Mauer sucks too.

#169 slamminsammya

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Posted 16 April 2012 - 03:02 PM

Just to clarify regarding some of the snarky comments about "proof", I completely agree that there is no such thing as proof in this circumstance. My point is that many here treat the "superstar league" theory as if it were dogma, and treat anyone who questions it with ridicule, which I find strange and unreasonable. Because there can be no quantitative proof, perhaps you might step back and analyze the "superstar league" theory from a plausibility standpoint, rather than from a what-I-see-and-remember-when-I-watch-the-games-as-a-biased-fan standpoint. Furthermore, just because there can be no proof does not mean statistical evidence is useless. But, for a number of reasons peoples favorite go to- FT attempts - is next to useless in this discussion.

#170 Brickowski

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Posted 16 April 2012 - 05:10 PM

So what if there is no conclusive quantitative proof? Qualitative evidence is also valuable. We all watch the NBA and maybe some of us aren't as biased as you think. The NBA is the only U.S. professional league that fines players, coaches and even owners who criticize the officials large sums of money. Stern is well aware of the fact that he has an officiating problem.

#171 slamminsammya

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Posted 16 April 2012 - 06:23 PM

So what if there is no conclusive quantitative proof? Qualitative evidence is also valuable. We all watch the NBA and maybe some of us aren't as biased as you think. The NBA is the only U.S. professional league that fines players, coaches and even owners who criticize the officials large sums of money. Stern is well aware of the fact that he has an officiating problem.


The so what is that, as a general principle the strength of the belief ought to be proportioned to the strength of the evidence, and qualitative evidence is clearly valuable in this case but I also think that many here are placing too much stock in their recollections of games in which they have some emotional connection. I don't think its a coincidence that the players most often cited as receiving "star treatment" also happen to be Celtics nemeses (I am assuming most in this discussion are Celtics fans, or are anti-Lakers and anti-Heat).

#172 JakeRae


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Posted 16 April 2012 - 06:36 PM

Shots at Rim and FTA per game (top 40 of each category)
Player Name A Player Name FTA
Greg Monroe 7.4 Dwight Howard 10.6
Blake Griffin 7.1 Kevin Love 8.4
Tyreke Evans 7.1 Kobe Bryant 7.9
Dwight Howard 7 LeBron James 7.9
DeMarcus Cousins 7 Kevin Durant 7.4
Dwyane Wade 6.8 Blake Griffin 7.1
Nikola Pekovic 6.8 Carmelo Anthony 6.8
Kevin Love 6.7 Corey Maggette 6.5
David Lee 6.7 Russell Westbrook 6.4
LeBron James 6.6 Derrick Rose 6.4
Andrew Bynum 6.6 Brook Lopez 6.4
Derrick Rose 6.3 Rodney Stuckey 6.3
Russell Westbrook 6.3 Dwyane Wade 6.2
J.J. Hickson 6 John Wall 6.2
Eric Gordon 5.9 Eric Gordon 6.1
Nene Hilario 5.9 James Harden 6
Gerald Wallace 5.8 DeMarcus Cousins 5.8
John Wall 5.7 Andrew Bynum 5.7
Carmelo Anthony 5.7 Dirk Nowitzki 5.6
Amare Stoudemire 5.7 Andrea Bargnani 5.6
Gerald Wallace 5.6 Deron Williams 5.5
Josh Smith 5.6 Paul Pierce 5.5
Kyrie Irving 5.6 DeMar DeRozan 5.4
Anderson Varejao 5.5 Jeremy Lin 5.2
JaVale McGee 5.4 Amare Stoudemire 5.1
Rudy Gay 5.3 Marc Gasol 5.1
Kris Humphries 5.2 Monta Ellis 5
Marcin Gortat 5.2 LaMarcus Aldridge 5
JaVale McGee 5.2 Josh Smith 5
Rajon Rondo 5.1 Tyson Chandler 5
LaMarcus Aldridge 5.1 David Lee 4.9
Brook Lopez 5 Tony Parker 4.9
Kevin Durant 4.9 Chris Bosh 4.9
Paul Millsap 4.9 Danilo Gallinari 4.9
Joakim Noah 4.9 Ramon Sessions 4.9
Monta Ellis 4.8 Danny Granger 4.8
Monta Ellis 4.8 Chauncey Billups 4.8
Al Harrington 4.8 Nene Hilario 4.8
Ty Lawson 4.7 Chris Paul 4.7
Tyson Chandler 4.7 Lou Williams 4.6


I'll try to add some analysis a bit later but I wanted to throw the raw data up here as a starting point. I'm planning on creating a ratio for players who appear on both lists to see if we can learn anything from it.

Edit: My plan has shifted a bit. My next post in this thread will be a list of every player who appears on either list sorted by FTA/RIM where RIM is my shorthand for attempts taken at the rim per game. I'm using per game stats, so there will be some small rounding errors. This also won't be a comprehensive list for the league as I don't know how to go about pulling the data from hoopdata in a way that will allow me to get a real top list for this stat. It may be another day or two before I get the next chart posted. I hope that by combining the two top 40 lists I'm getting a decent data set to analyze. My hypothesis is that if there is a superstar bias, we should consistently see stars having a higher ratio of FTA/RIM than non-stars. If not, the distribution of FTA/RIM should appear fairly random.

Edited by JakeRae, 16 April 2012 - 06:57 PM.


#173 radsoxfan


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Posted 16 April 2012 - 07:27 PM

I'll try to add some analysis a bit later but I wanted to throw the raw data up here as a starting point. I'm planning on creating a ratio for players who appear on both lists to see if we can learn anything from it.

Edit: My plan has shifted a bit. My next post in this thread will be a list of every player who appears on either list sorted by FTA/RIM where RIM is my shorthand for attempts taken at the rim per game. I'm using per game stats, so there will be some small rounding errors. This also won't be a comprehensive list for the league as I don't know how to go about pulling the data from hoopdata in a way that will allow me to get a real top list for this stat. It may be another day or two before I get the next chart posted. I hope that by combining the two top 40 lists I'm getting a decent data set to analyze. My hypothesis is that if there is a superstar bias, we should consistently see stars having a higher ratio of FTA/RIM than non-stars. If not, the distribution of FTA/RIM should appear fairly random.


Interesting stuff, I'll be curious how the data looks.

Just to throw out a couple of possible confounders....

1. Not all attempts at the rim are equal. No-lift players like Big Baby might not get as many FTs/close shot attempt because they just get blocked a lot, and people aren't forced to foul them. I have no idea if BBDs numbers bear that out, but just bringing up the point that it might affect the numbers. Along that same line, in order to defend a close shot from Howard, Griffin, or Lebron, a defender may be forced to foul more because of their elite athleticism. Might not be fair to expect a random distribution of fouls if there is no star treatment.

2. Taking athleticism out of it, players are also probably defended differently if they are terrible FT shooters. Howard and Griffin might not be getting more FTs because of star treatment, but perhaps because its the defense's strategy to send them to the line if they have a dunk/layup.

Again, curious to see how the numbers look, but unfortunately I can see some things that might make the results difficult to interpret.

#174 JakeRae


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Posted 16 April 2012 - 07:40 PM

Alphabetic list of all players in the top 40 in either category
Player Name RIM FTA FTA/RIM
Al Harrington 4.8 2.8 0.58
Amare Stoudemire 5.7 5.1 0.89
Anderson Varejao 5.5 2.6 0.47
Andrea Bargnani 3.3 5.6 1.70
Andrew Bynum 6.6 5.7 0.86
Blake Griffin 7.1 7.1 1.00
Brook Lopez 5 6.4 1.28
Carmelo Anthony 5.7 6.8 1.19
Chauncey Billups 1.3 4.8 3.69
Chris Bosh 4.6 4.9 1.07
Chris Paul 2.9 4.7 1.62
Corey Maggette 3.6 6.5 1.81
Danilo Gallinari 3.6 4.9 1.36
Danny Granger 3.2 4.8 1.50
David Lee 6.7 4.9 0.73
DeMar DeRozan 4 5.4 1.35
DeMarcus Cousins 7 5.8 0.83
Deron Williams 3.9 5.5 1.41
Derrick Rose 6.3 6.4 1.02
Dirk Nowitzki 2 5.6 2.80
Dwight Howard 7 10.6 1.51
Dwyane Wade 6.8 6.2 0.91
Eric Gordon 5.9 6.1 1.03
Gerald Wallace 5.8 4 0.69
Gerald Wallace 5.6 3.8 0.68
Greg Monroe 7.4 4.2 0.57
J.J. Hickson 6 3.4 0.57
James Harden 3.5 6 1.71
JaVale McGee 5.4 2.9 0.54
JaVale McGee 5.2 2.8 0.54
Jeremy Lin 3.9 5.2 1.33
Joakim Noah 4.9 3.2 0.65
John Wall 5.7 6.2 1.09
Josh Smith 5.6 5 0.89
Kevin Durant 4.9 7.4 1.51
Kevin Love 6.7 8.4 1.25
Kobe Bryant 3.6 7.9 2.19
Kris Humphries 5.2 4.4 0.85
Kyrie Irving 5.6 3.9 0.70
LaMarcus Aldridge 5.1 5 0.98
LeBron James 6.6 7.9 1.20
Lou Williams 2.2 4.6 2.09
Marc Gasol 3 5.1 1.70
Marcin Gortat 5.2 3.8 0.73
Monta Ellis 4.8 4.2 0.88
Monta Ellis 4.8 5 1.04
Nene Hilario 5.9 4.8 0.81
Nikola Pekovic 6.8 3.9 0.57
Paul Millsap 4.9 3.7 0.76
Paul Pierce 4.2 5.5 1.31
Rajon Rondo 5.1 3.5 0.69
Ramon Sessions 3.7 4.9 1.32
Rodney Stuckey 4.7 6.3 1.34
Rudy Gay 5.3 4.1 0.77
Russell Westbrook 6.3 6.4 1.02
Tony Parker 4.7 4.9 1.04
Ty Lawson 4.7 3.4 0.72
Tyreke Evans 7.1 4.2 0.59
Tyson Chandler 4.7 5 1.06


#175 JakeRae


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Posted 16 April 2012 - 07:42 PM

List Sorted by FTA/RIM
Player Name RIM FTA FTA/RIM
Chauncey Billups 1.3 4.8 3.69
Dirk Nowitzki 2 5.6 2.80
Kobe Bryant 3.6 7.9 2.19
Lou Williams 2.2 4.6 2.09
Corey Maggette 3.6 6.5 1.81
James Harden 3.5 6 1.71
Marc Gasol 3 5.1 1.70
Andrea Bargnani 3.3 5.6 1.70
Chris Paul 2.9 4.7 1.62
Dwight Howard 7 10.6 1.51
Kevin Durant 4.9 7.4 1.51
Danny Granger 3.2 4.8 1.50
Deron Williams 3.9 5.5 1.41
Danilo Gallinari 3.6 4.9 1.36
DeMar DeRozan 4 5.4 1.35
Rodney Stuckey 4.7 6.3 1.34
Jeremy Lin 3.9 5.2 1.33
Ramon Sessions 3.7 4.9 1.32
Paul Pierce 4.2 5.5 1.31
Brook Lopez 5 6.4 1.28
Kevin Love 6.7 8.4 1.25
LeBron James 6.6 7.9 1.20
Carmelo Anthony 5.7 6.8 1.19
John Wall 5.7 6.2 1.09
Chris Bosh 4.6 4.9 1.07
Tyson Chandler 4.7 5 1.06
Tony Parker 4.7 4.9 1.04
Monta Ellis 4.8 5 1.04
Eric Gordon 5.9 6.1 1.03
Derrick Rose 6.3 6.4 1.02
Russell Westbrook 6.3 6.4 1.02
Blake Griffin 7.1 7.1 1.00
LaMarcus Aldridge 5.1 5 0.98
Dwyane Wade 6.8 6.2 0.91
Amare Stoudemire 5.7 5.1 0.89
Josh Smith 5.6 5 0.89
Monta Ellis 4.8 4.2 0.88
Andrew Bynum 6.6 5.7 0.86
Kris Humphries 5.2 4.4 0.85
DeMarcus Cousins 7 5.8 0.83
Nene Hilario 5.9 4.8 0.81
Rudy Gay 5.3 4.1 0.77
Paul Millsap 4.9 3.7 0.76
David Lee 6.7 4.9 0.73
Marcin Gortat 5.2 3.8 0.73
Ty Lawson 4.7 3.4 0.72
Kyrie Irving 5.6 3.9 0.70
Gerald Wallace 5.8 4 0.69
Rajon Rondo 5.1 3.5 0.69
Gerald Wallace 5.6 3.8 0.68
Joakim Noah 4.9 3.2 0.65
Tyreke Evans 7.1 4.2 0.59
Al Harrington 4.8 2.8 0.58
Nikola Pekovic 6.8 3.9 0.57
Greg Monroe 7.4 4.2 0.57
J.J. Hickson 6 3.4 0.57
JaVale McGee 5.2 2.8 0.54
JaVale McGee 5.4 2.9 0.54
Anderson Varejao 5.5 2.6 0.47

Edited by JakeRae, 16 April 2012 - 07:43 PM.


#176 JakeRae


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Posted 16 April 2012 - 07:46 PM

Interesting stuff, I'll be curious how the data looks.

Just to throw out a couple of possible confounders....

1. Not all attempts at the rim are equal. No-lift players like Big Baby might not get as many FTs/close shot attempt because they just get blocked a lot, and people aren't forced to foul them. I have no idea if BBDs numbers bear that out, but just bringing up the point that it might affect the numbers. Along that same line, in order to defend a close shot from Howard, Griffin, or Lebron, a defender may be forced to foul more because of their elite athleticism. Might not be fair to expect a random distribution of fouls if there is no star treatment.

2. Taking athleticism out of it, players are also probably defended differently if they are terrible FT shooters. Howard and Griffin might not be getting more FTs because of star treatment, but perhaps because its the defense's strategy to send them to the line if they have a dunk/layup.

Again, curious to see how the numbers look, but unfortunately I can see some things that might make the results difficult to interpret.

I understand that nothing here is going to provide definitive evidence for any conclusion. But, I wanted to inject a little data into the discussion, even if it is flawed. I'm not prepared to offer any analysis of these numbers. Hopefully someone else can do that.

#177 ifmanis5


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Posted 13 May 2012 - 09:06 PM

Stern made a comment on flopping. Didn't mention the Heat, tho...

"I think it's time to look at (flopping) in a more serious way," Stern said, "because it's only designed to fool the referee. It's not a legitimate play in my judgment. I recognize if there's contact (you) move a little bit, but some of this is acting. We should give out Oscars rather than MVP trophies."


http://espn.go.com/n...itimate-concern

#178 Ed Hillel


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Posted 13 May 2012 - 11:14 PM

The last comment could be taken as a jab at LeBron. Either way, the comments mean nothing as long as nothing is done to address it. He says this stuff and then that Heat game is broadcast nationally. That just about sums it up.

As ratings continue to plummet, it will be interesting to see how this is addressed, if at all.

#179 javaisfun


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Posted 13 May 2012 - 11:37 PM

Probably worth pointing out that actually, ratings are not plummeting, and in fact, this is the best rated NBA season ever.

#180 Ed Hillel


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Posted 14 May 2012 - 12:08 AM

See below.

Edited by Ed Hillel, 14 May 2012 - 06:34 AM.


#181 SemperFidelisSox


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Posted 14 May 2012 - 12:49 AM

Those are the regular season numbers for TNT. The playoff games have done poorly compared to last season, Hell, even WWE Raw had more viewers than Game 2 of Knicks-Heat. Wrestling. Professional wrestling.

#182 Tony C


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Posted 14 May 2012 - 08:51 AM

by the way, the NBA officially withdrew the technical foul called on Reggie Evans for calmly high-fiving Blake Griffin. Perhaps the most bizarre call I have seen in a long time, as there was simply no angle from which you could have seen anything even close to T-worthy. I will say, though, for conspiracy theorists there is no way Stern wanted Memphis to beat L.A., and yet some of the calls even in game 7 -- notably the steal by CP3 that would have wrapped up the game but was, bizarrely, called a kick by him -- would indicate the contrary.

It does just seem the training and oversight are done poorly in what is to begin with an incredibly tough game to call.

#183 riboflav

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Posted 15 May 2012 - 07:37 AM

Funny how Tommy gets mad that Pierce was not afforded so-called superstar treatment and yet has always bemoaned the supposed superstar treatment of every non-Celtic player.

#184 riboflav

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Posted 15 May 2012 - 07:42 AM

Interesting stuff, I'll be curious how the data looks.

Just to throw out a couple of possible confounders....

1. Not all attempts at the rim are equal. No-lift players like Big Baby might not get as many FTs/close shot attempt because they just get blocked a lot, and people aren't forced to foul them. I have no idea if BBDs numbers bear that out, but just bringing up the point that it might affect the numbers. Along that same line, in order to defend a close shot from Howard, Griffin, or Lebron, a defender may be forced to foul more because of their elite athleticism. Might not be fair to expect a random distribution of fouls if there is no star treatment.

2. Taking athleticism out of it, players are also probably defended differently if they are terrible FT shooters. Howard and Griffin might not be getting more FTs because of star treatment, but perhaps because its the defense's strategy to send them to the line if they have a dunk/layup.

Again, curious to see how the numbers look, but unfortunately I can see some things that might make the results difficult to interpret.


Those aren't just "confounders," they make such data-seeking missions laughable. There is such thing as fouling and not fouling a player who drives to the rim. Some players can defend well without fouling and some, as you intimate, can defend well versus less athletic players. I have no doubt that I would foul out guarding LeBron within six possessions if I really tried to stop him. Yet, I match up well against my younger brother and would stay on the court much longer.

#185 simplyeric


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Posted 15 May 2012 - 11:59 AM

Those aren't just "confounders," they make such data-seeking missions laughable. There is such thing as fouling and not fouling a player who drives to the rim. Some players can defend well without fouling and some, as you intimate, can defend well versus less athletic players. I have no doubt that I would foul out guarding LeBron within six possessions if I really tried to stop him. Yet, I match up well against my younger brother and would stay on the court much longer.


I didn't know Big Baby Davis had a younger brother....

#186 JakeRae


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Posted 15 May 2012 - 04:46 PM

Those aren't just "confounders," they make such data-seeking missions laughable. There is such thing as fouling and not fouling a player who drives to the rim. Some players can defend well without fouling and some, as you intimate, can defend well versus less athletic players. I have no doubt that I would foul out guarding LeBron within six possessions if I really tried to stop him. Yet, I match up well against my younger brother and would stay on the court much longer.

The defender issue shouldn't really impact the data set. Over a sufficiently large data set, defensive quality will be equalized.

Now, the position played by the player and their willingness to seek contact would definitely be factors that impact the data. It, for example, is no surprise that the top of the list is heavily skewed toward dribble penetration wings. We'd expect guys driving to the lane to draw more contact than bigs who hand out around the rim and are getting a lot of their baskets on easier shots.

A couple notes as to the "star treatment" theory. There is nothing surprising about the rates at which Lebron and Wade get to the line relative to other similar players. Kobe and Dirk really stand out at the top of the list (I am chalking up Billups to SSS). But, neither gets to the basket a ton and their overall FTA/game numbers are not abnormal relative to other high usage players. Looking at those numbers, I don't see much evidence for super stars having an easier time getting to the line than non super stars. I do see evidence that athletic wings get to the line more than anyone else.

#187 Ed Hillel


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Posted 15 May 2012 - 05:16 PM

What about the relative dearth of calls against these kinds of players? One would think they would be defending other wings, who draw so many fouls, and that they would be bound to draw more fouls as initiators of contact. Yet, the Heat went nearly 90 games without a player fouling out, despite these factors and their intense physical defense. I would like to see calls relative to position.

The other issue is the flopping. They are obviously not alone, but I find James and Wade to be among the worst in the league. James can be so over the top at times that it's really just hard not to laugh. His reaction last game to an elbow nick and the reaction to Chandler in round one come to mind. The worst part, of course, is that the ref bought it and immediately assessed a flagrant two on what was really a borderline call to begin with. Meanwhile, James was running in circles flailing his arms, grabbing his neck, and wincing. Then he miraculously recovered without so much as a flinch for the rest of the game and scored the next 10 points. Last year, he threw his head back and fell to the court when Rose got a few inches from his face, got the call, recovered immediately, and winked. That alone should warrant a one game suspension imo. And let's not forget Bosh against Boozer. I would honestly love to see one of them take a slap to the face after his next episode.

Edited by Ed Hillel, 15 May 2012 - 05:23 PM.


#188 Grin&MartyBarret

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Posted 15 May 2012 - 07:45 PM

What about the relative dearth of calls against these kinds of players? One would think they would be defending other wings, who draw so many fouls, and that they would be bound to draw more fouls as initiators of contact. Yet, the Heat went nearly 90 games without a player fouling out, despite these factors and their intense physical defense. I would like to see calls relative to position.

The other issue is the flopping. They are obviously not alone, but I find James and Wade to be among the worst in the league. James can be so over the top at times that it's really just hard not to laugh. His reaction last game to an elbow nick and the reaction to Chandler in round one come to mind. The worst part, of course, is that the ref bought it and immediately assessed a flagrant two on what was really a borderline call to begin with. Meanwhile, James was running in circles flailing his arms, grabbing his neck, and wincing. Then he miraculously recovered without so much as a flinch for the rest of the game and scored the next 10 points. Last year, he threw his head back and fell to the court when Rose got a few inches from his face, got the call, recovered immediately, and winked. That alone should warrant a one game suspension imo. And let's not forget Bosh against Boozer. I would honestly love to see one of them take a slap to the face after his next episode.


To your first point, I'm not sure that's a fair assumption to make. Coaches will often devise systems to "hide" players on defense in order to preserve their legs. Additionally, tons of teams have role players whose primary offering is that they can defend the other team's best perimeter player. Battier, Shumpert, Bradley, Shefalosa, Ronnie Brewer, Shawn Marion, and Tony Allen are all guys whose value to their team is directly related to their ability to ease the defensive burden placed on the stars they play alongside. Even LeBron, who is a top 5 defensive player in the league is positioned off the ball to play passing lanes for large chunks of his minutes even though he's a ridiculously disruptive on ball defender.

And while the Heat's foul out streak was ridiculous, there are a ton of wing players who have gone longer than Wade or LeBron without fouling out, so I'm not sure "superstar treatment" (which I do think exists, to an extent) tells the whole story. Tayshaun Prince, Ronnie Brewer, Jamal Crawford, and Caron Butler are all wings who play substantial minutes and haven't fouled out of a game since 2006. Joe Johnson, Richard Jefferson, and Marvin Williams also have streaks longer than LeBron and Wade.

#189 Ed Hillel


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Posted 15 May 2012 - 09:04 PM

I think the flopping is worse than the calls themselves and part of the reason for the calls. Given that, the last minute of the fourth quarter tonight fantastic evidence to demonstrate the Heat flopping pandemic. Wade missed a completely wide open layup where he wasn't touched, flopped to the ground, and complained to the ref on his stomach. Then Chalmers missed a fairly open 3, inexplicably falls over, and Wade screams at the ref. Fortunately, in this instance, the refs didn't fall for it. Wade certainly should have gotten a T at some point tonight, and probably should have gotten a flagrant 2 for his excessive shove in the back. However, if the Heat want to flop around like assholes and the refs leave it be, then I'd be delighted. It's fun to watch that way.

LeBron, who is a top 5 defensive player in the league is positioned off the ball to play passing lanes for large chunks of his minutes even though he's a ridiculously disruptive on ball defender.


He switches back and forth from a zone-like defense to man, but he plays enough man to get more fouls than he does. He's played nearly 90 minutes in two games and has one foul. One. Given the rate of fouls going the other way, it's just not a believable number. He gets away with a ton, especially under the boards.

#190 riboflav

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Posted 15 May 2012 - 09:21 PM

The defender issue shouldn't really impact the data set. Over a sufficiently large data set, defensive quality will be equalized.

Now, the position played by the player and their willingness to seek contact would definitely be factors that impact the data. It, for example, is no surprise that the top of the list is heavily skewed toward dribble penetration wings. We'd expect guys driving to the lane to draw more contact than bigs who hand out around the rim and are getting a lot of their baskets on easier shots.

A couple notes as to the "star treatment" theory. There is nothing surprising about the rates at which Lebron and Wade get to the line relative to other similar players. Kobe and Dirk really stand out at the top of the list (I am chalking up Billups to SSS). But, neither gets to the basket a ton and their overall FTA/game numbers are not abnormal relative to other high usage players. Looking at those numbers, I don't see much evidence for super stars having an easier time getting to the line than non super stars. I do see evidence that athletic wings get to the line more than anyone else.


There aren't too many who can stop LeBron

#191 Grin&MartyBarret

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Posted 16 May 2012 - 08:22 AM

I think the flopping is worse than the calls themselves and part of the reason for the calls. Given that, the last minute of the fourth quarter tonight fantastic evidence to demonstrate the Heat flopping pandemic. Wade missed a completely wide open layup where he wasn't touched, flopped to the ground, and complained to the ref on his stomach. Then Chalmers missed a fairly open 3, inexplicably falls over, and Wade screams at the ref. Fortunately, in this instance, the refs didn't fall for it. Wade certainly should have gotten a T at some point tonight, and probably should have gotten a flagrant 2 for his excessive shove in the back. However, if the Heat want to flop around like assholes and the refs leave it be, then I'd be delighted. It's fun to watch that way.

He switches back and forth from a zone-like defense to man, but he plays enough man to get more fouls than he does. He's played nearly 90 minutes in two games and has one foul. One. Given the rate of fouls going the other way, it's just not a believable number. He gets away with a ton, especially under the boards.


I think this conversation would be much more worthwhile if it was a conversation about the flopping problem in the NBA and not just a discussion about how much we all hate the Heat because they flop.

Say what you will about Wade and LeBron, but neither of them is as bad when it comes to flopping as guys like Ginobili, Verejao, Gasol, Scola, Raja Bell, the entire Clippers organization, Baron Davis, Derek Fisher, or about a dozen other people. Hell, even Rondo and Garnett are annoying as hell when you're rooting for a team that's playing against them. Remember when Rondo took a dive at the half against Miami in game 2 last year? It's pretty clearly a league-wide issue. Which, again, speaks to just how difficult an NBA referee's job is. In addition to the speed of the game, the increased athleticism, and the crazy amount of contact on any given play, now half the league's trying to trick them.

#192 BigSoxFan


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Posted 16 May 2012 - 09:53 AM

If you're in good position, it's not very hard to determine what is a flop vs. charge. This is why is bothers me that the NBA still has all these ancient refs out there on the court.

#193 lars10

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Posted 16 May 2012 - 01:08 PM

I think this conversation would be much more worthwhile if it was a conversation about the flopping problem in the NBA and not just a discussion about how much we all hate the Heat because they flop.

Say what you will about Wade and LeBron, but neither of them is as bad when it comes to flopping as guys like Ginobili, Verejao, Gasol, Scola, Raja Bell, the entire Clippers organization, Baron Davis, Derek Fisher, or about a dozen other people. Hell, even Rondo and Garnett are annoying as hell when you're rooting for a team that's playing against them. Remember when Rondo took a dive at the half against Miami in game 2 last year? It's pretty clearly a league-wide issue. Which, again, speaks to just how difficult an NBA referee's job is. In addition to the speed of the game, the increased athleticism, and the crazy amount of contact on any given play, now half the league's trying to trick them.

I don't think you've been watching alot of Heat games. Wade and especially LeBron have become EPIC floppers... to the point where there is at least one a game that is so far over the top that even Reggie Miller is embarrassed for them.

People need to stop making excuses for refs in the NBA. It's not faster than baseball or football or hockey... there are a lot of things to see..but it's not like they actually call three seconds, travels, double dribbles, palming etc. etc. Most of what there is to call is actually on the ball... It's become a defacto argument that the NBA game is too fast and too hard to officiate for these PROFESSIONAL refs....when I just don't think it's that true (how hard is it to determine if a defender goes straight up? is position on a charge/block harder to officiate than an MLB strikezone?etc). If an MLB ump can call a bang bang play at first base with 90% accuracy then an NBA ref should be able to call a foul...and a proper travel etc. If I can see it at home then they should be able to..there are three of them after all. The speed of the game is the laziest argument there is. If that's the case then refs that are as old as my Dad shouldn't have a full time job.

It's been SO bad for decades that it's a common joke that when a travel is actually called in the NBA that it's commented on..'they still call that?'

#194 Ed Hillel


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Posted 16 May 2012 - 01:37 PM

Today is a good chance for NBA executives to help fix the problems by suspending Dwyane Wade. Wade deliberately lined up Collison after he was upset his flop went uncalled and forearmed him from behind at near-full speed. Jason Smith did essentially the same thing to Blake Griffin and got a flagrant 2 and a 2 game suspension. Wade got a flagrant 1 and...?

There is no the game is too fast excuse to use here. Use slow motion frame by frame if you want. What Wade did has to be a suspension if Stern is serious about cleaning up the game and dismissing inequality claims.

Edit- oh, no suspension. Cool.

Edited by Ed Hillel, 16 May 2012 - 01:47 PM.


#195 Grin&MartyBarret

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Posted 16 May 2012 - 01:38 PM

I don't think you've been watching alot of Heat games. Wade and especially LeBron have become EPIC floppers... to the point where there is at least one a game that is so far over the top that even Reggie Miller is embarrassed for them.

People need to stop making excuses for refs in the NBA. It's not faster than baseball or football or hockey... there are a lot of things to see..but it's not like they actually call three seconds, travels, double dribbles, palming etc. etc. Most of what there is to call is actually on the ball... It's become a defacto argument that the NBA game is too fast and too hard to officiate for these PROFESSIONAL refs....when I just don't think it's that true (how hard is it to determine if a defender goes straight up? is position on a charge/block harder to officiate than an MLB strikezone?etc). If an MLB ump can call a bang bang play at first base with 90% accuracy then an NBA ref should be able to call a foul...and a proper travel etc. If I can see it at home then they should be able to..there are three of them after all. The speed of the game is the laziest argument there is. If that's the case then refs that are as old as my Dad shouldn't have a full time job.

It's been SO bad for decades that it's a common joke that when a travel is actually called in the NBA that it's commented on..'they still call that?'


Again, this conversation would be much more worthwhile if it wasn't just a deviation of the "LeBron and Wade are douche bags" conversation going on in 14 other threads right now. And you're wrong. I've watched a ton of Heat games and while yes, LeBron, Wade, and Bosh are prone to flop, so are players on every team in the NBA. It's a serious problem that the league has to work to solve and it extends far beyond LeBron and Wade. Even if you hate them most.

And, I completely agree with your second paragraph. If you eliminated several key components of the job, officiating in the NBA would be totally easy.

#196 Ed Hillel


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Posted 16 May 2012 - 01:43 PM

Please cite to other examples of players flopping around and whining to the extent the Heat have in these playoffs. I've watched most every game and no team is close to as bad as the Heat. LeBron and Wade take it to a new level. Wade's consistently dirty play doesn't help matters for them.

Edited by Ed Hillel, 16 May 2012 - 01:45 PM.


#197 Grin&MartyBarret

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Posted 16 May 2012 - 01:49 PM

Please cite to other examples of players flopping around and whining to the extent the Heat have in these playoffs. I've watched most every game and no team is close to as bad as the Heat. LeBron and Wade take it to a new level. Wade's consistently dirty play doesn't help matters for them.


Okay, okay.

LeBron and Wade are the worst. Let's all drag them out back and light them on fire.

Now, can we have a reasonable discussion about flopping that acknowledges that it's a league wide problem? Or are we gonna pretend that it begins and ends with the Heat?

#198 lars10

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Posted 16 May 2012 - 01:52 PM

Again, this conversation would be much more worthwhile if it wasn't just a deviation of the "LeBron and Wade are douche bags" conversation going on in 14 other threads right now. And you're wrong. I've watched a ton of Heat games and while yes, LeBron, Wade, and Bosh are prone to flop, so are players on every team in the NBA. It's a serious problem that the league has to work to solve and it extends far beyond LeBron and Wade. Even if you hate them most.

And, I completely agree with your second paragraph. If you eliminated several key components of the job, officiating in the NBA would be totally easy.


I'm just stating that Lebron specifically has been flopping more than any other player in the league...and that includes Derek Fisher who I have absolutely no love for. Derek embellishes a ton of plays... but they usually stay within the play. Lebron ran from halfcourt to under the basket where he collapsed to his knees after getting screened off on a play from behind which was very close to a clean play. He's held his throat multiple times like he's been elbowed when he hasn't been touched etc. This is not an "I hate Lebron" argument..it's just that when the league's star player is the biggest culprit it kind of pertains to the conversation we're having.

and you again are completely ignoring most of what I wrote... I do think the job of the NBA official is difficult but it's not like officials in other sports have it easy..and we don't make excuses for them...and it's not me eliminating the calls, but THEM. An NBA officials job is very similar on a difficulty factor to any other major sport..but for some reason every time a ref is criticized the argument comes out...speed of game, athletic ability etc etc. as if this hasn't happened in every sport.

#199 wutang112878


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Posted 16 May 2012 - 01:54 PM

I think the reason that Lebron and Wade get us the most upset is because they get the benefit of the doubt on so many of the calls because they get the superstar calls, and oh yeah they are probably the biggest whiners in the league as well.

That said, flopping is a problem in the NBA, and its great that Stern wants to address it by of course putting it on the players! Another crazy suggestion, would be to get the refs to improve their calls so they arent persuaded by flops. Maybe that might mean putting another ref on the court, but gasp, that would cost more money. This issue is much worse in soccer, everytime a guy falls he goes into the fetal position and pretends like he suffered a career ending injury but amazingly the officials have become desensitized and dont really fall for it. I cant speak to the quality of soccer officials, but I do know that if the NBA officials were really, really good they could make the calls correctly even when there were flops.

#200 BigSoxFan


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Posted 16 May 2012 - 01:54 PM

I think lars and grin both have a point. As grin mentions, it is a league-wide problem but the Heat simply take it up a notch. You can see a pretty blatant flop on a charge in any game you watch but what you don't normally see are those Oscar-worthy head snaps and the other BS that LeBron pulls because he knows he's the NBA's biggest meal ticket. And I don't even really fault him for it anymore - if you know the league is allowing these stunts to go unpunished, then why the hell wouldn't you? Obviously, this nuance is why LeBron will never be considered in that gritty superstar club with MJ, Bird, Kobe, etc. but I don't think he really cares about that.

Wade, on the other hand, is a complete and utter piece of shit. LeBron may be a douche but he never tries to hurt anyone - I think he's too much of a softy to get nasty. Wade combines this entitled flopping attitude with a dirty mean streak. With the Rondo play, he was upset that Rondo had the audacity to knock the ball away from him. Last night, he was upset at the ref. Wade is just a dirty player.