Tag: NBA officiating

Mark Cuban Dan Crawford

Mark Cuban isn’t happy with the officiating. Stunning.


Mavericks’ owner Mark Cuban has a valid point — by my subjective measures the officiating seems to be worse this season. Cuban certainly has objective measures — he’s got guys breaking down the numbers — ones I’m sure show up in David Stern’s inbox quite often.

Cuban told ESPNDallas.com he is not happy with the officiating this season after the Mavericks loss to the Thunder Wednesday night.

“Look, I haven’t said a whole lot about the officiating in a long, long time, but I haven’t seen it this bad in a long, long time,” Cuban told ESPNDallas.com in the Mavericks’ weight room after the loss. “Guys miss calls; that’s part of the game. You’re not always going to have a great crew. Officials have got to learn that’s part of the game.

“But these were officials that have been part of the league for years, and it was just off-the-charts bad. And, if no one ever says anything, nothing ever happens.”

Here’s the thing — this is on Cuban and the owners. They locked everyone out and then pushed for a condensed 66-game schedule so they could make their money back. Kelly Dwyer puts it well over at Yahoo’s Ball Don’t Lie.

Secondly, the sheer amount of games that the NBA has greedily mashed together (66 will be placed this year in a space that usually seats about 50) is forcing the referees to officiate even more games than the players are playing. This is a long work week, with insane amounts of travel; and as the cliché goes, every game is a road game for the referees.

Basically, just like the players in the games, it’s all a little sloppy right now. Yes there are a lot of new officials, yes there could be better transparency, but in the end that’s not going to change the product. It’s very, very hard to referee the game at this level and these men and women are better at it than anyone. What they could use is a little more rest.

David Stern suggests replay official, challenges in NBA future

NBA Commissioner Stern speaks at the state of the league press conference during the NBA All-Star game weekend in Los Angeles
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I’d like to think David Stern is a huge PBT fan, read Ira Winderman’s post this week and said “that’s a good idea.” But that’s probably not how it went down. Still…

Every year with the playoffs comes the rise in complaints from coaches, fans and players about officiating. Those complaints are usually misguided — Derrick Rose gets all those foul calls because he attacks the rim fearlessly, not because of an NBA conspiracy — but there are legitimate issues. Just ask Denver, they already got an apology from the league.

Ken Berger of CBSSport.com asked David Stern about those foul issues and he had an interesting response — the day for an NBA replay official for the playoffs is not that far off.

“Eventually, you may have someone sitting at a desk rather than having a Talmudic discussion of three referees every time there’s a disputed play,” Stern said. “We might have one person whose job it is to keep the headphones on and always watch. And you might let a coach throw the flag in the last two minutes. We’re striving for accuracy. … We have to find a way to speed the game up, and to get it right. That’s the most important thing.”

Winderman noted earlier this week at PBT that for playoff games there are already four NBA officials in the building (the fourth is there as a backup in case one of the three refereeing the game gets injured). If he’s there, why not use him to review calls?

This isn’t about nitpicking about block-charge. But what if the referee in the TV truck can get a definitive angle that shows the defender in the restricted area on a bang-bang final-seconds play?

To some, the argument is that it would leave much of the process to be determined by the quality of the television production. As it is, TV dominates the process anyway, be it with the scheduling, the added timeouts, the lengths of the games.

Simply put, the NBA has decided that an extra referee at playoff games is not a luxury, but rather a necessity.

So should be getting the calls right, especially with the added means to do so.

Steve Nash is less than heartbroken at Phil Jackson's disapproval


Earlier, Phil Jackson decided to go ahead and get his shots in at Steve Nash, talking about arguably the best point guard in the league as if he were simply skirting the rules by carrying the ball consistently. Because, you know, whatever advantage you can get, you should get when you only have the best player remaining in the playoffs, multiple All-Stars, homecourt advantage and a lineup that is approximately 700 times the size of your opponent.

Today at practice, Steve Nash decided to weigh in on the Zen Master’s little tweaks. And FanHouse’s Brett Pollakoff nabbed video.

The gem from this is Nash saying “The best coach in the league, Gregg Popovich, didn’t have a problem
with it last week.”

Cue the Lakers fans in the comments going off on how Phil’s the best. I imagine there will be several mentions of Phil’s 10 rings to Popovich’s 4 rings, the Lakers record with Phil against Pop in the playoffs, and a lot of exclamation marks. I think both sides have strong cases as to why either coach is the best, but that’s besides the point.

Beyond the question of whether Jackson should be trying to tamper with officiating before the series even starts is the fact that Jackson’s obviously gotten under the Suns’ skin. Once that happens, it’s already a mark for Jackson in the win column. He wages these little battles which may or may not have an impact, but the cumulative result is to even in the slightest way gain an advantage. Jackson knows those edges are what can make the difference.

And if nothing else, at least it’s entertaining.

NBA Playoffs Suns Lakers Game 1: It's in the league's best interest to reel Phil Jackson in


Thumbnail image for NBA_philjackson.jpgIt seems like a fun little sideshow, doesn’t it? The grizzled veteran coach, waxing basketball philosophic and occasionally using his razor-sharp wit to jab at other players and the officials. A basketball legend using the media to gain as much leverage over the calls as he can get. It’s a charming story.

And it’s got to stop.

Yesterday, we clued you in to Phil Jackson’s latest dig at officiating related to Steve Nash and his penchant for “carrying.” It’s yet another in a long history of Jackson swinging out in officiating-related matters.

There’s been a lot of talk about increasing the punishment for coaches that complain about officiating. David Stern spoke about possibly suspensions, a notion Jackson laughed off while calling the commissioner by his first name. And yesterday’s little dig shows that he doesn’t actually think Stern will go far enough to lean on him. It’s a small, careful, and quiet comment that Stern can’t really punish him beyond fines which amount to asking someone for whatever they’ve got in their pockets.

If Stern’s serious about this, if he wants to make the point that coaches cannot, under any circumstances, attempt to influence officiating in any way, the next time Jackson speaks out, he’s got to suspend him. Especially if it happens in the next two weeks.

Bear in mind that this is a crucial time for the league’s public officiating situation. Tim Donaghy is still flitting around like a hobo trying to ask anyone outside the league’s office for money in exchange for his windshield wipers of allegations. But there have been no officiating disasters in the playoffs this year, unlike the Mavericks no-call among others last year. The league has a real chance to get past the lingering outside perception that certain officiating wrinkles are influenced by league folds.

But a mess in a series against the Suns from the most winningest franchise in NBA history?

That would be unfortunate timing.

The league already flinches every time the Robert Horry hipcheck and subsequent suspensions are shown. They flinch whenever discussion of the 2002 Game 6 are brought up. They flinch whenever Tim Donaghy’s involvement in both of those series are brought up. They don’t waver, but they flinch.

Ensuring that we don’t end up in a situation where the Lakers look like the favored son, where there’s no chance of Jackson successfully bending the officials knees to his liking, that’s a sound strategy to end the controversy. Allowing Jackson to flaunt whatever influence he wants is a flawed approach. The carrying issue is nothing, it’s a blip on the radar. But the league needs to be ready to suspend Phil Jackson, in a playoff series, if he seeks to influence the officiating again, even if he’s right.

The Lakers are more than capable of dismantling the Suns based solely on their basketball ability and length. Making sure there’s no funny business is a win-win for the league.

The questions about the league’s officiating history are on the ropes, dazed, and stunned. Phil Jackson is unknowingly, or unconcernedly slipping them Gatorade. It’s time for the Commissioner’s office to knock them out.