NBA now publicly disclosing once-secret memos to referees

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Adam Silver had been David Stern’s right-hand man so long, I initially wondered whether Silver would carve his own path as NBA Commissioner rather than just continuing what Stern set in motion.

Would he be comfortable altering Stern policies? Did he even disagree with Stern’s policies?

It seems Silver has already answered those questions. He’s only been on the job a couple months, but he’s already making his mark.

In a departure from Stern’s top-down authoritative approach, the NBA is now releasing to the public memos sent to referees.

The latest memo, released today, is on verticality:

We have noticed that defenders have been turning sideways when jumping to defend an oncoming offensive player on drives to the basket. This is illegal and referees are being instructed to call this a blocking foul. While we commonly discuss verticality in the context of secondary defenders inside the restricted area (see restricted area and verticality reminder further below), this change will apply to defenders turning sideways while in the air whether inside or outside the restricted area on drives.

You can read the full memo, which includes links to videos of plays that should be now called blocking fouls.

The league also released every other memo sent to officials this season. The topics:

Transparency is usually good, and in this case, it definitely is. Fans who spend money, directly through ticket sales and merchandise and indirectly through advertising, on the NBA deserve to know what’s happening in the league.

Kudos to the Silver regime for going this direction. Referee memos can be a bit trite, but there’s no good reason not to disclose them. Hopefully, this is just a sign of progress toward even more transparency.