Associated Press

Gregg Popovich on NBA’s Last Two Minutes referee reports: “it’s sort of an odd practice”

5 Comments

It’s become a daily ritual during the playoffs: The day after a close game with close or controversial calls down the stretch, the NBA releases its “Last Two Minutes” report and points out the referees mistakes — and correct calls, but who wants to talk about those? For example, from Wednesday night the league said Kyle Lowry should not have been called for the shooting foul on Dwyane Wade that was whistled with 1:54 left.

No series has seen more of these calls than the Thunder and Spurs. First, there was the whistle-free 13 seconds of rugby at the end of Game 2. Then there were two missed calls that went against the Spurs at the end of Game 5.

But the reports themselves have led to controversy: If the league is not changing the outcomes of games based on the reports (and they are not, the reports are simply informational), why undercut the referees by making their most critical mistakes public?

Spurs coach Gregg Popovich isn’t sure either, as reported by ESPN’s Michael C. Wright.

“You’d have to ask (the league) exactly why they do it. It doesn’t change anything. For the people involved, it’s very frustrating because there’s nothing you can do about it. So it’s sort of an odd practice in that sense, but I think they just want to have transparency. So from their perspective it’s a good thing so that people know they can admit errors, that’s always a good thing, and people won’t just guess about what’s going on. So from their perspective it’s a good thing and that’s hard to argue with. But it is frustrating when things happen like what happened in game two and the last game at the end. But again, officials aren’t doing that on purpose, They’re going to miss things, it’s a tough deal. I’m absolutely frustrated and angry that the calls weren’t made. But it happens to everybody along the way. I’ve been in the business long enough, you end up on both sides of it, for sure. So you let it go so you can play the next game.”

The NBA is in a Catch-22 here.

Since before the reports were released and to this day there is a healthy NBA referee conspiracy theory alive and well on Twitter. Fans — particularly of losing teams — are convinced of a grand plan to keep their team out of the next round because the NBA wants the bigger market/bigger star/whatever for television ratings. Even though if that were the case the Knicks, Bull, and Lakers would never be bad. But whatever, I’m not here to argue with the tinfoil hat crowd, because there is no logical debate with them.

The point is, new Commissioner Adam Silver tries to combat that perception by making these reports (which have been around for years) public. Silver is a modern-style CEO and a believer in transparency. But the criticism that this just undercuts the referees and makes people more frustrated with officials is a valid one.

There is no good answer with the reports.

Would it be nice if the referees got more calls correct? Of course. But that’s part of the human element of sport, and we don’t want that completely out of the game either. So we live with it — and argue about it, but ultimately live with it.

Rumor: NBA considering resuming 2020 season in a single site with shortened playoffs

(Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images)
Leave a comment

The NBA is determined to salvage what they can of the 2019-20 season. That includes drastically adjusting the playoff schedule per Marc Berman of the New York Post.

Among proposals being considered are best-of-three playoff series. The NBA has all but rejected a single-game elimination tournament. That would only be considered as a last resort per Berman.

One of the proposals on the table is gathering the entire league in one site to conclude the season. This proposal would involve playing games without fans present, but televising the contests. That would involve a 5-to-7 game regular season, followed by the playoffs.

Sites rumored to be under consideration are Las Vegas, Orlando, Hawaii, Atlantic City, Louisville and the Bahamas. Any site would have to have basketball facilities, as well as well as plenty of room to house the teams in a closed environment.

One league official was quoted by Berman as saying “Nothing is off the table.” Another told Berman “They’re very determined to have a champion.”

This Day in NBA History: Kyle Korver scores 11 points in one minute (VIDEO)

Leave a comment

These days, the Milwaukee Bucks are the beneficiaries of Kyle Korver’s three-point shooting prowess.

But back on March 30, 2015, Korver was wearing an Atlanta Hawks Jersey when he destroyed the Bucks. Korver exploded for 11 points in one minute during the third quarter. The only reason it wasn’t 12 points is his foot was on the line on one shot.

This video is a reminder of why Korver is so dangerous to this day (even if he has lost half a step).  He runs the floor hard and gets to his spots, he’s constantly moving to get open, and once open his quick release means he doesn’t need much room to get a shot off. Defenders always have to always account for him — in transition, on the weakside, wherever he is you can’t leave him.

If you do, he can rack up points fast.

Steve Kerr: ‘Very unlikely’ Warriors will play another regular-season game

Warriors coach Steve Kerr
Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images
Leave a comment

NBA owners and players are reportedly united on finishing the season or, as Adrian Wojnarowski put it, “finding a way to be able to crown a champion this season.”

Where does that leave the Warriors, the only team eliminated from the playoff race before coronavirus forced a league-wide stoppage?

Golden State coach Steve Kerr on “The Full 48,” via Ali Thanawalla of NBC Sports Bay Area:

“Look, for us, our season is basically over,” Kerr said. “If the league was somehow to start up again, it’s very unlikely we would be playing regular-season games given that they’d be in such a time crunch. Who knows?

“But I’m feeling for all the teams in the fight, in the thick of it for a championship, that are in the playoff race, teams that have put so much into this, and this was obviously a year for us where we were trying to get healthy, trying to develop some young guys. So I’m not concerned about our guys, our team. I feel sorry for the teams that are kind of in limbo right now.”

There’s chatter about resuming play with a play-in tournament and postseason in Las Vegas. The league could be sharing plans internally. Kerr could be proven right. It’s certainly possible Kerr was even already told the Warriors are finished with the regular season.

But I don’t share his prediction.

There’s a lot of money to be made by holding more regular-season games, especially for high-revenue teams like Golden State.

This was a gap year for the Warriors. They’re clearly ready to move on.

But Stephen Curry is healthy again. By the time the hiatus ends, Klay Thompson might be cleared. With other stars on the court, Draymond Green could be more engaged. Though there would be limits on Golden State’s competitiveness, that team would be a draw that could help stuff the league’s coffers.

As Kerr said, there are unprecedented timing issues. Yet, every game is a revenue opportunity. That matters, too.

Florida State forward Patrick Williams declares for NBA draft

Florida State forward Patrick Williams
Don Juan Moore/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Devin Vassell declared for the NBA draft from Florida State.

Now, Patrick Williams is following.

Evan Daniels of 247Sports:

Florida State freshman Patrick Williams is declaring for the NBA Draft and plans to forgo his remaining eligibility, he tells 247Sports.

“I decided to do it because I think my game isn’t NBA ready, but I have the potential to be NBA ready,” Williams explained. “I think with development and support and everything else on that level, I can eventually can be a really good NBA player.”

That’s an interesting self-assessment – one more players should take. Williams has the tools to project as a mid-first-round pick. As he said, he needs to develop. But he can do that while earning an NBA salary rather than being stuck in the NCAA’s cartel system. There’s no good case that college teams develop young players better than NBA teams, anyway.

It’s unclear whether Williams (6-foot-8 with a 6-foot-11 wingspan) will settle in as more for a small forward or power forward. Probably power forward. But if his ball skills develop, he has potential as a small forward, a position in higher demand around the league.

As the NBA has embraced smaller lineups, rim protection – once more of a shared frontcourt responsibility – has increasingly fallen onto centers. Williams would help from either forward spot. He’s an energetic and athletic defender with good timing for blocking shots.

He needs work as a shooter. Williams has shown some ability running pick-and-rolls and creating mid-rangers for himself off the dribble. But he’s not consistent enough, and he’s far too poor of a distributor to have the ball much. His best offense comes when opportunistically taking advantage of his athleticism with cuts and alley-oop finishes.

Still, Williams shows enough flashes of more offensively to be intrigued. His defense is already more developed.

That combination is why he can feel confident about getting drafted high enough to enjoy the spoils of NBA life.