Much like what we have seen around the National Football League over the past several years, the NBA has been placed under a microscope during the playoffs due to myriad questionable calls over the past several weeks.
From San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich questioning seemingly bad calls to a mild-mannered Shaun Livingston being tossed during a game last round, there’s been a lot of focus on bad officiating around the NBA.
Never afraid to address hot-button topics publicly, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver hit on this issue just recently.
“Roughly 90 percent — they get it right,” Silver said, via ESPN. “Now, of course, I’d like 90 percent to be 100 percent. And so would they. But what these reports also show, what fans already know is, human error is part of this game, and the best athletes in the world make mistakes. And coaches occasionally make mistakes. Officials do, too.”
Nine of 10 seems to be a reasonable rate of success, right? Well, that’s until we look at some of the questionable calls. In fact, at the end of San Antonio’s Game 2 loss to the Thunder, there were a minimum of five missed falls in a 30-second span alone.
It’s not about the number of missed calls, though that definitely plays a role. Instead, it’s all about when the calls are missed and how the officials react.
When Livingston was tossed by enigmatic official Scott Foster during Golden State’s Game 4 outing against the Portland Trail Blazers in the second round, it came after he was blatantly hit in the head on a drive to the basket.
While Livingston’s response likely deserved a technical, him getting tossed could have cost the Warriors the game. If it wasn’t for Stephen Curry hitting legendary status, that likely would have been the case.
We’ve seen Toronto Raptors head coach Dwane Casey get fined after trashing an official following his team’s Game 3 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference Finals last week.
With figures like this taking exception to what’s happening on the court, there is definitely an issue here. Livingston isn’t known for being hot-headed. Casey himself is about as mild-mannered as it gets.
Silver continued …
“Transparency is a key goal of mine. And the nature of these LTMs — these ‘Last Two Minute Reports’ — is that it’s information we have already been sharing with our teams. They of course want to know if a particular play in the league’s view was correctly called.”
Multiple coaches, including Pop himself, have also taken issue with these reports. The NBA isn’t going to change the outcome of a game after the fact simply because an official missed a call. In this, some wonder if transparency is actually needed.
As the playoffs continue and the NBA Finals quickly approach, the hope here is that a season we’ve seen defined by dramatic turns and historical play won’t be bogged down by the zebras making a name for themselves on the court.
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