Friday, May 29, 2009

21 comments Random Friday Thoughts

If anyone watched the Orlando-Cleveland game last night, then I think you knew the Cavs were going to blow the 32-10 lead they had at one point. It was going to happen. At halftime it was 56-55, which means Orlando went on a 45-24 run to end the half against the home. That is the third double digit lead the Cavs have blown at home in this series and they are the #1 seed in the East, supposedly the best team in the East. I don't know what to think about them really...

I want to do some random thoughts because there is a lot to comment on and one article won't do for the day. I may not quote from every article but hopefully it will give us enough to discuss.

-Bill Simmons has written an article about the current state of the NBA, it's officiating, and what he thinks needs to be fixed. Overall, though I tend to disagree with many things that Bill writes, it was a well researched article and did not contain many of the annoying references he usually uses. Though he does open it up with a reference from "Speed," I will forgive him for that, because I wish all of his articles were this well written. Did I mention it was well researched? It gives me hope for his book.

Two nights later, Cleveland and Orlando played an unspeakably awful game that featured a whopping 58 fouls. All the momentum from Game 2 was gone. Here was the new NBA in its new age of unadulterated impurity: Teams hoisting bad 3-pointers, referees trying to "manage" the game and failing, players going one-on-five, stoppages again and again and again, free throws and more free throws, more stoppages, more mismanaging by the refs ... by the time it was over, I wanted to commit a flagrant one on myself.

I was so pumped up after Game 2, I made time to watch Game 3 Sunday night, and then ended up flipping channels because the game was so brutal to watch. One of my problems with the officiating is that players drive to the basket looking for a foul call to bail them out and they get it. A bump on the perimeter that doesn't affect an offensive player's momentum or direction is called a foul, but then another referee won't call an obvious foul in the middle when a player gets hacked. There is no consistency in the calls and the fourth quarter of games seem to stop every 2 minutes. I compare it to watching 2 minutes of a movie and then hitting the pause button and taking a break. Dwight Howard caught the ball in the post on an offensive rebound last night and changed his pivot foot three times. I paused my live television and rewound it twice to watch this. Then he did it again on the next possession down court. Needless to say, this was not called either time.

As much as I like disagreeing with Bill Simmons, he is right. Players can't fight for position in the post and they get called for a technical foul for even reacting to a call they don't agree with. They are expected to be wax dummies no matter what they think of a call and still compete out on the court. That's hard. It's like watching a junior high dance where everyone has to have a certain space between each other and there is no touching allowed.

First, the NBA can't seem to replenish its officiating ranks. 1937, 1939, 1943, 1944, 1947, 1948, 1950, 1951, 1951, 1953, 1954, 1955, 1955 ... those are the actual birth years of 13 current referees. In professional sports, athletes slip from the ages of 34 to 39 unless they extend their stay with PEDs. In the NBA, in which officials are required to run or jog for 150 minutes and make split-second decisions on hundreds of plays, we're expected to believe that the aging process doesn't apply.

Well reasoned and researched.

I have no problem with the the 1950's guys being the senior officials, but if you were born immediately after WWII or BEFORE the Baby Boomer Era, you may need to consider retiring.

Here's another thing I don't get. They have rescinded three of Kenyon Martin's technical fouls in the playoffs. Three of five technical fouls have been rescinded! Do the officials even know what a technical foul is? Even with the foul being rescinded, the NBA doesn't rescind the points the team gets from the foul shots when a technical is called.

I love Jeff Van Gundy's idea of a "penalty box" (basically, banishing guys to their bench for a specific period of time). Say Rafer Alston slaps Eddie House again: instead of a one-game suspension, he'd be benched for the first half. Say Amare Stoudemire drifts off the bench because Steve Nash got whipped against the scorer's table and it's human instinct to protect a teammate: maybe he'd miss the first quarter of the next game. Maybe instead of double technicals for jawing, players would get sent off for five minutes to calm down.

I don't know if this would work or not. I don't even know if I like this idea. It seems like the guy would spend most of his time on the bench steaming and trying to get back in the game to whip someone's ass. Maybe I am wrong and he would cool down. I do like the player having to miss the first quarter of a game for leaving the bench or missing part of the game for a violation. That seems more logical than missing an entire game.

the NBA sent out a memo for its Development League Referee Tryout Camp, which is scheduled for June 19-21 in Los Angeles. Participants officiate two games with prospective D-League players and need a minimum of two years experience at the high school level or higher. Not only do the participants have to pay their own way to get there, but the NBA charges them a $550 fee that covers "lodging for two nights at the camp headquarters, transportation to and from the games, and a camp officiating jersey." YOU HAVE TO PAY TO TRY OUT!

Paying to try out doesn't make sense in this situation at all. This is not a recreation league in your local hometown where the league needs enough money to pay for uniforms and other necessities to put the league together, this is the NBA where you would think they would be dedicated to finding the best officials and that means not making people pay to try out.

If you want a blog that gets traffic, start tracking bad playoff calls. Read the rulebook, familiarize yourself with it, watch each game with a fine-tooth comb and jot down every missed call and incorrect call. Chart how the fouls go up and down depending on the quarter. Chart the inconsistencies. Chart the number of calls, as well as the types of calls, that each referee makes and see if there's some sort of common theme. If you do a good job, I will send you traffic and so will everyone else. It's that easy.

This is a move that is part brilliant and part annoying to me. He gives his SimmonsClones a task to perform and undoubtedly we are going to be seeing blogs that chart all of these referee mistakes and everything else Bill wants appearing on the Internet. How will we have a clue whether the information contained is correct? People are idiots and I am going to assume the 18-25 year old range Bill speaks to is not going to be the absolute best at gathering information and deciphering it together into an accurate picture of the officiating situation in the NBA. We won't have an idea if the information is reliable and that is the annoying part, but it is brilliant because if someone does have good information that is reliable and well collected, then maybe Bill can get his point proven.

A reader e-mailed after the 86-FT Game that he would rather watch a playoffs in which players called their own fouls. At first glance, ridiculous. Within a few seconds, I started talking myself into it. By the three-minute mark, I was genuinely excited. No referees. The players policing themselves. Pickup rules for the playoffs. Hmmmmmm.

That's how bad things have gotten. An idea THAT dumb got my wheels spinning.

I am glad he realizes this idea is dumb...because it is. Overall, a very well written column by Bill. It's this type of column that he writes that almost makes up for some of the useless dreck he has put out (in my opinion) in the past. I am not ashamed to admit I liked this column. Ok, a little ashamed...

-Norman Chad wrote this Boston hating column a few weeks ago. He hates the Celtics. I don't think he actually hates the Celtics, I think he hates that they win all the time. That's the reasoning for a lot of the current Boston hatred, well that and the fans of the Boston teams have been stereotyped like Tommy from Quinzee from KSK, which some may actually be that way. Unfortunately behind every stereotype there is a little bit of truth. I learned this lesson from something a guy who came into my work on Tuesday showed me when he found out I was a Panthers fan. He rolled up his sleeve and showed me a tattoo of the Carolina Panthers logo eating a Cowboy's hat. I cringed a little. I hate the Dallas Cowboys but that's too much redneck for me.

-J.S. did a good post about Jeff MacGregor a few weeks/months ago and I saw a column by MacGregor the other day that made me wonder, as I usually do, what the hell he is talking about. It is called "Do Sports Teach Lessons or Provide Distractions?"

The question I really want answered is "What Purpose Does Jeff MacGregor Serve At Page 2?"

What are sports for?

Entertainment. It's plain and simple, we want to be entertained with athletic events and we have sports to serve that purpose. Other people (pointing at Jeff MacGregor) may want to make them more than they are, but you can't. They may serve as a microcosm of life, but at their very heart they are a billion dollar entertainment industry. The original reality television.

All of which got me thinking about the ideas of sportsmanship and character, and the antique notion that sports have to teach a moral or ethical lesson to be of real value.

This guy is just a real drag. He insists on trying to suck the fun out of everything.

(MacGregor's son) "Dad, I want to play video games at the arcade today."

(Jeff MacGregor) "But son, why do you want to play games? Are you revealing your true childhood ambitions that your alter-self refused to allow you to achieve because you wanted to meet what you thought were our expectations of you as our son?"

(MacGregor's son) "Because they are fun and you are really boring."

(Jeff MacGregor) "Just continue playing coy, insolent child, I will get the true reasoning out of you one day."

And while I understand and empathize with the moral exhaustion that besets us all, somebody somewhere in Major League Baseball thought Manny Ramirez had to be suspended for 50 games for breaking a rule it considered important. Is that rule wrong? Or is Manny Ramirez?

I think he may be overanalyzing this a bit. Major League Baseball set up the rule because they want to make sure there is an even playing field in baseball and the Union and the Commissioner believe restricting the use of PED's is the way to go about helping to even the playing field. You know, so a guy doesn't hit 73 home runs and get walked 200 times. That sucks the fun out of the game a little bit.

So to answer the question, Manny Ramirez broke the rule so he is wrong.

Or are sports just a performance, a vacation from the real? Is a game merely three hours of happy distraction from the killing grind of the everyday?

It's fucking entertainment. That's it. Like everything else in the world with a set of rules and any type of authority figure, it can also be seen as a microcosm of life. Quit writing such pretentious shit.

Which brings us back to the trillion-dollar question, the one we have to answer before any of the others:

What are sports for?


A simple, impossible question. But maybe if we all put our heads together we can puzzle it out. Ask your friends, neighbors, parents, children, coaches, players, teachers.

Is this question really worth getting a commission together for? He is so pretentious. I hope he chokes on the organic bagel he is eating in his Smart car, which will undoubtedly be playing classical music.

-Rick Reilly gets paid millions of dollars to write columns that whine about his favorite NBA team. As always, there is more to the story as well. The column is full of shit like this:

Moses wandered the desert for 40 years? Pah. That's Club Med compared to us. For 41 years, we've eaten sand and washed it down with tall glasses of bile. At least Moses had manna. All we ever got was crayon jerseys.

It annoys the hell out of me that every team is fighting and clawing to be a "cursed" team lately. Every team, has a SOB story about how beaten down they are and how long their fans have been waiting for a championship or any type of hope from their sports teams. Shut up. 41 years is not really that long. Denver had the Broncos win 2 Super Bowls in the 90's and the Rockies made the World Series two years ago, and that doesn't include any success the Colorado Avalanche had recently.

Since then, we've run a substitution pattern of famine, plague and pestilence, the last of which was a man named Nikoloz Tskitishvili, on whom we wasted the fifth overall pick in 2002, while passing on stiffs like Amare Stoudemire, Caron Butler and Carlos Boozer. Tskitishvili was really tskitty. One time, he took a wide-open jumper and hit the shot clock.

Maybe you are not really cursed, you just have incredibly shitty decision makers in the organization. It sounds to me like that could be the case.

You sent us Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf. He wouldn't stand for the national anthem.

If I recall correctly, he was a pretty good basketball player. Yes, I remember the ex-Chris Jackson was a pretty good player who helped the Nuggets win basketball games. Standing for the national anthem doesn't win games for the Nuggets and players that did not help the Nuggets win games is what you are whining about. Try to stay on point.

So when you click on Reilly's article, you see a Registered trademark next to "Life of Reilly." He trademarked his article title. He is very impressed with himself.

He officially wants himself to be a brand. Apparently the brand he wants to be is the type of brand that recycles old products and tries to pass them off as new. Deadspin said he was a little shy of being a Hallmark card anyway...but don't you think he is actually going to try and spread the brand name around a little? I have a feeling he is going to try and do this. There will be "Life of Reilly" cards, mugs, and toilet paper. Peter King would even use the toilet paper as he was preparing for his next colonoscopy!

-It's wrong how coaches like John Calipari are able to stay one step ahead of NCAA officials and never actually have to suffer any of the sanctions the school has to suffer. I will never doubt this guy can recruit, but he also bends the rules past the point where it is an NCAA rules violation.

Just like at UMass, his name doesn't appear on anything, but just like at UMass he is in the middle of it, but has found a way to not get himself dirty. He has made 2 Final Fours in his career, the first with UMass in 1996 has been erased because Marcus Camby had improper dealings with an agent. What did Calipari do for his UMass team after this was found out to make them feel better for all their hard work being erased or what did he tell his team to ease the pain? Well, he was actually running the New Jersey Nets into the ground when the sanctions came down, so he wasn't around anymore. He stayed one step ahead of the NCAA.

Now Derrick Rose is accused of cheating on the SAT, which Calipari had to have some knowledge of, unless he is able to keep up with everything about the student-athlete's lives on his basketball teams except for their wrongdoings. If found guilty, Memphis would have to vacate their Final Four appearance and the wins they got for the 2007-2008 year. As usual, Calipari doesn't have to really worry about the lowering of another Final Four banner because he is at Kentucky now with a sparkling recruiting record but zero Final Fours to his record.

I don't hate John Calipari but I do find it odd he stays at schools long enough to get out when sanctions start to come down and leaves the school and the athletic department to take the fall for what violations may or may not have happened. Recruits don't remember his Final Fours had to be vacated, they remember he coached Marcus Camby and Derrick Rose in a Final Four and almost won a National Championship in 2008. That's all they remember.

And though Kentucky fans will dismiss it, it should be pointed out that that's exactly what Memphis fans spent nine years doing. They explained to opposing fans that Calipari had nothing to do with the Camby mess, that it wasn't indicative of anything. But now here they are dealing with similarly damaging allegations of rules violations that happened on Calipari's watch, and it would be naive for UK athletic director Mitch Barnhart to not be concerned, at least a little, because 2-for-2 is 100 percent.

In other words, if Calipari someday leaves Kentucky without In other words, if Calipari someday leaves Kentucky without the NCAA subsequently accusing the school of operating outside the framework of the rulebook, understand, it'll be the first time he's ever exited a program that way.

Fortunately, Kentucky won't really care at that point because he will have brought them a couple of Final Fours, maybe a National Championship, and some respect back, and Calipari won't care because by the time the new NCAA sanctions come down, he will be at a different school.

This is one reason I hate college basketball recruiting and don't ever want to know what goes on behind the scenes.

-Here is an interesting article about the real trade value of Cliff Lee and Victor Martinez. I had to read it twice to get the gist of the article, but I don't know if I completely agree with it.

By the same math, though, a random minor leaguer of the sort who might be part of a deal for two such players is far more valuable than you might think. An average player is worth two wins in a year. A prospect who struggles in his first two years, giving the team just one win in each, and then settles in at dead average for the next four before leaving the team as a free agent, will have been worth about $45 million -- and he'll likely have been paid somewhere between $15 and $20 million, given baseball's idiosyncratic pay scale.

I just find it hard to believe this is accurate, though it is based on Fangraphs information, so it very well may be. There are so many assumptions that go into this, for one that the prospect(s) traded make it to the major leagues and that the great player traded continues to perform at the same level he performed prior and not perform at a higher level.

I think this may all be over my head a little bit but this was an intriguing article.

He talks a little bit about the Jake Peavy trade that almost happened with the White Sox and what surprises me is that the Padres seemed to lower their demands. Nothing against he package the White Sox offered, but the Padres originally wanted five players in a trade for Peavy, including two major league ready players and two top prospects. I think they should have taken the Cubs trade earlier in the winter, but they did not. Peavy is too chicken shit to play for the White Sox in that ballpark. I guess the American League is too scary for him.

-I think the Padres early season success has a lot to do with Adrian Gonzalez, but guess who is getting some credit?

The two things that Towers pointed to on behalf of the Padres, whose payroll is a puny $46 million (and may still go lower if Towers can find a place Peavy would like to play, beyond the Padres, that is): 1) There is no quit in them; and 2) David Eckstein is on their roster.

"A lot of it has to do with David Eckstein," Towers said.

"When you have a player like that, it becomes contagious," Towers said. "He sets the standard. He's so fricking intense. And he has the best in-game instincts I've ever seen."

What is it about David Eckstein that makes general managers and announcers talk about him like they are teenage girls and he is one of the Jonas Brothers?

-Jay Mariotti seems to think if the Cavs lose the series he is going to be gone from Cleveland in 2010.

Everyone has him going to New York to play for the Knicks or to play for the Nets in New Jersey, but does he really have a better chance at winning a championship and succeeding there? I think the higher profile he has playing for one of those teams will also cause increased scrutiny on him, which is not always good. Just ask Randy Johnson, Isiah Thomas, Alex Rodriguez, and Plaxico Burress. I am just saying it is not always a good thing to be in the spotlight all the time, and LeBron James may be smart enough to realize this.

-Gene Wojciechowski thinks the Cubs still have time to play well and blames many of the problems on injuries. Even though the Cardinals have had a ton of injuries this well to key players and have a lower payroll. Whatever, I don't want to disturb Gene with logic.

How long before we have an ESPN Boston web site? Another month? It's going to happen and it may not be a bad thing. Gene usually writes about Chicago anyway, so it is nice we can stick his articles on a site where I don't have to read theory. Unfortunately ESPN still insists on putting the columns on the front page, so when they get other "ESPN cities" it is going to seem like they only care about those cities from a standpoint of coverage and may make their coverage seem more biased. Not that ESPN really cares, because as long as the ratings come in positive, nothing will change.


The Casey said...

I haven't seen one playoff game this NBA postseason that didn't make me say, at least once and out loud, "What!? How the hell is that a (charge, block, foul, no-call, jump ball, whatever)!?" Also, I don't think I've ever heard more chants of "Bullshit" and "Ref you suck" over a one-month period. Barkley said it a couple of games ago and was completely correct. The officiating is turrble. You could almost get three people who have never seen a basketball game before, run through an hour or two fo training, and get as consistent a game.

I like his idea of a website, but you would also have to give credit for correct calls to get a good picture of things, and that's what I don't think would happen.

That is an awesome tattoo. And by 'awesome' I mean I would have laughed in that guy's face. I generally don't like meeting fellow fans of my favorite college football team, because they either don't know anything about college football in general and don't understand that sometimes the other team is better than your team; or our coaching staff is terrible and we should be trying to score a touchdown on every single play. It's like talking to Easterbrook if he were a drunken redneck.

Say what you want about Abdul-Raouf, he's one of the rare guys 6'3" or shorter who could go for 50 on a given night.

Bengoodfella said...

I know. I hate to parrot what Bill Simmons is talking about, but that was a well written article and he has some good points. What gets me is that players can't battle for position when posting up, that's not allowed anymore. I am not looking for a brawl on the court or anything, I just hate to see the touch fouls called all the time. I have no idea when a blocking or charging foul should be called. It's not that they need to not call fouls, they need to just let the game be played and quit stopping the game.

Players are not always going to get a long during a game. There is no reason to have them fight each other, but you also have to acknowledge basketball is a physical sport and to take that away takes away a lot of the essence of the sport. I never really knew how old the referees were. It's a great point that it is not reasonable to expect old referees to keep up with these players.

I still have no idea in college basketball when a charge is going to be called or not. They call charges under the basket, which is absurd to me. Either way, I have a hard time following a game where there are 52 fouls called and the players stand around for a minute after the foul call. It ruins the game for me.

Last night, Stan Van Gundy got a technical foul for arguing a foul that was not called on Howard. I don't get why he got T'd up so quickly. He is not allowed to react, and I don't think he was even on the court at that point. They want everyone to have no emotion and accept the calls with no reaction.

Yeah, I am afraid the web site will just be the negative stuff, but either way, it may make a difference...though I doubt it. I am sure the refereeing is not all together horrible, but I would like to see a page charting stuff like Bill described.

I had a hard time not laughing really at the tattoo. I generally try to ignore those who talk about many of my teams because they generally just pretend, just like Easterbrook, they know what they are talking about. Then there are other fans who I don't enjoy talking to because they just complain and it makes no sense what they are complaining about.

I always call him Chris Jackson because Abdul-Rauf is way too hard to spell for me. Either way, he was pretty good when he played and he could score in bunches. I don't know if Reilly really remembers Jackson from his Denver time, he just remembers the incident and wanted to include some previous knowledge to show off in his new trademarked column.

the right reverend said...

Abdul-Rauf showed more compassion, morality and just plain common decentness back in Denver than Reilly could ever even contemplate in his entire life. Somehow it makes me feel better that Reilly decided it was necessary to to bash one of my favorite players who has been out of the public eye for longer than a decade.

Also in the Simmons article, ain't this passage funny: "Only the Magic (God bless them) seem interested in playing a style that doesn't revolve around the same guy hoisting 3s or barrelling toward the basket again and again."

Yes God bless the Magic, the same team that needed to get "lucky" to win one game against the cavs, let alone 3.

Bengoodfella said...

I think it is just weird the sum total he remembers of Abdul-Rauf's time in Denver was of him not standing for the National Anthem. I remember him being a great three point shooter, as well as one of the best free throw shooters in NBA history. If I were a Denver fan, I might remember even more, but I guess Reilly doesn't.

I don't know if that quote is Bill Simmons saying he was wrong about the Magic, but for one thing it it true, and for the second thing, it is very interesting that the Magic should have actually swept the Cavs. They still have to put the Cavs away but I don't think of it is luck.

I don't think we will ever get an actual "I was wrong" from him, this may be the best we can do.

KentAllard said...

At least the tattoo is on his arm. I once knew a girl who had an Auburn Tiger tattooed in a very delicate place.

Bengoodfella said...

Really? An Auburn tattoo in a delicate place? That is a very dedicated fan. I am pretty sure there would have been violence or police interaction if he had a Panthers tattoo in a delicate place and showed it to me. I am a big fan, but I have to draw the line somewhere.

Anonymous said...

I realize Simmons has set the bar exceedingly low, but that was not a well written article.

He starts out with some inane story from the 50's that has nothing to do with the topic. Then he states the obvious (officiating isn't great) while introducing some potential reasons for this and not offering up any real solutions.

It seems like every year we see the same recycled stuff -- officiating stinks, these guys are old, etc. But here's the thing -- it's always been bad. This isn't a recent development related to the athletes or the fight in Detroit. It happened with Shaq (remember the outrage over the Kings series). It happened with Jordan. It happened with the Knicks. It happened in the 80's with the Lakers and Celtics and Sixers. Anyone who follows hoops has just learned to accept that officiating is completely subjective and can ruin a team's season. It comes with the territory -- it's the tragic flaw of the game.

So then the question is what do you do about it. And here Simmons fails again. You could just make a simple yet obvious case that the league should try to get better through development/training/accountability, etc. And he does some of that. But per usual, he falls off the deep end. And suddenly he starts talking about how players can control themselves because he did so in an IM game at Holy Cross. I'm not making this stuff up. And then he does his usual contradiction by talking about how the Pistons and Knicks played too physical and forced the league to change.

So, ultimately, what would you rather have...Knicks/Pistons where fouls aren't called or Lakers/Nuggets where they're called or the time?

ivn said...

from the Norman Chad piece:

"I don't like Kendrick Perkins; I don't know why"

"Eddie House wears his socks too high, for my tastes."

"Big Baby Davis is, well, a big baby."

"Brian Scalabrine -- didn't he used to be on "Saved By The Bell"?"

as a Boston fan I'm not saying there aren't great reasons to dislike Boston teams, but come the fuck on.

Bengoodfella said...

Anon, I think that may be the first time I have been accused of going easy on Simmons. It may be the only time too. Maybe he has lowered the bar to where I consider that a well written article.

I will concede the point that poor officiating has not just started occurring over the past couple of years. There have been some poorly officiated games over the history of the NBA, that is for sure. I just wish it did not have to be a tragic flaw in the game but the NBA doesn't want to fix it...and yes the question of how is still up in the air.

My biggest issue is that we are in an age where an offensive player just goes one on one with the defensive player, drives to the basket and just prays there is a foul called...and many times it is. Maybe I just don't remember this happening in the past, but my problem is when the offensive player puts his head down and wants the official to bail him out. I also have a problem with the technical foul situation. Any type of argument with a referee immediately after a play is a technical foul and if you even approach an opposing team's player on the court, you get T'd up.

I purposely skipped that part about the IM competition because it is purely hyperbolic, so you got me there too. I feel dirty semi-defending Simmons' article, I really do. His idea about players policing themselves would be a complete failure. He doesn't think of any revolutionary ideas, but I think for someone to come out and propose a referee academy is something different. At least it is an idea. I was just happy that someone put together semi-coherent thoughts about the officiating. You are probably right, it has never really changed, and it may never change.

I did not call him out on the contradiction that he does blame Riley for making the game too physical, which is contrary to what he seems to want in this article. I don't think he really knows what he wants on that issue to be honest. He wants the players to be able to make contact with each other, but not too much physical contact. There's a fine line he doesn't probably know where he wants to draw the line.

I personally think there just needs to be some more consistent officiating. I just wish the referees would allow the players to compete a little bit more in the middle, but I don't know if that will happen. I think the league is so afraid of another Detroit situation from happening, so I don't think anything will happen.

I would probably prefer a game like the Knicks/Pistons where there are not a lot of fouls called, but I may just think I want that. The constant starting and stopping of the game irritates me. Maybe Simmons has lowered the bar so much I can't recognize when an article is not great.

Ivn, those were not great reasons to like the Celtics. I think he just doesn't like the fact the Boston teams win a lot and he wanted to think of reasons to hate each individual player...and they weren't strong reasons.

Martin said...

Well, there is a difference between physical and full of cheap shots, which is what the Heat and Knicks of the 90's seemed to specialize in. Also, Simmons did propose some decent ideas, while pointing out huge flaws in the reffing system.

They should use the D League to develope refs, not just the occasional player. They should pay these refs a decent salary and for God's sake, don't make them pay $550 dollars to attend a TRYOUT camp for D League. One of the reasons the old guys are still around is that there really isn't anybody to replace them.

Apparently the NBA doesn't want anybody to know who is reffing games influences betting! For fucks sake, if that isn't reason enough that tehre is a problem with the offciating system, I don't know what is.

Bengoodfella said...

Those Heat and Knicks teams did exhibit a lot of physical play that were cheap shots and I don't think the NBA wants to go there. I don't think what Bill said is revolutionary and I don't know if an IM game is the best comparison for the NBA, but I feel like now is a good time for the NBA to do something about this. The athletes are great and really the officials have to keep up and I am not sure they do.

I am just afraid the officiating is becoming too subjective and the combination of touch fouls and the officials not knowing how to implement the technical foul policy, or even what a technical foul is, disturbs me.

I think the NBA needs to train the referees better and not make people pay to try out. I do think Anon is right in saying that it is obvious they need to do this but it seems like the NBA doesn't want to. Anon, is also probably right that this has happened for a while in the NBA, but I think the NBA should at least try to examine what a technical foul is and to make sure the refs call it correctly so it doesn't get overturned after the game is over.

Jeremy Conlin said...

Should I start stocking up on duct tape and canned goods?

Not to toot my own horn (who am I kidding, I actively whore myself out on this stuff), but I've been bringing up the consistently crappy officiating all season. For reference, check out my posts on May 23rd and May 25th.

I'm not sure if it's that the league doesn't realize how bad their officiating is or if they just don't care, but it's getting to the point where the officiating is directly affecting the entertainment value of the game. After Game 3 in the Orlando/Cleveland series, I was so disgusted that I honestly considered not watching the rest of the series. The only reason I got sucked back in was because I wasn't going to allow myself to miss a potentially life-altering performance from LeBron (which we ended up getting in the 4th Quarter of Game 5).

Maybe I should change my life goals and instead of becoming the senior NBA writer for, maybe I'll become the best official in the NBA, although relatively speaking, that's like being the world's tallest midget. Whatever.

Bengoodfella said...

No need to stock up on anything, I am sure he will irritate me at some point in the near future.

I read your blog and yes I know that you have said something similar to what Bill said. That's all your getting from me!

I don't know if the officiating is much worse now than it was a few years ago. I still remember Jordan's blatant push off on Russell, but I think it has come time where it is affecting the entertainment portion of the game. It is so hyperbolic but I was looking forward to Games 3 & 4 of the Orlando series and then they both ended up being slightly choppy affairs.

I agree there has been some slight problems in the past as well, but we are in an age now where the players are not allowed to mix it up at all and the coaches are not allowed to react at all. It's very anesthetic. Dahntay Jones is picking up four fouls in a quarter because the officials won't allow him to deny Kobe the ball or even play tough defense on him, so he gets pissy and trips him. Sure, he is an ass, but he is an ass who should be allowed to guard the opposing player and not concede points. The technical foul situation bothers me the most though. No one can get emotional ever for any reason.

I think the NBA will just need a new breed of official in the game. It has to be hard to officiate and they need guys who can't remember the Korean War doing it.

Martin said...

One point is that people say all the time "Well the officiating has always been lousy" or some variation of. Actually, it hasn't. Sherman set the way back machine (look older pop reference then any Simmons makes) to the late 70's early 80's.

This is the time when refs were pretty good. It was a time when they'd say to a coach or player "Ok, that's enough, if you keep it up, it's gonna be a T." and then walk away, giving the other person a chance to hang themselves or not. They called traveling...a lot. You might get an extra half step, but you sure didn't get to slide that pivot foot or switch it like they do nowadays. Those in the lane bunny hops? Called all the time. Old games you can hear Tommy Heinshon (sp?) and others say all the time "They got him for the old bunny hop in the lane." Then a couple things changed.

This was also the era of call it tight early, and let them know that rough stuff wasn't going to be tolerated, establishing a baseline for the rest of the game. Trust me, this is the way to manage the game.

Then the bad things happened. The NBA put an a-hole former ref (I think it was Garretson the Elder) in charge of refs for the league. Rampant "favoritism" occurred. If you didn't call the game the way HE did, or liked it called, you got fucked. Sadly, he wasn't one of the better refs out there, and he had a pretty short fuse. A la Cartman, he felt refs took control by making players "Respect mah au-thor-a-tee". What it did was make players resepct them less, cause they were now not only incompetent, but incompetent assholes.

Players started coming into the league who literally carried the ball over 80-90% of the time when they dribbled. Iverson doesn't have a great crossover, Tim Hardaway isn't breaking ankles cause he's got mad skillz. It's cause they carry the ball over every single dribble. Their freaking hands are underneath the ball on teh dribble. When a player dribbles correctly they can only alter the speed at which it is dribbled slightly. Gravity is gravity. What ended up happening was the league had to tell them to allow this, or their "star" players would have been called for carrying over/palming 10 times a game. This directly lead to the next problem....

They were taking a half dozen steps in between dribbles. When you can carry the ball on your hip and only have to dribble it slowly and on occassion, you can make some spectacular moves! I think that it only almost became a logical step that since the players were geting away with travelling while dribbling the ball, they could get away with it when not dribbling the ball too.

As to fouls. In the old days, a lot of timie fouls were not called unless it gave a team an adavantage in the game. If a player slapped anothers wrist and the ball went out of bounds off the guy with the ball with 18 seconds on the clock, they'd just call it off the defender. 6 seconds on the clock, it was a foul, since that would be a distinct advantage to the defending team. I almost never see that kind of officiating now, and I think it goes back to the League Office.

Then when teh Bad Boys and Knicks and Heat started their antics, almost anything less was allowed because it wasn't as bad as they were. What the league should have done was force some games where 4 Pistons fouled out. They let these teams change the game, instead of making them play the game correctly.

So that's my long diatribe on how yes Virginia, the reffing back in the old days was better then now, but how it isn't all the refs fault

Old Pop Culture references for the w1n!

Bengoodfella said...

Wow Martin, I feel like that was a really good story you told. Almost a parable, but not quite a short story.

I do remember that time when a coach was warned he would get a technical, rather than just get T'd up. I am sure this still happens, but there are instances now where a coach/player gets it called immediately, which can be fine in some cases...others, it is not. Like when Howard scored on Varejo the other night and then got T'd up. I did not like that.

As far as traveling and palming the ball go, Martin, I have given up on that completely. The players are going to do that and they are going to get away with it. They still call palming in college basketball actually. I saw it 3-4 times this year just in Duke games...and yes Duke did get called for it once.

I don't know the history of refs but it would make sense to me that if they put an asshole in charge, much less an incompetent one, the players would not respect the referees. Maybe they tried to keep a tight lid on the game and the players rebelled at first, but later got over it. I don't know. All I know is that I do not know the difference in a Flagrant 1 or 2 foul (I know the difference but don't always see the difference live) and technicals are called for a player not even acting up but reacting to a call, often times in my opinion in a correct manner.

It's interesting that you say the game got changed by the players instead of the game changing the players, but it looks like now the NBA is trying to get control back and people like Bill Simmons don't like it.

Thanks for the parable.

Jason B said...

From the original post:

"There is no consistency in the calls and the fourth quarter of games seem to stop every 2 minutes."

Every two minutes would be a blessing. Total blessing.

" seem to stop every six seconds."


Bengoodfella said... does feel like every 6 seconds doesn't it. If there are 48 minutes in a game and there are 52 foul calls in a game, and that doesn't include any other calls, then you are probably close to being right.

That is a foul called every minute of the game. That can't be right...

AJ said...

I for one couldn't make it all the way through Bill's piece. I'm beyond the point of reading yet another take on how bad the ref's are in basketball...he's a little late to the parade if you ask me. Everyone and their mom's are talking about how bad they are. Cuban does it on a daily bases.

The thing about a blog tracking the bad calls is the stupidest thing I've ever heard in my life. I mean who watches sports to fine pick every single thing that goes on like its your job or something. I watch sports for the enjoyment of it, why would I keep track of everything that goes wrong...I wouldn't be enjoying it anymore and I would be working. If I don't like something, or can't stand the way the game is being played, I pick up my remote and hit a new set of numbers and watch something else. By the way, if he really wanted to do some research for this article, he may want to look into his favorite past time, gambling. There are people who make a living tracking the tenedencies of every single ref. However, they do it as a job, not because they are fans.

The ref's suck, we get it, now shut up and watch the game. And if you can't watch it cuz the ref's suck so much, then turn on a baseball game.

The thing with the refs is this...if they let the players play and call less fouls all you will see is a bunch of cry babies complaining about them NOT calling fouls (like they already do). Watch Koby complain after every missed shot, every turnover...he is always complaining. Then when he gets a call that shouldn't have been a call you see everyone else complain. Anyone see a problem here? No matter what they do people are going to complain.

Bengoodfella said...

Bill is sort of piggybacking Mark Cuban when Cuban used to be able to track all of the refs calls and which referees were more likely to do what, but I think David Stern made him stop that. It's ok if you couldn't make it through the entire thing, there have been a lot of people who have written how badly the refereeing is in the NBA. I may just have lower standards for Bill and have expected an article worse than this.

The reason I mentioned I was concerned about the accuracy of the calls on a blog tracking them is because you are right, there is no way a person could track all of the calls in the NBA. That person would have to have a team together and be assigned certain teams...even then I am not sure I would trust the information collected. It does seem like a nightmare, but that doesn't mean someone won't try. I am sure Mark Cuban is still tracking the refs calls secretly.

I see your line of thinking that you think no matter what, people are going to complain. It's probably true, but if they don't do anything in the offseason they just have to quit the technical foul situation. It drives me crazy to see guys get technicals for getting excited after hitting a shot. It's a competition, we don't need a insult contest or anything, but it annoys me to see technicals rescinded during the playoffs.

AJ said...

I completely agree the tech's are ridiculous. I mean you can't celebrate anything, can't have any emotions, and can't say a word to anyone.

All I know is a lot of people complain about the ref's with no real solutions to the problem. I'm with everyone, the ref's are ruining this game...but I have no idea how to fix that problem.

What are you going to do, fine the refs? No other sport has I doubt that can happen. Fire them for to many mistakes? Possibly, but people make mistakes. And we are talking about people having to see something happen within a split second. You can't review fouls either, that would just slow up the game even more.

I don't know what can be done. You have coaches, players, and owners complain about a foul that gets called...then the next game that foul doesn't get called and you have the other team complain that it doesn't get called. So now you have one team complain it gets called, the other complaining it doesn't get called...where does that leave you exactly? Everyone in this league complains, maybe THAT is the problem????????

How about an article writen about how much whining and complaining there is in sports now, how it never used to be that way 20 years ago? That game has changed, but I for one believe it's the players attitudes that have changed it. It's not "well the ref's were better back then, blah blah blah", it's the fact the players feel more entitled to calls and making sure at the end of the day you know Lebrons name, not that the Cavs won a game.

Bengoodfella said...

I guess I don't like the technicals because they get rescinded during the playoffs and it just seems to me like the NBA has not told its officials the correct procedure on what a technical is and is not. Either that or they are protecting the players who get the T's so they don't get suspended one game.

Reviewing fouls is not an option at all. I do agree with Bill there should be a mandatory retirement age because these older officials have to have problems keeping up with these young guys. I know they are in great shape and all, but still...

The complaining does irritate me. One game a team complains about the foul calls so you know next game that team will probably get a few more fouls called for them. I think this is a problem in college basketball, just like in the pros. I can't stand the way charging is called in college. It drives me up the wall. There is no way an offensive foul should be called on a player when a defensive player takes a charge within two feet of the basket, but it gets routinely called. That area is the offensive player's area in my mind.

I do agree with the idea that players feel more entitled to calls now. When they don't get a call they tend to throw up their hands and not get back on defense. It's good to be emotional but anytime there is contact, you won't get a foul call. I guess I don't know the solution either, but I am sort of glad some people are noticing now.