May 08, 2006

Only the BEST should be in the playoffs.: Mark Cuban, in his relentlessness, is on the NBA officials again. This time it's about who should be working playoff games and why. Despite his seemingly sound rationale, I think he fails to take the officials' perspective into account, and just doesn't get that there's more to officiating than getting the "balls and strikes" right all the time. And, it is far more complicated than just pulling numbers out of the air to determine who works playoff games, as Dick Bavetta will tell you.

posted by Spitztengle to basketball at 07:20 PM - 16 comments

Sometimes it seems that Cuban isn't happy unless he's complaining about something. Sure the referees make some mistakes. Referees in every sport do. These guys are only human, so they'll make mistakes. The same applies to Cuban.

posted by roberts at 04:41 AM on May 09, 2006

His point isn't about the referees making mistakes. He opens by acknowledging that. Rather, his point is that if you ranked the referees, as the NBA no doubt does, and only assigned the top referees to the playoffs, (the best/most important product), you are at least doing your best to try and protect the value and integrity of the product. I agree with him. Mark Cuban has a considerable amount invested in the success of his team and the NBA as a whole and if he can use a skill he has an aptitude for, (data analysis), to protect those investments then he owes it to himself to do so. He is trying to help make the product better for everyone.

posted by geekyguy at 05:26 AM on May 09, 2006

Cuban is not out on a limb here - I can think of no other sport that suffers the wrath of its officials more than basketball. And some of these games have been called terribly. I'm all for the assessment that the NBA is the toughest league to officiate, because it damn well better be - it's the only excuse they've got. Ranking the refs is a good idea. I know the NHL does it, and I know that you have to earn your stripes in MLB before they let you near the line judge spot in a World Series game. Frankly, the NBA just plain needs to be producing better officials period. I have no idea what that would take, but at times the current product is downright embarassing.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 08:31 AM on May 09, 2006

Wake me up when Mark Cuban has something interesting to write about.

posted by mustang71 at 08:32 AM on May 09, 2006

All I can say is he is right. We all saw Lebron James walk 4 steps in his game winning shot against the Wizards and then carry in the other game winning shot. The carry can go either way but that 4 step walk was ridiculous. The refs should be able to call the most basic travelling calls. This may be a reason why we suffer in international play also because the refs in international play dont give the superstars a foul or no call depending on the situation. This is especially true on blocking/charging calls where the superstar gets the call. Another thing I dont get is why Lebron gets calls before he has even proved himself.

posted by jeeb75 at 09:02 AM on May 09, 2006

Four steps come on! Go back to school and learn to count!

posted by The Tribster at 09:11 AM on May 09, 2006

Though he did have his share of bullshit luck along the way, Cuban certainly has a great deal of business aptitude. More precisely, it is business aptitude forged in an environment that says, basically, we should always be challenging the staus quo (computers, basketball) and not just doing things the same way 'cause that's how they've always been done. He should be congratulated for that. My fear concerns the ranking system itself: the more clinical this type of thing gets (presumably in a quantitative fashion), perhaps the more it churns out robot referees who have less "feel" for the game and what makes it such a compelling sport/product.

posted by smithers at 09:23 AM on May 09, 2006

The NBA Refs, The NFL Refs and MLB Umpires had very bad year in thier respective championship and playoffs! As far as Lebron walking that is nothing but sooar grapes from a poor loser! 4 steps is redicules he never took four steps. He may of took a small hop but that is rarely called on anybody. The same person whinning about Lebron is over looking the fact the play before. Arenas should of been charged with a charging foul instead of making a free throw for a three point play! If the the game was called tightly the two would of even itself out and the results would of remained the same. A Cavs victory! As Far I am concerned Lebron has proved himself....No one not even Jordan can win in the NBA all by himself! So don't spoil one of the most exciting series this year by whinning! The Wizards fans and team have nothing to be ashamed of, only for thier fans whinning!

posted by The Tribster at 09:23 AM on May 09, 2006

The best officials in any sport should be doing thier respective leagues playoffs and championship games. Just look at the feasco at the Superbowl. The worst officiated Superbowl in history. It was a very tainted victory for Pittsburgh, for they did not win it. it was given to them...

posted by The Tribster at 09:28 AM on May 09, 2006

It was four steps, saw the replay many times. The little hop you are talking about is a jump stop. He took a step and the jump stop and then two steps after that. When a player makes a jump stop he is not supposed to take another step. I am from Northern California and a Warriors fan, so I am not a Wizards fan in any way. Lebron seems like he may be the future face of the NBA, but he should earn his superstar status. I am sure he will earn it but it is not fair to the Wizards fan to let him walk to score a game winning basket. And Yes I know my team sucks.

posted by jeeb75 at 09:37 AM on May 09, 2006

I don't watch NBA basketball anymore (except when my wife turns it on the tube) mainly becasue of the officiating. I don't understand how a league can survie with any credibilty with the arbitrary manner that fouls are (and are not) called by NBA officials. As an example, two of the games in the Bulls-Heat series. in Chicago, tons of calls against the Heat and very few against the Bulls. Next game, tons against the Bulls, few against the Heat. Did the teams change that much over two days? Does the home court affect players and officials that much? I just don't understand it. The officiating has destroyed any respect and enjoyment I once had for the NBA. I don't watch by choice. I don't buy their stuff. There are other sports in town.

posted by Midwest Steve at 09:59 AM on May 09, 2006

I think he fails to take the officials' perspective into account, and just doesn't get that there's more to officiating than getting the "balls and strikes" right all the time. And, it is far more complicated than just pulling numbers out of the air to determine who works playoff games, as Dick Bavetta will tell you. I'm confused at the point you are trying to make here. What about the official's perspective trumps the need to have the highest quality of officials in the playoffs? The second link you provided only has one small point about the officials used in the finals and not in the playoffs as a whole.

posted by tron7 at 10:03 AM on May 09, 2006

Cubans argument is that the officials should work back to back in different cities, that this would not be too taxing on them. I know that he said this was written before the playoffs began, but after hearing the Mavs cry about only 36 hours off between round one and round two, it seems that back to back even for officials would be a bad idea. Just my $0.02.

posted by elovrich at 10:58 AM on May 09, 2006

Back to back is hard on anyone, but the argument is still sound at 18 refs rather than 32.

posted by MW12 at 11:14 AM on May 09, 2006

I realized after I posted that it was SA that had the short turn-around, but the point is still the same, if it is hard on theplayers it is just as hard, if not more so, on the officials, they do not get the chance to take a breather on the bench. The arguments for 18 officials supposes that you would have the same crews working all the rounds. This can lead to other problems, in that eventually, you would have a crew see the same team in two consecutive rounds. 14 potential games with the same crew working a team is a recipe for disaster.

posted by elovrich at 07:06 PM on May 09, 2006

More from Cuban.

posted by tron7 at 12:25 PM on May 10, 2006

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