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NBA now sending teams blown call reports on referees

Feb 26, 2014, 12:43 PM EDT

Mark Cuban,  Brian Forte AP

It can feel like every fifth word out of new NBA Commissioner Adam Silver’s mouth is “transparency.”

However, he is not just talk. He is walking the walk.

Mark Cuban has been pushing for the league to provide more transparency to teams on officials since he bought the Mavericks in 2000 and now he’s getting it — bi-weekly reports on blown calls. That’s what Cuban told Howard Beck of Bleacher Report.

“I think he’s taken some great steps on the officiating,” Cuban said. “There’s been more changes in 15 days, or whatever it is, than I saw in 14 years.”

Cuban then divulged the most significant of those changes: The league is now sending its teams regular reports on blown calls by the referees. It’s one of the first steps in Silver’s push for greater transparency….

“So I like what he’s doing there,” Cuban said.

Beck notes these reports are not new — the NBA tracks and grades its referees (and yes, even fines them at times) — but they had been in the hands of a few at the league office before and that was it. Now teams are getting those reports in their inbox. How, or even if, that changes officiating around the league remains to be seen.

The big difference between Silver and David Stern is not broad picture concepts but rather style — Silver is more of a consensus builder, a believer in the free flow of information and ideas. Stern was much more the dictator, and like all dictators he wanted to control the flow of information.

That doesn’t mean sweeping changes in the product or even how things are done, but it does mean more discussion about changes. That’s a good thing.

  1. whitdog23 - Feb 26, 2014 at 1:20 PM

    two HORRIBLE phantom calls in last night’s Lakers-Pacers game where an Indiana player wasn’t even touched and yet fouls were called on the Lakers. tell the referees to stop guessing, and only blow the whistle if they see a player gaining an advantage. read the rule book!!

    • azarkhan - Feb 26, 2014 at 1:39 PM

      “But it was an abysmal night for the Lakers, who managed only 16 points in the decisive third quarter and half of their 44 second-half points during the final seven minutes, after they trailed by 33.” (Those 2 fouls were the difference!!)

      • asimonetti88 - Feb 26, 2014 at 2:01 PM

        They have to be the difference makers to be bad calls?

    • shuttaman1990 - Feb 26, 2014 at 2:36 PM

      shhh let them have their fun. Lakers need to keep losing so D’antoni can go and we gets nice draft pick, OK?

      Lakers all didddydydydydydDAY

      • sportsfan18 - Feb 26, 2014 at 2:54 PM

        L Lose
        A All
        K Kinds of ways
        E Every night
        R Resign Coach D for the two remaining yrs on Kobe’s contract AND…
        S Suck Suck Suck

  2. nykfanwakemeupin2015 - Feb 26, 2014 at 1:21 PM

    Something def needs to be done. It def takes away from the game. Sometimes I think letting them play a bit more then calling everything is a better answer

  3. harshedmellow - Feb 26, 2014 at 2:00 PM

    Ref’ing BBall is a subjective thing, an art. Watched my daughter’s team compete for the league title last night (they lost) and while the ref’s were fair, they called a very loose game, which really favored the other team in terms of matchups. It’s a little maddening how differently games can be called and still be “fair”… this is the most ref-intensive sport we have and that’s just the way it is, I get that, but man… anything Silver can do to make things more consistent and transparent is a good thing!

    • sportsfan18 - Feb 26, 2014 at 3:00 PM

      Each and EVERY pitch is subjective damn near in baseball as to whether it’s a ball or a strike on all pitches that are not swung at and hit or missed.

      The majority of game action in baseball and football requires NO calls by the refs.

      Again, EACH pitch requires action by the umps if it is not swung at.

      Due to this, a much greater percentage of plays in baseball require ump action/decisions.

      Baseball is the most ref/ump intensive sport there is…

      Some umps call pitches off the plate a strike but not on the inside part of the plate.

      Some pitchers get calls and others don’t. Players hate it when the home plate ump calls balls and strikes different for each team when they are at the plate…

      There are over 200 pitches in an average MLB game and very few are swung at and hit or missed compared to all the pitches that are taken.

      Baseball umps easily make over 150 calls each and every game. Basketball refs might make half of the number of calls umps do in baseball.

      • antistratfordian - Feb 26, 2014 at 9:08 PM

        NBA refs make the same kinds of decisions probably at a higher rate if you consider how often they have to weigh calling traveling, or palming, carrying, or illegal screen, or 3 seconds, etc. It’s constant. Every time the ball enters the lane potentially 5 different calls can be made. I’d say NBA refs are making these kinds of judgements over 150 times a quarter.

    • belleby123 - Feb 27, 2014 at 7:37 AM

      Once upon a time in the NFL the announcers used to say “there is holding on every play”. Now holding is not called very often, because the NFL somehow managed to be get consistent enough to call it when its blatant. There wrong sometimes too, as the challenges indicate, but it’s very rare to say that blown calls influenced a game. The NBA, under David Stern, is laughable both in the refereeing and the Draft. The flopping is a joke. The first thing I would eliminate is someone hitting the deck to get a charging call. The first time should be a warning, the second time you’re thrown out of the game. And NBA coaches should get challenges too.

      • tv63 - Feb 27, 2014 at 6:56 PM

        Good points all of them.

      • belleby123 - Feb 28, 2014 at 8:52 AM


  4. atlbrave5 - Feb 26, 2014 at 3:15 PM

    I don’t necessarily agree with this “new” approach of allowing officiating calls to be more transparent. This reminds me in a way back when Stern changed the NBA official Basketball due to it be LEATHER…everybody hated it and they had to change it back. This is exactly what happens when you change things just for the sake of changing things to make a few people smile. For starters, Mr. Cuban will NEVER be happy until his team THE MAVS are the only team left in the NBA each year competing for a championship. He is a good owner and a fantastic businessman but more than anything else…Cuban is a FAN..just like the rest of us‼ He will be in favor of anything that helps his team win even if it exposes something that will NEVER be perfect.

    I’ve been an official for many years and this really is one of those things that is difficult to speak on if you have never officiated a REAL basketball game before. 99% of the people out there including Cuban himself wouldn’t be able to last 1 full quarter as a high level official. I’m not saying the refs are perfect, but what I am saying is that calls good or bad are all part of the game. Sending in game reports to teams or the league coming back and saying a foul was a foul after 24 hours of watching that play in super slow motion from every angle possible is NOT the way to fix officiating issues! If there are any other officials out there reading this, you will know that our superiors care more about rotations and being in the right place to make the call..rather than the actual call itself! They care more about your mechanics on the call…rather than the call itself. And until THAT type of thing gets looked at closer by the league then you will continue to see bad calls, because the ACTUAL call that is made is about the middle of the list of what the official is even worried about while he is out there in front of 20,000 fans! However, WHERE he made the call and his mechanics on the call will determine his rise or fall, and that to me is what’s backwards!

  5. rayburns - Feb 26, 2014 at 3:27 PM

    I would hope that by making these matter’s more transparent, officials would begin to notice that certain calls are getting missed more and more. They could then get together and make the adjustments necessary to get the calls right. As a previous poster hinted at, sometimes its not that the refs blew the call, they were in the wrong position to see the action properly. So, if the refs can get together and come up with a strategy to address positioning and mechanics, then this could be a good thing.

    The one thing that this has to address is the issue of diva refs who are never wrong and can never be shown up by anyone, even another official. I’m tired of certain officials who make a call and wave off their own officiating crewmates (who had better angles on the play) because they are always right.

  6. usm418 - Feb 26, 2014 at 10:16 PM

    Attention NCAA the NBA works towards improving play while college hoops still can’t get rid of the “alternating possession” call.

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