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NBA now publicly disclosing once-secret memos to referees

Mar 31, 2014, 8:47 PM EDT

Boris Diaw, Kawhi Leonard, Mario Chalmers, Dwyane Wade

Adam Silver had been David Stern’s right-hand man so long, I initially wondered whether Silver would carve his own path as NBA Commissioner rather than just continuing what Stern set in motion.

Would he be comfortable altering Stern policies? Did he even disagree with Stern’s policies?

It seems Silver has already answered those questions. He’s only been on the job a couple months, but he’s already making his mark.

In a departure from Stern’s top-down authoritative approach, the NBA is now releasing to the public memos sent to referees.

The latest memo, released today, is on verticality:

We have noticed that defenders have been turning sideways when jumping to defend an oncoming offensive player on drives to the basket. This is illegal and referees are being instructed to call this a blocking foul. While we commonly discuss verticality in the context of secondary defenders inside the restricted area (see restricted area and verticality reminder further below), this change will apply to defenders turning sideways while in the air whether inside or outside the restricted area on drives.

You can read the full memo, which includes links to videos of plays that should be now called blocking fouls.

The league also released every other memo sent to officials this season. The topics:

Transparency is usually good, and in this case, it definitely is. Fans who spend money, directly through ticket sales and merchandise and indirectly through advertising, on the NBA deserve to know what’s happening in the league.

Kudos to the Silver regime for going this direction. Referee memos can be a bit trite, but there’s no good reason not to disclose them. Hopefully, this is just a sign of progress toward even more transparency.

  1. nickhollingsworth - Mar 31, 2014 at 9:07 PM

    Wonder what the memo looked like for Game 6 of the 2002 WCF

  2. nickhollingsworth - Mar 31, 2014 at 9:09 PM

    Reblogged this on Sportstalk and commented:
    Wonder what the memo looked like for Game 6 of the 2002 Western Conference Finals!

  3. eugenesaxe1 - Mar 31, 2014 at 9:35 PM

    1-The word is “publicly”. Somebody wake up the editor/chimp.

    2-Disclosure is all well and good. Maybe the league office can also disclose when a ref/s does a hideous job and what ‘s being done about it.

    • urodaddy07 - Mar 31, 2014 at 10:20 PM

      Was just about to say someone needs to proof these things. I hope that was an honest mistake otherwise its pretty sad if we really don’t know the word is “publicly”

  4. beach305 - Apr 1, 2014 at 2:09 AM

    Out of the three major sports, I think the NBA ref’s have the hardest job. Unlike football or baseball which are played at a slower pace, the NBA is essentially a sprint from one end of the court to the other.

    What they need to do is make less rules and allow more incidental contact. However, in today’s game they want to give offensive players the advantage, because it’s good for the game$

    I mean who cares if a defender jobs and blocks the ball sideways. As long as he is jumping in the air in not plowing in the ball handler, I think it all should be legal. Now, what you are going to have are people looking at every twitch to see if the guy turn sideways before contact. Dumb.

    • katra2logic - Apr 1, 2014 at 2:50 AM

      Watch all the videos, the ‘blockers’ are turning their shoulders into the shooting players chest in a couple of them, delivering far harder blows than facing up to the shooter. You can see why the league wants to discourage this type of play. Cheers.

  5. campcouch - Apr 1, 2014 at 2:57 AM

    pubic memos. I love typos.

    • Professor Fate - Apr 1, 2014 at 7:40 AM

      Writers on this site are no better at proofreading before they post than are the commentators. Dan was just doing his Kurt Helin impression. Was that uncapitalized typo intentional? If so, kudos for the irony.

  6. pbtunpaidwriter - Apr 1, 2014 at 12:10 PM

    The NBA is the best run sports league out of the 4 (hockey shouldn’t count) major NA sports.

    Silver >>>>> Stern

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