Wednesday, July 25, 2007

On Donaghy and the "Future of the NBA"

This whole scandal is getting more boring by the minute. I mean I realize it's the offseason so every NBA analyst/writer/blogger doesn't have a whole lot to write about other than the latest impending Team USA hip-thrust, but come onnnnnnnnnn..

Let's see what we've got so far

1. Tim Donaghy gets accused of point-shaving and possibly altering the overall outcome of games.

2. The mob is more than likely involved.

3. Donaghy has a "history" of gambling and a few notorious games under his belt (06-07 Game 3 Suns/Spurs and the Palace Brawl)

4. Journalists are milking the "is the league in trouble?" "will anyone ever trust the NBA again?" angle to DEATH.. Emphases placed on whether the league's future is at risk and the supposed problems of trust that it already had involving its fans.

Really, what the hell?

In the end, people are getting mad over strategic calls that Donaghy probably made in order to fix the over/under numbers for games he refereed.. Yes that sucks, yes it is clearly a problem the league has to deal with, but how do people honestly see this as THAT big of a deal in terms of game-to-game officiating?

How many times have you watched a game on TV and heard announcers talking about "make-up calls"? Where they obviously make a bad call on one end and call (or don't call) a cheap foul or travelling violation or defensive 3-second on the other end to "offset" it? In the end officials cover themselves because they are the ultimate arbiters for such calls in a given game.. A tiny shove is normally not called but is probably a foul under the rules, so a given referee could call it a foul at his/her discretion anytime. However it still boils down to being a bad call since they would likely be officiating outside of their normal patterns and potentially changing the outcome of the game.

How often have you seen officiating sensitive to outside factors? Such as flagrants being called if the hit player is injured or comes up fighting, but not if the player bounces back up without a word? Late whistles where fouls are called after the basket is missed?

How many times have technical fouls been called on coaches or players for yelling out an obscenity that just hit that official wrong? Yes the techs are often issued for a reason, but in the end they are complete judgement calls by the referee and have no true standards in the grand scheme of things--it is, by nature, the referee rolled up newspaper that can be used to whack the unruly dog. On the same note how many times have players and/or coaches been ejected via technicals for reasons not involving safety?

How many times has a player received key fouls from light contact and taken out of the game because of it? Or gotten away with a lot of contact and not? Players like Shaq complained endlessly about the physical abuse they received from game to game without getting calls; how different would the outcome of Shaq's prime be if he'd gotten say.. 30% more free throw attempts?

How many times have you seen Dwyane Wade shoot free throws? (had to throw it in there)

All of those things (especially Wade if you like the Mavs) are signs of bad officiating that are not only present in the league but are largely considered part of the game.. Every single one has, I'm certain, made an impact on the outcome of a game at some point in time, whether intentionally (Donaghy, Crawford, and that corpse they always put in Lakers games) or not..

.. And beyond the certainty that this scandal will probably improve officiating in those areas and more at least for the next couple years, I'm not sure I see why this is such a massive deal as far as the NBA's future is concerned. It's like you're telling me people put flies in my soup on purpose when there's like 50 of them in there already, and the soup still tastes good (or I wouldn't keep getting it!)..

No comments: