Harper: NBA Must Fix Officiating Fiasco

NBA officiating has been awful all season, Zach Harper says, and the league must act

Ferrall On The Bench
June 08, 2018 - 5:45 am

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Like many analysts, Fan Rag Sports NBA writer Zach Harper believes the NBA Finals are over.

“I do. I just don’t know how many games yet,” Harper said on Ferrall on the Bench. “But there is no way this Cavs team is going to win four of the next five against this Warriors team.”

Harper doesn't know how many games are left, but he does know that the officiating in the Finals – and this season – has been awful. It’s been, in the words of Scott Ferrall, “horrific, horrendous, and heinous.”

“It’s almost perfect that the officiating has been so bad and so inconsistent – because it’s been such a problem this year,” Harper said. “I’m usually not someone who kills the refs because I think it’s an extremely hard job – and way harder than it should be. The ambiguity of the rules, I think there’s a lot wrong that they have to overcome. That said, this year it’s been a huge problem. That’s why the players’ association wants to talk to the officials and find a way to create some kind of understanding of what’s expected out there and what can be consistent. It’s a problem the league has to address.”

Harper credits the league for acknowledging mistakes after the fact, but that’s not enough.

“Transparency is nice,” he said, “but they need to know what to (expect going) into the game – not what happened and what should have been fixed.”

The officiating was bad in Games 1 and 2 of the Finals, but it may have been worse in Game 1, as officials missed several late calls that went against the Cavs.

“I think it was worse in Game 1,” Harper said. “I think it was more consistent in Game 2. I don't think Cleveland adapted to how the officials were officiating as much as they did in Game 1. Game 1 was just a mess. That was just a complete mess. You had bad call after bad call, missed call after missed call – there was just no consistency throughout. I thought it was fairly consistent even though I didn’t agree with a lot of the calls in Game 2. I don’t think Cleveland adjusted the way they should have.”

Harper believes the fix must come via league mandate or change of rules. And if it doesn’t come soon, the NBA could lose fans – including Ferrall, who loves basketball but cannot stand how bad the officiating is.

“It’s not like we have this pool of young refs that are ready to come into the NBA from the G-League or college,” Harper said. “We don’t have that influx of referees coming up. They have to fix this with existing referees, and they got to find a way to do it pretty soon. Otherwise, (the NBA will lose fans who say), ‘Look, I love basketball, but it’s ruining the entertainment factor of the game.’”