NBA Referee calls analysis –


Is it really Affecting the game?

Recently Fred Van Vleet roasted the NBA officiating crew that gave him technical fouls during a very critical turning point that meant Toronto Raptors lost another game.

It got me thinking, referee analysis and the calls really are a crucial aspect of the game that changes the flow of the game a lot.

The basics

Referee call analysis is a process of examining the performance of referees during a basketball game to determine the accuracy, consistency, and fairness of their calls. Referees are responsible for enforcing the rules of the game and making decisions regarding fouls, violations, out-of-bounds calls, technical fouls, and other aspects of the game.

Fouls: Basketball games can be very physical, and referees are tasked with monitoring the play and calling fouls when a player makes contact with an opponent in an illegal manner. The types of fouls that referees typically look out for include charging, blocking, holding, pushing, tripping, and other similar types of illegal contact. Referees must assess the severity of the foul and determine whether it warrants a personal foul or a technical foul.

Violations: Violations occur when a player commits an infraction of the rules that does not involve physical contact with an opponent. Examples of violations include traveling, double dribbling, carrying the ball, and other similar offenses. Referees are responsible for identifying and calling violations when they occur.

Out-of-bounds calls: When the ball goes out of bounds, referees must determine which team was the last to touch the ball before it went out of bounds. This decision can be crucial in determining which team gets possession of the ball. Referees must also determine whether a player was out of bounds when touching the ball, which can result in a violation.

Technical fouls: Technical fouls are called for unsportsmanlike behavior, such as arguing with a referee, taunting an opponent, or using abusive language. Referees must assess the severity of the behavior and determine whether a technical foul is warranted.

Other decisions: Referees may also be called upon to make other decisions during the game, such as calling a jump ball, stopping play for an injury, or determining whether a shot was released before the shot clock expired.

In overview, referee call analysis involves a comprehensive assessment of the referees’ performance during a game, including their ability to identify and call fouls, violations, out-of-bounds calls, technical fouls, and other decisions. The analysis helps to ensure that the game is fair and consistent, and that the rules are being enforced properly.

The way it’s looked at in the NBA

For this I had to dig a bit deeper and reached out to a few former analytics guys I knew from my days in the NBA.

One of the best open-source guides from which I drew a few images I am sharing can be further found here.

First off good to know is that since around about 2014 the NBA has been looking more closely at referee analysis to the point of utilizing special cameras.

Tom Ryan the VP of Strategy of the NBA recently posted on Linkedin that there were expansions done on two critical aspects to their systems:

Here is the critical insight though that I wanted to share with you all:

Based on compiled data from the last few years including this season as we can gather from the above are the call accuracy rates.

Its amazing to see it pointed out this way.

Further insight of the following:

Last but nowhere least:

Its evident that NBA referees have a level of tendency, they are human after all. However, affecting the game in a way that it takes away from the entertainment value that people pay top dollar to come and watch is really out of this world crazy.

By all means, I am just pointing out what the data is already showing I am sure that the league will make sure to take this issue up and figure out measures to adjust towards.

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