By Rohan Bommaraju — Sports Editor
Are referees a major contributor to the outcome of an NBA game?
The NBA season is in playoff mode. With only a few teams left to battle for a Larry, there is one major question to ask, how much do the refs actually impact the game of basketball?
The NBA has had a history of refs rigging or attempting to rig games most notably with former ref Tim Donaghy. Sharon High School senior Jacob Bleecker says that NBA referees can impact the game. “I’ve always believed that any team can execute for a win regardless of the refs. Going back to the [Celtics Bucks] Game 3 call that resulted in just two free throws for Marcus Smart, if Tatum hits even one of those 15 missed shots, the Celtics take a 2-1 lead. You can’t always blame the refs.”
NBA referees only see the game at the speed it is being played and is unable to slow down the game to make every call. Sharon High School sophomore Aarav Thacker says that being a ref in the NBA is a hard enough job without criticism. “Sometimes the calls they make are very questionable, but unless the play is challenged or reviewed, the refs only see the play for a split second to see it, we get to watch it multiple times with replays and with a good view.“
Bleecker says that refs will always miss calls. “Missing calls isn’t great, but just like players don’t make 100% of their shots, refs don’t make calls correctly 100% of the time. I think every uncertain call should be reviewed in the 4th quarter without coaches having to challenge it. And then coaches get one challenge for the final two minutes. This would allow for a smoother final two minutes that would allow fans to enjoy the game, called the right way.”
Thacker says that depnding on the severity of the call and the time, some calls are more impactful if they are not called. “If it’s in the last few minutes of the game it’s really critical to get the best calls in which is why they review them after the 2 minute mark. There could have been a missed shooting foul that ultimately will put the game away and that will especially hurt in the playoffs.”
Bleecker says that the playoffs bring the best out of the players and the officials. “I like the way things are more physical in the playoffs. Let them play. That’s how you get the most competition and how you bring the best out of players and the game.”