The Norman Transcript

National Sports

April 1, 2014

NBA making a point of emphasis memos to refs public



The verticality reminder was timely, since it came up again last week when Indiana beat Miami.

Hibbert is perhaps the best in the league at jumping straight up and holding his space when he steps in to help, which is legal. James seemed intent on testing him, as he was in last year’s Eastern Conference finals.

But many other players jump a little sideways, or bring an arm downward in an attempt to block the shot rather than holding them upward, so the league felt the need to clarify that those would lead to a foul on the defender.

“Players are smart and as things begin to get called one way, they’ll start to tweak it another way,” Bantom said.

“Players and teams started doing more of this and we decided we had to come up with a process to how we were going to officiate it.”

The league evaluates every play in every game, and allows teams to send tape of questionable calls for review, and all of those help to create the instructional videos. Bantom said he believes new memos could be sent every few weeks.

The NBA began trying to educate fans further a few years ago with a video rulebook on, and believes posting the points of emphasis memos is another useful step. The rise of social media comes with a rise of questioning calls, and perhaps there will be less of that with more awareness of the league’s view.

“If people understand a little bit more about what these guys are trying to do, what we’re telling them to do,” Thorn said, “then to us it can only help.”

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