Increasing Hostility Between NBA Players and Referees
To say the NBA players and referees have been at a crossroads would be an understatement. It is beginning to seem like there are more and more problems with every game this season. Players are upset when they don't get calls and the referees get upset when the players question them. After expecting to meet with each other during the NBA All-star weekend, the two sides still seem far away from any common ground. In fact, the only two players to attend the meeting were Andre Iguodala and Spencer Dinwiddie Many players have since spoken out to the media about their growing concerns. Some players voicing their thoughts include Lebron James, Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony, Russell Westbrook and Demar DeRozan. The most recent argument featured Golden State Center, Zaza Pachulia, being accused of intentionally trying to hurt Thunder guard Russell Westbrook and will receive no repercussion. However, there have been so many more instances that are leading to some players feeling targeted and some angry responses.
The above video shows Golden State Forward, Draymond Green, pleading for a foul after a hit to the face caused bleeding. Green eventually argued with referee Lauren Holtkamp, who now Houston Rockets PG Chris Paul had criticized a couple years back, leading to a technical foul. Draymond Green is now up to 14 technical fouls this season, the most in the league, after one got recalled, which is 2 away from a 1-game suspension.
"And now, the trigger is too quick. You look at somebody wrong, you get a technical" says Oklahoma City Thunder Forward, Carmelo Anthony.
"There's no reason I should be going to the line four times in a game when I drive 100 times to the paint and I'm getting hit and slapped and grabbed and whatever and what not," James said Sunday, after the Cavs lost to the Spurs 110-94. "We protect the shooter. That's what it's turned into. Chicks dig the long ball and that's what it's about" said Lebron in a report by Cleveland.com reporter Joe Vardon. Lebron has also made it known that he doesn't like when he goes to talk to the refs about a missed call and they say "it was nothing".
On Christmas day when the Cavaliers played the Warriors, Lebron was at the center of a controversial no call that basically secured a win for the Warriors. Lebron drove to the rim late in the 4th and was seemingly fouled by Kevin Durant, Warriors Forward, but was instead ruled a block and out of bounds on James.
December 27, 2017, the Milwaukee Bucks beat the OKC Thunder in the late seconds of the game but upon further review it should not have counted as Bucks forward, Giannis Antetokounmpo, stepped out of bounds but the play was non-reviewable.
Even Toronto Raptors star guard, Demar DeRozan, criticized the current NBA officiating. Per Eric Koreen of The Athletic, DeRozan said the Raptors "were playing 5 on 8" with the Warriors.
Although tension is high between the two parties, technical fouls are not as high as they were last year at this time. Through 590 games this season there have been 443 technical calls compared to 467 at this point last season. The rift between players and referees is believed to be a result of a lack of dialogue and communication. "Years ago, that was the communication, that was the dialogue. If an official got it wrong, they would come back to you and say, 'I messed up, I got it wrong,''' Anthony said. "And we'd move on from that. Now, the communication is not there."