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What’s popping on Air-Ball

Last night NBA Twitter blew up when Phoenix Suns’ star Devin Booker was tossed from the game for back-to-back technical fouls. Granted, I don’t know what Booker said but even if he said something truly egregious (which I highly doubt), that doesn’t change the fact NBA officiating is an absolute train wreck right now.

We’ve officially hit a point this season where referees are ruining the television product. 

The last five minutes of games have no flow between, reviews, challenges and general fouls and worst of all, there’s no consistency even in the calls they do make. 

For example, how is the famous Trae Young back into a defender a defensive foul but if a player slightly touches a defender in the wrong way and he flops it’s an offensive foul? In both instances, the offensive player initiated the contact but one is good and one isn’t?

Then there’s the never-ending block/charge confusion, if a player went straight up or not and more. The route of the problem is pretty simple, there’s truly no consistency at all.

One night something may be a reach that isn’t the next or maybe even the same referee crew in the same game views contact differently and thus it can feel one-sided. Regardless, due to this clear confusion between what is and isn’t a foul, it causes players and coaches to get upset.

Then, officials give out technical fouls for being yelled at for something they themselves created.

Imagine if as a kid you made a mess, your mom yelled at you but then she got extra chores because of it. That’s basically what is happening in the NBA today.

No one has any idea what is and isn’t a foul and referees are more sensitive than ever to giving out technicals. On top of this, it’s clear certain star players get away with saying more to officials than others.

Like let’s be honest here, you’ve watched a Lakers game this season. Do you really believe Booker said something last night good enough for two technicals in under a minute LeBron hasn’t? The Lakers argue literally 95 per cent of calls and were certainly doing it yesterday but it’s Booker who gets ejected?

This isn’t even a woe is me column for Booker and the Suns. They went on to win the game, truly this has nothing to do with them.

It’s just that last night was again a perfect example of insane inconsistency that’s making the NBA difficult to watch on TV. I don’t blame the casual fan for being turned away by the whistles, sometimes it pushes me to the edge.

If I as a diehard fan who watches basketball every night has no idea what is a foul or not or what the hell is continuation or not, how could a casual fan?

These games have become far too much about the dude in the shirt no one wants to know the name of than the Zion Williamson, Jayson Tatum, Kevin Durant, Steph Curry or Damian Lillard’s of the world. Consistently this season games have felt like a pissing contest between the referees and the teams and the loser is the fans.

What’s worst is I don’t even blame the referees when it’s clear the top of the league doesn’t care enough to enforce consistency. Blaming the refs for weird calls night to night is like blaming a server for a bad meal, it’s not their fault that those higher up in the chain of command aren’t doing the necessary things.

And even if it is an individual ref’s fault for not being any good, I still blame Adam Silver and the NBA because then that ref shouldn’t be reffing anymore. Somewhere in this line is broken. Whether it’s they’re letting too many in who aren’t good or they aren’t communicating with them enough to find common ground on calls, I don’t know.

What I do know is I’m sick and tired of watching players, teams and fans bear the brunt of the league’s incompetence. This is the worst the NBA officiating has ever been and someone with a platform in the NBA media needs to have the nuts to say it (although at this point one of the refs would probably eject them from their Twitter account since clearly criticism of them isn’t allowed). 

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