Jazz GM Feels NBA Officiating Has Improved
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – According to the Houston Rockets, the quality of officiating in the NBA is slanted and unfair. However, Utah Jazz general manager Dennis Lindsey feels otherwise, according to comments he made in his exit interview with the media last week.
Houston, of course, defeated Utah in the first round of the NBA playoffs and moved on to face the Golden State Warriors in the second round. Since the start of that series, the Rockets have been all over the national media for complaining about the referees.
After Game 1 between Houston and Golden State, Rockets star James Harden shared his feelings that the Warriors had been given an unfair advantage with a series of no-calls by the refs.
The Rockets feel like a trip to the NBA Finals was taken from them last season. pic.twitter.com/Ob1cfG4hfd
— ESPN (@espn) April 29, 2019
“All I want is a fair chance,” said Harden after the game.
Not much later, ESPN received a copy of a memo that the Houston front office intended to send to the league office, in which the pivotal Game 7 of the Western Conference Finals between the Rockets and Warriors had been audited by the Rockets organization.
The memo alleged that the officials displayed an unfair bias towards Houston and essentially cost the Rockets a chance to play in the NBA Finals.
"I just want a fair chance, man. Just call the game the way it’s supposed to be called and we’ll live with the results.”
James Harden voiced his opinion about the officiating after Game 1. pic.twitter.com/9GmtB2EjPp
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) April 28, 2019
The league has since rebuked Houston’s claim and methodology in a statement.
Lindsey Happy With League
While the Rockets are feeling stiffed by the NBA, Lindsey thinks the officiating has come a long way.
It’s taken a bit of work to get there, though.
In April 2017, Lindsey spoke to national NBA reporter Adrian Wojnarowski, who was then with Yahoo Sports, about a perceived discrepancy in the type of calls that the Jazz were getting with regards to freedom of movement. After making his comments to the media, Lindsey and his staff made their case to the league in a process that involved plenty of emails and visits to the league office in New York City.
— Utah Jazz (@utahjazz) April 27, 2019
When asked about how he thinks things have improved at the end-of-season media availability last week, Lindsey was high on praise for the NBA and their officiating services.
“As critical as I was, you guys heard the Woj podcast and I had few comments on the radio show and with some of you guys individually, I’m just as pleased with the league as where it sits today,” said Lindsey.
“I’m not saying that to carry favor with the league, you got to give credit where credit is due,” he added.
Naming several NBA leaders, like commissioner Adam Silver and executive vice president of basketball operations Kiki VanDeWeghe and vice president of referee development and training Monty McCutchen, Lindsey continued to comment on the outstanding communication between the league office and the Jazz organization.
The result, the Jazz have been able to play freer and less encumbered by the grabbing and pulling used by other teams to slow down their offense.
ICYMI: We’ve rounded up yesterday’s player interviews 📹
— Utah Jazz (@utahjazz) April 26, 2019
The biggest impact has been on the ability of Utah’s big men, Rudy Gobert and Derrick Favors to roll hard to the basket and get dunks.
“I’m proud to say that Quin [Snyder] and I, with a lot of people’s help, partnered and the game’s more watchable,” said Lindsey.
Rockets general manager Daryl Morey would likely disagree.
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