"I just know I wouldn't want to be a ref."
Officiating in the NBA has been criticized more this season than in years past, or so it seems, with both players and coaches alike calling out the refs for their ineptitude on the court. Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr is one of the many who have roasted NBA refs this season, but he recently acknowledged that "it's a tough job."
Prior to last night's win over the New York Knicks, Kerr spoke with the media about the officiating in today's NBA and sympathized with the refs who have to deal with players that are trying to fool them on a nightly basis.
"It's a tough job," he said to surrounding media. "I think what happens in this league, honestly, is that the players test the boundaries every single night. And they try to fool the refs. And why not? They're trying to win. They're trying to get to the foul line. But officiating is so hard. And it's never been more difficult because I think the players are taking more and more liberties.
"One that you see all the time now is players dribbling with one hand—and you try to get your arm in to defend him—and the player uses the off arm to literally grab the defender and flail and look like he's shooting the ball. That happens all the time. Players are smart and they're doing that. It's an offensive foul. But good luck trying to officiate that at full speed. That's impossible. These guys have a tough job. I don't know who's right and who's wrong, I just know I wouldn't want to be a ref."
According to Barbara Baker of Newsday, Kerr also said that it was “almost a joke” the way officials protected shooters in last year’s playoffs. In discussing how the game has changed over the last twenty years, Kerr says the league now protects the shooters much more than when he was playing, which seems to echo the statement made by LeBron after the Cavs' loss to the Spurs on Sunday. LeBron told reporters, per ESPN, "We're at a point now where we protect the shooter more than the driver."
Kerr expressed a similar opinion prior to yesterday's victory. Per Newsday,
“It has changed a lot. Twenty years ago, you were allowed to literally smack the shooter on the hand, and if it was after the release, it didn’t matter,” Kerr said. “You could run into the guy. You had Reggie Miller kicking people, the refs didn’t know who was fouling whom. Now there’s a huge emphasis on protecting shooters to the point where last year in the playoffs, it felt like it was almost a joke. Ten fouls on three-point shots a game, where one guy is grabbing the other guy’s arm and flailing and flopping.”