Van Gundy Gate

I really couldn't care less. Coaches bitch and the league feigns outrage. JVG's "inside source" would only be a story if he had some proof of a league-wide conspiracy. And, as the talk shows have been saying all morning, he's crazy if he thinks that the Association would want to risk the playoffs going on without much, much more T-Mac and Yao --if there's one thing Stern would definitely know, it's how to engineer a ratings-friendly conspiracy. Come to think of it, since JVG is an honorary Jew, he's probably in on it too, and this outburst is all part of Stern's master plan.

Here's a picture so no one accuses us of ignoring the story. Pretend he's mouthing the words "Judith Miller."

And don't trip, there's no way he's actually getting thrown out of the league.


At 5/03/2005 2:51 PM, Blogger Ken said...

I don't see how fining a well liked coach $100,000 for speaking his mind would result in good PR. The huge amount of money almost makes it seem like VanGundy is on to something. I could see the league doing something to try and shut The Benefactor up about the refs. Moving picks have been going on all season, I think it's a pretty obviously a reaction to the bad for TV play of Detroit and San Antonio.

At 5/04/2005 12:25 PM, Anonymous Gorilla Jones said...

The NBA's biggest credibility problem with fans of other sports is the notion that the games have been fixed by the refs since the Jordan years. Tons of otherwise intelligent people think the NBA is one step short of pro wrestling. Stern was extra-pissed about the Van Gundy incident because he claimed to have a Deep Throat, e.g. an actual ref who had received the orders, which would suddenly give the 'conspiracy' a lot more credibility. Hence the size of the fine.

Are the games fixed? Not in the sense that refs are given orders to ensure one team wins or another loses. Come on, this is America. There's a lot of money to be made from blowing open a conspiracy like that, a lot more than a ref makes. It's not like they're drawing a percentage of league revenues.

But Bill Simmons' piece on ref selection was pretty interesting:

"I don't think the NBA fixes games, but they have one trick that they use for situations like this – when they want a home team to win the game, they invariably assign the worst referees possible to that game for two reasons: Bad referees have a tendency to get swayed by the home crowd, and bad referees never have the stones to make a tough call on the road. In a related story, I went to 35 Clippers games this year and kept a list of the referees in my pocket, which I also used to follow the referees for any televised games. And yes, the referees in the NBA – as a whole – have never been worse. But there were six referees that stuck out as being especially terrible. Here they are:"

(list: Tommy Nunez, Bennett Salvatore, Violet Palmer, Luis Grillo, Tom Washington and Rodney Mott.)

"So why am I telling you this? Because last night's game featured two of my Worst Six – Salvatore and Washington. And I don't think it was a coincidence. In a related story, the Pacers had a 38-17 free-throw advantage, the Boston coaches were practically having a colletive conniption on the bench, and there were nearly two bench-clearing brawls. I'm not saying that's why the Celtics lost – not only are the Pacers playing better, they have a much better coach – but the officials never gave the Celtics a chance, nearly lost control of the game and nearly ended up with another Artest-Wallace situation on their hands. We should expect better in the playoffs, shouldn't we?"

At 5/04/2005 12:28 PM, Anonymous Gorilla Jones said...

I should clarify that the Celtics lost and will continue to lose because they are rubbish, not anything to do with the refs. (Lest anyone think I was endorsing Simmons' theory in that specific case.)

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