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NBA AM: Is Perkins The Key To A Title In OKC?
Posted By Steve Kyler On March 25, 2013 @ 9:38 am In NBA | No Comments
The Heart Of The Thunder: There is no doubting that Kevin Durant is the most important piece of the Oklahoma City Thunder puzzle followed closely by Russell Westbrook, but the player that never gets the respect he’s due is arguably the most important cog in the inner workings of the Thunder machine: Kendrick Perkins.
Perkins’ value to the Thunder is rarely reflected in the box score, but it’s his ability to be the mentor and leader that’s made him invaluable to the Thunder, so much so that Thunder big man Hasheem Thabeet and rookie Perry Jones III share the lockers to the right and left of the Thunder’s passionate big man.
Perkins caught up with HOOPSWORLD, and says this year’s Thunder team is a little more prepared for the postseason and a chance to get back to the NBA Finals.
So there are Sixteen teams left, who should you put your support behind? HOOPSWORLD has you covered with detailed game by game previews with predictions for every game, updated throughout the tournament. You can see the previews in bracket form or in just a straight directory style list. Stay on top of the tournament as the chase for the National Championship continues.
We Wanna Know:
The Worst Job In Sports: If you have read this space enough, you may understand that unlike most in the media, I am an advocate for NBA officials. I understand how incredibly difficult a job it is to see and call every action that happens, especially with a very subjective set of rules designed to keep scoring up, the flow of the game moving and an “under siege” work environment.
Last week NBA officiating made headlines again with the no-call on Lakers guard Kobe Bryant in Atlanta, where Bryant was falling away on a last second shot and was fouled by Hawks guard Dahntay Jones.
How does such a call get missed? It’s simple. The officials in the NBA are trained to focus their attention to certain places based on the action on the court. When Bryant raises up for the final shot at the buzzer the officials are trained to focus on his elbow – to make sure the defender is not altering the shot. They are looking at the rim to insure it goes in before the buzzer.
The problem everyone has with officiating is in the modern age of high definition television and instant access to replays and multiple wide field-of-view angles, spectators can now see more than the officials can on the floor.
All of that said, DVR a NBA game. Count the number of fouls called, and honestly grade that game. Put your bias about Joey Crawford in your pocket and honestly grade the game. You are likely going to find that, regardless of the crew on the floor, they are going to get it right more than 90 percent of the time.
The NBA understands they will never get every call right. It is not a possible achievement given the sophistication of NBA offenses and defenses that mask actions from the officials, the pace of the game and what the rules allow to be called. Add in the nature of a three-man officiating crew and there are going to be moments when they simply do not have the angle to accurately see the play.
Try this one: Run up and down your drive way ten times and then try and count the number of leaves on a tree or read a license plate of a passing car. It is not easy. Heart is pumping, adrenalin is flowing – not exactly the same as sitting on the sofa.
This is not meant to make excuses for missed calls, that is not the point at all. The point is there is a human element to players and there is a human element to officiating. It is not a video game.
So exactly how does one become an NBA official? Believe it or not most of them are scouted and recruited just like players. The NBA has their eye out for promising officials at every level of the game. If they come across someone who really shows promise they may approach them and get them on a development path that includes the possibility of working D-League games.
The NBA also holds open tryouts for would-be officials for possible D-League jobs. A typical open tryouts might draw as many as 250 applicants.
The NBA also maintains a web portal for NBA officiating, where interested officials can register and submit their resume.
Calling a NBA game is not easy, and while the goal is always to try and get it 100 percent right, there will be missed calls. The goals at the NBA level is to create a process that reduces the number of missed calls and refine the process as much as it can be done.
Officiating a NBA game is arguably the most hated job in sports, so before you start crushing the ref that blew the obvious call ask yourself how you saw the play. If it was from the comfort of your Lazyboy after you rewound the play on your DVR, you have an advantage the refs simply don’t have.
The weekly HOOPSWORLD Pick’em game is still wide open. There is currently just one player in line for the grand prize of an iPad or Apple Store Gift card with just four weekly wins. Four strong weeks of picks and you could be in the running. The game is completely free to play and takes a couple of seconds to sign up for. We give you roughly 12 weekend NBA games, and you simply pick who you think will win. Get the most correct games and you’ll win an adidas HOOPSWORLD T-Shirt. Win the most weeks and you could win an iPad or Apple Store gift card. Week 22 is ready for your picks. Log in and play here.
Should We Call It Age-Gate?: In the modern media world we throw “gate” on anything even remotely fishy, so why not with Shabazz Muhammad?
If you missed this one a story broke last week, via the LA Times’ Ken Bensinger and Matt Stevens disclosed that despite numerously published reports, Muhammad is actually 20 years old, not 19 as virtually everyone including UCLA has listed him as.
Muhammad’s father was contacted by the Times and had the strangest of exchanges with the reporters trying to verify information – first denying the story and saying his son was 19 and born in Nevada, then a few moments later retracting the story and confessing that he was born in California and was indeed 20.
To make the story even weirder, Muhammad’s father Ron Holmes is reported to have sent a text message to the reporter offering a job as a publicist.
“Bazz is going to blow up in the NBA lets team up and blow this thing up!!! I’m going to need a publicist anyway why shouldn’t it be you. We can do some big things together.”
Muhammad was asked about the controversy surround his age and dismissed it, saying he’s never told anyone he was 19 and was unsure where that number came from.
“I tell everyone I am 20. I don’t even know what the big deal is,” Muhammad said to reporters. “People try to get stories these days, and it’s really ridiculous. Twenty years old in college, guys are 22, 23, 24. Most of those guys out there are old. I always say I am 20. I didn’t even read it.”
“I have my ID all the time. I show my driver’s license, it says 1992. That’s just ridiculous. It’s ’92. I always say I am 20. People know I am 20.”
So what’s the big deal over 19 or 20? Scouts have evaluated Muhammad based on his dominance over other players in his peer group, being a full year older changes that perspective. It is one thing to be the best in your age group, but when you are a full year more developed that’s not exactly the same thing.
It will be interesting to see how this plays out not only for Muhammad, but for UCLA as well.
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