“I don’t remember people falling down on three-point shots all the time when I was playing.”

“I don’t remember people falling down on three-point shots all the time when I was playing.”

Bill Simmons is voicing what a lot of us are feeling right now. Stop with the whining already and just play ball. He did it on his Monday pod with Russillo and on Twitter.

Steve Kerr agrees with him. In his last media availability, the Warriors coach said this will always be the case, every coach reviews film and can find at least ten calls that didn’t go their way. But there needs to be a measure of good taste in attributing wins and losses to these mistakes. Two great teams are matching up; it will be a tight affair and spectacular, Hall of Fame players like Kevin Durant will tip the scale. 

In the modern game, a lot of players have got really good at deception, creating contact. I don’t remember people falling down on three-point shots all the time when I was playing. It was a different rule, once you released the ball you were allowed to have contact. .. There’s so much deception that’s part of the game that is very very difficult to officiate. 

He didn’t mention Harden here, but we can read between the lines – allow me to translate. The Flop King has a lot of his game predicated on deception, and now he has to reap what he sawed. 

Yes, Simmons and Kerr are right when they say this should be more about amazing basketball and less about the refs. But as we wrote before, when you build an analytical model that tells you threes, layups, and free throws are the shots you want to get, drill it into your players’ consciousness and develop a whole system around it, referee decisions become pivotal in your eyes.

That’s how you get to make a report about 18.6 points lost due to refereeing mistakes and talk about it all the time. This will not stop, the Rockets will continue to talk an emphasize this. Without those calls, their chances drop significantly.

This is the flipside of all the analytics – you try to game human behavior.