In the NBA, everyone knows all the issues with the refs. From blatant missed calls to flopping across the court, no one is ever happy with the officiating. As it turns out, the same issue extends across the border – and Team USA is speaking out about it.
In an article by Chris Haynes of Yahoo! Sports, players were reportedly unhappy with the way FIBA referees were officiating their exhibition games.
Throughout the games, multiple players, from Jayson Tatum to Bradley Beal, have been staring down the officials following no-calls as they’re accustomed to receiving touch fouls or star-treatment officiating in the NBA.
Playing internationally, Team USA has started to realize officials aren’t quite as lenient abroad. For example, Jayson Tatum drew an offensive foul for pushing off a defender as he drove to the rim. Normally, it’s a run-of-the-mill play in the NBA, but to FIBA, it’s simply excessive contact. Considering how reliant some players have become on heading to the charity stripe, the disparity in calls has ended up deterring the national team.
On the flip side, Team USA seems unaware of FIBA’s rules, particularly regarding goaltending. In international play, a defensive player is free to swat away any ball bouncing around the rim, a strategy considering blatant goaltending in the NBA. Team USA even saw it employed against them in their exhibition game against Nigeria; at the free-throw line, Nigeria often knocked away any balls at the rim, eventually becoming key in their 90-87 upset victory.
For all the obstacles the Olympic team has faced, a simple comprehension of the rules is necessary. After losing numerous players and dropping consecutive games, USA needs any edge they can get. Before all that, though, they need to play smart.
The world’s eyes are watching. Let’s go Team USA.