Ref Stats Update Jan 15th 06

Ref stats update

It’s time for my ref stat updates. As usual no names, no claims, just the facts and nothing more or less!

This week holds lots of fun facts that you can inspire your friends with.

Total fouls called are down vs last year, with an average of 46.47 in total fouls being called per game (compared to 48.17 this time last year).

The average number of calls by the 3 veteran officials who call the most total fouls is about 51, with the high being his crews calling 52.07 fouls per game. On the low side, the average of veteran officials who call the least fouls is about 42.5 for their crews. Suggesting a variance in foul calls between certain veteran officials can run approximately18 pct from game to game.

The average number of travels called this year is 2.49. (Thank you NBA for eliminating the “why don’t you call traveling, it’s a bad example” emails!) This compares to 2.1 at the end of last year. The variance between high and low, is 4.17 for one veteran officials crews and 1.44 for another veteran officials crew. Meaning that the highest officials’ crews will call travelling almost 3x as often as the official whose crews call it the least.

Defensive 3 seconds is called on average .89 times per game this year, vs .59 times per game this time last year. The average number ofcalls by the 3 veteran officials who call def 3 the most is 1.7x per game. The least, 0.55x per game, or a factor of about 3.

Offensive fouls are called on average 4.6 times per game, compared to 5.16 times per game last year. The average number of calls by the 3 vet officials crews who call it the most is about 6 per game. The average for the 3 officials’ crews that call it the least is 3.3.

Last year for offensive fouls, theaverage number of calls by the 3 veteran officials who call offensive fouls the most is 7 per game. The least, 3.6 per game.

There are .609 techs called per game this year compared to .724 per game last year. The top and bottom averages are about 1.1 per game vs .25 per game.

Last by not least, is offensive 3 seconds. There are .70 called per game , vs .794 called per game last year and.552 the year before. This year the top and bottom averages are about 1.25 per game vs 0.25 game, or about a 500pct variance.

So now you know everything you always wanted to know about officiating statistics but were afraid to ask.As you can see, different officials use their professional judgement differently, which is exactly what you would expect .

By reading this license agreement you agree to give me 25 pct of any bar bets won with this information.

49 thoughts on “Ref Stats Update Jan 15th 06

  1. It makes me sick how much time and energy you waste on reviewing and crying about the refs in the NBA.Now when NBA teams come into your building, they don’t get a fair shake. Unlike all the other ass kissers on your site, I will let you have it. You should have a bibe in your mouth when you watch the Mavs play in your building.

    Eric Nichols
    Los Angeles.

    Comment by eric nichols -

  2. i don’t understand how the Lakers are going to win the game, if they have to play 5 against 8. you can’t beat the referees. no matter how good you are. maybe the Lakers should buy some of them, or pay them to play for them, too. maybe we can win lot more games!!!????

    i think this blog really helps your team. go Dallas! please help the Lakers.

    Comment by khang -

  3. It seems like the NBA is taking steps to “clean up the game” so to speak.

    Comment by college blackout -

  4. Those are a lot of stats. How do you keep track of all that to figure it out?

    Comment by Christine -

  5. I like the Stat’s I think its great!
    We would be honored if we could be added to this great blog. We are from

    Comment by sale -

  6. I wonder if you could accomodate some of us more inquisitive fans. Perhaps give a designation for each crew…as in Crew “A”, Crew “B”, etc…

    Now list how each crew does versus each team that they officiate. I wonder if over the course of a few seasons you could have data to determine a bias of how they call games for or against specific teams?

    As a youth sports coach, this is information that we track so that we can game plan for not only the actual other teams, but also for how certain officials call games.

    Comment by 92bDad -

  7. It’s always easy for some arm chair idiot to whine or cry about the officiating in any sport.
    The refs are the guys on the floor. They see things from a different perspective than most people especialy those who watch on TV.
    I used to be a big A**hole towards officials until I tried reffing basketball. Now eighteen years later, I can even say with more conviction, DON”T YAP UNTIL YOU’VE TRIED TO DO IT!

    We all have inherent biases when we watch sports. Refs are probably the best at ignoring or putting aside those biases and calling a neutral game.

    Do the NBA officials call things differently for some players…of course they do. Rookies get dumped on all the tiime until they have served their time.

    STARS get away with things?
    WOW! what a discovery. The pro game is all about the stars. It is meant to be entertainment! As I was told in a college level clinic in 1993, nobody pays NBA ticket prices to see a ref wave off a huge dunk by a STAR just because he took and extra step ( or two or three). Patrons come to watch the STARS.

    This comment was made by an NBA ref, and confirmed in a separate conversation with an NBA veteran who had won championships and knew the sport.

    Stop crapping on the refs.

    Mark : as an owner you know how much control the league has over the level of officiating. The refs do what they are told to do. You know how much video they have to review of their work.

    Hell, people in Chinese Labour camps have to do less self confession and examination.

    The NBA recruits their refs and trains them in their own pattern. If the majority of the league didn’t want this, the owners would sure as hell make a change.


    p.s. Keep talking about stuff. I love people who use their free speech rights. No matter how much I disagree with them, I still enjoy and relish hearing from them.
    In many ways you remind me of Don Cherry or Harold Ballard from hockey…from a Canadian that is a high compliment.

    Comment by alan ward -

  8. The one problem with these statistics is that they do not take into account the varying number of times officials cover certain teams, and the impact of those teams’ play on the calls made against them. In addition to keeping raw data on officials, it would be helpful for comparison’s sake track the differential between calls made by officials against each team; i.e. the average fouls called by an officiating team minus the average foul rate of the teams in each game they officiate.

    Comment by Josh Jackson -

  9. Three comments on NBA officials:
    1) Bad refereeing is my biggest beef with the NBA. The NBA needs “glasnost” [openness] the way the USSR needed it. Mark opposes “airing dirty laundry” but I think it would help the public’s perception, assuming of course, that someone in NBA management actually reviews ref performance.
    2) I am a season ticket holder and I go to 40+ Mavs games per year. The Mavs do not have a home court advantage (i.e. home record approx. same as road record) and I believe this is due to the failure of the fans that are in the floor seats to chew on the refs. Refs are human and subconsciously, they will make better calls if they know they are going to hear it from the fans they are standing near. This doesn’t happen at AAC; the front row fans sit on their hands and never yell. I’m not suggesting profanity or vulgarity, but I’d sure like to yell to Dan Crawford, after a bad call, “got some money on this game, Dan?” and have him hear it. You get the idea…
    3) Money is a huge motivator. My solution is to immediately increase the refs’ salaries by 15%, but then take 30% of their salaries as a combined pool for each game. Get a group of independent reviewers to review game performances and deduct money from the pool for bad calls. Have some kind of standard formula that is followed. Ref a perfect game, the crew gets the whole 30%. Ref a terrible game, the crew loses the whole 30%. And the formula would include automatic deductions for ejecting a coach or a player for non-physical “abuse”. The idea that refs are being “shown up” is ridiculous. No one is there to watch Steve Javie.

    Comment by Jim K -

  10. Articles4Free.Com – Submit Articles4Free

    BlogsBasket.Com – Create Unlimited Blogs

    Ismaili-Net.Com – 21st Century Forum for Ismaili Friends.

    MrPakistan.Net – Online Maketing Solution Provider

    Text2Read.Com – Read the Information in Texture

    Comment by Ibrahim Lodhi -

  11. “Now we all know the players/teams that get preferential treatment, ie: touch Kobe and you are getting called for a foul. ”

    that’s pretty much bull. Kobe gets his waist checked on almost every single drive and the refs often let that go. He doesn’t get any more preferential treatment than Dirk does. What’s frustrating is the inconsistency of the officiating.

    Comment by Max -

  12. I watched the Nuggets/Cavs game last night. The announcers were quick to say that the refs were calling techs on guys to keep things under control, but I beg to differ. The game didn’t get testy until the ref (Joey Crawford or one of those other veteran refs) started caliing quick techs. The ref that called the techs last night is known for calling them quick. That’s a shame, because the refs should be invisible. It seems to me that if, as a ref, you are known to call something, then you have an agenda. Isn’t the game supposed to be about the players not the refs?

    Comment by Ronald -

  13. Mark, tell David Stern that one of the major problems with the NBA is the referees. This sport is so arbitary with foul calls, college and professional, but the NBA in particular. Certain teams/players get called for fouls which other teams/players do not. The refs call fouls more when they think its a foul moreso than when they actually see a foul. This is the one thing that turns me off to the NBA in general, it’s like watching Duke in college BB, they get calls, there is absolutely no way around that. Now we all know the players/teams that get preferential treatment, ie: touch Kobe and you are getting called for a foul. I love the Mavs and watch when ever I can see them since I don’t live in Texas anymore, but I can barely watch sometimes because the league makes me so mad with the weak officiating, it is the worst officiated of the four major sports BY FAR!! Please let David Stern know that we can see these idiots blow 20 calls a night, you aren’t just making this shit up.

    Comment by Brock -

  14. Mark – any new castings coming up?


    J Wright

    Comment by Jeffrey Wright -

  15. Thank goodness for technology!

    Comment by World business for sale -

  16. Now if we could get the refs to stat calling “palming” with some consistency. Of course, that would cut down on those “amazing” crossover moves.

    Comment by Kevin Broom -

  17. Hey Mark – Can you speak to whether any of the variances in calls may be attributed to refs calling certain teams more? For example, a ref team calling games in the west may have fewer 3 sec calls than the east?


    Comment by Ari -

  18. Most people miss the point here…We are looking for CONSISTENCY from the refs. Thats all anybody wants from the neutral parties in any transaction. Just call the same way on both teams and everyone can live with that. I have a real problem with the refs using their “own professional judgement” inconsistently and that is what I think Mark is striving for here. To eliminate “judgement” and have a set of guidelines that equates to a more conforming use of “judgement” calls. I think he is on the right track by forcing the league to review each individual refs performance and question why they call things twice as much as the next crew.

    Comment by Joe -Valley Ranch -

  19. Loved your appearance on Comedy Central. You are one hell of an interesting person. When you first came on the scene, I thought you were all about just being the center of attention but I have learned nothing could be further from the truth.

    Ha ha ha these stats are great. It made me think of the old saying “Truth is a defense in slander or libel cases”.

    Keep up the great blog.

    Comment by Chris -

  20. That’s what I like about you! All facts and no rubbish.

    Comment by v7ndotcom elursrebmem -

  21. Like ALL professional sports, the NBA is ENTERTAINMENT. I love sports, don’t get me wrong, but to be honest, it IS about money. RATINGS draw sponsors, sponsors give money, STARS draw fans, fans and interest draw money and in turn, draws more sponsors, etc. Anyway, to keep STARS “performing” their best, let them get away with “their moves”, heck with the rules….they are the stars and that’s what we pay to see. My friend’s husband is a college basketball ref, and even he agrees and understands that the rules for professional basketball do not always apply to the STARS; they get away with fouls, charges, travels, double dribbles, etc. because you have to let them make their “moves”. In truth, college ball still enforces the rules as they are written. But in the pros, their is so much athleticism and parody that to keep the big market teams in the public, you have to let the STARS shine. Come on, enjoy the show, it is entertainment after all. Mark Cuban, I applaud you for trying to “clean up” basketball, but be serious, only now, after years of claiming to be clean does baseball admit to having steroid laiden players. And during those years we mindless fans still ignored the obvious and still shelled out money for the “world” series and those baseball seasons. Tainted as these professional leagues are, we still need to be entertained.

    Comment by Armand -

  22. I love these types of posts on your site, thank you! I wish that you were more in to hockey since i care more about the stats for that game than basketball 🙂 Thanks for all the info though!

    Comment by Kim -


    I truly believe Mark and the Mavericks are on the NBA’s cutting-edge — Next generation statistical analysis will undoubtedly give the Mavs an advantage over their basketball rivals. Knowing the statistical tendencies of other teams, individual players, and the refs officiating the games will become increasingly important going forward. In the future, NBA teams who fail to recognize and embrace modern analysis will be putting themselves at a distinct competitive disadvantage. The paradigm is already shifting….


    Sometimes I wonder if ‘critical’ sports stories might be planted in the press to get a rise out of underperfoming athletes. Case and Point – Take a look at this linked article….

    The author is very critical of Mavs center, Erick Dampier….

    In last night’s game vs. the Bucks, Damp pulled down 9 (or 10) first half rebounds….Mark Cuban is shrewd when it comes to the ‘Sport of Business’. Perhaps he is equally talented when it comes to understanding the ‘Psychology of Sports’.(Not to take away from the excellent job done by AJ and the coaching staff!)

    In my opinion, Erick Dampier is very capable….His first half performance against the Bucks should become the Damp standard, not the Damp occasional. Just imagine how good the Mavs would be if Dampier played with Dennis Rodman-like intensity every single game….”Gimme that ball!” Speaking of Rodman….Why not hire him to work on rebounding with the players?


    For those who care….Well, they haven’t booted me out of my apartment just yet, still have lights, still have internet….I’m not sure what tomorrow holds. I am a Christian….So if you are a believer as well, I would sincerely appreciate your prayers. Thank you.

    Jim Parham
    Yuba City, CA

    Comment by Jim Parham -

  24. So do you adapt your style of play or change players based on what crew is officiating a given game? If there’s that much variance in how many offensive fouls are called or how well “3 seconds” is enforced, it seems like you’d need to consider it.

    Comment by David -

  25. Do you ever say anything GOOD about the refs?

    Seems like they have a pretty tough job that they do real well. I would think most people become refs because they really love the game.

    Seems like all you do is complain about them.

    Just my opinion.

    Comment by Jack Oujo -

  26. I like the stats, but the best thing that has happened to the Mavs lately, benching Dampier. Mark, I agree that he was the best center we have had since Donaldson, but who knew that Diop was going to be this good? Dampier does not have the “tough guy” mentality to handle the middle. So, I challenge you to find someone to take him off our hands. You have worked magic in the past, you have engineered some the greatest trades ever. I wish we could have gotten Magloire, but those are the brakes. Please find Diop a backup so he is fresh for the playoffs, I honestly believe we have a chance this year.

    Comment by James Askew -

  27. One call they miss that’s getting worse is the travel after catching the pass before dribbling. It used to be that they’d give you an extra step since your momentum carried you. Now some players are taking three and four steps after they catch a pass before they come to a stop. Or course, sometimes they can’t stop because they got pushed.

    Comment by David-Plano -

  28. Stats and analysis aside, I tend to think the refs are probably the same quality they’ve always been, it’s just we see everything now.

    As for the hop-step, as long as they let LeBron use it, I’m okay.

    Comment by Brian -

  29. Sorry, no bar bets as I don’t drink any more.

    And I don’t watch the NBA, either, and the lack of traveling calls and the inconsistency of officiating are two reasons why. I realize that there are going to be some slight differences, but the way the rules are ignored and the stars are given decisions turned me off of the game (and I love the college version, so it’s not an aversion to basketball at all). There should be NO deviation, or as little as possible. A team that gets 4 traveling calls a game from one official or team of officials in a sample of 10 games should not get only 1 a game from another individual or team. It’s a small sample, but it would be interesting to see what a longer sample would provide.

    We’re seeing the same thing in the NFL, unfortunately. Officiating needs to be consistent and match what’s in the rule book. Thank good ness for technology – Questec and instant replays. They’re the best thing for officiating since the third basketball official.

    Comment by Ray Barrington -

  30. During the emotion of a game I’ve found myself yelling at the refs over bad calls. But I still believe that poor officiating does not affect games in the same way that poor free throw shooting, blown defensive assignments, careless passes, and the reliance of certain players on athleticism over teamwork do. If a team has put themsevles in the situation where one or two bad calls cause them to lose then, c’est la vie. We all know ref’s screw things up but why scream at a blown call when a player has 4 turn overs in that game or has gone 6 of 20 from the line?

    Comment by Jon -

  31. As someone who watched every Mavs game last year and has watched every Mavs game this year, I can tell you that the reason Dirk is going to the line less this year is because he’s taking it to the hoop less than he did last year. Last year he was relentless to the hoop; this year he often drives, then stops and takes a 15 footer from the free throw line. I’m fine with that b/c I don’t want the guy to get killed, but that’s the reality. In general, I do think Dirk gets his share of calls.

    Comment by scott -

  32. The Ref crews many times slow the game down. A gambler on the NBA O/U’s wonders why the clandestine NBA does not offer free over the internet stats like there are for baseball.
    Amazing what those kind of stats open to the public do for the integrity of the game.

    When this knowlege was made public in baseball amzing how some crews O/U stats hung around the median of 50/50 more often afterwards. 😉

    Comment by Ron D -

  33. Thats all great info. It seemed as if they were calling traveling and 3 seconds more this year. But the one call that annoys me the most is the refs that wait to see if the player makes the shot or not to call the foul. If it goes in then they wont call it, if it bounces out, FOUL! Thats the stuff we do at the gym in pick up games. I cant stand watching that. That is a problem that needs to be fixed. Either he is fouled or not. I dont even see the reasoning behind that thought process. Its stupid and needst to be fixed.
    My thoughts,

    Comment by Luis -

  34. I was wondering if there was another stat you could display using this info. Something like, each team’s record in games reffed by the crews that call the most fouls versus teams’ records in games reffed by those that call the least.

    It would show how dependant a team is on fouls being called or not called. I’m pretty sure running teams like the Mavs would thrive in the games where the refs were swallowing their whistles, but it would be interesting to see.

    Comment by Ken Mendonca -

  35. Finally more calls on the travel! I almost got into it once at a park because this guy kept traveling. Maybe the league will set the new standard. And people will finally learn what the travel really means. Yeah, even K. Bryant got the call (the other night) on his ‘hop step’ move where he popped and landed on his pivot. What alarms me is the variance on the travel calls. What was the standard deviation? How can I get access to that data for my website; ?

    2 more things I’d like to see someone in the NBA address (one is ref/foul related):

    1) I still don’t understand why the breakaway rule result is that when there is a clear layup and a foul, then the guy gets a FT (NBA 04-05 value = .756 points[league FT%]) then the offense gets the ball (value of posession is .928 points from my analysis of the 04-05 season).
    Thats an expected value of 1.684 points. No wonder players foul on the breakaway. I think there should be 2 FT’s. That would improve the expected points from such an incident to 2.44 points. This would stop the fouling, create a safer environment for the players, and reward teams for creating a breakaway.

    2) playoff format. this has to be changed. the Mavericks, Spurs, Grizz all get penalized three times (plus the Central)! A) they have to play a harder schedules [4 games against all Southwest teams]. B) they have an unfair seeding. Currently the 2nd and 3rd best teams in the West will be seeded 4 and 5 and must face each other in round one, only to face the top team in the next round. Then, an early exit for one of these teams means they look forward to the draft, where C) the order is based on WL record, and no divisional consideration. Totally BS. How about this: Top 2 divisional winners are seeded #1 and #2. The 3rd divisional winner does not get the 3rd seed (like now). Rather, the 3rd division winner is only gauranteed to make the playoffs, and seeded according to WL record. This way we can see, the the standings remain the way they are going, Memphis, San Antonio and Dallas all win first round series. Then we can see Spurs and Mavs in Western finals, instead of round two. Thoughts? Where do I send my complaints? To owners or to David Stearn?

    Comment by greg -

  36. unfortunately DIRK doesn’t get enough calls though it seems teams are hacking him worse than ever……..kobe gets way too many calls on the other hand…….the nba needs to clean up stuff like that

    Comment by Omar S -

  37. Mark,

    You ought to setup a dedicated page showing this data. Given your track record, I’d say 99%+ chance you are tracking all this internally in real-time … would be way cool if you could show this publically on a continually updated basis.


    P.S. The “travels” link is broke above and just points to the main page – by reading this suggestion, you agree to provide 25 cents of support to my SEO contest page for charity at 😉

    Comment by alek -

  38. nIcE article man !!

    Comment by Sodhi -

  39. Knowing the statistical tendencies of other teams, individual players, and the refs officiating the games will become increasingly important going forward. In the future, NBA teams who fail to recognize and embrace modern analysis will be putting themselves at a distinct competitive disadvantage. The paradigm is already shifting….

    Comment by runescape money -

  40. My friend’s husband is a college basketball ref, and even he agrees and understands that the rules for professional basketball do not always apply to the STARS; they get away with fouls, charges, travels, double dribbles, etc. because you have to let them make their “moves”.

    Comment by wow powerleveling -

  41. hey these refrees are ruling the game according to there wishes..They are so biased these days ahh what to say to them

    Comment by KJ -

  42. When will there be next ref update ?


    Comment by Sodhi -

  43. Where do I send your 25 percent. You made me a Ben Franklin 🙂

    Comment by Oak Tree Guy -

  44. Hey i love the site and i wanted to say that i believe the officials are RUINING the game. The only decent official is bernie, maybe a couple others…Besides him these guys are terrible.

    Comment by Adam -

  45. From the rec leagues to the NBA, referees are terrible. I hate leaving a game and going home and thinking about how bad the refs were all night.

    Comment by Industrial Panel PC Guy -

  46. Let me start by saying I do not hate the refs. They do an estremely hard job. Only the NFL refs have a harder job because of the number of players on the field.

    I don’t think the average fan wants more travelling calls, or more fouls, or even more palming calls. That would only serve to slow down the game. What the average fans wants is consistant calls.

    It is not fair for some guys to get calls whether they are good calls for them (Kobe), or bad calls against them (Rasheed Wallace) based on their reputation. It’s equally not fair to dismiss newer players by not giving them the same calls you give veterans. Don’t they all put on their uniforms one leg at a time?

    A lot of this crap started when Michael Jordan was in his prime and seemed to be a way to protect him as he helped the NBA’s bottom line. It’s time to stop.

    I read an article about the officiating of the NFL after the poor officiating in the super Bowl. The author talked about calling the game in the spirit of the rules – if a player does not gain the advantage over another player, don’t make a call. So, if a player is all alone on a fast break and he needs to take four steps to gather himself for a monster dunk – no call. But if the player is trying to go one on one in the middle and he takes four steps – blow the whistle.

    The game is emotional, so refs need to let players release that emotion as long as there is no threat of voilence towards anyone. some refs are way too anxious to call a technical.

    Comment by Ronald -

  47. Mark…I would love to see someone put together a website that does track the stats of the officials. I’d be real curious to see how Dan Crawford stacks up against other officials in Techs. He should just glue his whistle to his lips and his hands in the “T” sign! Sorry, I’m a Piston’s fan!

    Comment by Ron -

  48. Keep up the Stats Mark. Always enjoy them!


    Comment by Plant Nursery -

  49. When Dallas wins 3 titles like the Lakers recently did, or 9 titles like Phil did, or the total of 15 laker titles, than Marc Cuban can open his fat mouth. IT WILL NEVER HAPPEN, NOT EVEN ONE TITLE. How many title’s do the Mav’s have? NONE. Ha ha ha ha. GO LAKERS. The Lakers will win another title before the Mav’s do.

    Comment by Laker's Rule -

Comments are closed.