OKC Thunder center Steven Adams instigated a debate on whether the lack of fan noise would increase technical fouls.
Steven Adams made news about more than chess or his birthday. Instead, he was in the news for opening up a debate on the TV show NBA the Jump. The OKC Thunder Big Kiwi stated without fans in the stands to drone out the sound it would result in more technical fouls. The implication being the officials would hear what the players are saying to each other and about the refs.
‘The referees can hear what players are saying, because, you see, we like to talk behind their backs but they can actually hear us now. So there’s going to be a lot more T’s (techs) that should be the only difference.
Weighing in on Adams’ assessment were former OKC Thunder big man Kendrick Perkins, ESPN writing savant Zach Lowe and (finally out of Disney quarantine) host Rachel Nichols.
Adams opens can of worms on officiating
Here’s where each of the panel fell on the subject:
Perkins: suggested Adam Silver would need to have a meeting with the officials before games resume to ensure they stay cool and exercise some leeway. Perk noted fans don’t want to see multiple fouls and technicals. And, more importantly, fans want to hear the banter between players.
Lowe: noted how good officials are at their job and he believes they’ll be able to roll with the situation and although they’ll hear better Lowe thinks the refs will adapt. He also noted if not then every player would be getting hit with three techs per game which wouldn’t behoove any games finishing.
Nichols: made the valid point reinforcing what Adams was saying. She noted how even players not typically known as trouble makers were getting T’d up last season.
As an example, she pointed out how Steph Curry got T’d up for disrespecting an official as he was walking away from them.
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To both Nichols and Adams point In this environment, it’s not only the refs who’ll hear or see disrespect — it’s all of the fans watching. So, will the officials be able to simply walk away knowing they’ve been publicly disrespected?
Each of the panel hit on a valid point. Refs will need to be more flexible, do their best to deliver solid officiating, and not take things too personally. The answer to those questions won’t be known until games tip-off.
What we do know is every coach will be telling his team to be careful with their words and actions especially towards the officials. What we’ll hope for is the officials are able to don thicker skin in these matters, because being able to hear the players without any filtered crowd noise could offer up some pretty amazing sound bite trash talk.