There Is Only One Solution to the NBA's Referee Problem

By Stephen Douglas
Referees during OKC - Houston game 7.
Referees during OKC - Houston game 7. / Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images
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The NBA's grand experiment is over. We have the results and they are bad. The league cannot continue down its current path. Changes must be made to save the sport.

It's time for robot referees.

Human beings cannot properly process what happens in an NBA basketball game in real-time. Multiple camera angles and replays are the only way to ensure justice prevails on the court. The day may come when games can be played using artificial intelligence, computer simulations and precog technology, but for now, let's keep things realistic and focus on robot referees.

Robot referees would have no bias. They would call every second of every game by the letter of the rulebook. Flops would be ignored. Incidental contact an immediate whistle. When the ball goes out of bounds, it will immediately be given to the correct side. Steve Javie's only purpose in life would be to celebrate technology during timeouts.

After seeing the end of Game 2 of the Heat - Bucks series, there is no other choice. The two foul calls that ended that game - culminating in two free throws with no time left on the clock - would never happen with robot referees. Well, neither except for the last one where Giannis Antetokounmpo touched Jimmy Butler while he was still in the air. That would be called, but it also never would have happened because Goran Dragic wouldn't have been called for a foul on the previous possession. So the Heat still would have won.

And then there's the end of the second game last night. Game 7 between the Houston Rockets and Oklahoma City Thunder. Nary a whistle was to be blown in the closing moments as players flew around the court with reckless abandon. James Harden and Chris Paul, two superstars, were repeatedly thrown to the ground by Chris Paul and James Harden respectively. So, I guess that wouldn't have changed much either. But Paul did have several issues with ref Scott Foster, which he discussed after the game.

But I'll tell you what would have changed. The final minutes of the games last night wouldn't have taken so damn long. The robot refs would not have allowed a regulation game to drag well into the first quarter of the second game. It took approximately 16 minutes to play the final minutes of both games.

Robot refs would not need to consult with some human using eyes to confirm anything in Secaucus, New Jersey. Robot refs will be decisive and final in their rulings. Tighter games. Calls that cannot be argued with. Bring on our robot ref overlords and get people on the East coast to bed by midnight.

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