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Does it pay off to be fined by the NBA?

05 Jun

Sometimes coaches and players are fined by the NBA for criticizing referees after game [it cost them over 600.000 dollars in the last 5 seasons!] which begged me to ask some questions:

  • Can we call it “an investment in team’s future”?
  • Does it change anything on the court in the next game(s)?
  • Do referees feel obligated to call next game(s) differently?

I started with a visit at prosportstransactions.com and collected names, teams and dates of such fines.

Then I stopped by gold mine and collected stats from games near that date for aforementioned teams.

During that process I discovered that I have to exclude some fines for my study:
for example, Phil Jackson was fined on 8th May 2011… which was after Lakers’ final game of the season.
So that particular fine couldn’t possibly helped Lakers in any way ;-)

With all that said here’s the full list which I have used:

Date Team Person Punishment
2011-04-18 Blazers Nate McMillan fined as head coach $35K by NBA for post-game comments criticizing officiating
2011-01-01 Magic Stan Van Gundy fined $35K by NBA for comments criticizing referees after game
2010-12-18 Nuggets George Karl fined as head coach $25K by NBA for publically criticizing the referees following game
2010-11-28 Cavaliers Byron Scott fined as head coach $35K by NBA for publicly criticizing referees following game
2010-04-28 Magic Dwight Howard fined $35K by NBA for criticizing referees on his blog
2010-04-22 Magic Stan Van Gundy head coach fined $35K by NBA for criticizing referees following game
2010-04-15 Lakers Phil Jackson fined as head coach $35K by NBA for criticizing referees
2010-04-05 Lakers Phil Jackson fined as head coach $35K by NBA for criticizing referees after game
2010-04-02 Celtics Kevin Garnett fined $25K by NBA for criticizing referees and using inappropriate language during interview after game
2010-02-26 Lakers Andrew Bynum fined $25K by NBA for publically criticizing referees following game
2010-01-20 Celtics Rasheed Wallace fined $35K by NBA for comments regarding the referees following game
2009-11-29 Celtics Rasheed Wallace fined $30K (PB SN) / $37.5K (CBC) by NBA for publicly criticizing referees following game
2009-11-01 Knicks Al Harrington fined $25K by NBA for publicly criticizing referees after game
2009-05-22 Lakers Phil Jackson fined as head coach $25K by NBA for public criticisms of referees following game
2009-03-29 Mavericks Mark Cuban owner fined $25K by NBA for publically criticizing referees following game
2009-03-19 Celtics Doc Rivers fined as head coach $25K by NBA for criticizing referee following game
2009-02-12 Cavaliers Mike Brown fined as head coach $25K by NBA for criticizing referees following game
2009-02-07 Celtics Glenn Rivers fined as head coach $15K by NBA for verbally abusing referees following game
2008-11-13 Kings Reggie Theus fined $25K by NBA for comments about referees
2007-01-05 Nuggets Allen Iverson fined $25,000 by NBA for criticizing referees after game
2006-12-27 Nets Jason Kidd fined $20K by NBA for criticizing referees after game
2006-11-29 Lakers Phil Jackson fined as head coach $25K by NBA for criticizing referees after game
2006-11-17 Rockets Jeff Van Gundy head coach fined $25,000 for publicly criticizing referees

There were only 23 such fines?
I was disappointed with a sample size but what can I do about that? Show must go on ;-)

Here’s a comparison between games before and after the fine:

Info Avg FTA Avg Fouls Avg OppFTA Avg OppFouls % at Home
Game which caused a fine 25,39 21,74 24,35 22 0,609
Game after the fine 26,125 21,125 24,29 22,125 0,500

Wow, another disappointment.
Even if there was a difference it’s probably too small to reach any strong conclusions.

Well, maybe we will find something in a bigger picture…

Info Avg FTA Avg Fouls Avg OppFTA Avg OppFouls Avg Homes Games
5 games before 25,14 21,40 24,52 21,75 2,696
Game which caused a fine 25,39 21,74 24,35 22 0,609
5 games after 25,13 21,03 24,43 21,80 2,48

I’m not gonna lie, I was VERY disappointed after those two tables. But that’s actually a great thing about analysing numbers, they don’t care what you think about the issue.
And referees don’t care about those fines so it’s just a free money for the league ;-)

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3 Comments

Posted by on June 5, 2011 in Scrutiny

 

Tags: , , , ,

3 responses to “Does it pay off to be fined by the NBA?

  1. Leszczur

    June 24, 2011 at 09:08

    First off – fines are dealed by the leagues’ “Department of Political Correctness” (there is one – even if called differently), and not game officials, so the translation to game-time situations should be minimal.
    But there is one thing missing that potentially can save the day for that analysis, or can just waste few more hours of your time.
    IMO two factors are playing a role here and you didn’t take them into account:
    1. It is opponent dependent. Perhaps it would be worth checking whether the next opponent fouled more comparing to THEIR OWN average. So in essence you check whether refferees were more prone to calling fouls than they normally do for that team.
    2. It is refferee dependent. So what we are looking for is whether criticized refferee was more or less prone to calling fouls the next time he’s doing the game of the fined coach.

    Although I have to tell you that given the sample size I really doubt results would reach statistical significance to draw really hard conclusions.

     
    • wiLQ

      June 27, 2011 at 19:47

      “First off – fines are dealed by the leagues’ ‘Department of Political Correctness’ (there is one – even if called differently), and not game officials”
      True, but comments were directed at them and fines were a simple measure of “quality” of those comments…

      “Although I have to tell you that given the sample size I really doubt results would reach statistical significance to draw really hard conclusions.”
      Yup, that’s why I wrote “I was disappointed with a sample size” and I simply had a wrong impression about how often does it happen when I started researching ;-) What would be your best guess about “how many times someone was fined for criticizing referees in the last 5 years”?

       

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