Before we start with the “you’re just an angry Celtics fan” or “you’re just a conspiracy theorist” tweets, hear me out on this. From a business aspect, I don’t even disagree with the NBA rigging the games. But, if you really are one of those naive fans that think there is no possible way the NBA can rig a basketball game, here are some facts for you.
During the 2017 NBA Playoffs, two out of the four Conference semi-final series went past five games. The other two were complete sweeps. During the Conference finals series, there was one 4-0 sweep, and the other series went five. The NBA Finals also only lasted five games. This means during the final three rounds of the NBA Playoffs there was only one game seven and two game six’s.
If you have even the slightest idea of how a business works, you know this means both the NBA and their TV partners (ESPN, ABC, TNT) all lost money because of the lack of extra games. This domino effect ended up hurting the NBA in the off-season and eventually did not increase the salary cap as high as many teams projected. The domino effect continued as some players were upset they were not paid as much as they could have been the previous off-season.
So now enter the 2018 Playoffs. Both Eastern Conference series were 3-0, while both Western Conference Series were 3-1. As the Celtics were just about to close their series out with Philadelphia and seemed to be riding all momentum, the referees were announced. Tony Brothers and Scott Foster got the nod to be two of the referees for game Four. Here is why that is a little too sketchy.
Starting with Tony Brothers, who has been in the league since 2000. The first stat that jumps off the page is the home team win percentage of 70% when Brothers has refereed games through his NBA career. Then again, the home team usually wins in the playoffs, so let’s continue. The Celtics are also 0-11 in the last 11 games Brothers has officiated. This stat seems a little harder to call a simple coincidence. Five loses in a row, maybe, but eleven seems too many for a coincidence.
Now on to Scott Foster. For those who aren’t familiar, Scott Foster is good friends with former NBA referee Tim Donaghy who was fired and imprisoned for betting on games he was officiating. Donaghy made hundreds of calls to Foster while both were in the league around similar times he would call the middle-man in the gambling scandal. Donaghy currently runs a handicapping betting site that claims to have “insider information”. Here is a quote from his website’s front page.
“Tim has a leg up on most handicappers, he has hands on insider experience in officiating games and knows all to well how and what can affect a score. If you’re interested in learning more about Tim Donaghys Expert NBA Picks, buy a pick today or check out our Free Pick we have available.”
This site has been known to have one of the best winning percentages, with an over 70% correct pick rate.
But, back to Scott Foster. Despite still being close friends with Donaghy, Foster also has stats to back up his “sketchy” past.
Three of the four series so far in the NBA semi-finals are 3-1. The Utah Jazz, New Orleans Pelicans and Philadelphia 76ers have all won only one of the four games in their respective series. Scott Foster has officiated three games so far in the NBA Playoffs. All three of those games were won by those teams.
Foster and Brother’s are the NBA’s personal “rigging refs” that specialize in evening out the series to keep the revenue up. Once again, for a business, I don’t disagree with this method even if it does happen to be illegal. But if you are one of those fans that think the NBA is completely clean in everything they do, you may need to start opening up your mind to the reality of the business.
Now, this doesn’t mean the NBA picks a winner before the season and that is how the season is decided. I do not even think the NBA changes the actual outcome of any series. However, if they can make a four game series turn into a six game series, that is something they will be all in for.
Photo: Clutch Points