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NBA: Officials in the postseason

Oklahoman Published: June 7, 2009
Refs selected for playoffs based on performance
How are NBA officials selected for playoff games?

One misconception is it’s based on seniority. That’s not the case.

Similar to players being selected for the All-Star game, post-season referees are selected based on how they’ve performed during the season.

Of the 61 referees who call regular-season games, the top 34 are chosen for the playoffs. After the first round, the list is trimmed to 27, then 20 for the conference finals, with the top 12 selected for the NBA Finals.

How are officials graded?

Ron Johnson, senior vice president of referee operations, and his staff compile game-by-game reports. All 30 organizations, including general managers and coaches, turn in reports three times a year. Overall grades determine which refs call the playoffs.

"We track accuracy and all components of being a referee,” Johnson said. "We don’t use the playoffs to get someone experience or limit it to referees with years of playoff experience. It’s based on how you’ve performed throughout the season and the playoffs.”

By Mike Baldwin


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