Kiki Vandeweghe Rumors
Kiki, I felt like this was one of those rare moments where a little added perspective might help the fans understand how you guys saw this thing. You have high stakes in the playoffs, and a somewhat controversial guy in Draymond in terms of the way that he plays the game, but you tell me: what was today like, and at the end of the day, what factors weighed most heavily on your mind when it comes to making this decision? Kiki Vandeweghe: Right. Well, obviously these are tough calls, and they’re very difficult and they’re all different. Basically, (he) spent last night and today looking at a bunch of comparables, which were kind of all over the place. I mean we had a number of ones that nothing was called, we had Flagrant Ones and Flagrant Twos and Flagrant Twos and fines, and suspensions. I spent the day watching a bunch of film, watching comparables, talking to the referees, and the replay center referees, and we also do a thorough investigation.
Kiki Vandeweghe: We have professional investigators that conduct the investigation. They talk to the players, they talk to all the referees, including the replay officials, and they all come back and report to me. I obviously discuss it internally, and especially with referee operations, get their perspective. But at the end of the day every play is different and that’s the problem. You take into account everything. You take into account t what the referees have said. They obviously went with a flagrant one last night, and you take into account the comparables. The problem with comparables is they never tell the whole story.
Kiki Vandeweghe: But just to talk about the Dahntay Jones situation, I think that was basically a completely different play. That, you had somebody (who was) tussling for a rebound, and Jones brings back his hand his hand is open. And as he brings his hand back forward and makes contact with Bismack’s (Biyombo) groin area, the fist is closed. And so you have contact with a closed fist, so to me that’s a very different scenario and, to me, a different fact pattern, so it’s very different from what we’re talking about with Draymond, that I viewed as a flail that is becoming, you know, pretty common amongst our players in trying to sell calls. Draymond does it a fair amount, Westbrook does it a fair amount, and a number of other players. Unfortunately, in this particular one, Draymond’s leg connected in the same Adams groin area, the same area, as the Jones one, but everything else about the call, or the play, was really different.
But this is what the NBA wants you to know: NBA referees are incredibly accurate and get way more calls correct than incorrect, and the league publishes the Last Two Minute Reports in the name of transparency and education despite criticism from coaches, players and fans. “One of the things we know internally because we study this is how good referees really are – how good they are compared to all other sports and basketball everywhere else,” NBA executive vice president of basketball operations Kiki VanDeWeghe told USA TODAY Sports. “We’re very confident that these guys are the best in the world, and they really are phenomenal.”
They have found that specializing in one sport at a young age is unnecessary and may even be unhelpful. Early focus on one sport—and only one sport—can increase the risk of overuse injuries and raise the potential for burnout. It also robs impressionable athletes of a diversity of experiences that can benefit them as they develop both as athletes and adults. The final argument against specialization may be the most obvious of them all: It’s not as fun. “It’s been proven scientifically to be a much better path to success to try lots of different sports,” said NBA executive vice president Kiki Vandeweghe. “I think Steph Curry is a great example of that.”
Below is an edited Q&A with Kiki Vandeweghe, the NBA’s senior vice president of basketball operations, on the league’s current NBA draft lottery system and why does not sense any “imminent” changes. This interview was part of a larger story capturing the various sentiments around the league on the NBA’s draft lottery system. What do you think of the current NBA lottery system? Vandeweghe: “The first thing is, the lottery is not supposed to incentivize losing. In theory, it’s supposed to help the teams with the worst record. That’s the whole purpose behind it. It’s been constructed in different ways and changed a variety of times over the course and adjusted as needed. But those are the two tenets to keep in mind.”
Have there been any recent league proposals to change it? Vandeweghe:: “Nothing recently. I don’t think see anything imminent. A year and a half ago, there was a lot of momentum for change. We brought some thoughts to the Board of Governors. The majority of the owners were in favor of change. But a change really takes a super majority. So we barely missed that. I don’t know what has happened in between that. We’ve focused on different areas. I would assume it hasn’t really changed that much.” What would be a super majority? Vandeweghe:: “3/4.” Would that be 23? Vandeweghe: “I’m pretty sure that’s right. That’s the number that’s written.”