As training camps are set to begin, all isn't well for David Stern and his association. The referees are without a CBA and it looks like the NBA will be using "replacement" refs until a contract agreement is reached.
So, in the big picture, what does this mean for the NBA? Will we have many missed calls? Will these refs hurt the credibility of the league? No.
If we are indeed going to be using backup referees come season's start, you can expect a few things. Despite the obvious belief that calls will be inconsistent, the exact opposite should happen. There will be no officials picked off the street and asked to try and officiate a game of professional basketball. These said "backup refs" come from strong basketball backgrounds with barrels of experience. Once their extensive training sessions are over and these guys know exactly what to call and what not to call then we should be in a comfort zone.
I know, the NBA's regular staff include some excellent officials. But, different refs call different things. There is a gap from one ref to the next. As a matter of fact, you'll have a hard time finding any two similar refs. From a backup point of view, you have your foot in the door to the premier basketball league in North America. Impress the boss—that is what I hope to expect. A high level of consistancy that we have not had in previous years.
The only problem I can see in consistancy is an interim ref's willingness to call a technical. This may be where lines are drawn thin. My only advice in this is, lets hope that the league is kept from being a circus but some entertainment can be drawn from the antics of players such as 'Sheed.
Whether it will play out like this we are left to see, but the NBA won't be governed under the "let them play" mindse' if backups are indeed our primary source of officiating. Lets just hope these guys aren`t intimidated by the star power around them or us fans yelling in their ears.