Trio of G League Referees Get NBA Games Amid Virus Problems | Sports


The virus outbreak didn’t just send NBA teams looking for help from the G League. The NBA umpire corps had to do the same.

A trio of G-League officials – Tyler Mirkovich, Clare Aubry and Pat O’Connell – received games on Friday that made NBA debuts for all three. It was the first time that the NBA had to call G-League officials to working games this season.

Mirkovich was assigned to Phoenix in Boston, Aubry was assigned to Atlanta in Cleveland, and O’Connell was assigned to New York, Oklahoma City.

“I think the whole league is concerned,” said Monty McCutchen, the former official who now oversees all referee affairs as the NBA manager. “We want our league to be healthy and we want the players to feel safe and healthy. We want coaches and staff to feel that health and safety are a priority, and so do referees. “

None of the three G League referees called up on Friday have played a single NBA preseason game. However, with about a third of the league’s umpires currently unable to work, mostly due to coronavirus-related reasons and some due to injury, the NBA was left with no choice but to seek help.

“We have some people with health and safety protocols out and about. It’s no secret, ”said McCutchen. “And we’re putting in some people from the G League that we have a lot of trust in, who can give us the temporary coverage that we need.”

The NBA started on Friday with about 120 players at various stages of the logs. Also at the side: Seven head coaches – Los Angeles Clippers coach Tyronn Lue entered the protocols in Toronto on Friday while Lakers coach Frank Vogel cleared the protocols and rejoined his team – along with dozens of other employees, including assistant coaches, sports coaches, media representatives and more.

Clippers assistant Brian Shaw led the team in Toronto, where the arena was almost completely empty according to rules enacted by Ontario officials earlier this week in hopes of stopping the numbers there.

“I don’t find anything weird anymore,” Shaw said.

The league has a vaccination rate of 97% for players, 100% for coaches and at least two thirds of the league have received a booster vaccination. The NBA has postponed 11 games in the past few weeks while often changing its protocols in hopes of getting players who tested positive back on the scene faster than before.

The last of these steps came on Friday when the league announced to teams that players who tested positive – provided they return appropriate test results – can exit isolation after five days.

About 100 G League players have been signed into NBA deals in the past few weeks as the teams have had to fill the roster due to all the virus-related problems. Players and coaches across the league have applauded the players who got their chances.

“It’s hard to come here. It’s hard, ”said Washington Guard Bradley Beal. “I think a lot of people got it wrong somehow. They think a lot of the things we do are easy, they think getting into the league is easy. It ain’t man. And then you have so many guys in the G who deserve to be up here. These guys actually deserve places, and a lot of them just don’t get that opportunity. Lots of guys are lucky enough to have opportunities and many of them take advantage of them. “

It is unclear whether the G League’s incumbent aid will continue after Friday. 10 games were scheduled for Friday, which meant that 30 referees were required for those games – with the exception of the four others who were selected to work at the NBA’s replay center.

The daily routine will be a little brighter over the next few days: there are six games on Saturday and seven on Sunday. It won’t be back to a 10-game list until Monday, and it is possible that some of the protocols will work again by then.

“I think it’s a short-term need,” said McCutchen. “Like everyone else, we live in real time and make real-time decisions that serve the league. The job of the umpires is to serve the league and as a management team our job is to serve the league at the highest level that we can at any given moment in the circumstances. “

McCutchen said he had no doubt the G League calling arbitrators were ready. Over the past four years, the NBA has begun training all umpires – the NBA, G League, WNBA, and now the Basketball Africa League – the same way and to the same standards.

“I have no doubts that they will perform well if we have to rely on them,” said McCutchen.

Aubry is now the 14th female umpire in charge of a regular season NBA game. The league has six full-time women referees this season and four others designated as non-staff.

Aubry is also a men’s basketball official in the Atlantic Coast Conference and made history as the first woman to direct a Georgia Tech basketball game when the Yellow Jackets played against Lamar in mid-November.

“I thought she did a great job,” said Georgia Tech coach Josh Pastner after the game. “She is a great civil servant. She officiates in the G League and will be in the NBA. We are lucky that the ACC can have senior officials and is one of them. She is a high-ranking civil servant. “

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