The 2018-19 season has not gone according to plan for the Phoenix Suns, as they hoped to take a step forward this season with a young core headlined by Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton.
Instead, they find themselves in a familiar position, last in the Western Conference and with the second worst record in the NBA. Within that, there have been bright spots. Booker has posted career-highs in points and assists, Ayton has looked predictably strong on the offensive end and the glass as a rookie, and Mikal Bridges looks like the steal of the late lottery, but overall it’s been another rough season in Phoenix.
Wednesday night was, unfortunately, an encapsulation of their season as a whole. Devin Booker was injured early on with a nasty looking ankle sprain, yet another injury for the Suns to deal with, and late in the third quarter Dragan Bender found himself getting whistled for a traveling violation while very clearly dribbling the ball up the floor.
I’d like to preface this by saying NBA referees have a near impossible job in that players move incredibly quickly and often times the difference between violations or fouls and being a legal play is razor thin. However, in this case, it’s just a flat out hysterical call.
Bender definitely doesn’t travel and it also doesn’t seem like he comes close to even double-dribbling, but maybe it startled the official that it was Bender of all people that was bringing the ball up the court on the break. The best part is the reaction of Bender, who is so thoroughly confused and seems to briefly question if dribbling is no longer legal in the NBA.
It’s certainly not a call that decided the game, and is simply a rather hilarious mistake. It’s basically the ref version of a basketball player blowing a wide open dunk in that it’s objectively funny.