Hawks coach Zico Coronel is in the corner of NBL general manager Justin Nelson to put basketball in a "positive light".

However, in the same breath, Coronel emphasises there's a critical difference in mistakes NBL coaches and players make when juxtaposed with those of referees.

Hawks coach Zico Coronel says Justin Nelson has been doing an exceptional job since assuming the mantle of general manager of the National Basketball League a few months ago.

"He has added a lot to the media presence of the league in getting games back on Sky," says Coronel before the Jarrod Kenny-captained Hawks tip off against the Nelson Giants at Trafalgar Centre in round six of the NBL covered live on Sky TV from 7pm tomorrow.

He says part of Nelson's portfolio was to put basketball in a "positive light" in New Zealand.

Coronel was responding to questions on the clamp down of coaches and players with the establishment of an NBL review panel to eradicate unruly behaviour.


"The viewers want to believe they are watching a well-played, well-refereed game and if they don't believe that then maybe it's an impediment to them tuning in so that's really important from the sport's perspective of the growth of the game."

The difference, he feels, is if a player makes mistakes a loss is, perhaps, imminent and shoulders that burden. If a coach does, they return home to share a collective sense of dismay.

"If a referee makes a mistake, it doesn't hurt them but the team they have penalised go home and feel terrible so there's a difference because players and coaches' mistakes hurt them but referees' mistakes affect other people and that's the critical difference."

Consequently Coronel believes officials need to be held more accountable than the coaches and players who pay the price of a derailed campaign from accrued defeats owing to a lack of discipline.

"The referee's obviously not in a position to win or lose a game."

Nelson, he says, has also been working hard to lift refereeing to a professional standard with ongoing development and evaluation.

"He's very honest when he says coaches should establish a direct line of communication with him and, my experience so far, he's been very open to discussions about a number of things so, I guess, he's just reminding us to check with him to, hopefully, get improvements because they are new processes which take time."