Interesting comments on officiating, and one assumption seems to be that within the pool of available officials, more talented ones do not necessarily rise to the top of the profession. That may be true, but I find it unlikely -- which would mean that the real issue is the pool of available officials.
As I've mentioned too many times before, the unwarranted abuse and the willingness of fans to blame the refs for mistakes they happily accept in their own players and coaches creates an atmosphere that drives a lot of people away -- and some of those driven away would presumably be an upgrade on those working now. (When I officiated, I didn't like being yelled at for bad calls, but that was reasonable; what really got to me was being yelled at for good calls.)
Also, I'm not convinced that the skills required to be a good official are overlooked. Even at the high school level, there is a significant amount of training and feedback, and at the college level, observers grade the officials in almost every game. Now it could be that the observers know less about officiating than fans or outside critics (though the observers are former officials who were highly rated during their time), or it could be that there just aren't enough good officials to go around.
As is pretty obvious, that's the direction I'm going. The best officials want to work in the NBA; the next level NCAA men -- and I think that's pretty much exhausted the cream of the crop in the available pool of officials.
Now if the pool were deeper, more talent would trickle down to the WNBA, so to me the question is how do we get more people involved in officiating, and then retain them as they learn the ropes (and get pilloried by people who have never read a rule book or reffed a game)?
Oṃ Tāre Tuttāre Ture Svāhā