Do referees treat the Jazz fairly? Here’s what the data shows

SALT LAKE CITY — Sometimes facts can get in the way of a really good conspiracy theory.

Check that, just about all the time, facts get in the way of really good conspiracy theories.

Since 2015, the NBA has evaluated the last two minutes of every close game, enumerating every bad call and non-call that could impact the outcome.

We asked Jazz players Grayson Allen and Rudy Gobert if the refs were out to get the Jazz. Allen’s response was something like, “Refs are fun and nice.”

Gobert also didn’t complain about the officials with delightful second language phrasing: “I don’t feel like we’ve been getting screwed.” (I’m not making fun. I took several years of French in high school and college and don’t remember the word for “word.”)

For Jazz fans who assume their low-wattage small market team doesn’t get the calls…they were proven absolutely right, until they were proven absolutely wrong.

How?

From 2015-2017, bad calls at the Vivint Smart Home Arena favored the visiting team! In 2015-16 it was 31-69 percent in favor of the visitors. In 2016-17 it was 42-58 percent in favor of the visitors.

And then in 2017 and 2018, those statistics changed dramatically. The Jazz benefitted from 73 percent of bad calls!

What it looks like is the low-scoring (97 points per game) Jazz from 2015 didn’t get much respect from the striped ones, but the high scoring 2018 Jazz (111 points per game) got some love.

 

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