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#pounditSunday, June 16, 2024

NBA responds to Reddit conspiracy theory about Grizzlies’ scorekeeping

Jaren Jackson Jr looking on

Feb 5, 2020; Dallas, Texas, USA; Memphis Grizzlies forward Jaren Jackson Jr. (13) warms up before the game against the Dallas Mavericks at the American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

An online conspiracy theory about the Memphis Grizzlies is drawing so much attention that the NBA is now having to respond to it.

User “AdMassive6666” wrote a Reddit post on Saturday that went massively viral. The post alleged that the Memphis Grizzlies’ home scorekeeper was supposedly inflating the defensive stats of Grizzlies big man Jaren Jackson Jr. Several instances were cited in the post of purported times that Jackson, when playing at home, was improperly credited with a block or a steal that either a) should have been credited to a teammate or b) was the result of a bad bounce of the ball that did not create a defensive stat opportunity.

You can read the extensive (and apparently highly-researched) post here.

Jackson was an All-Defensive First Teamer last season and already led the league in blocks as well with 2.3 a game. But Jackson’s defensive numbers have gotten even more impressive this season as he is averaging 3.1 blocks and 1.0 steals per game (up from 0.9 steals per game last season). The post claims that Jackson is putting up 4.1 blocks and 1.4 steals per game at home this season but just 2.2 blocks and 0.6 steals per game when on the road, a seemingly massive discrepancy.

The allegations were problematic, in part because of the impact of improper scorekeeping on sports gambling, which is quickly getting legalized in more and more states and growing into a multi-billion dollar industry. A theory in the post held that a bet could be placed on Jackson to win Defensive Player of the Year at long odds, which would create a major incentive to artificially pump up his defensive numbers.

Within a few hours of the post picking up steam online, the NBA responded to the allegations.

“In order to ensure the integrity of our game statistics, auditors, independent of the statisticians on-site, review all plays and stats decisions in real-time during NBA games,” NBA spokesperson Tim Frank said in a statement to sports reporter Darren Rovell. “If changes are necessary, they are made at that time or following a postgame review. All of the plays questioned in the post on Memphis games were scored consistently within the rules set forth by the NBA statisticians manual.”

Fred Katz of The Athletic also subsequently reported that the Grizzlies are using the same official scorer this season that they used last season.

None of that stopped the Reddit post from causing a ripple effect though. Apparently, NBA Defensive Player of the Year betting was taken off the board at certain sportsbooks.

The Grizzlies probably have bigger things to worry about right now than scorekeeping since they have lost five straight games and counting. But this is not the only time the NBA has been called out recently over something Memphis-related.

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