Jaren Jackson Jr. Scorekeeping Stats Controversy, Explained

Jaren Jackson Jr. Scorekeeping Stats Controversy, Explained article feature image

Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Jaren Jackson Jr. #13 of the Memphis Grizzlies blocks the shot of Joel Embiid #21 of the Philadelphia 76ers.

On Saturday morning around 4 a.m. ET, a Reddit user posted anonymously under the handle AdMassive6666 to the NBA sub-Reddit, stating that the Memphis Grizzlies scorekeepers were posting “fraudulent numbers” regarding Defensive Player of the Year contender Jaren Jackson Jr.

Jackson was -210 to win DPOY at one book earlier this week and the consensus odds-on favorite across the board.

The post alleges that the home scorekeepers are adding a significant number of blocks and steals in an effort to boost Jackson’s chances at DPOY.

The post, which has 42,600 likes, is making the rounds at the top of Reddit as of this writing, and picked up traction on Twitter, listed seven discrete examples of stat padding in favor of Jackson.

The story created an immediate stir, and some books actually did not have Defensive Player of the Year on the board on Saturday morning. When the odds returned, Jackson had moved to +110 from an average -115 range.

Then, the pushback to the idea of a conspiracy began in earnest.

Why There Is No Conspiracy With Jaren Jackson Jr.'s Stats

The most important piece of info is that, ultimately, the decisions on individual stats are audited in real-time by the NBA, not anyone affiliated with the home team.

So any potential implicit bias or agenda by the Grizzlies’ scorekeeping team (or that of any organization) doesn’t actually matter.

Action Network’s Darren Rovell received this statement from Tim Frank, Senior VP of League Operations Communications:

NBA’s Tim Frank on Reddit post allegation gaining steam that Grizzlies statistician favored Jaren Jackson Jr. stats: pic.twitter.com/CYH5Gxl4Zx

— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) January 28, 2023

There have been times when, for whatever reason, controversy arose over various stat adjustments or non-adjustments — we've written about corrections for stars like Nikola Jokic, James Harden and Chris Paul that had caused a stir online — but they are also incredibly routine.

The league's presence as an independent auditor makes it difficult for this story to hold up factually.

However, there is the question of whether the perception of impropriety, given by the story on Twitter and in NBA discussions, could influence voters. Will voters be reluctant to vote for Jackson under the shadow of an alleged, if debunked, conspiracy?

Meanwhile, more evidence came across on social media that this likely is not an explosive revelation of conspiracy and instead that most of the stats in question were attributed accurately.

A Twitter user who claims to have worked as an official scorekeeper for a short time for the Warriors posted this thread:

🧵: Gonna go ahead and answer all of these if I can and give my input as someone who was a stat checker for the NBA.

JJJ probably gets a hand on the ball here with Zion in an upward motion. These get started as blocks. https://t.co/0hLuLTNjC7

— Neema (@findingneema23) January 28, 2023

Kevin O’Connor of the Ringer posted this video that aligns with the above, finding only three blocks incorrectly attributed at home:

I watched every block by Jaren Jackson Jr. in slow motion from alternate angles to investigate the NBA Reddit thread claiming the Grizzlies scorekeeper is "posting fraudulent numbers."

But only 3 of his 66 home blocks are incorrectly labeled, a completely insignificant amount. pic.twitter.com/84ZiE1rPVD

— Kevin O'Connor (@KevinOConnorNBA) January 28, 2023

By the time this post was finished writing, Jackson moved back to -110 at several US books.

We’ll update with further developments if warranted from the NBA or the Grizzlies, but if you’re holding a Jackson Defensive Player of the Year ticket, you should probably not use it for kindling just yet.

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