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NBA debunks Reddit conspiracy theory about Jaren Jackson Jr.’s defensive stats

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Like many modern-day conspiracy theories, the one involving Memphis Grizzlies forward-center Jaren Jackson Jr. began on the Web by an anonymous poster on Reddit.

The redditor, u/AdMassive6666, posted early Saturday morning a 1,589-word missive titled “MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES SCOREKEEPER POSTING FRAUDULENT NUMBERS FOR DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR LEADER JAREN JACKSON JR.”

Inside, the redditor points out that Jackson has almost twice the variety of blocks at home than he does on the road and accuses the Grizzlies statistician of being overly kind and “padding” Jackson’s defensive stats.

As of 4:15 p.m. ET on Saturday, the post had 3,500 comments, and it spilled over to Twitter where it gained much more traction, and it was the NBA topic of the day.

It’s a serious accusation for the reason that statistician job’s is rooted in integrity, and statistics play a vital role in determining awards and honors, specifically in Jackson’s case Defensive Player of the Yr and All-Defense. Stats have also taken on greater importance in gambling especially prop bets when wagers can gamble on what number of blocks a player has in a game. Sports leagues have embraced this, taking accountability to a different level.

Memphis Grizzlies forward Jaren Jackson Jr. (13) blocks the shot of Phoenix Suns guard Saben Lee at FedExForum.

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The redditor identified that Jackson has 66 blocks and 22 steals at home in 16 games and 37 blocks and 12 steals on the road in 17 games. Specific plays were cited and other redditors provided video “evidence.”

No conspiracy theory, especially within the NBA, goes unchecked. A few of the perfect basketball media members went to work, including The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor, Boston Sports Journal’s John Karalis, ESPN’s Kirk Goldberry, who focuses on basketball data and wrote the book “Sprawlball,” and The Athletic’s Seth Partnow, who worked in Milwaukee’s front office and is the creator of “The Midrange Theory.”

O’Connor and Goldsberry reviewed all 66 of Jackson’s blocks at home. O’Connor watched in slow motion and concluded “only 3 of his 66 home blocks are incorrectly labeled, a very insignificant amount.”

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After watching the plays, Goldsberry called Jackson “the highest rim protector on earth” and wrote on Twitter, “of the 66 blocks, 60 are clearly blocked by JJJ … 3-5 are questionable and two are kinda sus(pect).” But even one Goldberry considers suspect is difficult to find out from the video angle, and it’s likely Jackson got his hand on the basketball as Zion Williamson was going up for a shot, which counts as a block.

Partnow is sensible and a singular thinker and located the controversy absurd. But nonetheless, he found the time for instance Jackson’s elite rim protection, detailing his points saved via rim protection at home and on the road and there’s a two-point difference.

Jackson made first-team All-Defense and led the league in total blocks (177) and blocks per game (2.3) last season. He leads the league in blocks this season (3.1) per game and anchors Memphis’ top-ranked defense, which allows just 103.4 points per 100 possessions with Jackson on the court and 111.4 when Jackson just isn’t on the court.

Because stats are so essential to sports on the subject of awards and records – just take a look at the attention being paid to LeBron James as he gets closer to breaking Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s all-time scoring record – and due to wagering aspect, the NBA was forced to weigh in.

“With the intention to make sure 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 senior vice chairman of league operations communications Tim Frank said. “If changes are essential, they’re made at the moment or following a postgame review.  The entire plays questioned within the post on Memphis games were scored consistently inside the foundations set forth by the NBA statisticians manual.”

For the remainder of the season, no player’s blocks will likely be more scrutinized than Jackson’s.

This text originally appeared on USA TODAY: Jaren Jackson Jr. stats Reddit conspiracy theory debunked by NBA

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