Which NBA Teams Receive The Worst Refs?
Find out the Bottom 10 teams in RefScore from the 2022-23 season.
As promised, we’re going to continue ranking NBA Teams by RefScore, my metric that estimates referee quality based on the NBA’s official assignments.
On Tuesday, I unveiled the Top 10 teams, starting with the Los Angeles Lakers who received the highest quality of referees compared to the rest of the league.
In that post, I predicted that Lakers fans won’t see Eric Lewis on their games any time soon. Well, on Wednesday, the league unceremoniously announced that Lewis was retiring. OK, then! Subscribers can look forward to a deeper dive on that story in the coming days at The Finder.
Oh, speaking about subscribers/paywall: here at The Finder, I’m on a mission to provide information you can’t get anywhere else. In order to do all the required data-crunching, reporting and detective work, I need the support from you, the reader. I need batteries for this flashlight.
Not everything will be behind the paywall! But free doesn’t put my two daughters into college. Mostly: I need ya with me.
So, in this edition, we’re going to reveal the bottom 10 teams – 21st to 30th in order.
For all the teams and fanbases who believe they get the short end of the stick when it comes to officiating, this list is for you.
Let’s get to it.
21. Utah Jazz – 2.968 RefScore
One of my favorite little nuggets from last season: Lauri Markkanen never got called for a technical foul last season, the only All-Star starter to go T-less. Another one: the Jazz faced a league-high 23 rookie referees last season, nearly twice the league average of 12.1 rooks. I don’t think those two Findings are totally unrelated (tech-happy refs tend to be a little longer in the tooth).
Picked by many to be one of the league’s worst teams in 2022-23, the mild-mannered and sneaky-good Jazz only made the national TV slate once last season and it came on the season finale against, yup, the Los Angeles Lakers. With the dearth of big TV audiences, the NBA hid many of their G-League/“non-staff” refs on Jazz games. But even still, NINE teams rated lower.
2023-24 preview: After a surprisingly competitive season from Markkanen and the Jazz, the NBA doubled (well, from one to two) Utah’s national TV diet. Look for the league to correct the outlier number of rookie refs this upcoming season. There’s no geographical reason that I can see why Utah would be a magnet for G-League officials.