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NBA Officials hate the Utah Jazz! Okay, maybe not. But still.

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This is not petty at all

NBA: Charlotte Hornets at Sacramento Kings Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

Earlier today, Adrian Wojnarowski reported that NBA Referees were asserting the NBA is allowing Mark Cuban to wield power over them 'via threats and intimidation'. Now, I’m not one to pile on, but what I’m going to do here is pile on.

I have an ingrown dislike of NBA referees. Growing up, my grandpa used to scream at the TV, “DIRTY ZEBRAS!” I’m not sure if that is all that hurtful of a slur, maybe grandpa was racist against Zebras, I don’t know. My personal favorite is “ROTTEN HAMBURGLERS!!!!”

My dislike is assuredly both paranoid and irrational but there are cases in the past with less than reputable referees. Tim Donaghy is the most notable example. He admitted to intentionally affecting point spreads. He’s even made claims that ALL referees gamble on games. Do I believe that? No. My guess is that someone without the integrity to perform their job honestly, may not be a beacon of light and truth after they’ve been outed. BUT, I’m also going to go out on a HUGE limb here and bet that if Donaghy was a little dirty, perhaps there might be a few others willing to do it as well. Just my guess.

Sacramento Kings v Dallas Mavericks Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Last year, there was a confidential player survey looking at player opinions of NBA officials. It’s a fascinating read and well worth your time. According to players, the worst officials are: Scott Foster, Lauren Holtkamp and Marc Davis.

To me, player opinion should be taken seriously and makes me watch closely when these three are officiating a game. But, like the paranoid goblin I tend to be, I only trust my own thoughts whether they are backed up by facts or statements that are “true.”

You may be asking, “How does this relate to the Jazz, you portly leprechaun?” First off, that’s very hurtful and mean and I’ll get to that. What I did is look at all the officials that have officiated Jazz games and I looked at our wins and losses with each official. I would like to say that this is not analytically sound and should not be taken seriously.

Here is the list of games with the officials who officiated and the results.

Long list showing Utah Jazz W/L with Referees

Game? Win/Loss Official Official Official
Game? Win/Loss Official Official Official
Game 1 l Tony Brown Nick Buchert Mike Callahan
Game 2 w Pat Fraher Gediminas Petraitis Bill Spooner
Game 3 l Brent Barnaky Marc Davis Scott Twardoski
Game 4 w James Capers Michael Smith Leon Wood
Game 5 w Bennie Adams Eric Dalen Zach Zarba
Game 6 l Sean Corbin Brian Forte Mark Lindsay
Game 7 w Curtis Blair Matt Boland Scott Foster
Game 8 w Lauren Holtkamp Bill Kennedy Michael Smith
Game 9 l John Goble Scott Twardoski Sean Wright
Game 10 w Nick Buchert Marat Kogut Derrick Stafford
Game 11 w Brian Forte Karl Lane Scott Wall
Game 12 l Dan Crawford Kevin Scott C.J. Washington
Game 13 l Kevin Cutler Monty McCutchen Rodney Mott
Game 14 l Ed Malloy Josh Tiven James Williams
Game 15 l Bennie Adams Tyler Ford Pat Fraher
Game 16 w Scott Foster Mark Lindsay Dedric Taylor
Game 17 w Steve Anderson James Capers Gary Zielinski
Game 18 w Eric Dalen Pat Fraher Bill Kennedy
Game 19 w John Goble Derrick Stafford Haywoode Workman
Game 20 l Courtney Kirkland Ed Malloy Gediminas Petraitis
Game 21 w Brett Nansel Josh Tiven Sean Wright
Game 22 w Bennie Adams Lauren Holtkamp Ken Mauer
Game 23 w Tony Brothers Kevin Scott Ben Taylor
Game 24 l Matt Boland Monty McCutchen Aaron Smith
Game 25 w J.T. Orr Jason Phillips James Williams
Game 26 w Derrick Collins Tyler Ford Rodney Mott
Game 27 w Scott Foster Leon Wood Gary Zielinski
Game 28 w Tony Brown Ed Malloy Scott Wall
Game 29 l John Goble Eric Lewis Tre Maddox
Game 30 l Mitchell Ervin Derrick Stafford Josh Tiven
Game 31 l Brent Barnaky Brian Forte Derek Richardson
Game 32 w Sean Corbin Kevin Cutler Courtney Kirkland
Game 33 w Mark Ayotte Ed Malloy Gediminas Petraitis
Game 34 w Matt Boland Dan Crawford Jacyn Goble
Game 35 w Mitchell Ervin Eric Lewis Zach Zarba
Game 36 l Curtis Blair Brian Forte Kevin Scott
Game 37 l Kane Fitzgerald Aaron Smith Tom Washington
Game 38 w Bill Kennedy Mark Lindsay Gary Zielinski
Game 39 l Matt Boland Marc Davis Justin Van Duyne
Game 40 w Tyler Ford John Goble David Guthrie
Boring List

The first thing I took from creating this list is it’s very clear the NBA spreads out the duties of officials very evenly. No referee officiated the Jazz two nights in a row, or even within two weeks of having officiated a game. It was interesting to see that for the officials that officiated Jazz games they were separated each time by about ten games. For example, John Goble officiated game 9, game 19, game 29 and game 40.

This brings up a few thoughts. First, it must be interesting for officials to see progress of teams. A certain player may be doing much better after 10 games or maybe worse. How cool would it be to get that perspective?

Another thought I had was in terms of Dante Exum. It seems to me that he receives some of the worst calls on the team. For referees to get to know Dante and his game, they only get about 4-10 chances a season to see him. And that’s the officials that officiate Utah games the most. Many of these officials may only offiate one game and that would have been their only chance to see him.

With Dante’s time on the bench, he’s losing a lot of chances to showcase himself to officials and let them learn his tendencies. It makes me think that learning how to avoid foul trouble may be more based on how many times officials see you. It may not be a huge coincidence that Rudy Gobert is getting in less and less foul trouble. It might just be that the officials have gotten more chances to see him and adjusted to his style. Dante, on the other hand, sat for a year and it feels like the refs forgot having ever seen him play.

The other thing I took from this is that the officials I thought would be terrible for the Jazz turned out to be fine, even benefiting the Jazz. So, who were they and what was the Jazz record when they officiated? Bennie Adams (2-1), Ed Malloy (2-2) and Kane Fitzgerald (0-1). Frustratingly reasonable and consistent!!! But, wanting to push a narrative that may have been proven false by research, I will say this. KANE FITZGERALD YOU HATE THE JAZZ SO MUCH YOU NEVER LET US WIN THIS SEASON, YOU SKUNK!

Whew, I feel like myself again. So, who were the officials that we did the best with? Scott Foster (3-0), Bill Kennedy (3-0) and Gary Zielinski (3-0). So Scott Foster, considered by the players to be the worst referee may have helped us win?

I bet you want to know who hates us this year, don’t you. Don’t you!?

...Wait, don’t leave I’ll tell you. Brent Barnaky (0-2), Marc Davis (0-2) and Scott Twardoski (0-2).

I’m watching you, Brent, Marc and Scott! This list and research is completely faulty believable! People should never #takenote of this list!

All in all, it’s interesting to me the order and efficiency of NBA officials. And let’s hope that Scott Foster continues to officiate our games!

Finally, here is the sorted list by total games for your pleasure...

Jazz Win/Loss record sorted by total games officiated

Ref Win Loss Total Games Officiated
Ref Win Loss Total Games Officiated
Brian Forte 1 3 4
Matt Boland 2 2 4
John Goble 2 2 4
Ed Malloy 2 2 4
Pat Fraher 2 1 3
Gediminas Petraitis 2 1 3
Bennie Adams 2 1 3
Mark Lindsay 2 1 3
Scott Foster 3 0 3
Bill Kennedy 3 0 3
Derrick Stafford 2 1 3
Kevin Scott 1 2 3
Josh Tiven 1 2 3
Tyler Ford 2 1 3
Gary Zielinkski 3 0 3
Tony Brown 1 1 2
Nick Buchert 1 1 2
Brent Barnaky 0 2 2
Marc Davis 0 2 2
Scott Twardoski 0 2 2
James Capers 2 0 2
Michael Smith 2 0 2
Leon Wood 2 0 2
Eric Dalen 2 0 2
Zach Zarba 2 0 2
Sean Corbin 1 1 2
Curtis Blair 1 1 2
Lauren Holtkamp 2 0 2
Sean Wright 1 1 2
Scott Wall 2 0 2
Dan Crawford 1 1 2
Kevin Cutler 1 1 2
Monty McCutchen 0 2 2
Rodney Mott 1 1 2
James Williams 1 1 2
Courney Kirkland 1 1 2
Aaron Smith 0 2 2
Eric Lewis 1 1 2
Mitchell Ervin 1 1 2
Mike Callahan 0 1 1
Bill Spooner 1 0 1
Marat Koguy 1 0 1
Karl Lane 1 0 1
C.J. Washington 0 1 1
Dedric Taylor 1 0 1
Steve Anderson 1 0 1
Haywoode Workman 1 0 1
Brett Nansel 1 0 1
Ken Mauer 1 0 1
Tony Brothers 1 0 1
Ben Taylor 1 0 1
J.T. Orr 0 1 1
Jason Phillips 0 1 1
Derrick Collins 1 0 1
Tre Maddox 0 1 1
Kane Fitzgerald 0 1 1
Tom Washington 0 1 1
Justin Van Duyne 0 1 1
David Guthrie 0 1 1