Grizzlies star ahead Jaren Jackson Jr. found himself at the center of a controversy in online NBA circles Saturday morning, through no fault of his own, when a Reddit user stirred the pot with an inflammatory post suggesting the MVP candidate was benefiting greatly from the home team’s goaltending bias. . While the post quickly became the main topic of weekend basketball discourse, Kevin O’Connor, senior basketball writer The Ringer— presented his own evidence to refute the Reddit post as inaccurate.
The conspiracy theory first began circulating Saturday morning when a user claimed they had evidence the Grizzlies point guard was “posting fake numbers” for Jackson to make him a more compelling candidate for the NBA’s top defensive honor. The in-depth post used both statistics and videos, including pretty stark house divisions for blocks and steals to highlight the goal and subsequently generate a lot of buzz on social media.
While some were quick to jump at the idea that Jackson’s case for DPOY might just be the result of shady statistics, O’Connor wasn’t so convinced. To prove his point, the Ringer analyst went back and watched each of Jackson’s 66 home runs this season in slow motion.
In his estimation, only three of the striker’s 66 home blocks were mis-recorded by the goalkeeper, which he called “an absolutely insignificant amount”. Here more about what O’Connor is discovered during his film studies.
ESPN’s Kirk Goldsberry, a former Spurs vice president of the front office and an analyst for Team USA, did a similar breakdown and came to the same conclusion as O’Connor.
To dismiss Jackson’s Player of the Year case as a fraud because of eye-popping home-and-away splits would not only be negligent, it would just be wrong. Jackson would lead the league in blocks if he played enough minutes with 3.1 sacks per game, and the Grizzlies have boasted the league’s best defense since Nov. 15, when Jackson made his season debut after returning from injury, for the most part. part to the 23-year-old striker roaming the middle.
One aspect that could hurt Jackson’s case for his first DPOY will be availability, as the 2021-22 block leader has missed 16 of the Grizzlies’ games this season and struggles to avoid foul trouble when he’s in the lineup. However, when he’s on the court, whether playing on his home court in Memphis or away from home, Jackson is a dominant defender who can lay claim to being the best in the NBA.