Every NBA game must have three referees. It’s been a constant in the league for years and years.
But what goes into the selection process behind which referees are assigned to each game?
While it may not be an exact science, there is a big difference in the experience level for less established teams in smaller markets like the Portland Trail Blazers and some of the more established teams in larger markets like the Los Angeles Lakers and Golden State Warriors.
In fact, in a chart created and tweeted by Basketball Illuminati podcast host Tom Haberstroh, the Lakers and Warriors receive the “best” referees in their games.
️THREAD: The NBA assigns its best, most-experienced referees to the Lakers and Warriors. Worst-caliber refs: Magic.— Tom Haberstroh (@tomhaberstroh) March 4, 2022
The league almost never puts rookie referees on Lakers, Sixers and Knicks games.
I'll explain the simple way I calculated Ref Rating. (1/x) #basketballilluminati pic.twitter.com/27LLGct6b2
The Blazers are ranked 18th in the Ref Rating metric, which looks at experience and awards more points for crew chief vs. an average referee and umpire.
The Blazers have also had a rookie referee in 14 games this season, just six fewer than the Orlando Magic, who lead the league.
While the Blazers rank average in the league in this, it is interesting to note how the league’s larger markets and most marketable teams correlate with experience in referee crews when one might expect that metric to be balanced across all 30 teams.
Rip City, what are your thoughts? Chime off in the comments below!