NBA rumors: Lakers eyeing Trae Young, Zach LaVine trade market, referee bias data

  • Refs favored the Lakers more than other NBA teams
  • Bulls 'checked the temperature' on Zach LaVine's trade market
  • Lakers are monitoring Trae Young's situation in Atlanta

Trae Young, Atlanta Hawks
Trae Young, Atlanta Hawks / Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports
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NBA Rumors: Lakers received special treatment from NBA referees

NBA refs have a hard job. It takes an immense amount of skill, effort, and intelligence to manage a full 48-minute professional game from their shoes. Of course players and fans get upset on occasion, but NBA refs are the best in the world and deserve a mountain of praise for their work.

That said... no ref is perfect. While veterans tend to make media headlines — Scott Foster, Tony Brothers, those who have been around the block several hundred times — the most mistake-prone refs are probably the rookies, those with less experience.

League insider Tom Haberstroh ran the numbers. Each season, the league picks 36 of its best refs to operate the playoffs and 12 to operate the NBA Finals. He calculated which teams receive the highest volume of those more experienced, higher-quality refs in the regular season, and which teams were subsequently hung out to dry with fresh faces and underperformers.

To the surprise of approximately nobody, the Lakers held the highest 'RefScore.' Los Angeles was governed by a rookie referee only seven times last season. By comparison, the Utah Jazz saw a rookie ref on 23 separate occasions.

The Lakers are on the national stage more than any other team, so these numbers aren't particularly shocking. Of course the league wants to prioritize those games and the teams who play them. For the refs, it's all about avoiding sleepless nights, especially when the league's top moneymaker is on TNT or ESPN.