The final game of the regular season is on Sunday and the Los Angeles Lakers are hoping to end the year on a high note after one of the most disappointing seasons in franchise history mercifully comes to an end.
It doesn't take a rocket scientist to know that the Lakers have historically underachieved this season. The 2021-22 Lakers roster featured potentially six future Hall of Famers and an NBA record 57 All-Star selections.
The oldest team in the league began the season with arguably the greatest basketball player of all time in LeBron James, one of the greatest scorers in Carmelo Anthony, the walking triple-double in Russell Westbrook, a top-five player in Anthony Davis, and former All-Stars Dwight Howard, Rajon Rondo, and DeAndre Jordan.
Unfortunately for the Lakers, the season didn't go as planned. Westbrook struggled to acclimate with his new teammates, and James and Davis missed dozens of games with injuries. All in all, the combination of Wesbtrook, James, and Davis played only 22 out of 82 possible games together.
With one game left in the season, the Lakers are 18 games below .500 at 31-49. They will finish the season in 11th place in the Western Conference, missing the play-in tournament completely. Injuries, age, poor fit, bad coaching, and roster construction are many of the reasons for the disappointing season, but a recent study suggests that Laker Nation, the loyal fanbase that bleeds purple and gold, has another reason why the season went off the rails: the referees.
According to a recent study by BetOnline.ag, Lakers fans complain the most about NBA officiating more than any other fanbase in the league.
BetOnline.ag analyzed and tracked twitter data throughout the NBA season to see which fans complain the most about the referees. Using phrases that include, but are not limited to; "bad call," "horrible call," "awful refs," "bad refs," "come on ref," "bad officiating," "horrible officiating," and "horrible refs," the data suggested that Lakers fans complain about the officiating more than any other fanbase.
Get Los Angeles's latest local news on crime, entertainment, weather, schools, COVID, cost of living and more. Here's your go-to source for today's LA news.
This may or may not come as a surprise to Lakers Twitter. The loyal fanbase is very vocal on social media, and when things are going wrong, the referees in black and white are a perfect target for fans' vitriol.
According to the study, Knicks' fans complained the second most, followed by the Brooklyn Nets, Golden State Warriors, and Cleveland Cavaliers. The Portland Trail Blazers fanbase complained the least amount.
Check out the infographic below for the complete findings.
The Lakers will finish the season against the Denver Nuggets on Sunday at 6:30PM PT at Ball Arena in Denver, Colorado.