Well, no league in the world is probably open to statistical analysis like the NBA.
However, in addition to the popular statistical stuff, many awesome and intriguing stats go unnoticed. This post is dedicated to them. The stats that don’t get the recognition they deserve (mostly), the ones that almost nobody notices, the ones that prefer to be a wallflower during a party, and the ones that are afraid to say hello to the girl they like when she passes by them in the college’s hall… This post is for you!
The bulk of the statistical data for this post (and for many to follow) was collected from the bible of NBA statistics - http://www.basketball-reference.com.
We saw enough of some regular statistical achievements this year, like Philly’s succesful tanking (26 loses in a row!), Durant’s awesome scoring streak (which eclipsed even the streak of His Mighty Airness), and many more.
But hey, they are not the reason why we gathered here.
So, without further adu…
1) Somehow, one of LeBron’s most jaw-dropping statistical achievements doesn’t get its proper respect. Very quietly, with people almost not noticing it, LeBron scored in double-digits for 572 games straight!
As of now, this is the fourth longest streak in history, with the third longest streak really close at hand – Karl Malone with 575 straight games.
The streaks at the first wo spots are pretty far away:
Michael Jordan – 866 games
And yet, LeBron’s streak is fantastic, if only for the fact that great scorers from recent times never even approached those numbers. Kobe Bryant‘s longest streak? 211 games. Allen Iverson‘s? 237 games.
A very surprising finding for me was that before LeBron, the active player with the most impressing streak was actually Kevin Garnett, who had two monstrous streaks – one of 338 games and the other of 411 games.
In the upcoming season LeBron should pass Malone, unless something unexpected happens. Will he reach Jordan’s and Kareem’s streaks?…
2) LeBron scored 2000+ points this season. Nothing new here. But the fact is that he was denied an opportunity to break an amazing NBA record, and all because of the 2011/12 shortened season.
This season was the 9th season in LeBron’s career in which he scored 2000+ points. This puts him in the 3rd place in this category, together with Kareem, and in the first place for active players (Kobe has 8 such seasons). What’s next? Well, Jordan has 11 such seasons and The Mailman has 12.
But, Malone holds the unique record of scoring 2000+ points for 11 years straight! And if it wasn’t for the strike 3 years ago, LeBron would’ve had 10 straight seasons of 2000+ points, only one less than Malone! AND he was in an awesome position of breaking this record. I mean, LeBron is only 29 years old, he surely has at least 3-4 seasons of 2000+ points in him. But alas, the stupid strike prevented him from breaking Malone’s record… :-(
3) Still on LeBron. Yep, what can you say, the dude can provide enough statistical achievements to fill two of Harvey Pollack’s books.
This year LeBron failed to reach 2000-500-500 in points-rebounds-assists (the assists were the party poopers btw), but he still managed to record a 6-6-6 season, i. e. at least 6 in the three major statistical categories. He has done it for the 10th time in his career. The only player who has done it more times is the Brooklyn Nets’ former tactical mastermind – Jason Kidd, who has 13 such seasons.
4) By the way, where is Durant in all this double-digits-scoring-streak thing? Well, the Durantula has an impressive streak of his own, which consists of 405 games. Not bad, not bad at all, but he’s still more than two whole seasons behind LeBron’s streak.
5) Tyreke, once the rookie of the year, who recorded a rare statistical achievement in his rookie season (a 20-5-5), is on pace to record an even greater statistical achievement, which is breaking Sidney Wicks‘ record.
Sidney Wicks, and I thank greatly the always-awesome Bill Simmons for pointing this out, spent 10 years in the NBA, and managed to drop his points per game average in each and every season! He started from an excellent rookie season – 24.5 ppg, and gradually deteriorated to a 6.7 ppg average in his last season. Such consistency – to record lower ppg average in each and every season, is extraordinary.
It seems like Tyreke set his eyes on the goal of breaking Sidney’s record. And so far he manages to fulfill his mission. 5 years Tyreke has been in the NBA, and so far in each season he managed to record a ppg average which was lower than the season before!
True, his starting point of ppg average is lower than Sidney’s, which will make the mission harder, but hey – we believe in you Tyreke!
6) One of my favorite players in the league, Joakim Noah, has put such great assists statistics this year, that he can put to shame some of the league’s point guards.
His assists per game average this year was 5.4. And the dude is a center, yes?
The last proper center who put up an assists per game average of this caliber (or better) was Sam Lacey, and this was back in 1979/80…
7) Timmy is probably my favorite player in the league, and his departure from the 20-10 club deserves a post of its own (will come soon), But there’s another aspect of his awesome career in which Timmy continues to climb the all-time chart, and this is the number of double-doubles he recorded in his career.
As of the end of the 2013/14 season, Timmy amassed 797 double-doubles, which puts him in 6th place all-time.
Next year he can catch Karl Malone (we meet him again!), who sits at 5th place with 811 double-doubles, but he will probably never reach Kareem, who sits at 4th place,, since Kareem has 885 of those…
8) And again Timmy. The curious story of Benjamin Duncan continues and he is having a real renaissance these past two years. Last year he averaged 9.7 rebounds per game at the age of 37. Only one player ever registered a higher rpg average at that age (or older), and that is Robert Parish, who averaged 10.6 rpg at 37.
9) Well, this is probably the least-unknown stat on the list, but Philly’s wonderful rookie managed to put an awesome 1st season, with averages of 16.7 ppg, 6.2 rpg and 6.3 apg. In fact, his all-aroundness is so rare that only two players managed to match it in the past:
Magic Johnson, who called and then raised to 7′s in those three categories.
Oscar Robertson, who decided to blow up the statistics offices with 9′s+ in those categories.
10) The all-time rebounders list is probably the hardest statistical list to climb. And yet we have two active players sitting in the top 11. Occupiyng the 11th place is Timmy, and one spot ahead of him is The Big Ticket.
And to put things in the correct perspective – the last time we had an active player in the top 10 of all time in rebounds was when Karl Malone last saw action, and that was 10 years ago. Damn.
11) Andre Bloody Miller is currently 9th all-time in assists! Wow! The only thing that is perhaps more surprising than that is the fact that Mark Jackson is 4th all-time in the same list. And thank you Steve Nash for eclipsing Jackson’s total by 1 assist in the season’s last game…
12) The Clippers’ great PG has led the league in steals for the 6th time this year. That is exactly twice the number of the next player in that category! Damn. Also, Paul currently is 3rd all-time in steals per game, but judging by his super-stability over the past few years, and his desire to not deviate from an average of 2.5 spg, it seems that he won’t climb to the top of the ladder here…
A Lot Of Players
13) Such explosion I can’t remember, and I’ve been following the NBA from the 96/97 season. If you’ll look at the league’s all-time top 30 scorers, you’ll see that 8 (8!!!) of them are active players.
This is the largest number of active players in the top 30 that I can recall, although it is possible that a similar situation existed during the twilight of the Dream Team players.
Kobe – 4th place
Dirk – 10th place
Garnett – 14th place
Paul Pierce – 18th place
Timmy – 19th place
Ray Allen – 21st place
Vince Carter (WTF?!) – 25th place
LeBron – 27th place
Obviously, most of those players are nearing the end of their careers. And still, this is super-duper-impressive! The problem is that when nearly all of that list retires, which will happen in the next couple of years, we will only have two active players in the top 20: LeBron, and Carmelo who should climb to the top 30 in the upcoming season.
Which means that the present situation is really unique, and won’t happen again in the next… I don’t know, many years. Appreciate it, dammit!
A Lot Of Players 2
14) The top 4 of the ppg average in the history of the all-star game is occupied with active players. Durant is first, with an average of 30.6 ppg, and behind him (by a large margin), sitting in the 2nd place, is LeBron, 3rd is Blake Griffin, and 4th is Carmelo.
East vs. West
15) Rivers of virtual (and real) ink have been spilled about the weakness of the east this year. In the end, in head-to-head games of east vs. west teams, the east teams managed to win only 36.9% of the encounters (thank you NBA.com!). This is a very low figure, but (surprisingly?) not the lowest in history. The figure in the 03/04 season was 36.7%, and in the 71/72 season it was 36.8%. Which means that the eastern conference this season was not the weakest in history, but it was pretty damn close to be… 3rd all-time is impressive indeed.