Monthly Archives: April, 2012

2012 NBA Popeye Awards: The 10 best NBA players whose teams are not in the 2012 playoffs

Wizards v/s Timberwolves 03/05/11

Kevin Love: 2012 Popeye Awards Player of the Year (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sports Stats ‘on Tapp’ is a sports statistics blog published multiple times weekly focusing on stats that go beyond the numbers.

Sixteen of the NBA’s 30 teams are in the midst of the playoffs. For the other 14 teams and their players, the off-season has begun. But for some of those players on teams that did not make the playoffs, we have a few awards to hand out.

In honor of Popeye Jones, who played in the NBA from 1993-2004, playing in 535 games but never playing in a playoff game, we present the First Annual Popeye Awards, given to the Top Ten players in the NBA whose teams did not make the playoffs this season.

2012 NBA Popeye Awards

Kevin Love, Minnesota (Popeye Awards “Player of the Year”): Averaged 26 ppg and 13.3 rpg, finishing in the Top Five in both categories (4th in scoring, 2nd in rebounds; the only player this year to finish in the Top 10 in both categories)… began the season with 15 straight double-doubles… had a career-high 51 points… missed final two games of season after suffering a concussion.

LaMarcus Aldridge, Portland: Top 10 scorer with 21.7 ppg… grabbed 8 rebs per game… shot a career-high 51.2 percent from the field… missed final two weeks of the season; will have surgery on hip during the off-season.

DeMarcus Cousins, Sacramento: Averaged 18.1 ppg and 11 rpg… had 36 double-doubles for the season… scored 84 points in last three games of the season… led Kings in points, rebounds, steals and blocked shots.

Monta Ellis, Golden State/Milwaukee: Traded from Golden State to Milwaukee in March deal… averaged 20.4 ppg and 6 assist ppg for the season… scored a career-high 48 points in a February game… formed a high-scoring backcourt with fellow Popeye Award recipient, Brandon Jennings.

Kyrie Irving, Cleveland: Averaged 185 ppg and 5.4 apg in his rookie season… was NBA Rookie of the Month in four months… led Cavs in assists and was second on team with most points scored… shot 47 percent from the field… likely ROY for 2011-12.

Brandon Jennings, Milwaukee: Other half of current Bucks backcourt with Monta Ellis… averaged 19.1 ppg and 5.5 apg… increased his points, minutes played, assists and shooting percentage for third straight season… led Bucks in most points, steals and assists.

David Lee, Golden State: season ended early with abdominal injury… averaged 20. 1 ppg and 9.6 rpg… led Warriors in both categories… made over 50 percent of his field goals for the seventh straight season.

Greg Monroe, Detroit: Averaged 15.4 ppg and 9.7 rpg, leading team in both stats… led team in steals… had 30 double-doubles, most for the Pistons since 2003-04… strong candidate for league’s Most Improved Player Award.

John Wall, Washington: Averaged 16.3 ppg and eight assists per game… the No. 1 overall pick in 2010 draft… led Wizards in minutes played, points, steals, assists and third in total rebounds.

Deron Williams, New Jersey: One of the top point guards in the league… averaged 21 ppg and 8.7 apg… had a career-high 57 points in March contest… all-star selection for third straight year… led team in points scored, assists and most 3-pointers made.

Honorable Mention: Andre Bargnani, Toronto; Marcin Gortat, Phoenix; Kris Humphries, New Jersey

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Steve Novak, Knicks designated 3-point shooter, makes a little NBA history

Sports Stats ‘on Tapp’ is a sports statistics blog published multiple times weekly focusing on stats that beyond the numbers.

Basketball player Steve Novak during a promoti...

Steve Novak (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Knicks Steve Novak this year led the NBA in three-point shooting percentage with a .472 mark. He also accomplished a couple other milestones this season:

* He became the 10th player in NBA history to make 130 or more three-point shots in a season but not start a single game for his team that year.

* Novak became only the second player in NBA history to have more than 80 percent of his field goal made in the season be three-pointers. He made 133 three pointers this season and only 28 two-point shots.

Following are the NBA players who had a season where more than 65 percent of their field goals made were from beyond the three-point arc.

Player, team, year… 3-pt shots made/total FGs made, Pct of 3-pt

James Jones, 2010-11, Miami… 123/146     84.2 percent

Steve Novak, 2011-12, NY Knicks… 133/161     82.6 percent

Damon Jones, 2007-08, Cleveland… 115/151     76.2 percent

Damon Jones, 2005-06, Cleveland… 140/190     73.7 percent

James Posey, 2005-06, Miami… 117/159     73.6 percent

Dee Brown, 1998-99, Toronto… 135/187     72.2 percent

Kyle Korver, 2004-05, Philadelphia… 226/317     71.3 percent

Matt Bonner, 2011-12, San Antonio… 105/154     69.2 percent

Damon Jones, 2004-05, Miami… 225/331     68.0 percent

Steve Novak, 2008-09, LA Clippers… 119/176     67.6 percent

Walter McCarthy, 2003-04, Boston… 137/203     67.5 percent

Kyle Korver, 2011-12, Chicago… 118/178     66.3 percent

Did you know? Novak is one of only eight players in NBA history who made 100 or more three-point shots in a season and averaged under 20 minutes played per game that year.

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2012 NBA playoffs: First-round records from 2003-11

Sports Stats ‘on Tapp’ is a sports statistics blog published multiple times weekly focusing on stats that go beyond the numbers.

Photo of action during a San Antonio Spurs (in...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The first round of the 2012 NBA playoffs tip-off with four games today and four tomorrow. The San Antonio Spurs will be playing in their 15th consecutive NBA playoffs, the longest active streak in the league. Mark Cuban’s Dallas Mavericks hold the second spot in that category; they are playing in their 12th straight playoffs.

Starting with the 2003 playoffs, the NBA went to a seven-games series in the first round instead of the previous five-game first round series. As you might expect, the Spurs have won the most first round games since 2003 with 31. They are followed by the Los Angeles Lakers with 28 and the Mavs with 26.

Since 2003, the Spurs have won seven of the nine first round series they have played. The Lakers have won six of the eight first round series they have played. One of the surprises is that the Detroit Pistons have won six of the seven first round series they have played in since 2003.

Two teams, the New York Knicks and Charlotte Bobcats, have not won a first round game since 2003. In fact, the Bobcats have never won a playoff game since they came into the league in 2004-05. The Knicks has not won a playoff game since 2001; they lost three games to two in the first round of the ’01 playoffs to the Toronto Raptors. (Note the Cleveland Cavaliers have the best first round winning percentage since 2003 with a 20-5 record, a .800 winning percentage.)

Here’s a look at how well each team has done in the first round of the NBA playoffs since 2003.

Team, First Round Games W/L Record (2003-11), Winning Pct.

San Antonio 31-17 .646

Los Angeles Lakers 28-16 .636

Dallas 26-25 .510

Detroit 24-12 .667

Boston 23-17 .575

Cleveland 20-5 .800

Miami 20-18 .526

Phoenix 19-14 .576

Orlando 17-15 .531

New Jersey 16-10 .615

Chicago 16-17 .485

Atlanta 15-12 .556

Utah 14-15 .483

Indiana 13-15 .464

Houston 13-18 .419

New Orleans Hornets 12-17 .414

Sacramento 11-10 .524

Denver 11-29 .275

Oklahoma City 10-6 .625

Philadelphia 10-18 .357

Portland 9-16 .360

Washington 8-14 .364

Milwaukee 7-16 .304

Minnesota 6-5 .545

Los Angeles Clippers 4-1 .800

Golden State 4-2 .667

Memphis 4-14 .222

Toronto 3-8 .273

New York 0-8 .000

Charlotte 0-4 .000

Did you know? The Boston Celtics and the Lakers are the only teams to have won a first round series in each of the past four seasons. The Atlanta Hawks have won a first round series in each of the last three playoffs.

NHL Playoffs: The Conference Semifinals ‘seed’ advantage

Sports Stats ‘on Tapp’ is a sports statistics blog published multiple times weekly focusing on stats that go beyond the numbers.

Stanley Cup, on display at the Hockey Hall of ...

The Stanley Cup (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The next round of the NHL playoffs begin tonight as the first of the four Conference Semifinals will have Phoenix and Nashville facing off in Phoenix. The matchups for the Conference Semis:

No. 2 St. Louis vs. No. 8 Los Angeles

No. 3 Phoenix vs. No. 4 Nashville

No. 1 NY Rangers vs. No. 7 Washington

No. 5 Philadelphia vs. No. 6 New Jersey

Since we have each of the eight seeds (No. 1, No. 2 through No.8) represented in the second round, how well has each seed done in previous Conference Semifinals? Following are the series records of each seed in the second round from 1994-2011. (The playoffs in 1994 was the first year the league ranked eight teams from each of the two conferences No. 1 through No. 8, the current playoff format.) Notice how the No. 2 seed has the best series record since 1994; also notice how well the No. 6 seed has performed in the second round.

Series Record (series won/lost) of Seeds in Conference Semifinals

No. 1 Seed… 17-8 .680

No. 2 Seed… 14-5 .737

No. 3 Seed… 9-13 .409

No. 4 Seed… 11-11 .500

No. 5 Seed… 4-8 .333

No. 6 Seed… 7-5 .583

No. 7 Seed… 4-11 .267

No. 8 Seed… 2-7 .222

Let’s take it a step further. Here are the actual seed matchups from the second round from 1994-2011

Conference Semifinals Matchups (by seed) 1994-2011

No. 1 vs. No. 4: Series tied at 2-2; No. 1 vs. No. 5: No. 1 has won five series and lost two; No. 1 vs. No. 6: No. 1 has won two series and lost three; No. 1 vs. No. 7: No. 1 has won eight series and lost one.

No. 2 vs. No. 3: No. 2 has won nine series and lost two; No. 2 vs. No. 4: No. 2 has won one series and lost two series; No. 2 vs. No. 5: series tied at 1-1; No. 2 vs. No. 8: No. 2 has won all three series.

No. 3 vs. No. 4: No. 3 has won five series and lost three; No. 3 vs. No. 5: No. 3 lost the only series; No. 3 vs. No. 8: No. 3 has won both series.

No. 4 vs. No. 6: Series tied at 1-1; No. 4 vs. No. 7: series tied at 1-1; No. 4 vs. No. 8: No. 4 has won two series and lost one.

No. 5 vs. No. 6: No. 5 has lost only series; No. 5 vs. No. 8: No. 5 has lost only series.

No. 6 vs. No. 7: Series tied at 2-2.

Did you know? The higher seed has won the 64.7 percent of the NHL Conference Semifinals series from 1994-2011.

As mentioned above, each of the eight seeds (No. 1 through No. 8) have a team playing in the second round. This is the fourth time this has happened in the second round of the playoffs since 1994 (1995, 1999, 2006 and 2010). The No. 2 seed in 2010 and 2006 won the Stanley Cup that year… could this bode well for the St. Louis Blues?

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NFL Draft: Is the 1983 draft the best ever?

NFL superstar John Elway prepares to launch a ...

Is John Elway part of the NFL's greatest draft class? (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sports Stats ‘on Tapp’ is a sports statistics blog published multiple times weekly focusing on stats that go beyond the numbers.

How will this year’s NFL draft compare with the previous drafts? What kind of NFL careers will Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin, Matt Kalil and Trent Richardson have when we look back on their careers in another 15 years?

That is part of the fun of the NFL draft… did those players chosen in the first-round deserve to be chosen that high? Did their NFL career warrant that selection?

With that in mind, here’s a quick look at one way to evaluate previous drafts. Following are those drafts that had the most first-round draft choices who eventually were elected to the NFL Hall of Fame.

First-Round Selection Hall of Famers,  Draft Year, Players

6… 1983: John Elway, Eric Dickerson, Bruce Matthews, Jim Kelly, Dan Marino, Darrell Green

4… 1952: Les Richter, Ollie Matson, Hugh McElhenny, Frank Gifford

4… 1957: Paul Hornung, Len Dawson, Jim Brown, Jim Parker

4… 1961: Mike Ditka, Jimmy Johnson, Herb Adderly, Bob Lilly

4… 1964: Bob Brown, Charley Taylor, Carl Eller, Paul Warfield

4… 1967: Bob Griese, Floyd Little, Alan Page, Gene Upshaw

4… 1989: Troy Aikman, Barry Sanders, Derrick Thomas, Deion Sanders

3… 1965: Dick Butkus, Gale Sayers, Joe Namath

3… 1969: O.J. Simpson, Joe Greene, Roger Wehrli

3… 1978: Earl Campbell, James Lofton, Ozzie Newsome

3… 1985: Bruce Smith, Chris Doleman, Jerry Rice

While the 1983 draft had the most first-rounders that ended up in Canton, you can make a case that the 1989 draft had the most impressive first five selections. In that draft, four of the first five selections made the Hall of Fame (Aikman No. 1, Sanders No. 3, Thomas No. 4, and Sanders No. 5) The only Top 5 selection not in the Hall? Tony Mandarich.

For another angle, let’s look at the 67 players selected to the Hall of Fame since 2000. In the last 13 Hall of Fame classes,  36 (53.7 percent) were first-round picks in the NFL draft. Here’s a breakdown of where the last 67 Hall of Famers elected were drafted in the NFL draft.

First Round: 36

Second Round: 7

Third Round: 7

Fourth Round: 2

Fifth Round: 1

Sixth Round or later: 7

Undrafted: 4 (Jack Butler, John Randle, Emmitt Thomas, Warren Moon)

Drafted in the Supplemental Draft: 1 (Steve Young)

No NFL draft: 2 (Benny Friedman, Fritz Pollard)

Here’s another quick stat… of the Hall of Famers elected since 2000, here are the players who were drafted with the lowest picks.

Pick, Round, Player

#245 (18th Round) Chris Hanburger

#203 (8th Round) Richard Dent

#192 (7th Round) Shannon Sharpe

#182 (7th Round) Rayfield Wright

#105 (4th Round) Harry Carson

#102 (13th Round) Nick Buoniconti

Did you know? Of the 67 players selected to the NFL Hall of Fame since 2000, four were the No. 1 overall pick in the draft: Bruce Smith (1985),  Aikman (1989), John Elway (1983) and Ron Yary (1968)

Follow Jerry on Twitter @StatsonTapp