Monthly Archives: March, 2019

Today’s Sportstat: March 21, 2019

A Final Four ‘MOP’ Award does not always equal NBA stardom

Back in the 1950’s, future Hall of Famers like Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlain, Elgin Baylor and Jerry West were recipients of the NCAA basketball tournament most valuable player award, now known as the Most Outstanding Player (MOP) honor. In the 80’s, the MOP award went to eventual NBA stars like Isiah Thomas, James Worthy, Akeem Olajuwon and Patrick Ewing.

Being selected the MOP of a NCAA Final Four, however, does not always translate into an outstanding NBA career. In fact, I would be willing to bet that of the last 20 players to be chosen as the MOP of the Final Four, only two, maybe three, will eventually make basketball’s Hall of Fame. Carmelo Anthony was the 2003 MOP and will likely find a way into the Hall of Fame. Anthony Davis, the 2012 MOP, is another solid Hall candidate, as is Kemba Walker, the 2011 MOP from UConn.

But “great” NBA careers have not followed every MOP honoree. While 18 of the last 20 MOP players have played in the NBA, two, have not. The 2013 MOP, Louisville’s Luke Hancock, was undrafted and retired from basketball in 2014 after tearing a calf muscle playing over in Greece. Joel Berry II, the 2017 MOP from North Carolina, was also undrafted. He did, however, find a spot on the Lakers G League team, but was waived on March 2.

Here’s a look at the past 20 MOPs and how many career NBA points they amassed and how many NBA games they have played in (stats are through NBA games of March 19).

MOP player, Year                               NBA games     NBA career points

*Carmelo Anthony-2003 (Syracuse)     1,064                      25,551

Richard Hamilton-1999         (UConn)     921                      15,708

*Kemba Walker-2011 (UConn)                593                      11,651

*Anthony Davis-2012 (Kentucky)             465                      11,047

Shane Battier-2001 (Duke)                       977                        8,408

Emeka Okafor-2004 (UConn)                   616                        7,370

*Corey Brewer-2007 (Florida)                  802                         7,053

*Joakim Noah-2006 (Florida)                  665                         5,853

Mario Chalmers-2008 (Kansas)               646                         5,743

*Wayne Ellington-2009 (North Carolina) 633                        5,112

Juan Dixon-2002 (Maryland)                   436                        3,678

Kyle Singler-2010 (Duke)                         356                        2,326

*Shabazz Napier-2014 (UConn)              287                        1,833

*Tyus Jones-2015 (Duke)                         236                        1,119

Sean May-2005 (North Carolina)             119                           821

Mateen Cleaves-2000 (Mich. St.)              167                          609

*Ryan Arcidiacono-2016 (Villanova)           95                          488

*Donte DiVincenzo-2018 (Villanova)          27                          131

Luke Hancock-2013 (Louisville)                   0                              0

Joel Berry II-2017 (North Carolina)              0                              0

Of the 20 players listed above, exactly half (10) played/or are still playing in the NBA this season. They are listed with an * before their name in the above list.

 

Follow Jerry on Twitter @StatsonTapp

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Today’s Sportstat: March 18, 2019

Is the ‘Greek Freak’ getting ready to hoist an MVP Award?

Milwaukee Bucks megastar Giannis Antetokounmpo this season has been at or near the top of the lists bantered about for the NBA MVP Award. With the Bucks having the best record in the league, Giannis has been considered a leading candidate for the honor. He will likely have to fend off James Harden, Paul George, and others, to win the trophy.

Giannis received enough votes in the past two seasons to finish in the MVP Award Top 10 in both the 2016-17 and 2017-18 campaigns. He finished tied for seventh in 2017 and was sixth in the voting last season. It is likely that he will surpass those finishes, and barring a total collapse, should finish in the Top 3 for the honor.

If Giannis was to win this year’s award, he would become only the second Bucks player to win an NBA MVP Award. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar won three MVP honors with the Bucks… in 1971, 1972 and 1974.

In the Bucks history, there have been only five players who have finished in the Top 10 of the league’s MVP voting in a season. Jabbar finished in the Top 10 six times, winning three times, finishing second once, third once, and fifth one year. Sidney Moncrief finished in the Top 10 five times, followed by Marques Johnson and Giannis (both twice a Top 10 finalist for the MVP Award) and Terry Cummings who finished in the Top 10 for the award one season.

Here is a look at the 15 times that the Bucks had a player finish in the top 10 of the MVP Award balloting.

1970: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, 3rd

1971: Jabbar, 1st

1972: Jabbar, 1st

1973: Jabbar, 2nd

1974: Jabbar, 1st

1975: Jabbar, 5th

1978: Marques Johnson, tied for 10th

1981: Johnson, 6th

1982: Sidney Moncrief, 7th

1983: Moncrief, 4th

1984: Moncrief, 8th

1985: Terry Cummings, 5th… Moncrief, 8th

1986: Moncrief, 7th

2017: Giannis Antetokounmpo, tied for 7th

2018: Antetokounmpo, 6th

A couple of things jump off the page when I looked at the above list:

  • Did not know Sidney Moncrief had that many Top 10 finishes for the MVP Award. That should certainly bode well for him as he is one of the finalists for this year’s Hall of Fame class.
  • The more than 30 years (1986 to 2017) that the Bucks went without having any of their players in the Top 10 for the MVP.
  • That Jabbar, Moncrief and Cummings are the only Bucks players to finish in the Top 5 for the voting. That list will likely add Giannis this season.

Where will Giannis finish in this year’s voting?

 

Follow Jerry on Twitter @StatsonTapp

Today’s Sportstat: March 14, 2019

Another 90-win season in 2019 could put Cubs in elite company

 

Would you consider this Cubs team a dynasty? Would you say that the Cubs run over the past few years would make them one of the elite teams in baseball history?

As you ponder those two questions, let me offer a case that a great 2019 will put the Cubs in some very impressive company.

The Cubs in the last four seasons have won 97 games (2015), 103 (in 2016), 92 (2017) and 95 last season. Another 90-win season in 2019 would give the Cubs a run of five consecutive seasons with 90 wins. It would make them only the 20th team in MLB history to win 90 or more games in five (or more) straight seasons.

The New York Yankees hold the record for most consecutive 90-win seasons with 12. They did from 1947-58.

Here’s a look at the 19 teams that have won 90 games in five or more seasons in MLB history.

12-N.Y. Yankees (1947-58)
9-Chicago Cubs (1904-12)
7-N.Y. Yankees (2001-07)
6-Atlanta Braves (1995-2000)
6-Brooklyn Dodgers (1951-56)
6-Cleveland Indians (1950-55)
6-L.A. Dodgers (2013-18)
6-N.Y. Giants (1909-13)
6-Philadelphia A’s (1909-14)
6-Philadelphia A’s (1927-32)
6-St. Louis Cardinals (1941-46)
5-Cincinnati Reds (1972-76)
5-N.Y. Giants (1933-37)
5-N.Y. Mets (1984-88)
5-N.Y. Yankees (1960-64)
5-Oakland A’s (1971-75)
5-Oakland A’s (2000-04)
5-Pittsburgh Pirates (1905-09)
5-San Francisco Giants (2000-04)

With their four straight seasons with 90 or more wins, the Cubs became the 39th team in history to reach that milestone. As you probably noticed, the L.A. Dodgers last season had their sixth straight season with 90 wins making them only the 11th team in history to win 90 or more in six straight campaigns.

It’s interesting to note that of the 19 teams that have won 90 or more in five (or more) seasons, six did not win a World Series during that timeframe. The six: Cleveland (1950-55), the Dodgers (2013-18), the Yankees (2001-07), Oakland (2000-04), the New York Giants (1908-13), and the San Francisco Giants (2000-04). Of these six teams, only one, the 2000-04 Oakland A’s, did not even appear in a World Series during that time when they had the streak of 90-win seasons.

For the record, the Cubs, if they have another 90-win season, will at least have won a World Series during their streak.

The current Cubs team a dynasty? What do you think?

 

Follow Jerry on Twitter @StatsonTapp

Today’s Sportstat: March 11, 2019

11 stats you may not know about the Packers last 10 years in the draft

With the NFL Combine ending last week, the start of the free agency period getting ready to launch into frenzy mode, and the NFL Draft less than two months away, the Green Bay Packers off season is in full swing. The draft will take place April 25-27, with the Packers (at this moment) having the 12th, 30th and 44th picks in the draft… among a slew of additional picks in later rounds.

Who, or what type of player, will the Packers select with their picks? It’s anyone’s guess; there’s talk that an edge rusher is a high priority, and another tight end has been talked about with one of the early picks. Help on the offensive line has been discussed, and defensive backs are always a focus for the Packers in the draft.

Let’s take a look at the last 10 years of the NFL draft and 11 interesting stats that you may not know about the Packers draft choices from 2009-18. Will the past draft history of the Packers give us any indication how the team will draft this season?

  1. In the last 10 drafts, the Packers selected 89 players. Forty-four were defensive players, 43 played on the offensive side of the ball, two were special team players.
  2. Receivers topped the list of the position most drafted over the past decade by the Pack. There were 18 receivers/tight ends chosen over the past 10 years. Defensive linemen were close behind with 17 choices followed by defensive backs/safeties (14), offensive linemen (14), linebackers (13) and offensive backs (QBs and running backs) with 11.
  3. The average round where offensive players were selected by the Packers over the past 10 years was 4.53. The average round where defensive players were taken by the Pack over the past 10 years was 3.82.
  4. Breaking it down by positions, the average defensive back/safety was taken in the 2.9 round, followed by defensive linemen (3.9), offensive linemen (4.4), linebackers (4.7), offensive backfield (4.9) and receivers/tight ends (5.1)
  5. Twenty of the 44 defensive players (45.5%) selected in the past 10 years were chosen in the first three rounds of the draft. Only nine of the 43 offensive players (20.9%) chosen were selected in the first three rounds of the draft.
  6. Of the 14 defensive backs/safeties chosen by the Packers in the last 10 years, nine (64.3%) were selected in the first three rounds. Eight of the 17 (47.1%) defensive linemen chosen were picked in the first three rounds of the draft. Twenty-three percent of the 13 linebackers picked were in the first three rounds… 22% of the receivers were chosen in the first three rounds… 21.4% of the offensive linemen were taken in the first three rounds of the draft… 18.2% of the offensive backfield were selected in the first three rounds of the draft.
  7. Twenty of the 29 players (69%) chosen in the first three rounds of the draft in the last 10 years were defensive players.
  8. Eight of the 10 players picked in the first round by the Packers since 2009 were defensive players.
  9. Of the 21 players chosen by the Packers in the first two rounds of the draft in the past 10 years, 15 were defensive players.
  10. In the last 10 years, the Packers have chosen three players from one position in a draft four times: 2018-three receivers; 2017-three offensive backs; 2014-three receivers; 2012-three defensive linemen.
  11. The only offensive players chosen by the Pack in the first round over the past 10 years were Derek Sherrod in 2011 and Brian Bulaga in 2010.

Follow Jerry on Twitter @StatsonTapp

Today’s Sportstat: March 4, 2019

Can Christian Yelich repeat his 2018 season?

One of the most frequent questions you will hear throughout Miller Park during the early months of the 2019 MLB season is… Can Christian Yelich have another big season?

Yelich won the National League MVP last season with a .326 average, 36 home runs and 110 RBI. While reaching these numbers again this season might be asking for much, it does beg the question… Can Yelich, statistically speaking, match his 2018 output?

To answer that question, let’s take a journey over the past five seasons and see how the last five MVPs in each league did the year following their MVP season.

For the record, here are the MVPs for each league from 2013-17:

American League: Miguel Cabrera (2013), Mike Trout (2014), Josh Donaldson (2015), Mike Trout (2016) and Jose Altuve (2017).

National League: Andrew McCutchen (2013), Clayton Kershaw (2014), Bryce harper (2015), Kris Bryant (2016), Giancarlo Stanton (2017).

As you can see, nine of the 10 MVPs prior to 2018 were everyday players (the only exception was Kershaw in 2014). To get a take on what has happened to previous MVPs and how it might answer the question about whether or not Yelich will match his 2018 MVP season, let’s see how the previous nine everyday MVPs did statistically when it comes to comparing the batting average, HR and RBI numbers from the MVP season to the following year.

Here’s what we find… of the nine non-pitcher MVPs from 2013-17:

  • Only three of the nine increased their season HR totals the year after the MVP season;
  • All nine saw their RBI totals the season after their MVP campaign decrease the following season;
  • Only two of the nine increased their season batting average the year after the MVP year.

Here’s another stat using these year-after-the-MVP numbers… of the nine non-pitchers MVPs from 2013-17:

  • Their season home run totals dropped by an average of 7.8 home runs from their MVP season to the following year;
  • Their season RBI totals dropped by an average of 21.8 RBI from their MVP season to the following year;
  • Their season batting average dropped by an average of 19.7 points from their MVP season to the following year.

If we apply the above numbers to Yelich’s totals from 2018 to project what he might do statistically (batting average, HRs and RBIs) in 2019, we would project Yelich to end 2019, the year after his MVP, with a .306 average with 28 home runs and 88 RBI. Again, this would be based on what we’ve seen from the past five MVPs in each year and what they did the year after their MVP campaign.

Those projected 2019 numbers would not be all that bad for Yelich, but certainly not where he ended the year in 2018. A World Series appearance for the Brewers in 2019 would certainly carry more weight than Yelich reaching his 2018 stats in 2019.

One more quick note: Looking at Clayton Kershaw’s MVP numbers the year after his MVP season, we see that in 2014 (the year Kershaw won the N.L. MVP) he had a 21-3 record with a 1.77 ERA and a WHIP of 0.857. Using those stats as a comparison, Kershaw dropped in each category the year after his MVP; in 2015 Kershaw had a 16-7 record, a 2.13 ERA, and a 0.881 WHIP. Very respectable numbers, but, again, he did not reach the numbers he had in his MVP season.

Will Yelich have a “successful” 2019 season? It all depends on how you want to define successful. History, however, may be telling us that Yelich may not reach the major stats he had in 2018. Are the Brew Crew faithful okay with that?

 

Follow Jerry on Twitter @StatsonTapp