The three-point shot has become an important weapon in basketball today. Like the “closer” specialist in baseball, teams are now depending on players that can hit the three with regularity, even if that is their only function on the team. Over the past few years, we have seen in the NBA a handful of players whose role is to come off the bench and open up the offense by draining a few three-pointers.
The poster child for this has been Marquette grad Steve Novak. Currently a member of the Oklahoma City Thunder, Novak is in his 10th season in the league. He has played for eight teams in that span. Novak’s role with many of those teams? Come off the bench and give his team some instant offense via the three. And he has been quite good in that role.
Novak’s shot selection in his career his been very distinct: In 456 NBA games, Novak has taken 1,704 shots, 1,325 from three-point range and only 379 shots from inside the three-point line. Novak is the only player in NBA history to have made over 500 three-point shots and less than 200 from inside the three-point arc (he has made 572 three-pointers and 175 two-pointers).
Novak is also the only player in NBA history to have two seasons where he made more than 100 three-point shots with less than 50 two-point shots made (he did it in the 2011-12 and 2012-13 seasons as a member of the New York Knicks).
Following is a look at the eight players in NBA history who made 100 or more three-pointers in a season with less than 50 two-pointers made.
Year, Player, Team (two-pointers made/three-pointers made)
2013-14, Anthony Tolliver, Charlotte (27/102)
2012-13, Shane Battier, Miami (16/136)
2012-13, Jason Kidd, New York Knicks (38/114)
2012-13, Steve Novak, New York Knicks (29/149)
2011-12, Matt Bonner, San Antonio (49/105)
2011-12, Steve Novak, New York Knicks (28/133)
2010-11, James Jones, Miami (23/123)
2007-08, Damon Jones, Cleveland (36/115)
2005-06, James Posey, Miami (42/117)
Novak is one of three NBA players who has made over 500 three-pointers in his career while making less than 500 two-pointers (as noted above Novak has 572 threes and 175 two-pointers). The others: James Jones (409/731) and Daniel Gibson (487/578).
For the second consecutive year, two NBA teams reached the 50-game mark in an NBA season with 40 or more wins. This year the Golden State Warriors (46 wins) and the San Antonio Spurs (42) reached that mark. Last year it was the Warriors (41) and the Atlanta Hawks (41). Two teams reaching 40 victories in their first 50 games in the same season has happened four other times in NBA history: 2006, 2005, 1985 and 1981.
The Spurs and Warriors this year became the 28th and 29th teams in NBA history to reach 40 wins in their first 50 games. Of the previous 27 teams, 14 won the NBA title that year. The Warriors, with their 46 wins in 50 games this season, tied the NBA mark of the 1966-67 Philadelphia 76ers who also won 46 of their first 50 games.
Here’s a breakdown of the 27 teams prior to this season that had 40 victories in their first 50 games. (The year listed is the year the playoffs started that season).
46 wins: 1967 Philadelphia (won title)
45 wins: 1996 Chicago (won title)
44 wins: 1997 Chicago (won title)
43 wins: 1972 L.A. Lakers (won title); 1983 Philadelphia (won title)
42 wins: 1965 Boston (won title); 1978 Portland (lost in Western Conf. semis); 2011 San Antonio (lost in Western Conf. first round)
41 wins: 1971 Milwaukee (won title); 1973 Boston (los in Eastern Conf. finals); 1981 Boston (won title); 1981 Philadelphia (lost in Eastern Conf. finals); 1985 Boston (lost in NBA Finals); 1986 Boston (won title); 1988 L.A. Lakers (won title); 1991 Portland (lost in Western Conf. finals); 1992 Chicago (won title); 2006 Detroit (lost in Eastern Conf. finals); 2007 Dallas (lost in Western Conf. first round); 2008 Boston (won title); 2009 Boston (lost in Eastern Conf. finals); 2009 L.A. Lakers (won title); 2015 Atlanta (lost in Eastern Conf. finals); 2015 Golden State (won title).
40 wins: 1985 Philadelphia (lost in Eastern Conf. finals); 2006 San Antonio (lost in Western Conf. semis); 2012 Chicago (lost in Eastern Conf. first round).
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Last Thursday (Jan. 28) the Toronto Raptors defeated the New York Knicks 103-93 for their 10th straight victory of the season. It was the first time in franchise history that the Raptors had ever won 10 or more games in a row. They have since won their 11th straight and go for #12 tonight.
Prior to winning their 10th consecutive game, the Raptors were one of three NBA teams that had never won 10 in a row. The other two teams that have never won 10 consecutive games? The Orlando Magic and Washington Wizards.
Let’s take a look at the last time each NBA franchise won 10 games in a row. Of those teams that have won 10 straight in their history, the Milwaukee Bucks have the current longest drought… they have not won 10 consecutive games since they did it in 1986. (Note: The year listed below is the year when the streak ended)
Team, last time they won 10 or games in a row
Orlando Magic (have never won 10 straight)
Washington Wizards (have never won 10 straight)
Milwaukee Bucks (won 10 straight in 1986)
Indiana Pacers (won 10 straight in 1994)
Charlotte Hornets (won 10 straight in 1998)
Philadelphia 76ers (won 11 straight in 2000)
Sacramento Kings (won 11 straight in 2002)
Minnesota Timberwolves (won 10 in 2004)
Brooklyn Nets (won 14 straight in 2006)
Detroit Pistons (won 10 straight in 2008)
Houston Rockets (won 22 straight in 2008)
Utah Jazz (won 12 straight in 2009)
Los Angeles Lakers (won 11 straight in 2009)
Boston Celtics (won 14 straight in 2010)
Phoenix Suns (won 10 straight in 2010)
Chicago Bulls (won 10 straight in 2011)
Dallas Mavs (won 10 straight in 2011)
New Orleans Pelicans (won 10 straight in 2011)
New York Knicks (won 13 straight in 2013)
Denver Nuggets (won 15 straight in 2013)
Portland Trailblazers (won 10 straight in 2013)
Memphis Grizzlies (won 11 straight in 2014)
Miami Heat (won 10 straight in 2014)
Oklahoma City Thunder (won 10 straight in 2014)
Cleveland Cavaliers (won 12 straight in 2015)
Atlanta Hawks (won 19 straight in 2015)
Golden State Warriors (won 28 straight in 2015)
Los Angeles Clippers (won 10 straight in 2016)
Toronto Raptors (won 11 straight in 2016*)
San Antonio Spurs (won 13 straight in 2016)
- Streak still alive as of Jan. 31, 2016
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This past Thursday 60 players were drafted in the 2015 NBA Draft. Last year, the same number of players were drafted by the 30 NBA teams in two rounds. Here’s a look at six stats you may not know about the players who were drafted in 2014 and their performances in their first year in the NBA (2014-15 season).
1. Of the 60 players drafted in 2014, 15 played in 50 or more NBA games in the 2014-15 season. Three players played in all 82 games: Andrew Wiggins (#1 pick of Cleveland who was traded and played for Minnesota this past season); Dante Exum (#5 pick of Utah); and Elfrid Payton (#10 pick of Philadelphia who was traded to and played for Orlando this season). Wiggins played the most minutes of any player selected in the 2014 draft with 2,969.
2. Four of the 60 players drafted averaged 10 or more points for the season. Wiggins led the group with a 16.9 average. He was followed by Jabari Parker (#2 pick of the Bucks) at 12.3 points per game, Jordan Clarkson (the #46 pick of Washington who was traded and played for the Lakers) at 11.9/ppg, and Zach LaVine (the #13 pick of the Timberwolves) who averaged 10.1/ppg. Twenty-eight of the 60 players drafted scored at least 100 points in the 2014-15 season.
3. Jusuf Nurkic led those players in the 2014 draft with 382 rebounds. He was drafted 16th by the Bulls and was traded and played for Denver in 2014-15. Elfrid Payton led 2014 draftees with 533 assists.
4. Three players from the 2014 draft ended their first season in the NBA with at least 200 points, 200 assists and 200 rebounds: Zach LaVine, Eldrid Payton and Marcus Short, the sixth pick of the Boston Celtics.
5. Forty-two of the 60 players drafted in the 2014 NBA Draft played in the league last year. Of the 18 that did not play in the NBA last season, four were drafted in the first round, 14 were second-round selections. The four first-rounders who did not play in the NBA last year: Joel Embiid (the third overall pick of Philadelphia who missed the whole season due to an injury); Darro Saric (the #12 overall pick by Orlando who played professionally in Turkey); Bogdan Bogdanovic (the 27th overall pick of Phoenix who played professionally in Turkey); and Josh Huestis (the 29th pick of Oklahoma City who played in the NBA-D League).
6. Three second-rounders scored 400 or more points last season in the NBA: K.J. McDaniels (the #32 pick who was drafted by Philadelphia and scored 487 for the 76ers and Houston); Jerami Grant (the #39 pick of the 76ers who scored 411 points for the team); and Jordan Clarkson (the #46 pick who scored 703 points for the Lakers in 2014-15).
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When Golden State’s Andre Iguodala was selected as the NBA Finals MVP on Tuesday night, it prevented Warriors star and teammate Steph Curry from becoming the ninth NBA player to win a unique version of the league’s Grand Slam.
Curry led the Warriors to the league’s best regular-season record and a title while being named the 2014-15 season MVP. Iguodala, however, was named the Finals MVP. Eight players previously won the league MVP, Finals MVP, and saw his team win the most games in the regular season and win the title.
Here’s a look at those players who won the league MVP and Finals MVP in the same year their team won the most regular-season games and the NBA title.
1970: Willis Reed, New York Knicks
1971: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Milwaukee Bucks
1983: Moses Malone, Philadelphia 76ers
1984, 1986: Larry Bird, Boston Celtics
1987: Magic Johnson, Los Angeles Lakers
1992, 1996: Michael Jordan, Chicago Bulls
2000: Shaquille O’Neal, Los Angeles Lakers
2013: LeBron James, Miami Heat
Note: Michael Jordan almost accomplished this feat a third time, but his Bulls tied for the most regular-season wins in 1998 with the Utah Jazz; Tim Duncan in 2003 was league MVP, Finals MVP and saw his Spurs win the NBA title, but the Spurs were tied for most regular-season wins that year with Dallas.
In the 60 seasons the NBA has awarded an MVP Award for the regular season (since 1955-56), the league MVP’s team has played in the NBA Finals that year 31 times. Of those 31 times, the league MVP’s team has won the title 23 times (Curry and the Warriors were the 23rd time).
The regular-season MVP has also been the Finals MVP 15 times: Willis Reed (1970), Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (1971), Moses Malone (1983), Larry Bird (1984), Larry Bird (1986), Magic Johnson (1987), Michael Jordan (1991), Michael Jordan (1992), Hakeem Olajuwon (1994), Michael Jordan (1996), Michael Jordan (1998), Shaquille O’Neal (2000), Tim Duncan (2003), LeBron James (2012), LeBron James (2013).
One final note: This year was only the second time in NBA history that a regular-season MVP saw his team win the NBA title but he did not win the NBA Finals MVP. The other time was in 1980 when Kareem Abdul-Jabbar won the league MVP and the Lakers won the championship that season, but teammate Magic Johnson was the Finals MVP.
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