Category Archives: Basketball

Today’s Sportstat: April 15, 2019

The Greek Freak, The Brodie and The Joker join exclusive clubs

In addition to sharing some interesting, colorful nicknames, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Russell Westbrook and Nikola Jokic each put up some impressive numbers in the 2018-19 NBA season. So impressive, that their stats from this past season have rarely been seen in league history.

Let’s start with Giannis, The Greek Freak. He became the ninth player in NBA history to finish a season averaging 25 points, 10 rebounds and five assists. His season totals were 27.7 points per game, 12.5 rebounds, and 5.9 assists per contest.

Here are the nine players with 25-10-5 seasons in league history.

Giannis Antetokounmpo, Mil., 2018-19… 27.7, 12.5, 5.9

DeMarcus Cousins, N.O., 2017-18… 25.2, 12.9, 5.4

Russell Westbrook, OKC, 2017-18… 25.4, 10.1, 10.3
Russell Westbrook, OKC, 2016-17… 31.6, 10.7, 10.4

Charles Barkley, Phoe., 1992-93… 25.6, 12.2, 5.1

Larry Bird, Bost., 1984-85… 28.7, 10.5, 6.6

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, L.A. Lakers, 1975-76… 27.7, 16.9, 5.0

Wilt Chamberlain, Phil., 1965-66… 33.5, 24.6, 5.2
Wilt Chamberlain, S.F., 1963-64… 36.9, 22.3, 5.0

Oscar Robertson, Cin., 1962-63… 28.3, 10.4, 9.5
Oscar Robertson, Cin., 1961-62… 30.8, 12.5, 11.4
Oscar Robertson, Cin., 1960-61… 30.5, 10.1, 9.7

Elgin Baylor, L.A. Lakers, 1960-61… 34.8, 19.8, 5.1

It’s interesting to note that six of the nine players on this list are currently in the Hall of Fame, while the other three, Giannis, Cousins and Westbrook are still active.

Speaking of Westbrook, The Brodie, he had his third straight season with a triple-double in scoring, rebounds and assists. He finished the 2018-19 campaign averaging 22.9 points per games, 11.1 rebounds per game, and 10.7 assists per game. He is now tied with Oscar Robertson with the most triple-double seasons with three.

If we drop the numbers just a bit, The Joker, Denver’s Nikola Jokic, had a historic season. He finished this past season with 20.1 points per game, 10.8 rebounds per contest, and 7.3 assists per game. He became only the fourth NBA player in history to end the season with a 20-10-7 stat line. The others: Westbrook with three 20-10-7 seasons, Oscar Robertson also with three such seasons, and Wilt Chamberlain with two 20-10-7 seasons.

 

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Today’s Sportstat: March 28, 2019

Will having the best record in the NBA help the Greek Freak’s MVP chances?

My esteemed colleague Gery Woelfel recently penned an article where he opined that Houston Rockets guard James Harden would be selected as the 2018-19 NBA MVP at the end of the season. Gery made several solid points in his argument for Harden’s MVP candidacy including his outrageous league-leading points per game average (over 36 points per game) and his improved defensive stats. He admitted that the MVP Award race was basically a two-player race with Harden and Giannis Antetokounmpo.

In discussing his article with him, I told Gery that my only pushback on his opinion was that league MVP voters seem to have a history of voting for a player from the team that ends the season with the most wins/best record. Gery concurred and added that it would be nice if we could find out just how often that has happened in past seasons.

“If only we knew someone who could do the research and run the numbers to see how many MVPs came from teams that had the most wins in a season.”

Well, I just happen to know someone who can get us that info…

Over the past 20 NBA seasons, 12 of those 20 MVPs selected came from a team that had the most (or tied for the most) wins in that season. Ten of the 12 had the best record outright, while two MVPs played for teams that tied for the most wins that season.

Ironically, Harden was a benefactor just last season; he was voted the league MVP for 2017-18 and his Houston Rockets had the most wins last season. Here are the 12 MVPs since the 1998-99 season that played for a team that had the most wins.

2018-James Harden, Houston
2016-Steph Curry, Golden State
2015-Steph Curry, Golden State
2013-LeBron James, Miami
2011-Derrick Rose, Chicago
2010-LeBron James, Cleveland
2009-LeBron James, Cleveland
2007-Dirk Nowitzki, Dallas
2005-Steve Nash, Phoenix
2003-Tim Duncan, San Antonio
2000-Shaquille O’Neal, Los Angeles Lakers
1999-Karl Malone, Utah

Duncan in 2003 and Malone in 1999 played for teams that tied for the most wins in the league that season.

Of the eight MVPs who did not play for the team that won the most games that season, half of them (four players) played for a team that finished with the second most (or tied for the second most wins) in the league that year. Those eight:

2017-Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City (10th most wins in the NBA that season

2014-Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City (2nd most wins in the NBA that season)

2012-LeBron James, Miami (4th most wins in the NBA that season)

2008-Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers (3rd most wins in the NBA that season)

2006-Steve Nash, Phoenix (4th most wins in the NBA that season)

2004-Kevin Garnett, Minnesota (2nd most wins in the NBA that season)

2002-Tim Duncan, San Antonio (tied for the 2nd most wins in the NBA that season)

2001-Allen Iverson, Philadelphia (tied for the 2nd most wins in the NBA that season)

So, who will the voters choose? If the Bucks end the season with the most wins in the league, is that enough to propel Giannis to the MVP?

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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: February 28, 2019

Bucks and Budenholzer have a 60-win season in their sights

With a league-best 47-14 record and 21 games left to play in the regular season, the Milwaukee Bucks have a legitimate chance to win 60 games in a season for only the fifth time in franchise history. The Bucks won 60 or more in 1970-71 (66 wins), 1971-72 (63 wins), 1972-73 (60 wins) and in 1980-81 (60 wins). To reach the 60-win milestone this season, the Bucks would have to win at least 13 of their remaining 21 games.

Getting 60 wins this season would also be a big deal for Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer. Back in 2014-15, Coach Bud won 60 games in his second season at the helm of the Atlanta Hawks. A 60-win season with the Bucks would make Budenholzer only the seventh coach in NBA history to win 60 or more games in a season with two or more different franchises.

Hall of Famer coach Pat Riley holds the league record with 60-win seasons with three different franchises. He won 60 with the Lakers, Miami and the Knicks.

Here is a look at the six coaches who have won 60 or more games in a season with two or more franchises.

K.C. Jones: Boston (1984, 1985, 1986)… Washington (1975)

Phil Jackson: Chicago (1991, 1992, 1996, 1997, 1998)… L.A. Lakers (2000, 2009)

Don Nelson: Dallas (2003)… Milwaukee (1981)

Mike D’Antoni: Houston (2018), Phoenix (2005, 2007)

Pat Riley: (L.A. Lakers (1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1990)… Miami (1997)… N.Y. Knicks (1993)

Rick Adelman: Portland (1991)… Sacramento (2002)

A total of 32 NBA coaches have won 60 or more games in a season with at least one team. If Budenholzer can add a second 60-win season with the Bucks to his resume, it would make him the 21st coach in NBA history to have multiple 60-win seasons in a career.

The 20 NBA coaches who have won 60 or more games in two or more seasons are: Rick Adelman, Red Auerbach, Mike Brown, Larry Costello, Billy Cunningham, Mike D’Antoni, Bill Fitch, Alex Hannum, Tom Heinsohn, Phil Jackson, Avery Johnson, K.C. Jones, George Karl, Steve Kerr, Don Nelson, Greg Popovich, Pat Riley, Doc Rivers, Bill Sharman, Jerry Sloan.

For the record, there have four head coaches who have won 60 or more games in four different seasons; Phil Jackson and Pat Riley did it seven times, Greg Popovich has done is six times, and K.C. Jones did it four times.

 

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Today’s Sportstat: February 17, 2019

Bucks teams with five or more players averaging 12.0 or more points per game

One of the reasons the Milwaukee Bucks went into the All-Star Game with the league’s best record was the play of their starting five: Giannis Antekounmpo, Khris Middleton, Brook Lopez, Eric Bledsoe and Malcolm Brogdon.

This quintet has been the same starting unit for most of the Bucks games this season and they are collectively averaging 88 points out of the team’s 116.9 that they are averaging to this point in the season. Led by Giannis’ 27.2 points per game, the Bucks have five players who are averaging 12 or more points per game: Middleton (17.1), Bledsoe (15.8), Brogdon (15.8) and Lopez (12.1).

Having five players average 12 or more points per game in a season has been a rare occurrence for the Bucks. In fact, three Bucks’ teams had six players average 12 or more per game, but none with five players reaching that points per game milestone.

The last time the Bucks had five or more players average 12 or more points per game in a season was in 1989 when six players reached those numbers. The team also had six players reach 12 or more points per game in 1981 and 1982.

Here is a look at the three Bucks teams that had six players average 12 or more points per game for a season.

1989: Jack Sikma (13.4), Paul Pressey (12.1), Ricky Pierce (17.6), Sidney Moncrief (12.1), Larry Krystkowiak (12.7) and Terry Cummings (22.9).

1982: Brian Winters (15.9), Sidney Moncrief (19.8), Bob Lanier (13.5), Mickey Johnson (12.9), Marques Johnson (16.5) and Quinn Buckner (12.9).

1981: Sidney Moncrief (14.0), Bob Lanier (14.3), Mickey Johnson (12.5), Marques Johnson (20.3), Quinn Buckner (13.3) and Junior Bridgeman (16.8).

In the 50 NBA season prior to this campaign, the Bucks have had four or more players end the season averaging 12.0 or more points per game in 23 of those 50 seasons.

 

Follow Jerry on Twitter @StatsonTapp