Category Archives: Basketball

Today’s Sportstat: July 22, 2019

Bucks off-season moves reveal more three-point bombs coming next season

Based on the moves the Milwaukee Bucks have made this off-season, it appears that not reaching the NBA Finals last season won’t stop them from staying the course with their style of play. Anyone thinking that missing out on an NBA title would force the team to adjust their offensive strategy can forget that thought.

Although the team lost a couple of three-point weapons in Malcolm Brogdon and Tony Snell, the signing of Wes Matthews Jr. and Kyle Korver shows the team is committed to having three-point shooters in the starting line-up and coming off the bench.

Last season the Bucks set a team record with five different players making 75 or more three-pointers during the season (Brook Lopez, Khris Middleton, Eric Bledsoe, Malcolm Brodgon and Tony Snell). That broke the record of four players with 75+ made three-pointers in a season (it happened four seasons, 2016-17, 2012-13, 2010-11 and 2002-03). In addition, the team last year had eight players who attempted 150 or more shots from beyond the arc, again a team record. The eight: Lopez, Middleton, Bledsoe, Brogdon, Snell, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Pat Connaughton and Ersan Ilyasova. Seven players attempted 150 or more three-pointers in 2016-17, the previous mark: Giannis, Brodgon, Snell, Matthew Delavedova, Jabari Parker, Mirza Teletovic and Jason terry.

Replacing Brogdon and Snell will be the aforementioned Matthews and Korver. Here is what they bring to the team from three-point range:

  • Matthews was 150-for-403 (37.2%) from beyond the arc last season. In his 10-year NBA career, Matthews has made 75 or more threes in nine of those seasons and he has attempted 150 or more threes in all 10 of his seasons. He has played 60 or more games in each of his 10 campaigns and he is a career .382 three-point shooter.
  • Korver is recognized as one of the league’s top long-distance shooters. He was 113-for-294 (38.4%) on threes last season. In his 16-year NBA career he has made 75 or more threes in 15 of those seasons and he has attempted 150 or more threes in 15 of his 16 campaigns. A durable competitor, Korver has played 65 or more games in all but one of his 16 NBA campaigns. He is a career .429 three-point shooter. An added benefit is that Korver played under current Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer in Atlanta; not only that, but in four NBA seasons Korver led the league with the highest three-point shooting percentage… three of those four seasons were in Atlanta playing for Budenholzer.

One downside of the Matthews and Korver signings is that both players are in their 30’s; Korver will be 38 next season and Matthews will be 33. Brogdon is still relatively young in NBA years and will be 26 when the next season begins.

Here’s another interesting stat about Matthews and Korver: Of all NBA players who have attempted 1,000 or more threes in a career, Korver ranks sixth all-time with his three-point career shooting percentage of .429. The five players ahead of Korver are Steve Kerr, Hubert Davis, Stephen Curry, Jason Kapono and Steve Novak. Matthews is in the Top 100 in this list tied for 88th. The only current Bucks player on the list is Khris Middleton who’s .388 career three-point shooting percentage is tied for 62nd on the list.

Bottom line… the Bucks have filled their roster with more three-point shooters for next season. Now imagine what will happen if Brook Lopez can teach his brother, Robin, a new Bucks signee, to step back and launch some threes.

 

Follow Jerry on Twitter @StatsonTapp

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Today’s Sportstat: June 27, 2019

Giannis and Coach Bud lift NBA hardware

For the 14th time in NBA history, the NBA MVP and the Coach of the Year were from the same team. Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo and Mike Budenholzer were recently selected as the league’s best player and coach.

Unfortunately for the Bucks, success in the form of a championship did not materialize. In fact, of the now 14 times that a player and coach from the same team won POY and Coach honors in a season, only four times has that player and coach hoisted a championship trophy at the end of the season.

The last time it happened was in 2003 when Tim Duncan won the league MVP and his coach, Gregg Popovich, was selected as the Coach of the Year. Their team, the San Antonio Spurs, also won the title that season.

Here’s a look at the 14 times when a team had the league MVP and Coach of the Year (also noted is how well the team did in the playoffs that season).

1965: Boston, MVP-Bill Russell, Coach-Red Auerbach (won NBA title)

1966: Philadelphia, MVP-Wilt Chamberlain, Coach-Dolph Schayes (lost in the Eastern Conference Finals)

1969: Baltimore, MVP-Wes Unseld, Coach-Gene Shue (lost in the Eastern Conference Semifinals)

1970: New York Knicks, MVP-Willis Reed, Coach-Red Holzman (won NBA title)

1973: Boston, MVP-Dave Cowens, Coach-Tom Heinsohn (lost in the Eastern Conference Finals)

1990: Los Angeles Lakers, MVP-Magic Johnson, Coach-Pat Riley (lost in the Western Conference Semifinals)

1996: Chicago, MVP-Michael Jordan, Coach-Phil Jackson (won NBA title)

2001: Philadelphia, MVP-Allen Iverson, Coach-Larry Brown (lost in the NBA Finals)

2003: San Antonio, MVP-Tim Duncan, Coach-Gregg Popovich (won NBA title)

2005: Phoenix, MVP-Steve Nash, Coach-Mike D’Antoni (lost in the Western Conference Finals)

2009: Cleveland, MVP-LeBron James, Coach-Mike Brown (lost in the Eastern Conference Finals)

2011: Chicago, MVP-Derrick Rose, Coach-Tom Thibodeau (lost in the Eastern Conference Finals)

2016: Golden State, MVP-Steph Curry, Coach-Steve Kerr (lost in the NBA Finals)

2019: Milwaukee, MVP-Giannis Antetokounmpo, Coach-Mike Budenholzer (lost in the Eastern Conference Finals)

 

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Today’s Sports Stat: June 20, 2019

TODAY’s SPORTSTAT-June 20, 2019

Overall #1 draft picks in NBA usually don’t stay with team that drafts them

The 2019 NBA draft is tonight (Thursday, June 20), so here’s a tidbit that you may find interesting…

I’m not ready to pin the tag of “Nostradamus” on myself or give myself a new nickname… “Tappradamus,” but here’s something I came across recently. It was written in one of my “Stats on Tapp” blogs almost seven years ago, dated June 28, 2012:

“It appears that Kentucky’s Anthony Davis will be the first overall pick in tonight’s NBA draft, taken by the New Orleans Hornets. Before Hornets fans get too excited and think that they will have a front-row seat to watching Davis develop into an NBA star and then retire as a Hornet, the reality is that not all number one overall picks stay with the team that drafted them.”

I wasn’t going out on a limb, per se, especially considering that many overall #1 draft choices in the NBA tend to leave the team that drafted them, but there are a handful of number ones who stayed with their draft team their entire careers. With his impending trade to the Lakers from the Pelicans, it appears that Anthony Davis will fulfill my prophesy and will not stay his entire career with the New Orleans franchise.

From 1950 to 2009, there were 60 NBA drafts and 60 different overall first picks in the draft. Of those 60, only nine players (15%) who were the number one pick in the draft stayed with that team that drafted them their entire career. Even if you look at the nine number one selections from 2010-18, three of the nine have already moved on to a different team than the one that drafted them, and one player, Andrew Wiggins, was drafted by the Cleveland Cavs in 2014 and was traded two months later to the Minnesota Timberwolves in a swap that brought Kevin Love to the Cavs.

Here is a look at the nine overall #1 draft picks in the NBA Draft from 1950-2009 who played their entire careers with the team that drafted them.

1958: Elgin Baylor, Minnesota/L.A. Lakers
1972: LaRue Martin, Portland
1973: Doug Collins, Philadelphia
1979: Magic Johnson, Los Angeles Lakers
1982: James Worthy, Los Angeles Lakers
1986: Brad Daugherty, Cleveland
1987: David Robinson, San Antonio
1997: Tim Duncan, San Antonio
2002: Yao Ming, Houston

For the record, John Wall was the number one selection in the NBA draft in 2010 by the Washington Bullets and he is still a member of that team. The last four number one overall choices in the draft are all still with the team (as of the 2018-19 season) that drafted them… 2015-Karl-Anthony Towns, 2016-Ben Simmons, 2017-Markelle Fultz, 2018-Deandre Ayton.

 

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Today’s Sportstat: June 17, 2019

Six Stats you may not know about… Anthony Davis

The big news in sports this past week was the impending trade of Anthony Davis from the New Orleans Pelicans to the Los Angeles Lakers. The trade has made the Lakers the betting favorite in Las Vegas to win the NBA championship in 2020.

Davis, who spent one year at the University of Kentucky before jumping to the NBA, is a six-time All-Star in his seven seasons in the league. He is also a three-time all-NBA selection, but he has seen post-season action with the Pelicans in only two of his seven campaigns.

Here are six stats you may not know about Davis.

  1. Davis’ up-to-date career numbers include 23.7 points per game, 10.5 rebounds per game and 2.4 blocks per contest. He is currently one of only four players to have career stats of 23 points, 10 rebounds and 2 blocks per game. The others: Shaquille O’Neal, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Joel Embiid.
  2. Davis holds the NBA All-Star Game record with 52 points. He did it in the 2017 All-Star Game. He has 103 career All-Star Game points and only one assist to go with those 103 career points. Of the 48 players who have 100 or more career All-Star Game points, he has the fewest assists with one. Paul Arizin is next with six assists.
  3. Davis had 1,000 points, 500 rebounds and 100 blocks in six of his seven NBA seasons. That ties him for 19th in that category. Tim Duncan tops the list with 17 seasons with 1,000 points, 500 rebounds and 100 blocks.
  4. In four of his seven seasons Davis had 75 steals and 150 blocks. That ties him for eighth most in league history. Hakeem Olajuwon tops the list with 13 such seasons. Davis is one of only 13 in league history to have 100 steals and 200 blocked shots in a season. He did it in 2015. Olajuwon tops this list with 13 seasons with 100 steals and 200 blocks.
  5. In his 13 career playoff games, Davis is averaging 30.5 points per game, 12.7 rebounds and 2.5 blocks per contest. He is the only 30 points-10 rebounds -2 blocked shots (minimum of 10 playoff games played) player in playoff history.
  6. Davis was the #1 selection in the 2012 NBA Draft. He is, however, second on the list of most career points for players chosen in that draft (Damian Lillard has 12,909 career points to Davis’ 11,059, although Davis 23.7 points per game average ranks ahead of Lillard’s 23.5 for the 2012 draft class) and he is second on the list for most rebounds from that class (fellow 2012 draftee Andre Drummond has 7,424 career rebounds to Davis’ 4,906).

 

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Today’s Sportstat: June 13, 2019

The first to four wins gets the crown

Let’s start with a quick quiz…

How many teams in NBA history have won the first game in an NBA Finals series, was the first team to win two games in that series, was the first team to win three games in that series, but failed to win the fourth game and thus lost in that NBA Finals? One, two, four or six? (Answer towards the end of this article.)

After the Golden State Warriors lost Game One to the Toronto Raptors in this year’s NBA Finals, Warriors guard Klay Thompson made the following statement answering those critics who thought the team was already in trouble after that first loss:

“It’s first team to four (wins), not the first to one (win).”

He’s absolutely right, but does being the team to win Game One in an NBA Finals series matter? Does being the first team to get that second win in an NBA Finals a good thing? Does being the first team to three victories in an NBA Finals the “golden ticket” to a championship?

Let’s try to answer these questions based on the 72-year history of the NBA Finals…

  • Teams that won Game One in an NBA Finals series went on to win that series 51 of 72 times (70.8%).
  • Teams that were the first to win two games in an NBA Finals series went on to win that series 61 of 72 times (84.7%). For the record, in four of the last eight NBA Finals, the team that was the first to win two games in an NBA Finals did not win the title (Miami in 2011, San Antonio in 2013, Cleveland in 2015 and Golden State in 2016).
  • Teams that were the first to win three games in an NBA Finals series went on to win that series 63 of the 72 times (87.5%). Here are the nine times in the NBA Finals when a team was the first to win three games in that series but could not win that fourth game and the championship:

1955: Fort Wayne (first to win three games), Syracuse won Games 6 and 7 and the title.

1962: L.A. Lakers (first to win three games), Boston won Games 6 and 7 and the title.

1969: L.A. Lakers (first to win three games), Boston won Games 6 and 7 and the title.

1978: Seattle (first team to win three games), Washington won Games 6 and 7 and the title.

1988: Detroit (first team to win three games), L.A. Lakers won Games 6 and 7 and the title.

1994: New York Knicks (first team to win three games), Houston won Games 6 and 7 and the title.

2010: Boston (first team to win three games), L.A. Lakers won Games 6 and 7 and the title.

2013: San Antonio (first team to win three games), Miami won Games 6 and 7 and the title.

2016: Golden State (first team to win three games), Cleveland won Games 5, 6 and 7 and the title.

All of the above stats are good news for the Toronto Raptors; they won Game One of this series, they were the first team to win two games and the first team to win three games in their NBA Finals series against Golden State.

There is, however, a precedence that bodes well for the Warriors if they win Game 6. There have been four times in NBA Finals history where a team lost Game One of the NBA Finals series, and their opponent in that series was the first to get two wins and the first to get three wins in the series, but those four teams won the title. The four times this has happened: L.A. Lakers in 1969, Washington in 1978, Miami in 2013 and Cleveland in 2016.

So, the answer to the above trivia question is four teams… the 1969 Lakers, 1978 Sonics, 2013 Spurs and 2016 Warriors each lost the NBA Finals that year after winning Game One, and being the first team in the series to win two games and three games; they, however, could not get that fourth win in that NBA Finals series to capture the championship.

 

Follow Jerry on Twitter @StatsonTapp