Category Archives: Basketball

Today’s Sportstat: March 23, 2020

Truth or fiction? LeBron James is leading the NBA in assists

One of the more interesting storylines in the NBA this season has been LeBron James and his assist numbers. Yes, that is LeBron James leading the NBA in assists per game, 10.6, and most assists this season with 636.

To put this in perspective, James has never led the league in assists during his 17-year career, however, he has seen his name in the Top 10 in several seasons. His 10.6 assists per game this year is the highest of his career (his previous high was 9.1 assists per game in 2017-18) and his 636 assists this season is 111 shy of his career mark of 747 in 2017-18, but if the NBA season had not been put on hold due to COVID-19 there’s a good chance he would have exceeded that number this season.

Let’s not forget that James is doing all this at the age of 35 (he turned 35 on December 30).

Let’s dig a little deeper into James’ assists numbers for this season.

  • If he ends this season with 10 or more assists per game, he will become only the second player in NBA history to average 10 or more assists in a season at age 35 or older. The other player is Steve Nash who averaged 11.0 assists per game at age 35, 11.4 at age 36 and 10.6 at age 37. The only other player to average 9.0 or more assists in a season at age 35 or older was Jason Kidd in 2009-10 when he averaged 9.1 assists per game at age 36.
  • With 636 assists and 1,344 points this season, James becomes the fourth player in NBA history to have 600 or more assists and 1,000 or more points in the same season at age 35 or older. Lenny Wilkins did it in 1972-73, John Stockton did it in 2001-02, Steve Nash did it twice, in 2009-10 and 2010-11, and James this season.
  • There have been 98 players in league history who have totaled 600 assists and 1,500 points in a season (any age). James and Lenny Wilkens are the only two players on this list to reach these numbers at age 35 or older; both were 35. The youngest on the list is Trae Young of the Atlanta Hawks who in his rookie season this year has amassed 653 assists and 1,549 points. He is 20 years old.
  • Oscar Robertson holds the league record for most seasons with 600 assists and 1,500 points in the same season. He did it 10 times in his Hall of Fame career. Gary Payton, Isiah Thomas and Russell Westbrook each had six such seasons and Stephon Marbury had five.
  • The Bucks have had two players reach 600 assists-1,500 points in the same season. Oscar Robertson did it in 1970-71 when he had 668 assists and 1,569 points. The other player was Sam Cassell in 1999-2000; in that season he had 729 assists and 1,506 points.

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Today’s Sportstat: March 9, 2020

The last 20 games of the NBA season: Which team is the best over the past three years?

The NBA’s best team (record-wise), the Milwaukee Bucks, was 53-9 on Friday, March 6 before they played the Los Angeles Lakers. They were starting their last 20-game stretch in this season.

A loss to the Lakers that night and another loss to the Phoenix Suns two days later meant the Bucks had started the final 20-game stretch with a 0-2 season.

Fortunately, the Bucks have already secured a playoff spot for this season. For other teams, however, the final 20-game stretch is where they will make a push for not only a spot in the playoffs, but a high seed to gain home court advantage.

Over the past previous three NBA seasons (2016-17, 2017-18 and 2018-19), there were three teams that won 70% or higher of their last 20 games in each of those three seasons… 60 games in total over three campaigns.

Topping the list were the Houston Rockets who went 44-16 (.733) in the last 20 games of the season in the last three years. Two fellow Western Conference teams followed the Rockets: Utah at 43-17 (.717) and Portland at 42-18 (.700).

Here’s a look at how many games each NBA team won in the past three seasons in the last 20 games of the campaign… 60 games total.

44: Houston
43: Utah
42: Portland
41: Toronto
40: Golden State
38: San Antonio
37: Boston
36: Denver, L.A. Clippers, Miami, Milwaukee, Oklahoma City
34: Philadelphia
31: Indiana
28: New Orleans
27: Brooklyn, Charlotte, Cleveland, Detroit
26: Orlando
25: Washington
24: Minnesota
23: Sacramento
22: Atlanta
21: Chicago, L.A. Lakers
20: Memphis
18: Dallas
15: New York
14: Phoenix

Only one team, the 1996-97 Utah Jazz, won 19 of their last 20 games of a season. Seven teams won 18 of their last 20, the most recent of those teams being the 2017-18 Philadelphia 76ers. Last season the Rockets won 16 of their last 20 games, the most of any team in the NBA. Portland and San Antonio were next with 15 wins in their last 20 games last season.

 

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Today’s Sportstat: February 27, 2020

NBA Buzzer-Beaters: Who is the king of the last-second shot?

 

Ever wonder who the greatest clutch shooter is in NBA history? Is it Michael Jordan? Kobe Bryant? Someone else?

One of my favorite websites is sports-reference.com and their affiliate sites for specific sports like football, basketball and baseball. I use these websites quite often as I research sports stats.

Recently, sports-reference.com noted that they had researched every “buzzer-beater” in NBA history and it was now posted on the basketball-reference.com website. They came up with a comprehensive list of every “buzzer-beater” in NBA history, 772 shots to be exact. They defined a “buzzer-beater” as “successful shots taken with the shooter’s team tied or trailing which left no time on the clock after going through the net.”

The chart lists the player who made the shot, the date, opponent, type of shot (free throw, two-point shot, three-pointer), who assisted on the shot, and the distance of the shot. This is an impressive undertaking.

My curiosity was piqued about which player was listed most often on the list of 772 buzzer-beaters. Here’s the list of 22 players who had four or more career buzzer-beaters in their NBA career.

9-Michael Jordan

8-Kobe Bryant, Joe Johnson

7-Gilbert Arenas, Vince Carter, LeBron James, Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce

5-Andre Iguodola, Dwyane Wade

4-Greg Ballard, Larry Bird, Carl Braun, Monte Ellis, World B. Free, Rudy Gay, Bill Laimbeer, Chuck Person, Jerry Stackhouse, John Stockton, Jerry West, Moe Williams

Any surprises?

For Milwaukee Bucks fans, the team had 33 buzzer-beaters (and was the victim of a buzzer-beater 26 times). Six players had two or more buzzer-beaters… leading the way was Sidney Moncrief who had three buzzer-beaters with the Bucks. He was followed by five players each who had two buzzer-beaters in a Bucks uniform: Andrew Bogut, Marques Johnson, Khris Middleton, Brian Winters and Mo Williams.

 

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Today’s Sportstat: February 20, 2020

Milwaukee Bucks: Six stats to keep an eye on as the season draws to a close

The Milwaukee Bucks jump into the second half of the 2019-20 NBA season with the league’s best record. With a 46-8 record, the Bucks have 28 games remaining on the schedule. The team, and a few of its players, is closing in on some noteworthy stats. Here are six stats that you’ll want to pay attention to as the regular season gives way to the playoffs.

  1. Giannis Antetokounmpo is averaging 30.0 points per game, 13.5 rebounds and 5.8 assists. He could become the fifth player in NBA history to finish a season with an average of 30 points, 10 rebounds and five assists. Wilt Chamberlain (1963-64 and 1965-66) and Oscar Robertson (1960-61, 1961-62) each did it twice in their careers; Elgin Baylor did it in 1960-61, and the most recent player to reach these numbers was Russell Westbrook in the 2016-17 campaign.
  2. As mentioned above, the Bucks have a 46-8 record. The team’s best regular season record was in 1970-71 when they went 66-16. The second-best record was the following year when the team went 63-19. Last year’s Bucks were 60-22, tied for the third best record in team history with the 1972-73 and 1980-81 squads. This year’s team will need to finish 21-7 in their final 28 games to top the 1970-71 team’s record of 66-16.
  3. Guard George Hill has been lights out from the three-point arc this season. He has made 131 threes, but the impressive part of that is his percentage… he is shooting threes at .511 percentage through the first half of the season. There has been only five times in NBA history that a player has shot over 50% on three-pointers with a minimum of 150 threes made in the season. The five times: Detlef Schrempf (.514 percentage, 181 made threes) in 1994-95, Steve Kerr (.524-170 threes) in 1994-95, Tim Legler (.522, 245 threes) in 1995-96, Steve Kerr (.515, 237 threes) in 1995-96 and Jason Kapono (.514, 210 threes) in 2006-07. Hill has a chance to join this list.
  4. Through games of February 12, the Bucks have an active streak of 78 consecutive regular season games with at least 100 points. That is tied for 6th as the longest streak in league history. If they finish the season with 100 or more points in each of their remaining 28 games, that would increase the streak to 106 games at the end of the season. That would be the third longest streak in NBA history. Denver has the longest streak with 136 straight games with 100 or more points (in 1981 and 1982) and the San Antonio Spurs are second at 129 games (1978- 80).
  5. Brook Lopez has 135 blocks and has attempted 242 three-pointers this season. He should pass the 250 mark in three-point attempts soon; that would give him three seasons where he has had 100 or more blocks and 250 or more three-point field goal attempts. He would become only the fourth player in league history to reach those numbers (100 blocks and 250 three-point shots attempted) in three or more seasons. The others: Shawn Marion (he did it four times), Rasheed Wallace and Karl-Anthony Towns (three times each).
  6. Last season the Bucks set a team record with nine different players making 50 or more three-pointers in the season. With 28 games remaining, the team already has eight players with 50 or more made threes (Middleton-114, Matthews-82, Korver-77, Antetokounmpo-73, Brooks Lopez-72, Hill-67, DiVencenzo-62 and Bledsoe-56). The Bucks need two more players to reach the 50 mark to break the team record of nine players with 50 or more threes made in a season. The best bets are Ersan Ilyasova (he has 44 this season), Pat Connaughton (he has 35) and Sterling Brown (he has 31).

 

 

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Today’s Sportstat: February 15, 2020

Antetokounmpo, Middleton represent Bucks at 2020 NBA All-Star Game

The 2020 NBA All-Star Game will be played Sunday at the United Center in Chicago. The Bucks will have a pair of players in the contest: Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton.

Middleton became the 12th Bucks player in team history to make the NBA All-Star Game two or more times in his career with the Bucks. Giannis, on the other hand, became only the fourth Bucks player to make four or more All-Star appearances in a career with the team.

In the Bucks history, 19 different players have made a total of 45 appearances in the All-Star Game. Leading the way is Kareem Abdul-Jabbar who, as a member of the Milwaukee Bucks, made six appearances in the mid-season contest.

Here is a look at the 19 Bucks players who have been chosen to play in the NBA All-Star Game.

6 appearances: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

5 appearances: Sidney Moncrief

4 appearances: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Marques Johnson

3 appearances: Ray Allen, Vin Baker, Bobby Dandridge

2 appearances: Terry Cummings, Khris Middleton, Oscar Robertson, Glenn Robinson, Brian Winters

1 appearance: Bob Lanier, Jon McGlocklin, Ricky Pierce, Jim Price, Michael Redd, Alvin Robertson, Flynn Robinson

For the record, the only time the NBA All-Star Game was played in Milwaukee was in 1977 at the Milwaukee Arena. There were no Bucks in that game. Former Bucks draft choice Julius Erving was the MVP of that game. He was the first-round choice of the Bucks (12th overall pick) in the 1972 draft.

 

 

Follow Jerry on Twitter @StatsonTapp