Today’s Sports Stat: February 9, 2019

Scorers make up the bulk of All-Star Game selections

If you need any proof that players who score a lot of points find a way onto an NBA All-Star Game roster, consider this: Of the 31 players who are currently (through games of February 8) averaging 20 or more points per game this season, 20 of them are on one of the two NBA All-Star Game rosters.

Of the 11 players who are averaging 20+ points per game that did not make the All-Star Game rosters this season, Devin Booker leads the way with a 24.9 points per game average this season. He is tied for 12th in the league’s scoring race.

There are six players who made this year’s All-Star Game who have a scoring average less than 20 points per game: Dwyane Wade (14.0) and Ben Simmons (17.0) from Team LeBron; and Kyle Lowry (14.2), Khris Middleton (17.3), Dirk Nowitzki (4.4) and D’Angelo Russell (19.8) from Team Giannis. For the record, Wade and Nowitzki were added to this year’s roster by Commissioner Adam Silver as special roster additions.

There have been 15 players who played in an NBA All-Star Game who ended the season with a scoring average of 10 points or less. The last player in this category was back in the 2005-06 season when Ben Wallace played in the All-Star Game that year and ended the season with a 7.3 per game scoring average. Wallace made an NBA All-Star Game roster four straight seasons (2002-03, 2003-04, 2004-05 and 2005-06) with a season-ending points per game average under 10 points per game. (Of course, savvy NBA fans will know that Wallace’s main contribution during his career was rebounding and defense.)

Here are the players who made an All-Star Game roster in a season when their season-ending scoring average was 10 points or less that year.

7 seasons: Dick McGuire
4 seasons: Ben Wallace
2 seasons: Slater Martin, Dennis Rodman
1 season: Don Buse, James Donaldson, Mark Eaton, Bill Gabor, Tom Gola, Bob Harrison, Dikembe Mutumbo, Andy Phillip, Richie Regan, Bill Russell, Wes Unseld.

There have been seven players who ended an NBA season with a per-game scoring average above 27 points per game who did not make the All-Star Game that season. They are:

Adrian Dantley, 1982-83, 30.7 points per game
Bob Rule, 1970-71, 29.8
World B. Free, 1978-79, 28.8
Tiny Archibald, 1971-72, 28.2
Purvis Short, 1984-85, 28.0
Dominique Wilkins, 1984-85, 27.4
Wilt Chamberlain, 1969-70, 27.3

There have also been 25 players who averaged 25 or more points per game in a season that did not make an NBA All-Star Game roster that season. Three players, Damian Lillard, Michael Redd and Purvis Short have had it happen to them twice in their careers.

Here’s one more stat: Noted above is that 20 of the 31 players averaging 20 or more points per game this season made an All-Star Game squad (64.5%). Of the 17 players averaging 10 or more rebounds per game this season, seven (41%) made the All-Star game; of the 14 players averaging seven or more assists per game, seven (50%) made the All-Star Game; of the 15 players averaging 1.6 or more steals per game, six (40%) made the All-Star Game; and, of the 14 players who are averaging 1.5 or more blocks per game, only three (21%) made an All-Star game roster.

Yes, the numbers show us… putting the ball in the basket is the key for finding a way onto an NBA All-Star Game roster.

 

Follow Jerry on Twitter @StatsonTapp

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Today’s Sportstat: February 3, 2019

Bucks’ 50-game stats put them in exclusive company

When the Milwaukee Bucks defeated the Toronto Raptors on January 30 in Game #50 of the season, it upped their record to 37-13 (a .740 winning percentage). That win also helped the team reach a sort of milestone in league history: The Bucks became the 100th team in league history to reach 37 or more wins in their first 50 games of a season.

The .740 winning percentage at the 50-game mark is now tied for the fourth highest in team history, and this year’s team became the seventh team in franchise history to have a .700 or better winning percentage 50 games into the season. Here are those seven Bucks’ teams.

1970-71, 41-9 (.820)
1971-72, 39-11 (.780)
1973-74, 39-11 (.780)
1980-81, 37-13 (.740)
2018-19, 37-13 (.740)
1972-73, 36-14 (.720)
1981-82, 36-14 (.720)

Of the seven Bucks teams that were at a .700 or better winning percentage at the 50-game mark, the 70-71 team won the NBA title that year, while the 73-74 squad lost in the NBA Finals that season. The 71-72 team lost in the Western Conference Finals that year; the remaining three teams above each lost in a conference semi-finals that season.

This year’s team scored 5,849 points through the first 50 games, the second-most in team history (the 1970-71 team had 5,969 points through their first 50 games). In addition, this year’s team allowed 5,363 points through their first 50 games, sixth fewest in team history.

But here’s an amazing stat to consider when you put the points scored and points allowed through 50 games together as a stat: This year’s Bucks became only the sixth team in NBA history to score more than 5,800 points and allow less than 5,400 points in their first 50 games of the season.

Following are the six teams who reached this rare stat through the first 50 games of a season:

1966-67, Boston, 5808 points scored, 5380 points allowed

1970-71, Milwaukee, 5969 points scored, 5320 points allowed

1986-87, L.A. Lakers, 5865 points scored, 5384 points allowed

1990-91, Portland, 5836 points scored, 5314 points allowed

2016-17, Golden State, 5921 points scored, 5263, points allowed

2018-19, Milwaukee, 5849 points scored, 5363 points allowed.

Of the five teams who reached this stat prior to the Bucks this season, three won the NBA Finals that season (1970-71 Bucks, 1986-87 Lakers and 2016-17 Warriors), while the 1966-67 Celtics and 1990-91 Trailblazers each lost in a conference finals matchup.

 

Follow Jerry on Twitter @StatsonTapp

Today’s Sportstat: January 31, 2019

Super Bowl 53 MVP? Brady? Goff? Other?

If you are looking to predict who might be the MVP of the Super Bowl this year, you won’t go wrong by picking either of the opposing QBs… Tom Brady or Jared Goff. In the past 52 Super Bowls, there have been 29 quarterbacks chosen as the MVP, well over half of those honored.

But there’s more to the story. Here’s a handful of stats you may not know about QBs and the Super Bowl MVP Award. Did you know…

  • Joe Namath is the only Super Bowl MVP QB who did not throw a TD pass in that game.
  • Of the 53 Super Bowl winning quarterbacks who threw five or more passes in the game (the Baltimore Colts in 1971 had QBs Earl Morrall and Johnny Unitas each attempt five or more passes in that game), 45 had at least one TD pass in the game.
  • Every Super Bowl winning QB who threw three or more TD passes in the game was selected as the MVP… one threw six TD passes (Steve Young), one threw five TD passes (Joe Montana), four had four TD passes, and seven had three TD passes. That’s 13 of the 13 Super Bowl winning QBs who had three or more TD passes was selected as the game’s MVP.
  • Of the 15 Super Bowl winning QBs who had two TD passes in the game, eight were chosen as the game’s MVP. Of the 17 Super Bowl winning QBs who had one TD pass in the game, seven were chosen as the MVP. Eight Super Bowl winning QBs did not have a TD pass in the game.
  • Of the 28 Super Bowl winning QBs who had two or more TD passes in the game, 21 went on to win the MVP… that’s 75%. Good odds for any Super Bowl winning QB who can get at least two TD passes on his stat line.

There have been a few Super Bowl winning QBs who, statistically speaking, did not have very impressive games. Topping that list would probably be Pittsburgh’s Ben Roethlisberger. In the Steelers’ 2006 Super Bowl win over Seattle, Roethlisberger had a Passer Rating of 22.6, the lowest Passer Rating of any Super Bowl winning QB. He had no TD passes and two interceptions in the game.

Following are the five Super Bowl winning QBs who had the lowest Passer Rating in the contest.

Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh, 2006… 22.6
John Elway, Denver, 1998… 51.9
Earl Morrall, Baltimore, 1971… 54.0
Peyton Manning, Denver, 2016… 56.6
Joe Theismann, Washington, 1983… 75.1

In addition, did you know…

  • Four Super Bowl winning QBs completed less than 50% of their passes in the big game: Roethlisberger 42.9% (2006), Morrall 46.7% (1971), Terry Bradshaw 47.4% (1976) and Trent Dilfer 48.0% (2001).
  • Eight Super Bowl winning QBs did not have a TD pass in the game: Roethlisberger (2006), Elway (1998), Peyton Manning (2016), Morrall (1971), Namath (1969), Troy Aikman (1994), Jim McMahon (1986), Bob Griese (1974).
  • Four Super Bowl winning QBs had multiple interceptions in the game: Bradshaw (three in 1980… he was still selected MVP in the game); Tom Brady (two in 2005… also selected MVP of the game); Joe Theismann (two in 1983); and Roethlisberger (two in 2006).

Just to add a little balance to this piece, there have been six Super Bowl losing QBs who had three TD passes in the game: Roger Staubach (1979), Brett Favre (1998), Jake Delhomme (2004), Donovan McNabb (2005), Kurt Warner (2009) and Tom Brady (2018).

 

Follow Jerry on Twitter @StatsonTapp

Today’s Sportstat: January 24, 2019

Which team will be the winningest MLB team this decade?

Will it be the New York Yankees? The Los Angeles Dodgers? The St. Louis Cardinals? Or could the Boston Red Sox make a run at this title? And, do the Washington nationals have a shot?

This year will be the final year of this decade and that means it’s the final season of the baseball decade. Entering 2019, there are three MLB teams which have won 800 or more games this decade: the Yankees with 818, the Dodgers with 813, and the Cardinals with 808. The Red Sox are a distant fourth on this list with 788 victories since 2010. Washington is fifth on the list with 786 wins.

With a 30-game lead over the Red Sox, the Yankees appear to be a lock for the winningest A.L. team this decade. The N.L., on the other hand, appears to be a two-team race with the Cardinals only five games behind the Dodgers. The Nationals are still in the picture, but trail L.A. by 27 games.

Here’s a look at the number of wins each franchise has this decade. It’s is broken down by each league (current city is listed for each team).

American League
New York Yankees, 818
Boston, 788
Texas, 765
Tampa Bay, 764
Cleveland, 762
Anaheim, 750
Oakland, 742
Detroit, 735
Toronto, 727
Baltimore, 701
Kansas City, 699
Seattle, 690
Chicago White Sox, 671
Minnesota, 664

National League
Los Angeles Dodgers, 813
St. Louis, 808
Washington, 786
Atlanta, 746
San Francisco, 744
Milwaukee, 735
Chicago Cubs, 733
Pittsburgh, 723
Arizona, 708
New York Mets, 707
Philadelphia, 706
Cincinnati, 700
Colorado, 681
San Diego, 669
Florida, 650

The Houston Astros, who spent time in both leagues this century, have 682 wins since 2010. That places them 25th overall.

By the way, how many of you would have thought that the Brewers have more wins this decade than the Cubs?

 

Follow Jerry on Twitter @StatsonTapp

It’s time to change the NFL’s OT rule

by Jerry Tapp

Let me preface what I’m about to say with this one statement: I am not a die-hard Kansas City Chiefs fan.

With that out of the way, something has to be done about the ridiculous overtime rule in the NFL. We saw it firsthand this past weekend when the Chiefs and New England went into OT in their AFC Championship Game. By winning the coin toss, the Patriots got the ball first and drove down for a TD, thus ending the game. The Chiefs did not get a chance to even touch the ball on offense.

This has been the rule for some time now. And it’s now time to change it. It’s time to make sure that each team, especially in the playoffs, get at least one time to have possession.

Think about it: In what other sport does a team that wins a coin toss get to have possession and then can win a game without their opponents even having a chance? Baseball? Nope. If the game goes into extra innings, both teams get to bat. Think of the outrage if MLB changed the rule and the first team that scored in extra innings would win (that would have to be the road team in this case). Stupid, right? You bet. At least in baseball each team gets an at-bat in extra innings. If the road team scores a run in the top of the 10th, the home team must either score one or two runs or the game is over.

Basketball? No, again. There is a five-minute overtime period in the NBA. Both teams get multiple chances to handle the ball. How about we change the rule and the first team that scores wins the game? Absurd, right? You bet.

Even in the NHL, there is sudden death. But I think it’s pretty rare that a team would win an OT face-off and would immediately score a goal without the other team handling the puck.

Winning a coin toss should never be the factor in a team winning a game in OT, again, especially in the playoffs. Why the NFL would think that this is okay is beyond me. I know in biblical times they would cast lots if an important decision had to be made, but I don’t think the NFL based their OT rule on Old Testament biblical principles. I could be wrong, but I don’t think I am.

As it states right now, the team that wins the coin toss in an NFL overtime game wins if they score a TD. If that team has to punt or commits a turnover, or if they kick a field goal, the other team has a chance to have possession. I say that even if that team that wins the toss scores a TD, let the other team have a possession. If they don’t score a TD, then the game is over. If they do score a TD, then, and only then, do you make the game sudden death. At least each team had one possession. If you want to reward the team for winning the coin toss, at least let the other team get one possession. What happens after that is fair game.

For Patrick Mahomes not to get a chance to match Tom Brady’s overtime drive just seemed wrong. Both teams need to get a fair shot. If the NBA, NHL and Major League Baseball can make sure that their overtime (or extra inning format) is fair for both teams, the NFL has to figure out a way to get on par with its fellow professional sports.

Other people are advocating the NFL go to the overtime system used by college football. I’m okay with that as well. At least both teams have the same chance to win.

But the way things are now in the NFL, the way this year’s AFC Championship Game ended (and the way other OT games have ended in past where only one team had possession) has to be changed. There are people a lot smarter than me that should be able to figure out a plausible way to play overtime.

If, however, the NFL comes out and says its overtime policy is based on Old Testament principles and the coin toss must remain in its current form, well, then I guess divine intervention has spoken. I highly doubt that is the case.

We lost out on a possible terrific scenario when Mahomes and the Chiefs did not get a chance to match the Pats. Heck, I would’ve watched another hour of the game if both teams marched up and down the field matching TD in OT. Must-see TV? You betcha.

It may not have lessened the outcry from fans who thought the officiating in both title games was sub-par, but at least we wouldn’t be listening to the ever-present outrage because of a stupid overtime policy.

NFL… The ball is in your court. Or should I say, you have possession. Let’s end this discussion about how unfair the overtime format is once and for all.