Let’s start this blog with a quiz…
Of the 10 NBA Hall of Fame players listed below, who scored less than 10 points in his NBA debut and who scored more than 20 points in their first game in the NBA? Here’s a hint: Four of the players listed scored less than 10 points; three of those listed scored 20 or more.
The answer is at the end of this column.
This blog is about NBA debuts. The NBA season got started earlier this week and a couple of rookies got their careers off to a great start. Michael Carter-Williams, the 11th pick of the Philadelphia 76ers (from Syracuse) had a big game in the 76ers upset of the Miami Heat. Carter-Williams had 22 points in his NBA debut. Two other first-year players tallied 10 or more points in their first games. Vitor Faverani, the 25-year-old Brazilian who played professionally in Spain from 2005-13, had 13 points in his NBA debut with the Boston Celtics. Victor Oladipo, the second pick of the 2013 draft (Indiana University) by the Orlando Magic had 12 points in his first game in the league.
Based on research on basketball-reference.com dating back to the 1963-64 NBA season, 21 different players scored 25 or more points in their NBA debut. Topping the list is John Drew who scored 32 points for the Atlanta Hawks on October 18, 1974 against the Chicago Bulls. Here’s a look at the players who scored 25 or more points in their NBA debut since 1963-64.
Points in NBA debut, players
32: John Drew
31: Isiah Thomas
30: Willie Anderson, Allen Iverson, Lamar Odom
29: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Gordon Giricek
27: Ron Anderson, Bobby Jackson, Jerry Stackhouse
26: Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf, Darrell Griffith, Magic Johnson, Donyell Marshall, Mitchell Wiggins
25: Willie Burton, Ron Harper, Elvin Hayes, Grant Hill, LeBron James, Rudy Macklin
Trivia answer: The four players who scored less than 10 points in their NBA debut were Dave Bing (0), Clyde Drexler (2), Karl Malone (8) and Pete Maravich (7). The three Hall of Famers who scored 20 or more in their first NBA game were Bob Lanier (22), Bob McAdoo (20) and Dominique Wilkins (23). The other three players on the list were Larry Bird (14), Michael Jordan (16) and Bill Walton (18).
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Sports Stats ‘on Tapp’ is a sports statistics blog published daily that focuses on stats that go beyond the numbers.
LeBron gets 26: LeBron led the Heat last night with 26 points. It’s not uncommon for one or more players to have a big scoring night when a team clinches their NBA title. Lat year, Dallas’ Jason Terry led the Mavs with 27 points in their title-clinching game against the Heat. Miami had great balance in their scoring last night (more on that in a moment), and James’ 26 was the 55th time in the NBA Finals that a player scored 25 or more points in a title-clinching game. There have, however, been 26 players who scored 30 or more points in the game when a team won their NBA title. That group is led by Bob Pettit, who had 50 points in 1958 when the St. Louis Hawks won their NBA crown. Following are the players who scored the most points in a title-clinching game:
50: Bob Pettit, St. Louis (1958)
45: Michael Jordan, Chicago (1998)
42: Magic Johnson, L.A. Lakers (1980)
41: Shaquille O’Neal, L.A. Lakers (2000)
40: John Havlicek, Boston (1968)
40: George Mikan, Minneapolis (1950)
Four score 20: The Heat had four players score 20 or more points in last night’s game… James with 26; Chris Bosh, 24; Mike Miller 23; and Dwyane Wade 20. It was the fourth time since 1985 that a team had four or more players score 20+ points in an NBA Finals game. The other three:
L.A. Lakers, June 4, 1987 (vs. the Boston Celtics): Byron Scott, 24; James Worthy, 23; Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, 23; Magic Johnson, 22 and Michael Cooper, 21.
Boston Celtics, June 7, 19985 (vs. L.A. Lakers): Robert Parrish, 26; Kevin McHale, 24; Dennis Johnson 22 and Larry Bird, 20.
Kudos to Mike Miller: Miller became the fifth player in NBA Finals history to make seven three-point shots in a game. He fell one short of the record of eight held by Ray Allen, who had eight in 2010. The others with seven three-pointers in an NBA Finals game: Allen in 2008; Scottie Pippen in 1997 and Kenny Smith in 1995.
Not many sports personalities come from South Dakota, where Miller is from. I have always had an interest in following Miller’s career since Miller was born in Mitchell and went to high school in Mitchell… and Mitchell, South Dakota is where I was born and lived for a year (before our family moved to Wisconsin). My father is from Mitchell and I remember back in the mid-1990s when my dad would still get the Mitchell paper sent to our house in Wisconsin that he would take about some high school kid named Miller who was going to be a big star in college and hopefully the pros.
So… congratulations Mike Miller, fellow Mitchell, South Dakotan! I’m sure the Corn Palace is rockin’ today.
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Sports Stats ‘on Tapp’ is a sports statistics blog published multiple times weekly focusing on stats that go beyond the numbers.
Your team is down by one and has the ball with 10 seconds left. Who do you want to take the last shot?
Your team is up by two with five seconds remaining. Who do you want to get fouled and sink two free throws to ice the game?
Your team is down by three and needs a three-pointer to tie. Who do you want to shoot the three?
One final question: Who would you rate as the greatest “pure shooters” in the NBA playoffs during the three-point era?
I know, a lot of questions to answer. But here’s a little help. To try to answer the last question of the greatest “pure shooters” in the NBA playoffs in the three-point era, I established a few guidelines. First, a player had to have played in 40 or more playoff games in his career. Secondly, to qualify for the best “pure shooter” label, a player had to have a career playoff shooting percentage of .450 in field goals, .300 in three-point attempts, and a .850 free throw percentage.
Here are the players who qualified for the list (minimum of 40 shots attempted in each category to qualify)
Player, playoff games, FG pct/3-pt pct/FT pct
Larry Bird, 164, .472/.321/.890
Jeff Hornacek, 140, .470/.433/.886
Dirk Nowitzki, 128, .463/.380/.893
John Paxson, 119, .494/.369/.867
Steve Nash, 118, .473/.409/.899
Ray Allen, 113, .453/.415/.893
Joe Dumars, 112, .462/.358/.855
Ricky Pierce, 97, .466/.355/.866
Antonio Daniels, 80/.461/.353/.863
Hersey Hawkins, 74, .455/.396/.907
Chris Mullin, 71, .495/.409/.859
Kiki Vandeweghe, 68, .510/.345/.907
Mark Price, 47, .464/.337/.944
If we use these same criteria for this year’s playoffs, and drop the minimum attempts to 10, we have only two players who qualify as the best “pure shooters” in this year’s playoffs. They are:
Chris Paul, 5 games, .469/.389/.882
James Harden, 4 games, .500/.462/.871
What do you think?
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Sports Stats ‘on Tapp’ is a biweekly blog published every Wednesday and Sunday with a bonus “SIX STATS…” published every Friday.
Last season the L.A. Clippers Blake Griffin was the only NBA player to have over 1,200 points, over 600 rebounds, and 300 or more assists. Griffin scored 1,845 points, had 989 rebounds and dished out 312 assists. LeBron James fell 10 rebounds short last year of making the 1,200-600-300 club.
Following are the players who have the most 1,200+ points, 600+ rebounds, and 300+ assists seasons in the NBA.
10… Larry Bird
9…. Kevin Garnett, Karl Malone
7…. Wilt Chamberlain
6…. Charles Barkley
5…. Elgin Baylor, Oscar Robertson
4…. Dave Cowens, Billy Cunningham, Fat Lever, Scottie Pippen, Chris Webber
3…. Alvan Adams, Brad Daugherty, John Havlicek, Connie Hawkins, Grant Hill, Magic Johnson, Detlef Schrempf, Mychal Thompson, Antoine Walker, Sidney Wicks
“SIX STATS…” is a bonus feature of Sports Stats ‘on Tapp’ and is published every Friday.
1. The Dallas Mavericks were a first-time NBA champion last season. They were the third first-time champ in the last 13 years; Miami in 2005-06 and San Antonio in 1998-99.
2. Derrick Rose was the league MVP last year. He became the 16th former Rookie of the Year to eventually win the MVP honor. The others: Bob Pettit, Wilt Chamberlain, Oscar Robertson, Willis Reed, Wes Unseld, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Dave Cowens, Bob McAdoo, Larry Bird, Michael Jordan, David Robinson, Shaquille O’Neal, Allen Iverson, Tim Duncan and LeBron James.
3. Steve Nash won his fifth assists title in 2010-11. That ties him with Jason Kidd for fourth most assist titles in league history. John Stockton won nine titles; Bob Cousy, 8, and Oscar Robertson, 6.
4. The Chicago Bulls won the Central Division by 25 games over the Indiana Pacers. It was the third time in four years that a team has won a divisional title by 25 games. The other two: Cleveland in 2008-09 and Boston in 2007-08.
5. Paul Pierce became the 37th player in league history to score 20,000 points. He became the third Boston Celtics player (John Havlicek and Larry Bird) to score all of his 20,000+ points with the Celtics.
6. Another Celtic, Ray Allen passed Reggie Miller for the career lead in three-point shots made, 2,612 (Miller had 2,560). Last season Allen shot .444 from the three-point arc, the best percentage of his 15-year career. He also had his best field goal percentage of his career last year shooting .491 from the field. Allen is a career .399 percentage shooter from the arc; his career three-point percentage at home is .399 and .399 on the road.