TODAYSPORTSTAT-July 5, 2017
The big news in the NBA yesterday was the free agent signing of Gordon Hayward with the Boston Celtics. Hayward, a 6-foot-8 small forward from Butler University who spent his first seven seasons in the league with the Utah Jazz, is reunited with his college coach, Brad Stevens, head coach of the Celtics.
Hayward provides the Celts with another serious scoring threat as they look to take the next step in trying to reach the NBA Finals via the Eastern Conference. Hayward has increased his points per game average each year since he came in the league in 2011… from 5.4, 11.8, 14.1, 16.2, 19.3, 19.7, and 21.9 last season.
According to Basketball-Reference.com, last season Hayward was one of 22 players who had a True Shooting Percentage (TSP) of .595 or above (Note: TSP combines a player’s shooting percentage for two-point, three-point and free throw attempts). The only team to have three players on the list was the champion Golden state Warriors with Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Kevin Durant. The Celtics had two players on the list (Isaiah Thomas and Jae Crowder) and now add another top shooter to their team with Hayward.
The Utah Jazz defeated the Los Angeles Clippers in the first round of this year’s NBA playoffs in a Game Seven. It was the first Game Seven in this year’s playoffs.
Last season, five of the 15 playoff series went to a Game Seven, including the finals series between the Cavs and Warriors.
Let’s take a look at a few stats you may not know about Game Sevens in the NBA playoffs over the past 25 seasons (from 1993-2017).
- The Miami Heat played in the most Game Sevens since 1993 with 10. They are followed by the Rockets with nine, and Boston and Indiana with eight.
- Since 1993, the Heat also had the most Game Seven wins with six. Houston and the L.A. Lakers have five Game Seven wins in the last 25 seasons.
- The Indiana Pacers have the most Game Seven losses in the last 25 years with five. They are followed by Miami, Houston and Boston with four each.
- The best win-loss percentage in Game Sevens over the past 25 years are the Timberwolves 1.000 (1-0), the Lakers .833 (5-1), Dallas and Detroit each 4-1 (.800) and Utah 3-1 (.750).
- The worst Game Seven win-loss percentage since 1993 are Sacramento and Memphis .000 (0-3), and Denver, Portland, New Orleans and Charlotte .000 (0-2).
- The New York Knicks have the longest drought since they played in a Game Seven. The last Game Seven they played in was 2000. Portland has not played in a Game Seven since 2003, the second longest drought in the league.
The second round of the NBA playoffs will get started this week. Of the four teams that made it to the conference finals last year (Cleveland, Golden State, Oklahoma City and Toronto), it looks like only two might return this year… OKC was eliminated in the first round this year by Houston, and Cleveland and Toronto will face each other in the second round this season, with one of them advancing to the conference finals again. Golden State would be the second team if they can advance past the winner of the Utah-L.A. Clippers series winner.
Of the 30 NBA franchises, 14 have played in a conference finals at least once this decade (2010-16). Three current franchises have never played in an NBA conference finals: Charlotte, the L.A. Clippers and New Orleans. Of the teams that have at least one conference finals in their history, the longest wait is from the Washington Bullets. The last time they appeared in a conference finals was in 1979. They could erase that mark this season if they can beat the Boston Celtics in the second round of the Eastern Conference playoffs and advance to the conference finals.
Here’s a look at the 30 NBA franchises and the last year they appeared in a conference finals series. (Current franchise city is listed.)
Never: Charlotte, L.A. Clippers, New Orleans
2000: New York Knicks, Portland
2001: Milwaukee, Philadelphia
2010: L.A. Lakers, Orlando, Phoenix
2011: Chicago, Dallas
2014: Indiana, Miami, San Antonio
2015: Atlanta, Houston
2016: Cleveland, Golden State, Oklahoma City, Toronto
As the 2016-17 NBA season winds down, teams are starting to jockey for playoff spots. Those bound for the playoffs are trying to improve their position, while those sitting on the outside of the playoff picture at this time of the season are looking to make a final run to secure a post-season spot.
Is making the NBA playoffs important for teams? My guess is that most fans and team personnel would answer with a resounding, “Yes!”
But what if your team made the playoffs and was immediately eliminated in the first round? Does that matter? Would it have been better to not even make the playoffs if your team was going to get eliminated right away?
Maybe not real easy questions to answer. But let’s take a look at the first-round elimination in the NBA, especially since 2000. Specifically, let’s look at how often each team has been eliminated in the first round of the NBA playoffs since 2000.
The Denver Nuggets have made the playoffs 10 times since 2000. But they have been eliminated in the first round in nine of those seasons, most of any team this century. The only year they got past the first round was in 2009 when they made it to the Western Conference Finals. That nine out of ten times (90%) is the highest percentage of any team eliminated in the first round since 2000. The Milwaukee Bucks have made the playoffs eight times since 2000, but they have been eliminated in the first round in seven of those eight seasons, a 87.5% rate, second highest in the league.
Here’s a look at the number of times each team has been eliminated in the first round of the NBA playoffs since 2000. (The number listed in parenthesis is the number of season they made the playoffs since 2000.)
9: Denver (10)
8: Dallas (15)
7: Houston (9), Milwaukee (8), Portland (10)
6: Chicago (10), Indiana (12), Memphis (9), Orlando (9), Toronto (8)
5: Boston (12), New Orleans (6), Philadelphia (9), Utah (9)
4: Atlanta (9), Charlotte (6), Miami (13), Minnesota (5), New York Knicks (6), San Antonio (17)
3: Brooklyn (9), Detroit (10), L.A. Lakers (13), Oklahoma City (9), Phoenix (8), Sacramento (7), Washington (6)
2: L.A. Clippers (6)
1: Golden State (5)
0: Cleveland (7)
As you probably noticed from the numbers above, the San Antonio Spurs are the only team to make the playoffs every year this century followed by Dallas with 15 of the 17 seasons. At the other end are the Minnesota Timberwolves, and surprisingly, the Golden State Warriors, who have been in the NBA upper echelon over the past few seasons.
Follow Jerry on Twitter @StatsonTapp
When players get a chance to play in the NBA, there are various outcomes they hope for: a long career, an NBA Championship, the Hall of Fame, an All-Star Game appearance (or more), enough money to not have to worry for the rest of their life. You get the point.
But let’s deal with one aspect what a player hopes for: To be considered an All-Star. We just saw the 2017 NBA All-Star Game played in New Orleans with several repeat performers like LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony and Kevin Durant, and a few first-timers like Giannis Antetokounmpo. There are, however, NBA players who have had very successful NBA careers who never suited up for an NBA-Star Game. In fact, there are 15 players who have 14,000 or more career points in the league who have been played in the ASG. They are:
Eddie Johnson, 19,202
Jason Terry, 18,577
Jamal Crawford, 1,7770
Andre Miller, 16,278
Derek Harper, 16,006
Sam Perkins, 15,324
Byron Scott, 15,097
James Edwards, 14,862
Richard Jefferson, 14,702
Mike Bibby, 14,698
Jason Richardson, 14,644
Monta Ellis, 14,630
Purvis Short, 14,607
Rod Strickland, 14,463
Al Jefferson, 14,043
Of these 15, five are still active this season: Terry, Crawford, Richard Jefferson, Ellis, and Al Jefferson.
If we look at just career games played in the league, Jason Terry leads that category. Terry (through the 2017 All-Star break) has 1,332 career games in the NBA, 28 more than the player second on the list, Andre Miller.
Of the players who have never appeared in the NBA All-Star Game, Leroy Ellis has the most rebounds with 8,709; Miller has the most assists with 8,524; and Derek Harper tops this list of players with 1,957 steals.
Jason Terry is only 635 points behind Eddie Johnson for the top spot in this stat, but at age 39 (he turns 40 in September), his career may not see many more days after this campaign. On the other hand, Jamal Crawford, third on the list and a little over 1,400 points shy of the top spot, may have enough of a career left to challenge Eddie Johnson. Crawford turns 37 in March, but he is still a very productive player off the bench for the Clippers averaging over 12 points per game. He may have a realistic shot at surpassing Johnson.
Follow Jerry on Twitter @StatsonTapp