Archive for the ‘Stats Geekery’ Category

Joel Anthony

In the NBA, the triple-double is probably the most well-known and respected of the unofficial stats. Achieving a triple-double indicates that you’re a “complete player” who excels at multiple facets of the game. Among active players, Jason Kidd is the leader with 106 career triple-doubles, while Oscar Robertson is the all-time leader with 181.

As difficult as it is to achieve a triple-double in the NBA, I’m introducing a stat that is even more difficult to achieve: the triple-zero. This is achieved by playing at least 20 minutes in a game and finishing with exactly zero points, zero rebounds and zero assists.

Now, I know what you’re thinking: “How hard can that be to achieve? All you have to do is do nothing!” Sure, but the challenge is actually staying on the court long enough to reach the 20-minute minimum when you’re contributing virtually nothing to your team’s cause. Most coaches will probably bench a player before he gets there. Here’s the proof that triple-zeros are hard to come by: There have only been 31 of them since the 1986-87 season, according to Basketball-Reference.com.

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Miami Heat

If there’s one thing the NBA blogosphere doesn’t need, it’s another post overanalyzing the Miami Heat and trying to figure out what’s wrong with them. That’s why this isn’t one of those posts. In fact, I’d like to make the case that the Heat are playing a lot better than most of you probably think, and at this point in the season, their biggest problem is that they’ve been unlucky.

It’s safe to say that anyone who claimed before the season that the Heat would get off to a 10-8 start with all three of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in the lineup would be called a hater by most knowledgeable fans. But that’s exactly what has happened and it’s created a maelstrom of panic and finger-pointing in South Beach while many of the rest of us revel in Nelson Muntz style schadenfreude. The theories for why they’re underachieving compared to expectations include poor chemistry, subpar coaching,  lack of work ethic and the possibility that LeBron, Wade and Bosh might just be overrated. There might be something to all of these theories, but what if I told you that the Heat actually deserve to be 13-5 based on their performance so far?

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As a self-professed stats nerd, I get great enjoyment out of the weird, improbable stats that we see in the early part of every NBA season. Sometimes they’re indicative of a trend, sometimes they’re extremely misleading, and the rest of the time they’re just completely random. Here are 10 of the wackiest stats that have intrigued me at the almost-two-week mark of the 2010-11 season. I’ll leave it up to you to determine what they mean, if anything.

  1. LeBron James has yet to grab an offensive rebound after seven games — he had 71 last season.
  2. LeBron’s teammate James Jones has played 187 minutes without turning the ball over a single time. He also leads the league in three-pointers made with 22. I’m thinking these two stats are connected.
  3. Darko Milicic has blocked 19 shots and made just nine field goals. The late Manute Bol had more blocks than field goals in all 10 of his NBA seasons.
  4. Emeka Okafor has made 28 of 39 field goal attempts for a league-leading .718 field goal percentage — Al Horford is a distant second at .654. Okafor has an 85 percent success rate (17-for-20) on shots around the rim.
  5. Okafor isn’t even the most efficient scorer at the rim right now — among players with at least 30 shot attempts in that range, Clippers guard Eric Gordon is an amazing 27-for-31 (87.1 percent)
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