I looove keeping tabs on various sports-related statistics, like you probably already noted. Individual players’ stats are the main attraction of course, but team stats can be awesome too.
For example, how about this über-cool list I made of all the league’s franchises and the number of seasons they had which ended with 50+ and 60+ wins? 50 wins in a season is very good (although in the present Western Conference you could only guarantee yourself the 7th place with it), and 60 wins is a season for the ages. Let’s see how many of these good and great seasons each franchise had. All the data was collected via the awesome basketball-reference website.
|Franchise||# Of 50+ Wins Seasons||# Of 60+ Wins Seasons|
|Golden State Warriors||5||0|
|Los Angeles Clippers||2||0|
|Los Angeles Lakers||32||11|
|New Orleans Pelicans||1||0|
|New York Knicks||13||2|
|Oklahoma City Thunder||14||4|
|Portland Trail Blazers||12||1|
|San Antonio Spurs||24||5|
And now, some interesting facts about those numbers…
First of all, the values in the cells were re-shuffled recently, due to the Charlotte-Bobcats-New-Orleans-Pelicans-Hornets confusion. Some of New Orleans’ past seasons were transferred to the new Charlotte Hornets (former Bobcats). The most dramatic result of that move was that it left the Toronto Raptors as the ONLY franchise in the NBA who never had a 50+ wins season! Damn. I understand now why Vince Carter and Chris Bosh ran away…
The franchise with the most 50+ wins seasons? The Lakers, with 32! But the Celtics are really close, with 31.
The franchise with the most 60+ wins seasons? We have revenge here! The Celtics lead the way, with 13 such seasons, while the Lakers are in second place, with 11 of those.
BTW, it’s amazing how the last 30 years of those franchises are similar: A great streak of success in the 80’s, which lasted throughout the early 90’s, then a somewhat pale second half of the 90’s, another great streak at the end of the 00’s, and now a lousy present. Yeah, I know the Lakers had another dynasty in the early 00’s, but it goes against my thesis, so fuck that incongruency.
The third best franchise? The San Antonio Spurs, with 24 50+ wins seasons and 5 60+ wins seasons.
The Bulls have 6 60+ wins seasons (and of course, the NBA’s only 70+ wins season!), and until a few years ago we were able to say that all of their 60+ wins seasons came in the Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen era. But then came Derrick Rose, and he carried them to a 62 wins season in 2010-11. Boy, I loved that player… I really hope he can come back this time. He probably will never be the same player again, but THAT Rose was fucking amazing, and if he can achieve 80% of THAT Rose, it will be great.
And now some more players who are almost single-handedly responsible for their team’s record in that table:
Jason Kidd – Brooklyn Nets (1/1 50+ seasons). Yeah, I know, 1/1, but that Kidd was amazing and he single-handedly transformed the Nets… L
LeBron James – Cleveland Cavaliers (4/7 50+ seasons, 2/2 60+ seasons). A no-brainer. Will probably extend that record now.
Dirk Nowitzki – Dallas Mavericks (11/13 50+ seasons, 3/3 60+ seasons). BTW, the Mavericks have a huuuuge outlier with their 2006-07 season, when they had 67 wins. Their next best record? 60 wins. I didn’t check it, but I believe they are the only such team in the league.
Reggie Miller – Indiana Pacers (5/6 50+ seasons, 1/1 60+ seasons). I loved Reggie Miller so much that as a kid I always traded for him in the 90’s NBA PC games. In fact, I had a “must have” list of players which I always traded for: Reggie, Dennis Rodman, Charles Barkley, and Muggsy Bogues.
Chris Paul – LA Clippers (2/2 50+ wins seasons). Yep, definitely Paul and not Blake Griffin. And Paul is also responsible for the Pelicans’ only 50+ wins season (2007-08), but due to all the weird history updating of that franchise I really don’t want to go into that.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar – Milwaukee Bucks (5/13 50+ wins seasons, 3/4 60+ wins seasons). Not the kind of dominance that other players on the list have, but consider the fact that Kareem only played 6 seasons for the Bucks. In 5 of them the Bucks had 50+ wins, and in 3 of them they topped 60 wins. In the 40 seasons they Bucks played without Kareem they topped 60 wins only once.
Kevin Garnett – Minnesota Timberwolves (4/4 50+ wins seasons). Well, this is another no-brainer. KG is also responsible for 8/9 40+ wins seasons in the Timberwolves’ history.
Patrick Ewing – New York Knicks (7/13 50+ wins seasons, 1/2 60+ wins seasons). I put Patrick here reluctantly, because I never liked this player, nor the franchise he was a symbol of.
Tim Duncan – San Antonio Spurs (16/24 50+ wins seasons, 4/5 60+ wins seasons). And it really should be 17/25 50+ seasons and 5/6 60+ seasons – that fucking strike in the 98-99 season… Timmy is THE MAN!
Chris Bosh – Toronto Raptors (0/0 50+ seasons, 0/0 60+ seasons). Damn Bosh, you nailed it! Actually, I really like this player, he’s probably the one I’d pick from Miami’s Big Three to sit in a bar with over a couple of beers.
Karl Malone – Utah Jazz (11/14 50+ wins seasons, 3/3 60+ wins seasons). Another no-brainer.
Wes Unseld – Washington Wizards (5/5 50+ wins seasons, 1/1 60+ wins seasons). Perhaps some of the credit should go to Elvin Hayes, but Unseld was there the whole time, while Hayes joined later on.
And here are two cases which are more complicated:
Detroit Pistons – 7/14 of their 50+ and 1/2 of their 60+ seasons came during the early 2000’s. I know that many people treat Chauncey Billups as the Pistons’ alpha dog during that period, but he was not present on all of those teams. Neither was the player whom I consider to be the greatest from that team – Big Ben Wallace. So the Pistons are not appearing on this list.
Sacramento Kings – 5/7 of their 50+ and 1/1 of their 60+ seasons came during that famous 5-years span in the early 00’s. That was a great team, and their battles with the Lakers will forever be burned into my brain, but who was the alpha dog on that team? Chris Webber? Mike Bibby? Peja Stojakovic? I really can’t decide. And maybe it should be that way, that awesome team should be remembered as a TEAM.
What, that’s it?! Well, yes. Now I need to find the time to watch all the Diamond League meetings I missed during my trip. Damn, I really missed T&F.
It says this is 3 years old, but haven’t the Raptors had 2 50 win seasons and the Hawks one 60 win season?
Well, yeah, but not at the time when I wrote this piece…