NBA All Star Watch – Part I

Ho ho ho,  we’re nearing the NBA all-star game, and it’s a great opportunity to have a look at the records book in order to keep a close watch on the players who can make a splash in this year’s game and who might move ahead in the all-time leaders lists in the various categories.

Several years ago, I compiled an Excel file with stats about all the players who ever took part in the all star game. While I was at it, I also compiled a list of the leaders in each category.

Back then these stats were not available on the BBR website, and the NBA official website had stats which weren’t updated since 1984 or something like that. That Excel file was my way of keeping up to date with all the leaders in each category. Only some time later BBR added an all-star leaders section to their website. Does this mean I deleted my old Excel file and stopped using it? Bitch please! I like to keep things old school, and I kept updating it ever since, after each year’s game. Here’s how it looks like:

Nobody reads the captions anyway!

Nobody reads the captions anyway!

In this post, which will actually be composed of two parts, I’m planning to go over the leaders in the various statistical categories in the history of the NBA all-star game and to see whether there are some players who are going to take part in this year’s game and who can move a few ladders in the lists, and perhaps even threaten the all-time record (if you’re having a déjà-vu right now it’s not because I already wrote it at the beginning of the post. It’s a glitch in the matrix. They changed something. RUN!!!). To keep things interesting, I’m going to keep the most interesting categories for last, so if you’re interested in rebounds, assists and points – you can go ahead and skip this post, and simply wait for the next part, which will be published in the next few days. But take into account that it will really offend me.

I’m going to present the top 5 in each statistical category, unless there is some good reason not to do that.

So, without Freddy Adu, let us dive into the depths of the various records!

Games Played

Player

Games

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

18

Kevin Garnett

14

Kobe Bryant

14

Tim Duncan

14

Not to be confused with the number of selections the players had! I’m talking here strictly about the actual number of all-star games a player took part in. The list only has four players, because there are many who played in 13 games and such a long table will violate the post’s spirit. Sexually. Anyway, we can see that Kareem is the absolute leader here, and by a hefty margin. Kobe is ruled out of this year’s game, but Timmy has been selected, and unless something unexpected happens – he should claim to himself the undisputed number 2 spot. However, I really can’t imagine him being selected to another all-star game (this selection came a big surprise as well), so I think he’ll end his career with 15 games.

The only player who I think might one day threaten Kareem’s amazing record is LeBron, who will play in his 11th game this year. I reckon LeBron will be selected to play every year he’s healthy and playing decent ball, and since he’s only 30 years old, he still has some 5 quality years in him. And after that he’ll have the benefit of the mega-stars – i.e. that same quality which allowed Kobe to be selected this year as a starter although objectively I don’t know whether he even deserved a reserve spot. So it all depends on how many years LeBron will play in the league. I reckon he can easily make it 15 games, and I give him a 40% to reach 17.

Minutes

Player

Minutes

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

449

Kobe Bryant

389

Wilt Chamberlain

388

Michael Jordan

382

Oscar Robertson

380

Well, I don’t know how BBR counts them minutes, but both myself and NBA.com have Kobe at 389 minutes, while at the BBR website leaders list he has 388. In myself we trust, so I go with 389. Anyway, Kareem’s record is unattainable so far, and with Kobe out of this year’s game, it will stay safe for a long time. The next active player on this list is LeBron, who lies at 14th place, with 310 minutes. If he plays around 30 minutes, like he did in all the all-star games he took part in, then this year he will move up to the top 10. Jerry West is in 9th place with 341 minutes, and Bill Russell lies in 8th place with 343. LeBron might just squeeze between them.

BTW, let’s all start a slow clap for the player who is last on this list – Otis Thorpe. He played in only one all-star game in 1992, and logged a mere 4 minutes. Otis Thorpe – you’re the real MVP.

Field Goals Made

Player

Field Goals

Kobe Bryant

115

Michael Jordan

110
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

105

LeBron James

102

Oscar Robertson

88

Ok, Kobe’s the all-time leader. That’s cool. But it’s only a matter of time before LeBron overtakes him. LeBron makes an average of 10.2 field goals per all-star game, and if he maintains that tempo (and there’s no reason he shouldn’t be able to do so), he will climb to second place after this year’s game. And next year he will claim the top spot to himself, whether Kobe plays in the all-star game or not. The next active player on the list is Dwyane Wade, who made 77 field goals in his all-star career. Wade can make it his lifetime ambition to finish in the top 5 by the time his career ends. He might just make it, if he will be selected to one more all-star game (which is far from being certain).

Field Goals Attempted

Player

Attempted Field Goals

Michael Jordan

233

Kobe Bryant

227
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

213

LeBron James

198

Bob Pettit

193

Surprisingly, Kobe is not the leader in this category! This is due to the fact that Michael’s FG% in the all-star game (47.2%) is much lower than in the regular season (49.7%), while Kobe actually shoots better in the all-star game (50.7% to 45.1%). This might be due to the fact that the nature of the all-star game has changed in the past decade, to a simple exhibition game through the first three and a half quarters, which allows players to boost their FG%. I don’t know whether Kobe might be able to catch Michael – will Kobe return next year for one last all-star game? I say there’s a 50% chance of that happening. But it doesn’t really matter, because LeBron will take the lead here as well – and that will probably happen next year.

You might notice that the leaders from the previous category simply decided to play musical chairs here, and that they also decided to dump Oscar Robertson in favor of Bob Pettit. Pettit enjoys (or suffers from? Nah, probably enjoys) the fact that shooting percentages were way lower in his days, and so he shot 42% from the field in the all-star games he took part in, en route to 5th place all-time in field goals attempts.

The next active player on the list? Kevin Garnett, who has 141 attempts, and who is lying at 12th place. But as his all-star days are over, as are Ray Allen‘s (16th with 130. Is he considered an active player BTW?!), we turn to Wade again, who with 120 attempts is lying at 20th place. Anyway, the top 5 is not going to change in the next couple of years… only in its internal order.

3-Pt Field Goals Made

Player

3 Point Field Goals

LeBron James

23

Ray Allen

22
Kobe Bryant

21

Kevin Durant

17

Tracy McGrady

13

A really disappointing top 5, this one. I mean – seriously, you need only 13 treys to be in the all-time top 5?! Come on, that’s only one 3-pointer less than the record for a single game! Are you fucking kidding me?! Where are the splash brothers when you need them?

Anyway, this top 5 will probably look completely different 5 years from now. LeBron will extend his total (despite going 0-for-7 last year), Durant will climb to second place, and Carmelo Anthony will climb to the number 5 spot already in this year’s game – he currently has 12 treys. But we’re still waiting for that three-points expert to do what Ray Allen and Reggie couldn’t do, and that is to make a big splash in this all-time list. Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson are the obvious candidates, and my money is on Steph. Last year was not great for him to say the least, and he shot an abysmal 2-for-11. Let us hope that he will get his shit together this year.

3-Pt Field Goals Attempted

Player

Attempted 3 Point Field Goals

Ray Allen

71

LeBron James

65

Kobe Bryant

63

Kevin Durant

47

Tracy McGrady

37

Whoa, what a surprise! Not. 😦

It’s basically the same list we’ve seen above, only with Ray Allen and LeBron switching places, which is somewhat surprising, because overall, there is no doubt that Ray is a much better 3-point shooter than LeBron. But in the all-star game Ray shoots a mere 31% for his 3-point shots, while LeBron, even with his horrible display in last year’s game (a reminder: 0-for-7), stands at 35.4%. There’s a good chance LeBron will overtake Ray after this year’s game, though.

Durant is stuck in 4th place for now. Among the players who will participate in this year’s all-star game, Carmelo is the closest one to the top 5. He currently has 28 attempts, which is good enough for 9th place. Last year he shot 8-for-13, which is amazing but unlikely to be repeated (regression to the mean, much?). My guess is that he’ll need two games to enter the top 5. Well, judging by the fact that the fans don’t give a fuck about Melo’s teams’ records, he will probably play in next year’s game as a starter as well, so don’t worry – it will happen. Fo shizzle.

Free Throws Made

Player

Free Throws

Elgin Baylor

78

Oscar Robertson

70
Bob Pettit

62

Julius Erving

50

Wilt Chamberlain

47

Wow, talk about a blast from the past! This is a category in which the chances of entering the top 5, let alone breaking the all-time record – are zero. The reason? The amount of fouls in the all-star game declined dramatically in the past 3 decades. The situation is so severe that even Michael Jordan is lying only in 11th place, with 39 free throws he made during his all-star career. Present day players? LOL, are you fucking kidding me? To find an active player, one has to go way down to 17th place on the list, where you will find Kobe Bryant, who made 29 free throws throughout his all-star career.

You wish to find an active player who actually has a chance to move up the rankings this year? Wow, now this is a job for Bruce Willis and his team of drillers from “Armageddon”. One has to dig so deep that he needs to watch out for the earth’s core. Among the players who will take part in this year’s game, LeBron is the all-time leader. With his 21 free throws (of which almost half – 9, came in one game – the 2011 all-star), he occupies the 31st position. Wow!

Elgin can rest assure that his record will stand for a very long time. In fact, I reckon it might not be broken at all. Not unless something dramatic happens in the all-star game, and it’ll stop being a mere playful exhibition and return to an actual contest.

Free Throws Attempted

Player

Attempted Free Throws

Elgin Baylor

98

Oscar Robertson

98
Wilt Chamberlain

94

Bob Pettit

80

Moses Malone

67

Well, here it’s simply more of the same. Only it’s a bit more intriguing, because we have a tie for the all-time #1 spot. Here too, if you wish to find an active player you have to go to where no man has ever gone before. Deep down, in the 22nd place, lies Kobe, with 36 attempted free throws. And once again, the first active player who will actually participate in this year’s game is LeBron (is he the most mentioned player in this post? I reckon he is), who has 29 attempted free throws in his all-star career, which is good enough for 31st place. No doubt, Elgin and Oscar can sleep peacefully. This record is not going to be broken during their lifetime.

This concludes our first part. In the second part we will take a look at the most interesting records – rebounds, points and the like.

Stay tuned!

Hey, part II is already here!

When I grow up, I want to appear as much as I can in Michael's blog!

When I grow up, I want to appear as much as I can in Michael’s blog!

Advertisements

2 thoughts on “NBA All Star Watch – Part I

  1. Pingback: NBA All Star Watch – Part II | Michael's Sports Statistics

  2. Pingback: NBA All Star 2015 – Part II | Michael's Sports Statistics

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s