NBA All Star Watch – Part II

Well, it’s time for part II of our holiday special (and here’s a link to Part I). The concept for part II is the same simple one that was in part I – let’s have a look at the leaders (top 5) in the various statistical categories in the history of the all-star game, and see which current players might have a chance to move up the rankings, and even break the record one day.

Any further introduction is redundant. Let’s get down to business!

Offensive Rebounds

Player

Offensive Rebounds

Moses Malone

44

Shaquille O’Neal

39
Hakeem Olajuwon

38

Tim Duncan

37

Julius Erving

34

Frankly – I don’t like this category. And the same goes for defensive rebounds. I don’t like it not only because we lack those stats for the pre-73-74 seasons, but also because of the fact that total rebounds stats WERE kept before that. Thus, we can get a situation where a player’s total rebounds number is greater than the sum of his defensive and offensive rebounds. Like Kareem, for example. Also, we can have a leader in the total rebounds category, who won’t feature at all in the defensive and offensive lists (based on a true story, as you will see later on)! This is not like the situation with steals and blocks, which also weren’t counted before the 73-74 season (with no really good reason for that – just ask Bill Simmons) – at least there we have steals by themselves and that’s it. It’s different with rebounds. And I really hate that. For a person with my obsessive personality, it can really get under the skin.

But I guess we have to work with the data we do have. And here Moses Malone is the fucking MAN. No player grabbed them offensive boards like Moses, although Shaq came pretty damn close. Timmy here is the only active player in the top 5, but as he plays a really limited number of minutes in his recent all-star games, I can’t see him grabbing more than one offensive rebound in this year’s game, which is exactly what he did in his last 3 all-star games. Surprisingly enough, we have Kobe lying at 7th place, with 27 offensive boards. Sharing the #7 spot with him is Carmelo, who will have a chance to move up the rankings a bit. And they both have one offensive rebound more than Dwight Howard, who won’t play in this year’s game, which is really surprising. Before the start of this season, I would’ve bet my PhD that Dwight will play in this year’s game. I mean – he played in the previous 8 games! Who would’ve thought that he’ll have a really not-so-good season, which will also be riddled with injuries…

Anyway, who can break Malone’s record? I really don’t know. 44 doesn’t seem like an awful lot of offensive rebounds, right? Well, it fucking is. Imagine you grab 4 offensive boards in a game. That’s pretty damn impressive (you might even get a post on Michael’s blog for that!). And now imagine you must do it in 11 games (!), when only a handful of players actually played in 11 all-star games or more… No, this is mighty difficult for players not named Moses Malone.

But still, if you put a gun to my head and sask me “WHICH CURRENT PLAYER HAS A CHANCE, ALBEIT SMALLER THAN MUGGSY BOGUES, TO THREATEN THE ALL-TIME RECORD?!”, I’ll go with Dwight. I reckon he will come back at next year’s all-star game. When he’s healthy and plays like he knows – he can still be the best center in the NBA.

Defensive Rebounds

Player

Defensive Rebounds

Tim Duncan

89

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

84

Moses Malone

64

Kevin Garnett

63

Larry Bird

60

Another category which I am not really fond of (is that correct English?!). Even though my favorite Timmy is the all-time leader here, this is a false record, because it’s pretty damn obvious that Kareem had more than 5 defensive boards in the three all-star games he played in before they started tracking separately offensive and defensive boards. But  anyway, Timmy can extend his lead here in this year’s game. He’ll probably play a very limited amount of minutes, but it should be enough for at least 2 defensive boards.

The next active player on the list? LeBron! He and Shaq share the 6th place, and both have 58. LeBron will surely enter the top 5 this year, and in fact there’s a certain chance that he’ll climb to the number 1 spot in several years’ time. He’ll have to play in 5 more all-star games, but it’s not unreasonable. I’d say there’s a 20% chance of him being at the #1 spot when he retires.

One last thing – look at Moses Malone! His offensive rebounds numbers are really close to his defensive ones (mainly due to his offensive numbers being off the charts). This is really amazing.

Rebounds

Player

Rebounds

Wilt Chamberlain

197

Bob Pettit

178
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

149

Bill Russell

139

Tim Duncan

127

Now we’re talking!!! THIS is a great category.

Wilt is really untouchable here. No one in today’s game has a chance of even coming close. Timmy, who played in 14 all-star games, and has a great rebounding average (for an all-star game) of 9.1 boards per game, only managed to enter the top 5. AND he’s still 70 rebounds behind Wilt! No, this is a record that I’m certain will stand for a long, long time.

The greatest rebounder of the past 10 years – Dwight Howard, never really brought his “A Game” to the all-star game. In 8 games he only accumulated 70 rebounds, good enough for 18th place. I reckon he might end his career in the “100+” club, but it’s still somewhat disappointing. How about Anthony Davis? Well, he’s a great player, but I think he’ll be a greater overall player than a rebounder. He doesn’t strike me as a player of 14 rebounds per game yet. Unlike Andre Drummond, for example, whom I would looove to see in the all-star game. But either way, we’re still too damn early into both player’s careers to make any real predictions. So far it’s impossible to bet on some player other than Dwight, and perhaps LeBron (currently has 66, 22nd place all-time), to break the 100 rebounds barrier.

Assists

Player

Assists

Magic Johnson

127

Isiah Thomas

97
Bob Cousy

86

Oscar Robertson

81

Chris Paul

75

This is an intriguing category. Magic is first, and by a huge margin, but the situation here is not like in the rebounds department. Here I actually think there’s a reasonable chance for someone (you probably think of Ramon Sessions right now! No! It’s not him!) to break the all-time record. And that certain someone is none other than Chris Paul. Paul’s assists total in his last three all-star games? 12, 15, 13. He only entered the top 5 in last year’s game, but with another performance like that in this year’s game he’ll leapfrog over both Robertson and Cousy. And it’s quite reasonable that two years from now he’ll already sit at second place all-time. Then the real chase will begin… Currently, I’d say Paul needs another 5-6 all-star games (including this one) to overtake Magic. Let’s say 6. Paul will be 34 by that time. Still a reasonable age for a PG. All in all, I say there’s a 40% chance of him overtaking Magic.

The next active player on the list is Kobe Bryant (63 assists, 9th place), and right after him comes LeBron, with 61. LeBron will surely end his career in the top 5 all-time, and in fact he has a good chance of joining Magic and Paul (by that time) in the “100 assists” club.

Steals

Player

Steals

Kobe Bryant

37

Michael Jordan

37
Isiah Thomas

31

Dwyane Wade

25

Jason Kidd

24

Another tie for the 1st place! Kobe tied Michael for the all-time steals leaders in last year’s game. Will he play in next year’s? If the answer is “yes”, then he might just reach 40 steals…

Chris Paul is the next active player, with 20 steals – good enough for 9th place. And with his awesome tempo (3.3 steals per game in his all-star career), he might even crack the top 5 this year.

Notice Dwyane Wade – 25 steals! That’s really awesome, but I’m really surprised to see the contrast with LeBron. Throughout their careers, they are mighty close in terms of regular season steals per game averages (LeBron – 1.70, Wade – 1.72), with LeBron leading in the total department due to him being less prone to injuries (1510 to 1300). But in the all-star game? It’s not even close! Wade here has 25, and LeBron only 15 (17th place). WTF?! LeBron – get your shit together! I guess LeBron will also finish his career in the top 5, but it will be somewhat disappointing, relative to what his brother from another mother will achieve in much less games (let there be no doubt – Wade maybe has one more all-star game in his future, except this one).

Blocks

Player

Blocks

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

31

Hakeem Olajuwon

23
Shaquille O’Neal

19

Patrick Ewing

16

David Robinson

13

Another somewhat disappointing top 5. Seriously – 13 blocks is what you need to enter the top 5 all-time? That’s less than the record for a single game! For fuck’s sake, Hassan Whiteside had 12 blocks in a game this very season!

Well, I guess it’s a result of the all-star games lacking proper defenses. Kareem played in a somewhat different era, and so his record is bound to stand for a long long time. The next active player on the list is Garnett, who has 11 blocks in his all-star career, and he shares the #7 spot with Dr. J. Another active player is Dwight, who has 9 blocks – good enough for 10th place. But if you wish to find a player who will take a part in this year’s game, your player is Timmy, who has 8 blocks. A far, far cry from Kareem’s 31…

I guess Dwight can enter the top 5 sometime in the future. He might end his career with 15 blocks – roughly half of Kareem’s total… No, no one is going to threaten the record in the near decade or so.

Points

Player

Points

Kobe Bryant

280

Michael Jordan

262
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

251

LeBron James

248

Oscar Robertson

246

Ok, we’ve reached the sexiest category of them all. Points! It’s really amazing, I remember watching Michael’s last all-star game (2003), and the possibility of him passing Kareem for the all-time number 1 spot was a really big deal. Kareem’s record stood for 15 years, and as an NBA fan since the 90’s, I never knew a different all-time leader. And here comes Michael and breaks his all-time record.

And then came Kobe in 2012, and broke Michael’s record, 9 years after it was set. And now LeBron is really close to breaking Kobe’s record, which he will undoubtedly do – if not in this year’s game then in 2016. The amount of time the all-time points leader in the history of the all-star game maintains his #1 position is getting shorter every time. Oscar Robertson, The Big O, held the record for 16 years – from 1972 until 1988. Kareem was next, holding the record since 1988 until 2003 – 15 years. Michael – 9 years. And now Kobe is about to lose his record after a mere 3-4 years. What has the world come to?! I mean – it’s really weird that the greatest scorer in the history of the game (no, not Eddy Curry) had to wait until his 13th game to claim the record to himself, and LeBron here might just break the much better record in his 11th game. God, are you drunk?

The only consolation is that LeBron might just hold the record for a long time. He plays many minutes in the all-star games, and holds a very high points-per-game average – 24.8. I’m sure he will be the first player to reach 300 points. However, he already has a strong competition in Kevin Durant. Durant has been unstoppable in the all-star game, scoring 30.6 points per game – good for the #1 all-time spot for now, and by a huge margin. In 5 all-star games he already accumulated 153 points, and climbed to 17th place. He’s a sure bet to be the second player evar to reach 300 points, unless Kobe manages to score 20 points in next year’s game – I doubt it’ll happen, but Kobe might just do it to give me a good old “fuck you!”. But anyway – yes, The Durantula is the biggest threat to LeBron’s future record right now. However, he’s not the highest-ranked active player on the list outside the top 5 (although he might claim that title after this year’s game). That title belongs to Dwyane Wade, who with 173 points is lying currently at 14th place. Sadly, Wade was ruled out of the all-star game this year, and this leaved KD to pass him.

Well, to quote Margaret Thatcher – “That’s it folks!”. Oh, wait – she wasn’t the one who said that? My bad. Anyway, now we’re left to wait for the game itself! And in fact, I look forward to the three-point shooting contest as much as to the game itself. This year will feature the best line-up EVAR for that contest. My fingers are crossed for Steph!

Vamos All-Star 2015!

You just wait, Michael... I'll show you next year...

You just wait, Michael… I’ll show you next year…

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2 thoughts on “NBA All Star Watch – Part II

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

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

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