The end of a yet another NBA season means a couple of things – the major statistical summaries are getting published in every possible sports-website, while some other statistical achievements are getting forgotten and wait to be mentioned in places such as this blog. This is the 4th year in a row in which I give a loud shout-out to those forgotten achievements, the shy ones, the ones who for days make plans to talk to this girl at this party and then end up sitting across from her throughout the whole evening and not mustering enough courage to actually come and talk to her, even though she’s sitting there all alone by herself and probably could use somebody to talk to. God damn it coy statistical achievements, why d’you have to be so insecure?!
So yes, let’s honor them, the unnoticed heroes of the 2015/16 season. This post will not talk about the Warriors’ record-breaking season, nor will it mention Karl-Anthony Towns‘s great rookie campaign. You can check out other websites for that kind of mainstream stuff. Anyway, why ramble so much?
Without Freddy Adu, let’s go!
1) Surprisingly enough, our summary doesn’t start with LeBron (like I reckon the previous three did). This is a truly break of tradition. Damn, I’m feeling wild today. Anyway, the honor this time goes to the league’s most experienced player. By playing in this season, The Big Ticket equalled Robert Parish‘s and Kevin Willis‘s record of appearing in 21 different NBA seasons (do not confuse that with a totally different record of appearing in 21 NBA seasons which are the same). 21 seasons! AND, KG has a contract for next year as well! Meaning that he can set a record by appearing in 22 seasons! Jesus, and I thought the 8 years I’m attending Tel-Aviv University are already taking a toll on me…
2) Garnett’s longetivity means that he is the only player to play against the league’s two greatest teams evar in terms of regular seasons wins – the 95/96 Bulls and the 2015/16 Warriors. He was MUCH better against those Bulls, averaging 18 points, 11.5 rebounds, 1 assist, 1.5 steals and 1.5 blocks in two games, while only registering 0 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists and 0 steals+blocks in the one game he played against this year’s Warriors. So I think this settles the case, the 15/16 Warriors are a much better team than the 95/96 Bulls. I mean – look at Garnett’s numbers, they tell the whole story!
3) Yeah, I know, Curry’s stats hardly flew under the radar, but still – I want to single out his points-per-minute numbers, which are the highest we’ve seen since Michael Jordan in 1986/87. Yup, even better than Kobe‘s monstrous 2005/06 campaign. Back then Kobe was scoring 31.11 points per 36 minutes. Steph this year? 31.67 points per 36 minutes. In fact, in terms of points-per-minute, we just saw the 7th greatest season of all-time. Let that sink in. The only players who had better seasons in terms of points-per-minute? Wilt, Michael and
Hasheem Thabeet George Gervin.
4) In addition, Steph became the scoring leader who played the least amount of minutes per game – ever! He managed to claim the scoring title despite sitting out the fourth quarter in something like 60 games and while averaging only 34.2 minutes per game. No other scoring champion in HISTORY played such a low amount of minutes per game…
5) Ok, finally, LeBron is here. Now, I’m mentioning this for the 4th consecutive time, but I will never get tired of talking about this truly mind-fuckiing stat: Lebron’s double-digit scoring streak is still going on, and as of the end of the 2015/16 season stands at 717 consecutive games!!! For 9.5 seasons (the streak started on January 6th, 2007) he did not have one single game in which he scored less than 10 points. Not a single game in which he got injured and did not manage to reach 10 points. Not a single game in which he had a really off-day and missed the basket so badly he didn’t reach 10 points. He’s now 70 games away from Kareem who sits in second place all-time. Can he make it? Can he threaten Michael’s all-time mark of 866 consecutive games? Who knows… Next year he has a chance to pass Kareem. I won’t talk about Michael yet, but just know that every time you see LeBron having a 10+ points’ game – you’re watching history in the making.
6) This year was another good one for LeBron in terms of “Player Of The Week” awards. He earned another 5 such awards, to bring his already-league-record-total to 53. This is 20 awards more than second place all-time (Kobe – 33)! Third? Michael, with 25. Oh, and BTW – LeBron has enough “Player Of The Month” awards – 32 (obviously also a record), to put him almost level with Kobe’s “Player Of The Week” awards!! What in the actual fuck?!
7) I already wrote about him becoming the league’s all-time leader in FG%. However, In addition to that, he also owns 4 of the top 10 seasons evar in terms of FG%! Yes, DeAndre owns the 2nd, 3rd, 6th and 10th spots, and he also has another season (2010-11) that might have given him places 2-4, but back then he didn’t make the required 300 field goals to qualify (he made 234) for FG%.
8) Hey, you know “The 50-40-90 Club”, right? The one Steph Curry just recently joined (and became the player with the highest points-per-game average while achieving it)? Well, forget about that shitty club and let me tell you about another club that is just as impressive and in fact much more exclusive: “The 70-0-40 Club”! 70% from the field, 0% from three-point territory, and 40% from the free-throw line are the required stats to enter this exclusivest of clubs. Now, just how exclusive is it? Well, DeAndre just became its first member ever, with his 2015/16 stats of 70.3-0-43!! Last season he almost made it, but just missed the free-throws criterion – he had a 39.7%… Tyson Chandler also came close in the 2011-12 season, but he missed the FG% criterion – he shot just 67.9% from the field… So congratulations DeAndre! Live long and prosper!
9) And speaking of clubs, we finally have an active member in “The 20-10 Club”! This season DeMarcus had two obstacles to clear before joining it, and he cleared them both in spectacular fashion: 1) He played his 400th NBA game and thus became eligible to qualify for career points and rebounds averages, and 2) He raised his career points-per-game average to 20.16, which together with his 10.78 rebounds-per-game make him the only active player in the legendary “20-10 Club”. The club was yearning for an active member ever since Timmy left it, and now it gets its wish.
Hey, is it just me or is this thing keeps getting longer each year (that’s what she said!)…
10) Hey, let us all welcome the new kid on the stats block – Mr. Whiteside! Started from the bottom, now he’s here. Well, actually he started the 2015/16 season with a bang, maintaining an average of more than 4 blocks per game up until February 2nd. After that he calmed down a bit, his averages took a mild dive, but still – he managed to finish the season with a league-leading average of 3.68 blocks per game, miles ahead of his closest rival (DeAndre, 2.30 blocks per game). These are blocks numbers we haven’t seen in 15 years! The last season ANYONE had a higher blocks-per-game average was 2000/01 (the unparalleled Theo Ratliff, a name that is often unjustly forgotten when people discuss the best shot blockers ever to play in the NBA).
11) I already mentioned LeBron’s amazing streak of scoring in double figures. But The Durantula has a sensational streak of his own. Now, this season people talked a lot about his streak of 20+ points’ games, an amazing achievement in its own right – 64 straight games (still very far from Wilt’s record of 126), but what I want to single out is his streak of 10+ points’ games, a streak which goes back to March 14th, 2009: 504 consecutive games! This is the 7th best streak of all-time, and he’s not far off catching up Kareem’s secondary streak (508 games) and Moses Malone‘s streak (526 games). Keep up the good work, Kevin!
Kevin Durant & Russell Westbrook
12) This time it’s a stat that combines both OKC’s stars: Kevin and
Enes Kanter Russ. There have been 12 instances in NBA history of two players from the same team scoring 40+ points in a game. KD and Russ are responsible for 3 of them (one of the games occurring this season) – 25%. No other duo appears more than once on this list!
Draymond Green & Russell Westbrook
13) Another special stat Russ shares with
a special someone. Two players this season managed to average 7/7/7 in points/rebounds/assists – Draymond and Russ. The last time two players in the same season managed to do that, and LeBron wasn’t one of them? 1990-91. The players back then? Magic and Larry.
14) Steph’s three-point shooting is off the charts. But while playing second banana, his splash brother from another mother Klay almost managed to break Steph’s single-season record for made treys from last year! This season Klay made 276 three-pointers, which is good enough for the 3rd best haul of all-time. And between the two of them The Splash Brothers own the top 4 and 6 of the top 11 seasons in terms of made three-pointers. Is anyone crazy enough to bet aginst them holding the top 6 spots one year from now?
15) This is in fact a pretty well-known stat, but nevertheless – kudos for Harden for managing to break the 38 year-old record of turnovers for a whole season! There were some players in the past who posted higher turnover averages than Harden’s 2015/16 4.56 (not many, but there were some), but the fact that he played in every single game this season helped, and he broke Artis Gilmore‘s mark of 366 turnovers, which was set back in the 1977/78 season. Harden’s new mark – 374 turnovers! But alas, poor Gilmore! My heart goes out to him… Not only his career FG% record was broken by DeAndre, now his other great record is taken away from him… The feels are strong with this one…
16) My man Omri had the best season of his career, and I thought it might be a nice time to check where he stands compared with the rest of his draft class, which was actually pretty damn good.
Omri was the 23rd pick of the 2009 draft. Since then he played 463 games in the NBA, a number which ranks equal 9th among his fellow draftees (the leader – James Harden, 534 games). Casspi played a total of 10,056 minutes – good enough for 16th place (again Harden with the lead, 17,741), and scored 3,930 points – 15th place (The Beard leads with 11,262. Steph is close second with 11,089).
In terms of total rebounds, Casspi is ranked 9th, with 1,928 of those (Blake Griffin leads the field with 3,927, despite missing an entire season). Assists are not one of Casspi’s strong points, and he only dished out 548 – but that number is still good enough for 22nd place, better than the place he was selected in (Steph leads with 3,393). So all in all – not bad.
What do all those numbers mean? Well, not much, but I’m glad to see that Omri is having a respectable career.
All NBA Teams
17) The NBA teams decided to score more points this season – which is great! Led by the Warriors, the league’s average was 102.7 points per game, the highest average since the 1992/93 season.
Golden State Warriors
18) And speaking of the Warriors, they obviously lead the way, with 114.89 points per game (4.67 points more than 2nd place OKC), which is the highest average a team recorded in the NBA since the Warriors of 1991/92, who averaged 118.68 points per game.
Los Angeles Lakers
19) For many, many years, the Lakers led all teams in the NBA in terms of both overall wins and overall winning percentage. However, the last few years are taking their toll on the team’s legacy, and it is not farfetched to assume that this season was the last in which Jack Nicholson’s favorite team leads the league in both categories. In terms of total wins, the Celtics have crept within 14 of matching the Lakers’ total – 3221 to 3235. Another season such as the last one and poof – just like that, the Celtics are atop of the historical ranking once again. As for the winning percentage, the danger to the Lakers’ #1 spot comes not from the Celtics but from the Spurs. The Lakers’ all-time winning percentage? 60.25%. The Spurs’? 59.96%. It’s really really close. Before the start of the 2015/16 season, the Lakers led with 60.87% and the Spurs were second with 59.50%. So they shortened the gap from 1.37% to a mere 0.29%. Now, I’m sure that next year won’t be as good for the Spurs and not as bad for the Lakers as their 2015/16 campaigns, but still – it’s a safe bet that the Spurs will pass them in this category. And then the Lakers will know how Artis Gilmore felt this year, when he lost 2 records in one season…
The Western Conference
20) Hey, remember the days when even winning 48 games wasn’t enough to get you into the playoffs in the Western conference? Well, those days are long gone. This year’s 8th place in the Western conference went to the Rockets, who won just 41 games – the worst winning percentage recorded by a Western playoff team since the 8th seeded Timberwolves went 25-25 in the 1998-99 lockout season, a.k.a. the season everyone tries really hard to forget that it existed.
Hey, actually this post wasn’t longer than last year’s. But screw that, I wanted to get that joke in. Sexual innuendos are the best!