Wednesday, December 26, 2012

A Numbers Game: Festivus Edition

How time flies; it seems like the Heat JUST finished steamrolling OKC 4-1 to win LeBron James his 1st ring, yet 2013 is less than a week away. This season has been anything but run-of-the-mill. The New York Knicks have crashed the "League OF Elite" Party, and several players are forcing us to reassess the "star" hierarchy that's been established over time. There's more to the NBA than just numbers, but there ARE some numbers you can't ignore. Numbers such as:

As in points per game for James Harden. The ex-Thunder is living up to his brand spankin' new $80 million contract, also racking up 4.4 boards and 5.4 assists a night (and shooting a respectable 44.3 %, 35.5% from 3) for the stalwart 14-12 Rockets. All the naysayers who so confidently predicted that The Beard would flop as a leading man in Texas were sorely mistaken. He's taking (and making) big shots and has keyed his team to a few huge wins only 26 games into the season. And the best seems to be yet to come; the last 5 games, Harden is rolling out 28.2 ppg on 48.7% and drilling 40.7% of his 3s while leading the Rockets to a 4-1 record.
*I wrote this before Harden's 26 pt-6 ast-5 rb-2 stl-1 blk masterpiece in the 120-97 romp over the Bulls last night. Balllllinnnnn'.

This is incredible. Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James have shot 33.1% and 33.4% from 3 respectively over the last 9 years (raise your hand if you knew LBJ had a higher career three point percentage...*counts hands*'re all liars). But roughly 1/3rd through this season, both Melo (43.7%) and LeBron (44.2) are scorching from beyond the arc. They are both dropping treys better than "sharpshooters" Stephen Curry, Kyle Korver, Steve Novak, and Ryan Anderson. We're seeing the fruition of "if only LeBron had a jumpshot" dreams of 2007.

The minutes LeBron James, the 6'8", 270 lb, high energy defender, went between having fouls called on him. LeBron's whistle for trying to stuff an Ibaka dunk on Christmas day was the 1st infraction by LBJ since a 1st quarter foul vs N'awlins on December 8th. 254 minutes is the equivalent of 6.77 games played by James (37.4 mpg). that's absurd. I know LBJ is an excellent defender, but let's not act like the refs don't give special privilege to stars on BOTH ends of the floor.

The field goal percentage of 2012 Eastern All Star center Roy Hibbert. 34 players in the league have 3 point percentages equal to or higher than Hibbert's filthy shooting percentage.
It get's worst. Hibbert isn't the only star who can't seem to shoot straight. His 40.4% is still ahead of Deron Williams (39.8), Russell Westbrook (40.1), Monta Ellis (39.8), Brandon Jennings(39.2), and alleged "shooters" Andrea Bargnani (39.8) and Danilo Gallinari (38.5). As putrid as these numbers are, let's not forget that Hibbert is a 7'3" center who takes a huge chunk of his shots from 8 feet or closer to the hoop. DISGUSTING.

The combined points per game of Brandon Jennings (17.4) and Monta Ellis (19.5).
The combined field goal attempts for Brandon Jennings (16.5) and Monta Ellis (18).
The combined field goal percentage of Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis. Yuck.

The points, assists, rebounds, FG%, 3pt%, and minutes of Steve Nash while leading the Lakers to 2-0 in his 2 games back from a broken leg. If he maintains these numbers, where are we ranking him in the point guard pantheon?


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