Saturday, March 4, 2017

Best Shooting Teams in NBA History

Who are the greatest shooting teams in NBA history?  The list below sorts teams by the most points/100 shot attempts (True Shooting+).

Each team season is adjusted to the league average for that year.

This adjustment explains how the Kareem & Oscar led Bucks were a better scoring juggernaut than the high flying Denver Nuggets of the '1980s.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Elite Rebounding Teams in NBA History

Who were the greatest rebounding teams in NBA History?  This list below attempts to deliver an answer.

Teams beginning with the 1971 NBA & ABA seasons are ranked by their rebounding production.  We start with '71 because that's when we first have team & opponent rebounds.

Unfortunately two candidates for the greatest rebounder in basketball history played almost entirely before we have opponent rebounding stats.  Without this piece of data it's hard to estimate rebounding chances for Bill Russell and Wilt Chamberlain.  Still, late career Wilt makes an appearance in the table below.  

The players listed are the teams top two in total rebounds with a third slot for the teams leader in minutes (shown if he wasn't also a top-2 rebounder).

Elite Rebounding Teams in NBA History


Team Leader

REBOUND % Team's Leading Rebounders in Minutes Played
1973 Celtics 54.8% Dave Cowens Paul Silas
2016 Thunder 54.7% Enes Kanter Russell Westbrook
1995 Trail Blazers 54.4% Chris Dudley Buck Williams Clifford Robinson
1974 Celtics 54.4% Dave Cowens Paul Silas
1976 Celtics 54.0% Dave Cowens Paul Silas Jo Jo White
1996 Bulls 54.0% Dennis Rodman Michael Jordan
1994 Spurs 53.9% Dennis Rodman David Robinson
2012 Bulls 53.9% Joakim Noah Carlos Boozer Luol Deng

Click here for the expanded list of greatest rebounding teams in pro-basketball history.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

2017 NBA Scoring Leaders

Here are the leagues scoring leaders just past the half-way point of the NBA season.

Points Above Average takes into account shooting efficiency and scoring volume.  It's simply the players actual points scored minus their expected points scored.

Points Above Points/Game Total

Average Above Avg. Points/Game True Shooting+
1 Kevin Durant GSW 204 4.2 26 119
2 Stephen Curry GSW 166 3.5 25 116
3 Isaiah Thomas BOS 161 3.6 30 114
4 James Harden HOU 157 3 28 112
5 Kyle Lowry TOR 154 3.1 23 116
6 Kawhi Leonard SAS 132 3 26 113
7 Rudy Gobert UTA 128 2.6 13 124

The list of top-40 scorers can be found here.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Cashing In At The Foul Line

Which players took the greatest advantage of the foul line?  Scoring from the foul line as an offensive strategy is less relevant today than anytime in NBA history.  But prior to the early 1970's many guys made a living at the line.

The list below ranks players by their production at the foul line as a percentage of their overall scoring.  You'll see many names that you might not recognize from basketball's ancient history.  But also notice throw backs Corey Maggette and James Harden who have kept the old tradition alive.


1 Harry Gallatin 1949 36%
2 Dolph Schayes 1950 36%
3 Corey Maggette 2000 35%
4 Cedric Maxwell 1978 34%
5 Neil Johnston 1952 34%
6 Ed Macauley 1950 33%
7 Larry Foust 1951 32%
8 Moses Malone 1977 31%
9 James Harden 2010 31%
10 Paul Arizin 1951 31%
11 Lenny Wilkens 1961 30%
12 George Mikan 1949 30%
13 Sidney Moncrief 1980 30%
14 Kevin Johnson 1988 30%
15 Bob Pettit 1955 30%
16 George Yardley 1954 30%
17 Vern Mikkelsen 1950 30%
18 Richie Guerin 1957 29%
19 Adrian Dantley 1977 29%
20 Antonio Davis 1994 29%
21 Andrei Kirilenko 2002 29%
22 David Robinson 1990 29%
23 Dikembe Mutombo 1992 29%
24 Oscar Robertson 1961 29%
25 Kevin Martin 2005 29%

Thursday, July 14, 2016

The Five Greatest Scorers in NBA History?

To accurately judge scoring value we need a metric which combines shooting efficiency with volume.  

'Points Above Average' is found by taking the players points scored and subtracting their expected points scored (based on their shot attempts).  The answer compares a players scoring production with the league as a whole.   

There have been sixty seasons in NBA history where a player garnered 300 Points Above Average.  Nearly half of these elite scoring seasons belong to five guys.  

Oscar Robertson produced 
seven elite scoring seasons

The graph above shows players who produced the most seasons with 300 Points Above League Average.