Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Top Scoring Performances in NBA Playoff History

Which players most dominated the NBA playoffs?  Since pace of play varied widely throughout history we can't just use total points.  Nor can we simply choose the players with the highest field goal percentage because they may have been low volume scorers or played during an inflated offensive era. 

League-wide shooting was on a steady upward trajectory from 1958 to 1985.  After a blip in the early '90s efficiency peaked in 1995 thanks to the shortened three-point line.  How should we compare players from radically different playing environments?

'Points Above Average' combines scoring with shooting efficiency and adjusts for era.  This metric shows Jerry West shining through the poor shooting 1960's and Stephen Curry producing at historic levels despite the high octane offensive game of today.

The list below shows the highest Total 'Points Above Average' during a single NBA playoff season going back to 1950...


Top Scoring Performances 
All-Time, Single NBA Playoffs






POINTS ABOVE TRUE POINTS/GAME


Playoffs Team NBA AVG. SHOOTING+ ABOVE AVG.
1 Kevin Durant 2012 OKC 102 122 5.1
2 LeBron James 2014 MIA 98 122 4.9
3 Manu Ginobili 2005 SAS 87 122 3.8
4 Kevin McHale 1988 BOS 85 124 5.0
5 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar 1974 MIL 80 119 5.0
6 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar 1977 LAL 80 126 7.2
7 Stephen Curry 2015 GSW 79 115 3.7
8 Jerry West 1968 LAL 78 120 5.2
9 Dirk Nowitzki 2011 DAL 76 115 3.6
10 Ray Allen 2001 MIL 75 120 4.2

Click here for the Top-50 scoring performances in NBA playoff history.








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



TOTAL

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
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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.




NBA DEBUT FREE THROWS


SEASON MADE/POINTS
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%