Keeping an eye on individual marks for the NBA’s second half
By Adam Hoff
The first “half” (ignore the fact
that most teams have played 53 of 82 games) of the NBA season concluded on
Thursday night in horrifying fashion, as the Bulls beat the Sixers by 33 and the
Suns crushed the Rockets by 34 in what TNT studio host Ernie Johnson dubbed,
“The worst sporting event ever televised.”
Needless to say, it wasn’t pretty.
However, the fact is that this has been one of the most exciting NBA
seasons in recent memory. There are
three elite teams (
Part of the reason that the
league has been so interesting this year is that we are experiencing so many
spectacular individual efforts.
Consider that Gilbert Arenas is averaging over 28 points a game and has
the Wizards over .500 and in the playoff picture … yet he barely made the
All-Star team as a replacement.
Michael Redd and Carmelo Anthony are single-handedly keeping their teams
in the thick of the playoff hunt with 25+ scoring averages, yet neither will be
Here are some of the players trying to reach statistical greatness down the stretch of the regular season:
LeBron James: Trying to become the fourth
player in NBA history to average over 31 points, 7 rebounds, and 7 assists per
game for a season. If there was ever any doubt about James being the real
deal, it is gone now. Yes, he still
needs to become a dominant defensive player (even being simply a good defensive
player would be a big bonus right now), and he still needs to become more
effective and decisive at the end of games, but considering this is Year Three
and that he’s 21 years old, I’d say he’s doing fine. As for this particular statistical mark,
only Oscar Robertson (twice) and Michael Jordan have ever done it. LeBron is currently sitting on 31.2
points, 7.0 rebounds, and 6.6 assists per night. He will need to finish with a flurry,
but when you consider that those numbers are 31.5/7.9/7.8 over the past month,
LBJ seems to be getting stronger as the season goes along.
(By the way, did you know that in addition to “Big O,” Oscar Robertson’s other nicknames were “Horse” and “Donut”? Me neither.)
November – 33.5
December – 32.0
January – 43.4
February – 30.0
Allen Iverson: Trying to become the second player in NBA history to average at least 33 points and 7 assists per game. In 1972-73, Nate “Tiny” Archibald had one of the most underrated individual seasons of all time. (I’m currently working on a book that ranks the 100 greatest seasons of all time, so I’ll be sure to tell you where he ranks as soon as I find out. Don’t you want to know? Me too. I told my agent there was a market for this book!) That year, while playing point guard for the Kansas City Kings, Tiny went for 34 points and a whopping 11.4 assists per night. He played 46 minutes a game, launched over 2,100 shots, and led the league in assists, all while toiling for a terrible 36-46 KC squad. Perhaps the losing season is the reason nobody talks about what an incredible year that was.
Regardless, another “Tiny” star, Allen Iverson, is on his way to becoming the second player to ever score more than 33 a game while still finding teammates to the tune of at least seven dimes per. At 30 years of age, AI has been better than ever. He’s scoring at a career-best clip of 33.5 points per game. His 7.4 assists per game mark is his second-best total ever. He’s once again in the top five in steals at 2.0. He leads the league in minutes at 43.6. He’s shooting a career best 45%. Of course, like Tiny before him, his team still sucks, so he’s doing it under the radar.
LeBron James, Allen Iverson, and
Ray Allen: On pace to break the NBA record for three-pointers in a season. This might not be the most glamorous record in the world, but it still means something. (By the way, if you don’t believe me that the record isn’t glamorous, try to guess which player currently holds it. You can find the answer in the tagline.) The current NBA mark for made three’s in a season is 267, set during the 1995-96 season, which was the biggest three-fest in NBA history (four of the top nine marks are from that year). Since that year, the highest totals have been:
240 – Peja Stojakovic (2003-04)
229 – Ray Allen (2001-02)
226 – Quentin Richardson (2004-05)
226 – Kyle Korver (2004-2005)
As you can see, 240 has been the
Dwight Howard: Could become the youngest player in NBA history to lead the league in rebounding. Look for yourself. Never before has a 21-year old (his age at the end of the season) led the NBA in rebounding for a season. Howard is currently setting the pace with 12.6 caroms per and he’s showing no signs of slowing down. He’s averaged 13.0 boards per over the last month and only KG (12.0 for the year, 13.3 over the past month) seems capable of catching him down the stretch.
Adam Hoff is a columnist for the Webby-winning WhatifSports.com. He is happy to know that he probably stumped you earlier: Dennis Scott holds the NBA record for threes in a season with 267.