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25 curious stats from the 2nd half of last year’s NBA season

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Andrew Wiggins took too many shots and Danilo Gallinari had a great season??

Minnesota Timberwolves v Indiana Pacers Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Let’s do a stats piece! YEEEEEEEEHAWWWWWWWW!

Here are some totally real (some are distressingly real) stats from the second half of last year’s NBA season (all stats from NBA.com). Do with them what you will.

  1. Andrew Wiggins averaged the fifth most field goal attempts in the second half of the season last year, 20 per game. Big KAT, Karl-Anthony Towns, who is, um, waywaywayway better than Wiggins, averaged 18 field goal attempts in the second half of the season. Wiggins’s field goal percentage was 46%; Big KAT’s was 59%. Wiggins averaged 3.5 three-pointer attempts, making 36%; Big KAT averaged 3 threes per game, making 43%. Either I’m missing something fundamental about the nature of basketball, or Karl-Anthony Towns is better at shooting the basketball than Andrew Wiggins. I cannot, I WILL NOT, believe that Wiggins’s FGA will remain at those levels now that Jimmy Butler is in Minnesota. And, if he does continue to shoot that much, then Thibodeau should get fired.
  2. Kemba Walker averaged 8.5 three-point attempts in the second half of the season, and drained 38% of them. He shot more 3s than Kyle Lowry, Damian Lillard, Paul George, Bradley Beal, Kyrie Irving, Carmelo Anthony, and Kevin Durant. Watch out for Kemba Walker.
  3. In the second half, of players who played at least 20 games, Andre Igoudala had the 6th best plus-minus at 8.2, right after Chris Paul. Iggy is a Professional Baller. He is so good at being good. He doesn’t turn the ball over and he doesn’t make mistakes. He doesn’t need to score because he doesn’t need to score. If he did, he would. Love in his heart but murder on his mind. He remains one of the coolest and could absolutely start for every other team, including Cleveland. He won Finals MVP in a year where he didn’t start a single regular season game. You know who won the 6th Man of the Year Award that season? Lou Williams. For Toronto. FOH.
  4. You know who had the 7th best plus-minus in the second half last year? Danilo Gallinari. That is totally weird. Don’t you think that’s just buh-zarre? DeAndre Jordan was 9th, and Blake Griffin was 12th. Maybe the Clippers will actually be okay without Chris Paul?
  5. The Detroit Piston with the best plus-minus in the second half? With the 66th “best” plus-minus? Stanley. Johnson. He averaged 5 points and 3 rebounds. The Pistons drafted him 8th in the 2015 NBA draft, ahead of Myles Turner, DEVIN. BOOKER., and Kelly Oubre. Do the Pistons actually have good players? Or, does plus-minus not mean what I think it means?
  6. Four Lakers were in the bottom five of plus-minus. FOUR. Now, THAT is how you tank.
  7. Four Warriors were in the top five of plus-minus. FOUR. Now, THAT is how you win all the games, forever and ever.
  8. There were 13 players who averaged double-digit rebounds in the second half of the season. All of them were big men. Except for...Russell Westbrook. Duh.
  9. 6 players averaged at least 8 assists in the second half: CP3, LBJ, Westbrook, Rubio, Harden, and Dr. John Wall (in ascending order; Wall averaged 11 assists per game in the second 41 games).
  10. Only Rudy Gobert, the French Rejection, and Hassan Whiteside, who needs a sweet nickname, averaged 2+ blocks in the second half of the season. Gobert nearly averaged 3. Holy Fudging Sheets.
  11. Steph attempted over 10 threes a game. C’mon. That’s just outrageous and is clearly some kind of magic, so let’s talk about something else real quick, since magic is scary. If you could, would you institute a “Home Team Druthers” regarding the three point line, a la baseball teams choosing their own outfield dimensions? I think this would be incredible. The Warriors could move the line out 5 feet and be just fine, while the Pistons would get rid of the three-point line completely and still suck. If you’re Toronto, you could bring the line in to wherever DeMar’s sweet spot is and then, alla sudden!, my man DeChozen is hitting threes all over. I love this idea. It’s like the difference between hitters’ parks and pitchers’ palaces. You know who wouldn’t move the line, at all? The Bulls. Because they’re the worst.
  12. Speaking of that hideous team owned by terrible people: Jimmy Butler was, obviously, their point leader last year. After him? Dwyane Wade. After him? Nikola Mirotic. Mirotic averaged 12 points, 5 boards, and shot 44% from the field. He’s the face of the Bulls right now. Enjoy Chicago!
  13. The top 5 players who went to the line in the second half of the season were, in ascending order, DeRozan, Eric Bledsoe (...what?), Boogie Cousins, Westbrook, and Harden (duhhhhhh).
  14. Only two players averaged at least 38 minutes in the second half: LeBron James and Karl-Anthony Towns. What the hell is wrong with Cleveland? Why do you force this man, this good man who wants to play the best basketball he can, to play more minutes than your second best player, who is 7 years younger? I’m a Cleveland front office/coach hater (I positively loathe Dan Gilbert, who was a rich racist before it was en vogue), and this stat just confirms how I feel about them. Ty Lue is not a good coach. The Cavs’ GMs are, literally, replaceable. The NBA front office cheated and gave them three #1 picks in 4 years because LeBron left. None of those three #1 picks remain in Cleveland, but LeBron is back. Great job, NBA. Great job, Cleveland. I can’t wait for LeBron to leave and Cleveland turns into Orlando North.
  15. Cole Aldrich averaged the least minutes in the second half of the season, by the way. I feel like there are a lot of Coles in the world. Why?
  16. A dude named Rakeem Christmas averaged 8 minutes per game. He now plays in Europe. How do you let a dude with this name leave the United States of America? Shouldn’t he be featured in ads and children’s TV shows and get to play on, YOU KNOW, Christmas every year? This is the current state of America: we don’t even get to keep Christmas. Sigh.
  17. Last year, only 6 players weighed more than 275 lbs. Two of them were on the Indiana Pacers. I absolutely love that.
  18. 48 players were listed as 7 feet tall, or above; 4 players were listed as 6 feet tall or shorter (minimum 20 games played for both stats).
  19. I weigh less than 275 pounds, and I’m shorter than 6 feet. Do I have a “non-zero chance” at making the NBA?? Side note: this phrase, “non-zero chance,” is making the rounds of sports/media. Sports/media folks: you do realize that a non-zero chance is literally just a chance, don’t you? Like, it’s LITERALLY saying there’s a chance. If something were a “zero chance,” then it wouldn’t be a chance, at all, would it? Can you stop saying dumb stuff like this, please? Or, do you say dumb stuff because you think we’re dumb? Because, I think there’s a non-zero chance that it’s the latter.
  20. After the All-Star break the Pacers and the Bulls had winning records (they both went 13-12). I think that’s hysterical.
  21. The Cavs were 12-15. It’s difficult to recall but the Cavs played turrible, turrible lethargic basketball during large chunks of the regular season last year. Which would be fine, since if you can coast to the playoffs and then turn it on, good for you. But, here’s the thing: they weren’t coasting. They were TRYING. Remember the stat about LeBron averaging the most minutes? They played sub-.500 basketball while LBJ was on the court almost all of the time. That is just horrendous. You either win ball games with The King, or you sit him and lose. You do not waste him in meaningless games that you end up, pathetically, losing. The Cavs are a disaster and Kyrie was smart to get out while he could.
  22. My fantasy league’s rookie draft starts on Friday. It’s one round. My only point guard, as I may have mentioned once or twice, is Austin Rivers. He averaged 13 points and 3 assists in the second half of the season. Meh. I have to hope that a rookie PG will fall to me. And, remember, rookies generally don’t perform well, on the court or in the boudoir. I might have to pick up Ramon Sessions. My God.
  23. Wait a sec for the stat below and consider this question: who is the most believable but surprising player who could win MVP this year? I think John Wall or Rudy Gobert. Porzingis if the Knicks get the #1 seed (BWAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAA!). Could Dr. John Wall get his Wizards to a top 1 or 2 seed? Why not? Especially if the Cavs are going to “coast” again, and the Celtics take a minute to mesh (as all new rosters do, even Wade, LBJ and Bosh took some time getting used to each other) and the Raptors don’t trade for Boogie (gasp! Please do this, Masai! PLEASE!!!). Why can’t the Wizards be the #1 seed in the East? Regarding Rudy (the sequel to Harrison Ford’s underrated romantic/horror movie, Regarding Henry, wherein he gets shot and has brain damage and becomes a different, and better, person because he is unburdened by memory): only four players have won both the MVP and Defensive Player of the Year Awards: Jordan, Olajuwon, The Admiral, and Kevin Garnett. (Only Jordan and Olajuwon won it in the same year.) Could Rudy Gobert do it? Hayward left and Rubio isn’t good enough to leaven the loss. If Utah got the 2 seed, would that be enough to get Gobert the MVP?
  24. Only Big Ben Wallace and DIKEMBE MUTOMBO won the Defensive Player of the Year award 4 times. Go Pistons forever.
  25. The NBA recently voted to change the rules for the lottery in the draft so as to discourage tanking. This was not directed at the Pistons, for they tank without trying to. This new rule essentially makes it less likely for the bottom teams to win the #1 pick in the draft (though, it’s still super likely). This new rule will go into effect NEXT draft, not this upcoming one. So, this upcoming draft, the 2018 draft, will be the last non-zero chance for teams to take advantage of tanking (they will still tank and this is a stupid non-reform, but whatevs). So, lemme ask ya a question: do you think that teams will try to tank this year?? Yeah, me too. Look for the Bulls, the Magic, the (sigh) Pistons, the (gasp!) Spurs, the Lakers, the Celtics (just kidding), and possibly the Mavs to trade away good players for picks. Dirk to the Warriors is not the craziest thing that has ever happened.