The Year in Review
From worst game to worst hair.
As everyone has probably figured out by now, the ‘08-09 NBA regular season has come to a conclusion. Spread out over the course of six months, 12 players on 30 teams played 82 games. That’s a whole lot of basketball!
As was bound to happen, some amazing (hey, it is “where amazing happens”) ball was played. From triple-doubles to 20-20s to 60-point outburst, statistical feats running the whole gamut occurred. Then again, some terrible statistical feats were accomplished as well—ranging from “trillions” (don’t know what this is? This should help) being posted on the stat sheet to zero percent shooting nights.
In between all of the practices, games and interviews were a lot of other notable moments. The birth of the halftime tweet (thanks, Charlie!), and the Cavs’ over-the-top dance antics are amongst the most memorable.
After spending way too much time at it (I’m sure there would have been an easier way to do this), I think I’ve found some of the best and worst stats from the regular season, as well as a bonus of some of the best and worst non-basketball related events-slash-random stuff.
Here you go. The list could be endless—if I missed anything, please feel free to drop it in the comment section.
Most Points Scored Game (Combined): Before I even looked it up I was thinking it had to be the Warriors or the Suns. While I was looking it up I noticed both Terry Porter (28-23) and Alvin Gentry (18-13) were five games over .500 as coach of the Suns. Don’t know what to make of it, but just wanted to point that out. Anyway, as to the matter at hand, obviously, when the Warmongers and the SettingSuns met up March 15, 284 combined points were dropped (150-134, Suns on top). The high scorer in that game was Jason Richardson with 31; after that it was just a bunch of 20 spots. I didn’t see the game, but I’m sure both squads were locked in (not that any D was played anyway).
Least Points Scored Game (Combined): Blindfolded I would suggest the BETcats were involved—they were the lowest scoring team in the NBA at 93.6 per game. The verdict? The Sacramento Queens, sorry, Kings put up a paltry 63 spot in a 45 point loss to the Celtics, but the combined low goes to the T-Raptors and the Memphis Grizzlies. They combined for an awe-inspiring 148 points (78-70, Grizz) on February 7. Good thing only 11,000 paid to see it in person.
Most Points Game (Individual): Well, we all know this one off the top of our collective dome—61. That’s how many Kobe Bryant had at Madison Square Garden, February the 2. He added three assists and no boards, so I wouldn’t call it “the best performance of the year,” but it was real nice to see fans at the Garden chant “MVP” for a Laker.
Fewest Points Game (Individual): For the record, this category only applies to “real players.” As defined scientifically, that means I only looked at players who started at least half the games they played in the A this season. The winner—or should I say loser—is …yeah, this one took me a while to research. But for real, here is a list of good to great players who had terrible to unpleasant performances
– LaMarcus Aldrige had a tremendous game of 4 points.
– Ray Allen dropped a whopping 1-point on February 11.
– You have to ask a Hawks fan about this, but Mike Bibby saw fit to go scoreless in back-to-back games in mid-February.
– Denver’s savior, Chauncey Billups, managed to light the nets up against Boston, scoring 3 points.
– Jose Calderon put on a few shooting clinics this year, outdueling Dorell Wright and Darnell Jackson, en route to scoring 3 against Miami and 2 versus Cleveland.
– When visiting Toronto one time, and not in a sober state of mind, I ran around a mall yelling, “VC for threeee!!” Turns out, I’m a prophet, as Mr. Carter shot a perfect 0-13 versus his old team, while scoring 3 points.
– Baron Davis had a rough year, as he posted a trifecta of three point outbursts.
– There’s a theme of three developing here. Rip Hamilton showed Ray Allen how to shoot, going 0-8 in an early season loss to Boston.
– Why stop now? Al Harrington helped his team(s) out, scoring 3 points on two occasions.
– It must have been Kryptonite that held Superman Howard to 4 points. Or, maybe, it was the six personal fouls.
– Andre Iguodala had an up-and-down season, often scoring 10 one night and 30 the next. His most memorable low? Scoring 2 against Miami.
– I came up watching Allen Iverson, so let’s leave his season out of this.
I’m not even halfway done the alphabet, but the point has been well-proven. Everyone has an off-night now and then.
Nicest Individual Box Score: Thankfully, this season provided us with a plethora of these to choose from. I’m fond of LeBron’s near triple-double against the Knicks, the game after Kobe lit them up for 61 (after the lost rebound, the final stats were 52 points, 11 dimes and 9 boards). I’m also partial to Dwight Howard’s 30, 19 and 10 (blocks, that is). At the end of the day, however, I’m Chris Paul’s biggest fan. That’s why I’m going with two of his games—two near quadruple-doubles. One was a 33, 11, 10 and 7 steal spot in a win against Dallas. The other occurred less then two weeks later when he bucketed 27, 15 assists, 10 rebounds and 7 steals. Stats like these make me think MVP. But I don’t feel like arguing with Lang.
Ugliest Individual Box Score: This is going to the player who got the ugliest “trillion” of the year. Before I continue, let’s define what a “trillion” is for those not in the know. A “trillion,” according to the always accurate Wikipedia is, “is a basketball term used to denote a player who has played one minute without recording any other statistic. The term takes its name from its appearance in a box score, as it reads as one followed by twelve zeros – the conventional American rendering of ‘one trillion’.” It’s harder than it sounds to get. You can’t have any impact on the game, positive or negative. Take a whirl at that.
So, shout-out to some of this year’s notable trillionares:
– First round pick Alexis Ajinca, had just such a game against Milwakuee.
– Joe Alexander, of the very same Bucks team, challenged an Elias Sports Bureau record, going for back-to-back games with straight zeros. Also, stop the presses on this one (sadly, I believe a lot of presses already stopped this year), Alexander went nine minutes against the Nets in February without so much as putting up a shot (that’s nine trillion, if you’re counting).
– Iranian Hamed Haddadi conspired with the Hornets to boast this feat of a trillion against them.
– Notice a trend? They are all marginal players, and rookies at that. The average NBA player puts up one shot or accidentally grabs a rebound, no matter what.
The list goes on, but I don’t. If I have any readers left I don’t want to lose them now.
Most Double-Doubles: If you follow the NBA day in and day out you’ll know this one. Alas, many people will be blindsided by the answer to this Q. The man who led the league, with 65 double-doubles, this year is New York’s brightest spot—and maybe a past tense Knick—David Lee. I didn’t check but I’d imagine all of these were rebounds-points combos. The man, or should I say Superman, with the second most was Dwight Howard, who amassed 63 of them. Interestingly, he had one double-double that consisted of points and blocks. Pretty f’ing amazing. Rounding out the top five was Chris Paul with 50 of them (six triple-doubles), Tim Duncan with 49, and Troy Murphy (the League’s second-leading rebounder) with 49.
Most Turnovers (What’s the opposite? Least double-doubles? No way.): I want to state this for the record, before I get bashed, by no means does this mean that this player is the worst player; rather it means that he led the League in turnovers. That’s it. Stephen Jackson led the L with 3.88 TO/game probably because he tried to do too much. Again, that’s no condemnation. I like Jax’s game a lot. I mean, 20, 6 and 5 speaks for itself . But he needs to be freed from G-State and the mess that is the Warriors. Two thru five were Dwyane Wade, Steve Nash, Deron Williams, and Russell Westbrook. I would take these five on my team any day. You could call us the “Point Gods.”
Best Field Goal Percentage on 2-Point Jump Shots: This is one of those new-aged stats. It doesn’t include shots from outside the arc or inside the paint. Basically, it’s a good way to measure how swing men play in the midrange. Anyway, Jason Terry is the leader here, shooting 49 percent from the mid-range. Second is Ray Allen and third is Steve Nash. Makes sense to me.
Worst Field Goal Percentage on 2-Point Jump Shots: On the other end of the spectrum, at an abysmal 32 percent, is Josh Smith. Fortunately for Smith, he is a much better athlete then the guys at the top-end of this stat. But if he wants to be complete, he better learn how to hit a midrange J. Next-to-bottom is Baron Davis and Ron Artest. Wow! I love this stat (and GMs do to, I presume).
Best Game by a Rookie: Everyone is thinking Love, Rose, Mayo, etc. Nope. I think, feel free to disagree, that a G-State Warrior had the best game by a rookie. Nope again. Not Anthony Randolph or Rob Kurz; rather Anthony Morrow had arguably the best game of any rookie. In just the fourth game of the season Morrow exploded unto the scene. He shot a tidy 15-20, finishing with 37 points and adding 11 boards along the way. The rookie ended up leading the League in three-point percentage at 46.7 percent. Not bad—for an undrafted player.
Worst Game by a Rookie: This time I am going with one of the obvious rookies. Again, the arguments against this are as strong as the reasons I picked this, but it’s my pick. And, so, OJ Mayo’s inaugural NBA game wins this coveted category award. Against Houston, Mayo clanked most of his shots, shooting 5-20, while grabbing 5 boards and turning the ball over 3 times. It could have been worse, but not much. Kevin McHale looked like a genius for a night. On the flipside though, Mayo loves to give back to the community.
Best Haircut: First on here is Carmelo Anthony. I’m a fan of braids, but his were looking dead, besides, he needed a fresh start (more on braids and fresh starts later). Second, and you may not like this, is Adam Morrison. As has been pointed out to me by many a female, he will always be ugly regardless of his hair style. But the man needed to leave the 1970’s and join the rest of society…off an NBA court. Back to the braids, most of the League has chopped their rows off. A drive around Philly and New York shows me that kids think they’re played out as well. But how could I have a “best” list without a baller with braids? It wouldn’t be right. So the best player in the A who currently still rolls his hair tight is… Nene. Even if they look raggedy as hell, they still count. And thus make the “best” list by default.
Worst Haircut: Scott Pollard and his ridiculous style were gone this year, thank the bball God. So, back to the well, I’m gonna harp on braids again. All-Star weekend, Allen Iverson saw fit to de-braid himself for the first time since rookie year. Big mistake. His whole year was downhill after the circumcision. Not to mention the permanent part in the middle of his dome. Second, at the beginning of the year I recall Marvin Williams rocking this nasty half-Mohawk that Lang termed the HD Mohawk. I’m glad it died. So are you. Trust me. Last on my list, first in my heart, Chris Andersen. What the hell is wrong with that man? His hair looks like it is alive! My stomach is turning even writing about it.
Moment of the Year: I was relaxing late on a Thursday night with some people (and the mandatory drinks) and we happened to flip on a TNT game. Everyone knows that these games usually aren’t the best, but Houston-Portland sounded like it could be solid. Lo and behold, three game-winning shots were hit that night, capped off by Brandon Roy’s 40-foot buzzer beater. For me, that early season play set the tone for the 2008-2009 season, and ultimately served as a microcosmic taste of what was to come.
Last Word: It was great not having to hear Soulja Boy every timeout or stoppage in play this season. Wherever Superman is, I hope he’s resting in peace.
Until the end of next season, kiss me through the phone (I wonder why they don’t spin that in arenas?).
Final Last Word: Almost forgot. Ranging from those in the SLAM Dome to those at home, thanks for making SLAMonline one of the best places to follow and get fresh perspective on the NBA throughout the campaign. I don’t take it for granted, neither should you.