Stack’s Stats: Individual Statistical Milestones
The most notable milestones players can achieve in ’11-12.
by Kyle Stack / @KyleStack
A new NBA season means a new way for me to cover the League. This column is the first of what will be a weekly series, hopefully every Friday. (I figured I’d give you some Christmas Eve love with this one.)
My idea for this column is quite simple: It will be stat-based. In this opening set, I’ll present the individual milestones that are within reach from a collection of the League’s best players. In subsequent posts, I’ll note the week that was in the NBA by outlining relevant team and individual statistical accomplishments. Beyond that, there are no limits to the types of information I hope to provide you.
I’ll talk to players, team executives, scouts and others to get a sense of who’s playing well, who isn’t and why. I’ll speak with those in the medical field to get insight on player injuries. For those who read other sports, this column is influenced by Jayson Stark’s Rumblings & Grumblings column on ESPN.com and by Pro Football Weekly’s always-informative The Way We Hear It section. This will be heavy on stats (and sarcasm), but it will also give you lots of information on player and team situations throughout the NBA.
This column will grow. I’ll add and remove things until I find the right fit. I am thinking of ways to develop interaction between myself and you, the reader, whether it’s through email, social media or both. For now, we’ll try this model and see how it works.
Given that this column is tailored specially toward pointing out individual milestones in play this season, let’s take it category-by-category.
Kobe to pass Shaq
Kobe Bean Bryant, sixth on the all-time NBA scoring list, needs 729 points to surpass his former teammate/arch nemesis Shaquille O’Neal for fifth place. It would take Bryant 30 games to do so, if going by his 25-points-per-game clip, which he averaged in 2010-11.
Questions arise as to how much, and how effectively, Bryant will play given his new injury—a torn lunotriquetral ligament in his right wrist. He’s expected to curb surgery and simply play with it. Whether he can maintain his career field goal percentage of 45.4 percent is another question. Yet it is a safe bet that Bryant will attain the required points this season to rank behind only Wilt, Jordan, Malone and Kareem for all-time points.
20,000 points untouched?
This will likely be the first season since 2008-09 that a player doesn’t reach 20,000 points. Vince Carter and Paul Pierce did it last season, Tim Duncan, Ray Allen and Dirk Nowitzki claimed the milestone in 2009-10 and Kevin Garnett reached it in 2007-08.
Antawn Jamison (18,128 points) and Tracy McGrady (18,108) are the active players closest to 20K. Considering that Jamison would have to average 28.3 points and T-Mac 28.6, we’re gonna go ahead and exclude them from the rest of the conversation. For those of you wondering about LeBron James (17,362), it would take an obscene mark of 39.9 for him to hit 20K. That’s out of reach even for The LeBronernator.
Camby goes for 10K
Look for Marcus Camby to become the 35th NBA player to hit 10,000 total rebounds. The 37-year-old—one of six players remaining from the ’96 Draft following Peja Stojakovic’s retirement—is 197 rebounds shy of 10K. It’ll take to his 20th game to reach that mark if we follow his career average of 10 ‘boards per game.
Elton/KG creep to 3K O-boards
Only 23 NBAers have accumulated 3,000 offensive rebounds. Not exactly a glamorous stat, but one which is filled with Hall of Famers. One surefire HOFer, Mr. KG, is just 55 o-boards from reaching that list. A borderline guy, Elton Brand, is only 105 away. Each should get to the milestone with relative ease.
Nash chases Oscar
Want to know what happens if Steve Nash averages 9.6 assists, a stat he’s bettered each of the last seven seasons? (He’s actually averaged at least 10.5 for six of those campaigns.) He passes Oscar Robertson for fifth on the all-time assists list. Nash, at 9,252 dimes, is 635 behind Robertson.
And 10,000 assists is in play for Nash, who would have to average 11.3 to do so. He put in 11.4 last season, so that is within reason. And if Nash were to reach 10K, he would join Magic, Mark Jackson, J-Kidd and Stockton as the only NBA players to do it. From there, it’s easy to imagine Nash passing Magic (10,141 assists) and Jackson (10,334) in 2012-13.
KG chases exclusivity
Have you not had enough KG in your life? The Celtics big man needs 110 assists to become the 52nd to hit 5,000. That shouldn’t be a problem. Humble as that milestone is, it sets the stage for a much more exclusive club to which Garnett would belong.
He would become just the third player ever to attain 20,000 points, 10,000 rebounds and 5,000 assists. The other two: Karl Malone and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
If you really want to make things exclusive, throw in KG’s 1,608 career steals and 1,847 blocks. Reaching 5K assists would mean he would be the only player in NBA history to hit 20K points, 10K rebounds, 5K assists and 1,500 steals and blocks. Malone tallied 1,145 career blocks while Kareem has 1,160 steals. Of course, the NBA didn’t track steals in Kareem’s first four seasons, meaning theoretically he might have reached what will soon be known as the KG Club.
Odds and ends
–Jason Kidd (2,477 steals) needs 38 swipes to pass Michael Jordan for second all-time.
–Three players can hit 1,500 steals: Baron Davis (1,496), Metta World Peace (1,474) and Paul Pierce (1,429). As with anything else in this weird, condensed NBA campaign, injuries can get in the way.
–Theo Ratliff recently-announced retirement (http://www.demopolistimes.com/2011/12/23/ratliff-retiring-from-nba/) means he likely won’t get the 32 blocks necessary for him to reach 2,000.
–If Jason Kidd plays each of the Mavs’ 66 regular season games, he’ll move from 18th on the games played list (1,267 now) to 8th, just two behind Gary Payton.
–Another Jason Kidd milestone, albeit one he’d likely rather not brag about. Sixty-four more turnovers means he joins Stockton and Malone as the only NBAers to turn over the ball 4,000 times. And they say the Jazz duo practiced sound fundamentals!
–Sign you’re an old man (in the NBA): hitting 40,000 career regular season minutes. That’s Tim Duncan, who is 2,267 minutes shy of the mark. That would mean a 34.3 minutes average; the last time he reached 34 per game was in 2007-08.
–If Kobe makes 288 more field goals (he could reach that in 58 games if he makes five shots per contest), then he would become the tenth player to reach 10,000 made shots (excluding free throws).
–Now that Peja is retired, Chauncey Billups can pass him for fourth in all-time 3′s made. At 1,735, Billups needs 26 to make that happen. A collection of Chris Paul kickouts and Blake Griffin passes out of the post should do that.
–Mike Bibby is 10 three-pointers away from becoming the 15th ever to make 1,500.
–Kobe must hit 302 free throws to pass Jerry West and Michael Jordan for fourth on the all-time list. At 7,026 now, that would mean about 51 games for Bryant to do that, assuming he makes six free throws per game, which is .3 below his career average.
NBA schedule quirk
(The team arguably most screwed for the next week)
Los Angeles Lakers – Four games in five days
The Lakers are the only team to open with three games in three days—at Chicago, vs. Sacramento, at Utah December 25-27. They get one day off and then it’s a home game against the Knicks. And they’ll have to make due without Andrew Bynum, who had one game chopped off a five-game suspension from the NBA for his cheap shot on JJ Barea in last year’s playoffs.
Insightful NBA player tweets of the week
(Tweets unedited from how they were originally written)
DeJuan Blair, San Antonio Spurs (@DeJuan45): “Sometimes I think too much and then put myself in a bad mood.Smh”
Marquis Daniels, Boston Celtics (@Marquis_Daniels): “These sweat pants don’t stand a chance with this wind today feel like I got on church pants #beleedat”
Deron Williams, New Jersey Nets (@DeronWilliams): “Some dude just said I look like Tyson Chandler or Deron Williams I said i get that all the time then he told me he didn’t like either of us”