Dennis Rodman’s Off The Charts Rebounding

The 1995 San Antonio Spurs advanced to the Western Conference Finals before losing to Hakeem Olajuwon and the Houston Rockets.  The story for San Antonio that playoff season was “The Worm” aka Dennis Rodman.

In 14 playoff games against Denver, LA and Houston the Spurs power forward averaged 33 minutes/night. Dennis Rodman averaged 5 Offensive Rebounds and 10 Defensive Rebounds per game during the playoffs.

Overall, Rodman grabbed 26% of the rebounds that were available during his time on the floor over these 14 games.  For comparison, teammate and all-time great center David Robinson pulled down 17% of his available rebounds.

Dikembe Mutombo pulled 14% of the rebounds available to him in the ’95 playoffs.  Lakers big man Vlade Divac procured 13% of his potential rebounds.  Finally, Hakeem Olajuwon himself pulled 14% of rebounds during the Rockets 1995 NBA championship run.

Dennis Rodman was essentially twice as good a rebounder as Divac, Mutombo and Olajuwon in the ’95 playoffs.

Bob Sura, Mr. Triple-Double

Nine years ago this month Atlanta Hawks guard Bob Sura was rolling The League.  The former Florida State standout had the run of his NBA career.  Over 18 games Sura averaged:

  • 16 Points
  • 10 Rebounds
  • 6 Assists
  • 82% FT

On back-to-back nights in April the Hawks defeated the Bulls and Celtics.  Bob Sura went for a triple-double each night.  The next game, in an Atlanta win over New Jersey, Sura went for 22 points, 11 assists and 9 rebounds.

Bob Sura could be considered an all-star caliber player for his half-season in Atlanta.  Additionally, over the course of his career Sura is one of the ten best rebounding guards in the NBA since the 1970’s.       

The Old School OKC Thunder

What made the Utah Jazz teams of John Stockton and Karl Malone so great?  They were consistently fouled a lot and converted a high percentage of their free throws.

Observe the highest singles season team Free Throws/Field Goal Attempts in the 3-point era:

Team

Opponent

Rk

Season

Tm

W-L%

FT/FGA

FT/FGA

1

1997-98

UTA*

.756

0.334

0.271

2

1984-85

PHI*

.707

0.331

0.259

3

1989-90

GSW

.451

0.321

0.253

4

1998-99

UTA*

.740

0.320

0.242

5

1988-89

UTA*

.622

0.320

0.246

6

1986-87

POR*

.598

0.313

0.265

7

1981-82

DEN*

.561

0.310

0.213

8

1987-88

PHI

.439

0.308

0.232

9

1994-95

UTA*

.732

0.306

0.292

The Jazz own 4 of the 9 highest free throw rates during the 3-point era.  Karl Malone himself made more free throws than anyone in NBA history.  The Mailman led the league in FTM a record eight seasons.  Former Jazz teammate Adrian Dantley is second on this list.  A.D. led the NBA in FTM five times.

All these made free throws were what really helped Jerry Sloan‘s team win all those games.  Utah posted winning percentages of at least 62% each of the four super free throw seasons.

There has been a general decline in free throw rates since the late 90’s.  Here are the highest FTM/FGA rates since the 1999 Jazz:

Team

Opponent

Rk

Season

Tm

W-L%

FT/FGA

FT/FGA

1

2005-06

NYK

.280

0.303

0.294

2

2010-11

OKC*

.671

0.299

0.228

3

1999-00

DET*

.512

0.295

0.249

4

2001-02

UTA*

.537

0.291

0.286

5

2008-09

DEN*

.659

0.290

0.259

6

2009-10

DEN*

.646

0.290

0.251

7

2006-07

SAC

.402

0.289

0.240

8

2012-13

OKC

.742

0.286

0.201

Provided by Basketball-Reference.com: View Original TableGenerated 3/16/2013.

Notice the massive differentials in free throws the Oklahoma City Thunder have been taking advantage of two of the last three seasons.  Kevin Durant is leading the league in made free throws for the 4th straight season.  Teammate Russell Westbrook has ranked in the top-5 NBA wide in free throws made three years running.

The 2013 version of the Thunder are shooting a sparkling 83% from the foul line.  Only the 1990 Boston Celtics and 2003 Dallas Mavericks have shot 83% for a full season in the history of the NBA.

One last random note.  The team with the highest FT/FGA since the turn of the century is Larry Brown‘s terrible ’06 Knickerbocker team.  They were the worst team in the eastern conference despite having an awesome free throw rate.  Center Eddy Curry led the team in free throws and posted a superb .514 FT/FGA rate.  Among NBA players in 2006 Curry ranked 29th in free throws made but 129th in field goal attempts.  That’s getting to the line!

The Brutally Average Dallas Mavericks

The 2013 Dallas Mavericks are 30-34.  They rank 17th of 30 NBA teams in both offense and defense.  Coach Rick Carlisle has the benefit of having a league average player at all 5 positions.

According to 82games.com the production that Carlisle receives from each of his five positions ranks between 13th-18th among all NBA clubs.  The Maverick players with the most minutes played are O.J. Mayo and Darren Collison.  Their Simple Ratings are +1 and -1 respectively.

The teams most productive player on a per minute basis is former lottery draft pick Brandan Wright.  The 6’9″ forward is posting a 21 Player Efficiency Rating and +6 Simple Rating as per 82games.com.  Over the Mavs last 6 games Wright is averaging 12 points, 6 rebounds, 2 blocks in just 25 minutes played.  His 67% field goal shooting during this time surely boosts his productivity numbers.

The only other Maverick with a Simple Rating >1 is Vince Carter.  At +6 SR the former high flyer has been quite under-rated as of late.  Carter has benefited greatly from playing with Collison and Mayo as proven by his career high 58% True Shooting this year in Dallas.

The Knickerbocker High Volume Scorer You Don’t Know

There are 18 NBA players who average 20 points/36 mins this season.  Here are the high volume scorers ranked by True Shooting Pct:

Totals

Rk

Player

Season

Tm

MP

FGA

PTS

TS%

1

Kevin Durant

2012-13

OKC

2472

1145

26.4

.645

2

Amare Stoudemire

2012-13

NYK

682

267

21.8

.637

3

LeBron James

2012-13

MIA

2345

1100

25.0

.636

4

James Harden

2012-13

HOU

2388

1072

24.6

.607

5

Tony Parker

2012-13

SAS

1846

866

22.9

.595

6

Chris Copeland

2012-13

NYK

412

186

21.0

.592

14

Carmelo Anthony

2012-13

NYK

1924

1104

26.6

.556

Provided by Basketball-Reference.com: View Original Table

Surprised by any name on this list?  28 year-old rookie Chris Copeland has been terrific this season for the Knicks.  The power forward is shooting over 80% from the foul line, a Tyson Chandler equaling 70% at the rim, and a Carmelo Anthony like 38% from 3-point land.

Unfortunately Copeland hasn’t played 20 minutes in any game in over 2 months.  Should Mike Woodson be starting Chris Copeland down the stretch run?

Dissecting the Chicago Bulls Awesome Defense

The Chicago Bulls are clearly a top-5 defense in the NBA.  One of their strong points has been the unheralded perimeter defense.  The Bulls guards hold their opponents to the lowest effective FG% in the NBA (compiled by 82games.com).  Of course their interior defense very much helps the overall Bulls team defense but I am still curious who is causing all these guards to miss shots.

The Bulls have two point guards and two shooting guards who all play between 22-29 minutes/night.  Let’s compare their opponents eFG% by position.  For comparison the NBA average guard shoots 49% eFG.

PG: Nate Robinson – 44%

PG: Kirk Hinrich – 47%

SG: Marco Belinelli – 47%

SG: Richard Hamilton – 46%

Three of four Bulls guards do not block many shots but all four manage to hold their opponents to below league average shooting.  Nate has just 8 blocks this entire season.  Belinelli and Hamilton have combined for 10 blocks while Hinrich himself has 22.  In fact Kirk Hinrich is tied for 8th best in the NBA in Block% among guards in 2013 with a career high 1.3 BLK%.

Nate Robinson has been a total lock-down defender this season.  Unless you watch a lot of Bulls games it’s hard to appreciate solid face-to-face perimeter defense.  The awesome rejection in the highlight reel above is one such lazy-man’s way to appreciate his defense.