Category Archives: 1990s NBA

Video: Dirk’s Rookie Year

A short interview & highlight package featuring Dirk Nowitzki, Steve Nash and Don Nelson, circa Dallas 1998.



Two Decades Ago a “Penny” Arrived


On this day twenty years ago Orlando Magic rookie Anfernee Hardaway notched his first career triple-double.  “Penny” went for 14 points, 12 assists and 11 rebounds in a double OT loss to the Dino Radja led Boston Celtics.

The Magic led by Shaquille O’Neal and Hardaway would win fifty games in 1994 before losing to the Indiana Pacers in the playoffs.

The former All-America from Memphis finished his rookie year in the NBA by becoming the first newcomer since Michael Jordan to average 15 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists and 2 steals per game.  Besides MJ and Penny only Magic Johnson and Chris Paul have accomplished this feat in their rookie seasons.

Steph Curry Meets K.J.

Stephen Curry‘s all-NBA performance this year has little precedent. His combination of scoring, shooting efficiency, passing and ball control has been incredible.

Here is what Curry is doing this season:

24 points/game, 60% true shooting, 40% assist rate, 16% turnover

The most similar season I could find in NBA history is from 1991.  Phoenix Suns point guard Kevin Johnson was leading his team to 55 wins while on his way to 2nd team all-NBA.  Here is K.J.’s ’91:

22 points/game, 60% true shooting, 41% assist rate, 16% turnover

It’s interesting to note that Johnson was such a great shooter despite not making three’s.  How did he do it?  In 1991 he made the fifth most foul shots in the NBA.

The Best Offensive Rebounder Since Rodman

My love of offensive rebounding has shined through multiple times before.  In the Detroit Pistons loss to Charlotte last night second year man Andre Drummond hauled in 22 missed shots including 11 Detroit misses.  The Bobcats held the Pistons to just 40% shooting so their was plenty of opportunity for the former UConn star.

For the season this was Drummond’s fourth game with ten or more offensive rebounds.  No other NBA player has more than one such game this year.  While he won’t catch the great season Jayson Williams had in ’98, Drummond has a good chance of joining Williams and Dennis Rodman as the only players in the last three decades to have more than six games of ten+ offensive boards in a single-season.

Put another way Andre Drummond is one of the three best offensive rebounders since Moses Malone was cleaning glass in the early ’80’s.

Serge Ibaka Meets The X-Man

Oklahoma City Thunder big man Serge Ibaka had a sweet shooting game Friday against Jason Kidd and the Brooklyn Nets.  He was a perfect 12-for-12 from the floor in 31 minutes played.  According to his shot chart at five of Ibaka’s made baskets were from outside of ten feet.  His other seven makes were all at the rim.  His full season chart shows that he has been good from almost every spot inside of the three point arc.

Ibaka Shotchart 2.2.14

It turns out that Ibaka had just the third perfect game (with 12+ FGA’s) since Karl Malone in 2001.  The only other two in the past thirteen years both occurred in January of 2009.  Yao Ming and Nene Hilario each went 12-for-12.  The last 13-for-13 game was Vin Baker in 1997 and the only 14-for-14 game was produced by Seattle SuperSonics point guard Gary Payton in ’95.

Final note, the only perfect game in the Basketball-Reference database (since 1986) in which the player attempted zero free throws was by “The X-Man” Xavier McDaniel.

NBA Rewind: January 1994, The Month of Harold Ellis

Exactly twenty years ago tonight the Los Angeles Clippers defeated the Minnesota Timberwolves 103-93.  With both teams headed for the draft lottery there wasn’t a lot to expect from the game.

Undrafted Clippers rookie Harold Ellis was playing just his eleventh NBA game.  Ellis is the primary reason L.A. forced twenty-one Minnesota turnovers.  Christian Laettner alone had six turns which would equal the number of steals Harold Ellis made in just 29 minutes.  Ron Harper would score 31 points and pull down 8 rebounds in the victory.

You may remember Ellis for his performances in his first week in the league.  In his third and fourth NBA game he went off to average 26 points and 3.5 steals while pretty much not missing a shot.  His six steal game against Minnesota was his third with 5+ steals in his first eleven NBA games.

Karl Malone: Standard for Power Forwards

Twenty years ago today the Utah Jazz beat a young Warriors team led by Chris Webber and Latrell Sprewell. Utah’s Karl Malone had a great all-around game.  He played 35 minutes and scored a game high 30 points.  The Mailman also led all players with 17 rebounds.  For good measure he added 8 assists, 2 steals and 5 blocks.

While just short of a triple-double, which Malone had four in his career, his performance here demonstrates he is the prototype power forward.  The bar for younger power forwards Derrick Coleman, Kevin Garnett and Elton Brand was raised thanks to Karl Malone.