Thursday, April 4, 2013

FYI - Answers to the trivia questions you've never been asked

Sports trivia. Maybe you and your friends quiz each other all the time. Or perhaps you think you've actually no need for it. If this is the case, I'm here to tell you that you're wrong. Maybe you end up out at a trivia night with your friends, and because you read this you're able to answer a question. Or maybe you meet a boy (or girl...but probably a boy) you want to impress, and you use this to "drop some knowledge on his ass". Or maybe you want to find a way to finally connect with your father.  Whatever the case may be, you'll be thankful you've got a bit of sports trivia knowledge stored away somewhere.

Let's start with this. What happened here?

If you answered with "a high school student made a fool of himself on national television during the McDonald's All American Game last night," you are correct! If you also mentioned what appears to be Morgan Freeman sitting at the end of the bench, you get extra points.

Here are a few more answers to potential trivia questions you may face. For each of these questions, I set a threshold for 50 games played in a season, since seasons used to be shorter and this allows for players to miss even significant portions of a season but still count statistically.  FYI - you'll probably never actually have to face these questions, but that doesn't mean they don't deserve an answer!

Who are the most prolific off-the-bench volume shooters?

If you don't include this season, only three players have ever played in nearly a full slate of games, started fewer than ten of them, averaged over 13 shots a game, AND shot under 45%.  We've covered them before - in fact I picked two for my intramural team months ago on this blog. Jamal "the starters quit on Vinny Del Negro but I'm not complaining because I get to shoot more" Crawford, Jason "JET" Terry, and J.R. Smith make up this exclusive club.  FYI - despite this combination only occurring three times since the three point line has been introduced, both J.R. Smith and Jamal Crawford are on pace to join this club again this year!! (And do so at a lower shooting percentage, I might add.)

Ok that's pretty current. How about from history?

Let's open up our time frame a bit and go all the way back to the introduction of the shot clock (that's the '54-'55 season for all you youngsters). Since then, there's a plethora of players that have averaged under 25 minutes per game, yet still taken over 12 shots. (Is that a good enough reason to use the word plethora?)  You know what I learned from this list? People used to be so much more creative when naming their children.  Here are the best names on that list, in order of field goal percentage: Junior Bridgeman, Purvis Short, Bill McGill ("we had a baby! quick! what's it's name! ahhhh! what should be we do! We're the McGill's! Bill! Bill McGill!" - that's how I picture that hospital scene), Campy Russell, Purvis Short again, Terry Teagle, Freeman Williams, and Clyde Lovellette. The best part? ALL of these players had better field goal percentages than the seasons Crawford, Smith, and the JET posted. FYI - by cutting the list off there I had to leave out Herb McLore, Ledell Eackles, and Herm Gilliam, and I only made one of those up.

What's the most concentrated dose of volume shooting we've seen?

Speaking of stellar names, allow me to introduce Lennie Rosenbluth (predecessor to the Bluth family of Arrested Development).  Lennie played for the 1957-58 Philadelphia Warriors - a team that finished 3rd in the Eastern Conference and lost in the Eastern Division finals under one-year coach George Senesky.  Lennie made an appearance in 53 of the team's 72 games that season, and he only averaged 7 minutes per game. And yet, he still found a way to get off 5 shots per game!  Perhaps most astonishing here is the fact that he only shot 34% on the season, which is probably why he only played 7 minutes a game.  There's really no good reason for why he even played that much - he averaged under 2 rebounds per game, about a third of an assist per game, and around two and a half McChickens. FYI - less than 20 years later Don Smith would put up almost as bad of a season while taking far more shots, but he did go 21-21 from the free throw line for a perfect season!

Is there an opposite of volume shooting?

Yes, and his name is Reggie Evans.  In this statistical break down, I honed in on players averaging over 20 minutes per game while attempting less than 2.5 field goals per game.  Charles Jones did it three years in a row with the Washington Bullets. Joel Anthony clearly understood his role with last year's title-winning Miami Heat. My guess is if I backed down the minutes per game requirement a bit we would see a repeat performance from him, the addition of the Birdman, and a few more seasons from Reggie Evans.  FYI - What I love about Evans is that he pulled down more offense rebounds than the number of field goals he attempted - that is sacrifice, intensity, and role-playing at it's finest.

Has anyone ever pulled down more offense rebounds than the number of points they've scored?

What a great question! While this is more common than I thought, our main man Dennis Rodman absolutely owns this category. I didn't make the parameters big enough to see his true dominance, but here you can see two of the final three Bulls championship runs. What is astounding here is how many rebounds Rodman pulled down.  48% and 45% are not necessarily great shooting seasons from a big man, but they certainly aren't bad. And it isn't like Rodman didn't attempt shots, as he averaged around 5.0 per game in the '96 season and 6.0 in the '97 season. Yet he still managed to pull down more offensive boards than he had points in both seasons! Props to Larry Smith for even managing to make it on that page. FYI - In their final championship season in '98 Rodman significantly increased his minutes played and total points - and still pulled down 421 offensive rebounds to his 375 points!

Can this question be applied to other categories?

Hmmm. What about - personal fouls? Just for fun I set the boundary at 250 points/fouls, and then absolutely lost it when DeSagna Diop topped the list. It reminded me of this point I made about Diop and Bismack Biyombo, which reminded me of this hilarious email we got about Biz.  Plus, Diop played in all but one game that season, yet his number of personal fouls topped every statistical category except minutes played and total rebounds! Adoptive Uncle indeed. FYI - No he wasn't with Charlotte when this happened! In fact he was with Dallas, but I totally understand why Charlotte wanted to scoop him up asap.

Wait - did I see Jason Collins' name in more than one of those links? What the hell was going on in New Jersey in the 2006-07 season??

I was so prepared to label Lennie Rosenbluth's '57-'58 season as the worst I'd ever heard of, but that was simply because I hadn't heard of Jason Collins.  The 2006-07 New Jersey Nets were coached by Lawrence "Who?" Frank. Collins played 80 games that season. I'm sorry, what I meant to say was, Collins STARTED 78 GAMES THAT SEASON.  There, now that I've covered that, I can get to the stats: 23 minutes per game, 1 offensive rebound per game, 4 total rebounds per game, 0-for-2 from three point land, 46.5% from the free throw line, 3.5 fouls per game (for a discrepancy with his total points that is far larger than Diop's), .5 assists per game, .5 steals per game, .4 blocks per game, almost 1 turnover per game, and....wait for it....36% shooting from the field!  FYI - I have no idea what Frank Lawrence was doing or why he wasn't able to find a single person in the entire state of New Jersey to fill in on his basketball team, but this is certainly the worst individual season in history.

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