Paroxysmal Pursuit: Peak Passing and Ridiculous Rebounding

Photo by hubertk via flickr

In this Paroxysmal Pursuit, we continue the quest of seeing when players peak. However, unlike the 1st two installments, this one eschews scoring for the other noble hardwood pursuits of rebounding and assisting.  Below are the 49 players to have averaged 6+ apg for their career and the 48 players to have 10+ rpg for their career. All players chosen had to have played a minimum of 500 career games. Furthermore, the career high had to have come from a season in which they played 50+ games. So no credit for putting up 10.4 apg in a 16-game season, Mark Price.

After the tables will be the usual Paroxysmal Notes of Interest to give meaning to the globs of numbers.

Note: Bob Cousy, Harry Gallatin and Dolph Schayes had the great fortune of playing part of their careers during a time when the NBA did not log minutes played. Their minutes played were not used in the overall averages.

REBOUNDING

Player Year Season Age Minutes Peak RPG Career RPG
Dolph Schayes 1951 2 22  n/a 16.4 12.1
Harry Gallatin 1954 6 26 6954 15.3 11.9
Neil Johnston 1955 4 25 10372 15.1 11.3
Wilt Chamberlain 1961 2 24 7111 27.2 22.9
Bob Pettit 1961 7 28 19268 20.3 16.2
Walter Dukes 1961 6 30 11862 14.1 11.3
Walt Bellamy 1962 1 22 3344 19 13.7
Red Kerr 1962 8 29 18704 14.7 11.2
Bill Russell 1964 8 29 24333 24.7 22.5
Willis Reed 1965 1 22 3042 14.7 12.9
Jerry Lucas 1966 3 25 9654 21.1 15.6
Bill Bridges 1967 5 27 10492 15.1 11.9
Nate Thurmond 1968 5 26 13013 22 15
Dave DeBusschere 1968 6 27 14143 13.5 11
Wes Unseld 1969 1 22 2970 18.2 14
Elgin Baylor 1970 3 26 8861 19.8 13.5
Spencer Haywood 1970 1 20 3808 19.5 10.3
Billy Cunningham 1970 5 26 12197 13.6 10.4
Red Robbins 1970 3 25 8161 16.2 10.5
Gerald Govan 1970 3 28 7190 14.5 10.5
Zelmo Beaty 1971 8 31 20050 15.7 10.9
Mel Daniels 1971 4 26 12081 18 14.9
Gus Johnson 1971 8 32 19055 17.1 12.1
Elmore Smith 1972 1 22 3186 15.2 10.6
Clyde Lee 1972 6 27 12890 14.5 10.3
Bob Lanier 1973 3 24 8259 14.9 10.1
Dave Cowens 1973 3 24 9687 16.2 13.6
Artis Gilmore 1974 3 24 10670 18.3 12.3
Elvin Hayes 1974 6 28 21403 18.1 12.5
George McGinnis 1974 3 23 8792 15 11
Happy Hairston 1974 10 31 22047 13.5 10.3
Swen Nater 1975 2 25 5088 16.4 11.6
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar 1976 7 28 23333 16.9 11.2
Moses Malone 1979 5 23 12376 17.6 12.3
Buck Williams 1983 2 22 5786 12.5 10
Larry Bird 1983 4 26 12099 11 10
Charles Barkley 1987 3 23 8039 14.6 11.7
Karl Malone 1988 3 24 8530 12 10.1
Hakeem Olajuwon 1990 6 27 17114 14 11.1
David Robinson 1991 2 25 6097 13 10.6
Dennis Rodman 1992 6 30 13935 18.7 13.1
Shaquille O’Neal 1993 1 20 3071 13.9 10.9
Dikembe Mutombo 2000 9 33 25114 14.1 10.3
Tim Duncan 2003 6 26 17726 12.9 11.4
Kevin Garnett 2004 9 27 26462 13.9 10.7
Carlos Boozer 2007 5 25 9995 11.7 10
Dwight Howard 2008 4 22 11802 14.2 12.9
Marcus Camby 2008 12 33 21303 13.1 10
Average 4.6 25.8 12010 16.1 12.2

 

ASSISTS

Player Year Season Age Minutes Peak APG Career APG
Bob Cousy 1960 10 31 23574 9.5 7.5
Oscar Robertson 1965 5 26 17036 11.5 9.5
Guy Rodgers 1967 9 31 24209 11.2 7.8
Walt Frazier 1970 3 24 7577 8.2 6.1
Norm Van Lier 1971 2 23 6219 10.1 7
Lenny Wilkens 1972 12 34 31447 9.1 6.7
Jerry West 1972 12 33 33144 9.7 6.7
Tiny Archibald 1973 3 24 9820 11.4 7.4
Dave Bing 1973 7 29 19706 7.8 6
Kevin Porter 1979 7 28 14826 13.4 8.1
Michael Ray Richardson 1980 2 24 4278 10.1 7
Magic Johnson 1984 5 24 12631 13.1 11.2
Norm Nixon 1984 7 28 20900 11.1 8.3
John Lucas 1984 8 30 17374 10.7 7
Isiah Thomas 1985 4 23 11622 13.9 9.3
Johnny Moore 1985 5 26 10824 10 7.4
Maurice Cheeks 1986 8 29 20790 9.2 6.7
Reggie Theus 1986 8 28 21256 9.6 6.3
John Bagley 1986 4 25 7575 9.4 6
Fat Lever 1987 5 26 12259 8 6.2
Larry Bird 1987 8 30 24406 7.6 6.3
Kevin Johnson 1989 2 22 5096 12.2 9.1
Nate McMillan 1989 3 24 6766 9.3 6.1
John Stockton 1990 6 27 14211 14.5 10.5
Muggsy Bogues 1990 3 25 6126 10.7 7.6
Mark Price 1990 4 25 9277 9.1 6.7
Michael Adams 1991 6 28 12043 10.5 6.4
Pooh Richardson 1991 2 24 5735 9 6.5
Tim Hardaway 1993 4 26 11819 10.6 8.2
Scott Skiles 1993 7 28 12173 9.4 6.5
Mookie Blaylock 1994 5 26 12135 9.7 6.7
Kenny Anderson 1994 3 23 6231 9.6 6.1
Damon Stoudamire 1996 1 22 2865 9.3 6.1
Mark Jackson 1997 10 31 26137 11.4 8
Rod Strickland 1998 10 31 25432 10.5 7.3
Jason Kidd 1999 5 25 12844 10.8 9.1
Stephon Marbury 1999 3 21 7331 8.9 7.6
Nick Van Exel 2000 7 28 17899 9 6.6
Sam Cassell 2000 7 30 12104 9 6
Terrell Brandon 2000 9 29 17762 8.9 6.1
Andre Miller 2002 3 25 7964 10.9 7.2
Gary Payton 2002 12 33 34735 9 6.7
Allen Iverson 2005 9 29 25338 7.9 6.2
Steve Francis 2005 6 27 17803 7 6
Brevin Knight 2005 8 29 11940 9 6.1
Baron Davis 2006 7 26 16161 8.9 7.3
Steve Nash 2007 11 32 23748 11.6 8.5
Dwyane Wade 2009 6 27 14925 7.5 6.3
LeBron James 2010 7 25 22108 8.6 7
Average 6.12 27 15138 9.9 7.2

 

 

Paroxysmal Notes of Interests

Rebounding Pre-80s, Assisting Post-80s

There is a pretty stark difference in when rebounding aces abounded and when assisting dynamos sprouted. Only 14 of the 48  rebounders (29%) peaked after 1980, whereas only 10 players who peaked prior to 1980 (20%) made the assist list. A rather strange phenomenon that can’t be completely answered here. The generally acknowledged glut of possessions in the 1960s spiked rebounding (and point) totals of the era, but didn’t do so for assists apparently. Maybe team offenses weren’t so centralized to the point guard position at that time. More players initiated offense and spread the assists out more, perhaps. Or maybe old curmudgeons are right when they say assists are handed out too liberally by score keepers these days.

Who knows?

Youthful Rebounders, Geriatric Passing

Rebounding is the domain of the young player. At least rebounding peak. Players, of course, continue to be great at it for years, but the peak happens incredibly early: season 4.6, age 25.8 and by the 12,000th minute played. On the flip side, playmakers take their time maturing. The averages were season 6.12, age 27 and just over the 15,000th minute played. Also, it’s worth mentioning that Gary Payton at age 33 and with over 34,000 minutes is both the oldest and, literally, most played player to hit a career high in scoring, rebounding or assists.

EDIT: If I could read my own table, I would see that Lenny Wilkens was 34 years old when he hit his peak, thereby beating Payton. My poor eyes.

To refresh your memory on scorers, they hit their peak in season 5.35, age 25.7 and minute 14,293.

Ageless Wonders

For scorers, only 5 of the 60 members of the 20+ ppg club hit their peak in season 10 or higher. That’s 8.3%. For rebounders this was 2 out of 48 (4.2%) and for assist leaders it was 6 out of 49 (12.2%).

Shifting the focus to age, 16.7% of scorers were 30 years or older at their peak. 22.4% of the playmakers and 10.1% of the rebounders achieved the same feat.

Finally, with minutes played, 23.3% of scorers peaked after their 20,000th minute. 16.7% of rebounders and 28.6% of playmakers did the same.

Youthful Exuberance

The exact same number of playmakers hit their peak under 10,000 minutes as did above 20,000 minutes (28.6%). For rebounders this fresh from the can experience was done by 43.8%. As for scorers, 28.3% topped off under 10,000 minutes.

For the under-25 crowd each category had the following percentages: rebounding 35.4%, assists 24.5% and points 40%.

To bring this exercise to a close, there’s the percentage of players who hit their peaks before their 5th season: rebounding 54.2%, assists 32.7%, and scoring 43.3%.

Bird is the Word

I would have loved to conclude this with an Hakeem Olajuwon clip, again, but since Larry Bird is the only player to appear in each table thanks to his assists, rebounding and scoring averages meeting the lofty minimums, he deserves this spot.

Go get ‘em, Larry!

[flash www.youtube.com/watch?v=p_nfsq4pTpI w=600 h=400]

Seth Carstens