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.Â 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.
|Player||Year||Season||Age||Minutes||Peak RPG||Career RPG|
|Dolph Schayes||1951||2||22||Â n/a||16.4||12.1|
|Player||Year||Season||Age||Minutes||Peak APG||Career APG|
|Norm Van Lier||1971||2||23||6219||10.1||7|
|Michael Ray Richardson||1980||2||24||4278||10.1||7|
|Nick Van Exel||2000||7||28||17899||9||6.6|
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 48Â 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.
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.
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.
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]