A Memorable NBA Season
The 2015-16 Season has been memorable and historic in many ways. Here are my Top 10 Statistical Highlights from this season:
- Dual Dominance. This season has featured two historically dominant teams in
the Warriors and the Spurs, neither of whom has lost a home game. With 63 wins with 7 games remaining, the Spurs should finish with at least 68 wins (they play the Warriors twice more). If they do, the Spurs or the Warriors will go down as the team with the most regular season wins to NOT win the championship. The John Havlicek Celtics in 1972-73 won 68 games without winning the title and the 67 win 2006-07 Dallas Mavericks lost in the First Round. This year either the 68-win or so Spurs or the record breaking Warriors will not reach the Finals. So sad.
- Unbeatable Warriors.
The Golden State Warriors are likely to break the Bulls’ 72 win record. At 68-7, the Warriors would need a colossal melt-down to lose 4 of their remaining 7 games and not claim at least a share of the record. Based on recent history the Warriors are not likely to falter like that. In the last two seasons, no team has beaten the Warriors twice in a season and they have not lost back-to-back regular season games since January…of last year.
- Spurs at Home. The Spurs broke the all-time record for best home record to start a season (38 and still going). The Warriors are also perfect at home this season. Never before has a team gone the entire season perfect at home. This year we may have two teams.
- Lebron James. Lebron will likely complete his 12th season averaging at least 25 points per game to join Karl Malone for the most 25+ PPG seasons ever. Lebron is currently averaging 25.0. In the process Lebron passed Jerry West, Reggie Miller, Alex English, Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Tim Duncan, John Havlicek, and Dominique Wilkins on the All-Time scoring list. He’s likely to pass Oscar Robertson for 11th place in his next game.
- Triple Doubles. For only the 4th time in NBA history will there be more than 60 triple-doubles recorded in a single season. Led by Russell Westbrook (16) and Draymond Green (12), the NBA has turned triple-double happy. There are 11 players with at least two triple-doubles this season.
- The East. The 8th seed in the East is above .500 for just the second time in a decade. The average East team has made up some ground on the West. Unfortunately the top of the West is stronger than ever making it harder with the teams in the West with an unbalanced schedule to pick up many wins against the Warriors, Spurs, and Thunder.
- Changing of the Guard. Three of the historically great franchises, the Knicks, Lakers, and 76ers are the league’s doormats again this year. This is the 3rd straight season that none of these three storied franchises made the playoffs. Before this drought there was never a season in NBA history where at least one of these franchises wasn’t in the Playoffs. The sad thing is, none of these teams look like they will be getting significantly better any time soon.
- Kobe and the Other Aging Legends. All-Time Great Kobe Bryant has “treated” us to a farewell tour the likes of which we have not seen since Kareem, averaging 16.6 Points Per Game on an embarrassingly low 35.5% field goal percentage. His defense is equally terrible with a career-worst Defensive Rating of 113. To put that in perspective, everyone knows how terrible of a defender Enes Kanter is, his Defensive Rating is 9 points better than Kobe’s this season. Ouch! With not near the amount of fanfare and attention, Tim Duncan, in what may be his farewell tour, has quietly adjusted to a new role as an efficient support player on offensive and a key defensive player. In his 19th season, TD has a Defensive Rating of a stellar 95. Dirk Nowitzki has continued to lead a respectable Mavs team that many experts picked this pre-season as among the worst in the league. Dirk is averaging across the board better numbers than Kobe on still strong shooting percentages. In his 18th season, Dirk is talking about playing until he is 40 and looks poised to do it.
- All-Around Green. Draymond Green became the first player in NBA history with 1000 points, 500 rebounds, 500 assists, 100 steals, and 100 blocks. Any time a player becomes the first ever to do anything, it is impressive, but consider this level of all-around play was never achieved by Oscar Robertson (not enough blocks), Larry Bird (not enough blocks), Hakeem Olajuwon (not enough assists), or David Robinson (not enough assists), or even the great Michael Jordan (not enough assists or rebounds one year and not enough blocks in another). What Green brings to the table is truly impressive.
- A New King.
Steph Curry has taken the NBA world by storm and stolen the spotlight from Lebron James along with the title of best player on the planet. Curry stands to break a slew of records this season–has shattered his own single season record for 3 pointers made in a season (again), stands to break Wilt Chamberlain’s all-time record for PER in a season, will become only the 7th player to join the 50-40-90 club, and will become the 1st scoring champ in NBA history to also lead the league in 3 pointers made. On top of that, he’ll join Michael Jordan and Allen Iverson as the only players to ever lead the league in Scoring and Steals in the same season. Iverson did it on 42.4% shooting. Curry has done it while breaking all of these other records and treating the NBA to what may be the greatest individual season ever.
This has been one of the most memorable and exciting NBA seasons in my lifetime and one that NBA fans will look back on for years to come.