We love a stat.
In fact, we’re pretty obsessed with stat lines in most American sports.
They’re great if, like us, you have painstakingly learned how to build an NBA betting model.
One that is hungry for new information and statistics like some insatiable monster.
“Tell me – when one player from the Houston Rockets hit double-figures in a single game from the free-throw line, in a game that was the only time when there were four turnovers more than the most blocks in a game, where the head coach wore a hat that he took off at halftime, did the team go on to score more points than when he left the hat on?”
You know, basic stuff.
Here is a selection of weird and occasionally wonderful statistics from NBA history.
We’re not even going to try and agree what order to put them in so you’ll just have to read them all.
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Ok, so it would be bizarre to compile a list of the weirdest NBA stat lines and not include Wilt Chamberlain at least once. His stat lines weren’t so much weird as just downright sensational. But maybe this is the one that comes closest to the definition of the word…
Across a regular season of basketball games scheduled to last 48 minutes, Wilt Chamberlain averaged 48.52 minutes per game.
You can probably guess how this happened. Lots of games went into overtime and pushed up his averages.
But the fact remains that the number is truly staggering. No professional basketball player today would get anywhere near that amount of playtime.
They are protected and coddled by their coaches and coaching staff. That’s not to say that they don’t work hard and deserve to be protected.
BUT BACK IN THE DAY? THINGS WERE A LITTLE DIFFERENT.
Players were used for the maximum time possible again and again. They used them up and burned them out fast in those days. Seriously, go check out how long NBA careers tended to last in the late 50s and 60s.
That Chamberlain played for 14 years at such an incredible level just shows what a once-in-a-lifetime athlete he was.
Oh, and he scored 100 points in a single game this season too.
Never done before or since.
GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS VS MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES – 2017
An NBA triple-double isn’t an easy thing to achieve. Double figures in 3 of the 5 major box stats (points, assists, rebounds, steals, and blocked shots) is rare indeed.
To do so without one of those stat lines being points scored is unheard of.
So much so that Draymond Green is the only one ever to have done it.
A non-scoring triple-double.
Total rebounds: 11
Head coach Steve Kerr said of Green’s performance:
“THAT’S AS DOMINANT OF A PERFORMANCE AS I’VE EVER SEEN FROM SOMEBODY WHO SCORED FOUR POINTS”
We can’t argue with that.
NEW YORK KNICKERBOCKERS – 2000
Now then. Nobody is going to complain at a player snagging 37 points in a single game.
The thing that makes this stat weird (other than the fact that Knickerbockers had a player who could score so many points) is that he did nothing else…
Thanks for the points contribution, Al!
Any chance you could help snatch a few rebounds or assist your teammates?
Any chance of you blocking for a stint?
Hardly. Tell you what, I’ll go ahead and grab you 37 points in 38 minutes. But I reserve the right to give the ball away at least 4 times.
Sound good? Alright then
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ATLANTA HAWKS (GO HAWKS!) VS PORTLAND TRAIL BLAZERS – 1999
Cal Bowdler was rather unimpressive as an NBA player. We wish it weren’t so. How we would dearly have loved to see him average 30 points and 10 rebounds per game. But we are a touch biased in this regard…
No, that was not to be Cal’s destiny. However, he is remembered in the history books for an unusual occurrence.
In the ’99 game against the Blazers, Bowdler accumulated a ridiculous 6 fouls in just 15 minutes. So, how was he still on the field? We hear you cry.
Well…because the referees forgot how many fouls he had. Oops.
Bowdler stayed on court but, dummy that he was, he committed a seventh foul and was duly ejected from the game.
He remains the only player in NBA history to have committed more than six fouls in a single game. It seems that, of all the weird and wonderful records on this list, this is the one that is least likely ever to be bettered (worsed???)
Yes, we are aware that’s not a word.
vs Miami Heat – 1999
With the legendary Michael Jordan retiring and the season cut to 50 games because of the lockout, 1999/00 was not a vintage year for the Chicago Bulls.
Phil Jackson had just stepped down as the head coach.
Scottie Pippen went off to the Rockets.
Dennis Rodman left for the Los Angeles Lakers.
Wow. How do you come back from that?
Well, against the Miami Heat, they didn’t.
Scoring a truly astonishing NBA record of just 49 points in the entire game
The Bulls could not have looked more out-of-sorts.
They were 18-77 from the field. Collectively, 23.4%.
0-9 in 3-pointers
13-24 from the free-throw line
The Bulls finished their nightmare season 13-37.
How the mighty fell…
WASHINGTON BULLETS – 1993
Aside from being the 1989 NBA Slam Dunk Contest champion, you might be forgiven for not recalling much about Kenny Walker’s contribution to the NBA.
Especially the 12 minutes he played for the Washington Bullets against the New York Knickerbockers at Madison Square Garden in 1993.
He somehow managed to do literally nothing.
That’s got to be harder than it sounds.
We hope you had a few dollars riding on that as a prop bet.
Was the Lamborghini as awesome as it looked?
Detroit Pistons – 2005
Richard Hamilton has a weird stat from his game against the Memphis Grizzlies in 2005. He missed all 10 of his field goal attempts to go 0-10.
Yet he was still the leading scorer for the Pistons!!
Amazingly, Hamilton took 14 free throws and scored them all.
Overall, they shot 31% and got hammered 101-79.
But that remains one of the strangest facts we’ve heard thus far.
TORONTO RAPTORS – 2007/’08
José Caldéron came as close as any player ever to achieving perfection.
He hit a mind-bending, record-breaking 98.1% of his free throws in the 2008/’09 season.
Not good with percentages? Have it this way then:
He scored 151 of 154 attempted free throws.
He missed three in a whole season!
No other NBA player has even come close to such insane accuracy. In fact, none has even surpassed the 96% mark for a single season.
Weird? Maybe not
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Crazy like a fox as he was, there might be all kinds of voodoo-level BS that would get Dennis Rodman on this list. But he’s here because he did something quite remarkable.
The Worm played in 7 games where he took at least 20 rebounds and did not score a single point.
Think of that…
Here they are:
28 – vs Hornets – 1993
25 – vs Suns – 1993
24 – vs Kings – 1993
20 – vs Kings – 1994 (with zero attempts from the field)
21 – vs Suns – 1997
20 – vs Hornets – 1994
20 – vs Jazz – 1993
If only he could have done it all in one minute…
BROOKLYN NETS – 2003
In Game 6 of the 2003 NBA Finals, Kenyon Martin went 3-for-23 from the field in 39 minutes of play.
8 points scored. 20 shots missed.
That is quite appalling. A 13% success rate.
The kind of form your opponents stay up all night praying for before an elimination game.
OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER – 2011
Russell Westbrook scored only four points against the Memphis Grizzlies in their 2011 matchup. These were all from the free-throw line.
In regular play, he went 0 for 13 from the field. That’s in 40 minutes of play!
RASUAL BUTLER (R.I.P.)
TORONTO RAPTORS – 2012
The late Rasual Butler has a special place in NBA history.
Not for outstanding performances across his 13 years in the league. He was solid at best.
No, Butler will be remembered for being the only player in NBA history to concede a turnover without even spending ONE SECOND on the court.
It was the final seconds of the matchup between Rasual’s Toronto Raptors and the Los Angeles Lakers. Raptors were down by a single point at 92-93 and they needed to score in the remaining 4.2 seconds.
Butler was subbed into the game.
He was immediately called for a 5-second violation and subbed back out again.
Technically, he did not register a full second of play on the court, and the stat stands.
OTHER SHOCKING PERFORMANCES
Sacramento Kings vs Orlando Magic
Boston CELTICS vs ATLANTA Hawks (Go Hawks!)
SACRAMENTO Kings vs San Antonio Spurs
Los Angeles Lakers vs Houston Rockets
Milwaukee Bucks vs Utah Jazz
Miami Heat vs Portland Trailblazers
Oklahoma City Thunder vs New Orleans Pelicans
The stat line is a staple of life playing basketball in the NBA. No single stat can give us a real picture of a basketball player’s quality or longevity.
But boy, those zero-stat games show us just how awful they can be at times.
Thanks for reading folks. Look after yourselves and each other.
It’s a crazy world out there.