Tag Archives: heaves

Michael Olowokandi never attempted a three-pointer, which was weird

The three-point line has been a part of the NBA for 37 seasons. Since its introduction, 2,773 players and logged at least one minute in the NBA and 1,120 tallied at least 5,000 minutes.

Only seven of those players did not attempt a three-pointer, difficult to accomplish given that last-second heaves count as legit field goal attempts even if a miss flies several rows into the bleachers. Shaquille O’Neal went 1-for-22 from three over his career. The amazing Manute Bol attempted a few of them from 1986 to 1988 before going 20-for-91 in 1989. Bismack Biyombo, stone hands and all, hoisted one last season.

Michael Olowokandi played 13,129 minutes, technically the second-highest total among all players whose careers started after the 1978-79 season and finished without a single shot from beyond the arc. James Donaldson nearly doubles Olowokandi’s minute total at 26,222 without a three-point attempt, but his career lasted from 1981 to 1995, his last season when NBA teams finally surpassed 10 attempted threes per game in part because the league shortened the distance of the above the break three-point shots from 23 feet and nine inches to 22 feet. The league was slow in their transition to today’s pace-and-space era, but it was even slower to get teams comfortable with, like, shooting a three-pointer once in a while.

Below is a look at Donaldson, Olowokandi, the other five players with no attempted three in over 5,000 minutes, and a variety of stats to help get a feel for the typical skill set involved (click to enlarge):

donaldson

These players are typically low-usage players who score around the rim, possibly a good chunk of those opportunities from their own offensive rebounds given their above-average offensive rebounding (five percent is about average) and below-average assist percentages (12 percent is about average given AST/FGM/5). They also make up for their lack of spacing on offense with their rim protection on defense.

Nikola Pekovic is an exception, a career that is or nearly is done at this point, but at his best he was an absolute load to handle in the post and a wonderful compliment on offense to Kevin Love’s shooting. The tradeoff was his defense because of his flat feet and lumberjack body, but he made up for it somewhat by not fouling.

By multiple measures, Olowokandi was the worst player of the seven, the largest liability on offense by Offensive Box Plus/Minus (OBPM) and racking up not just the worst Value Over Replacement Player (VORP) of the bunch, but the worst VORP dating back to 1974. He was a very fitting center to play with prime Kevin Garnett , who I wrote about yesterday.

Going forward, both Joel Anthony and Pekovic won’t add on too much to their minute totals, if at all. Below is a look at other high minute totals from active players who have yet to an attempt a three, or heave:

boban

All of the players below Anthony and Pekovic seem to have multiple seasons ahead of them, allowing them to surpass those top two players. Boban Marjanovic, a backup center with over 6,000 minutes to go, probably won’t get there, though.

The player I would most watch out for is Hassan Whiteside, 27 years old and a lock for major minutes next season, but also a player obviously conscious of his statistics. Sure, that means he’ll have plenty of opportunities to get a defensive rebound in the final seconds of a quarter, but taking a slight hit to his field goal percentage to attempt a full-court heave doesn’t seem like something he would do.

An Andrew Bynum-like three is a different story, however:

For now, Olowokandi’s minute total without a casual three or half-court heave looks untouchable, and then there’s James Donaldson’s 26,000+ minutes. Whiteside would have to play five, maybe four full seasons to reach Olowokandi, but he would need over 10 to reach Donaldson. By that time, the NBA will have a four-pointer, probably.

This record might be unbreakable until a rule change allows for only tallying half-court heaves that are made.

All stats are from Basketball-Reference. I love you.

Half-Court Heaving Vs. Pitchers Hitting

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If you’re a first-time visitor of this blog or new to my work in general, just know I track some random, possibly pointless statistics, and one of them involves shots from beyond half-court. Also, most of my posts here are just me forcing myself to write to stay in the routine. This is what happens when I combine the pointless stats and forcing myself to write while it’s the off-season.

I compared shots from beyond half-court with batting statistics from pitchers.

The goal was to find a hitting statistic, preferably a positive outcome, that had about the same percentage of happening as a 45+ foot shot going into the basket, and the simplest way for me to do that was to start by looking at pitchers, the worst hitters in baseball. 45 feet isn’t half-court, by the way, but it’s a two-foot cushion I like to give after Casper Ware made a heave in 2014.

With that in mind, a more recent post on half-court shots showed that the average accuracy from 2001 to 2015 was 2.55 percent. Huge, but justtttt a bit lower than a pitcher’s batting average from 2001 to Wednesday night:

hv1

Micah Owings leads all pitchers in batting average, minimum 100 plate appearances, with a .283 mark. 100 plate appearances is the filter I decided on, fair or not or whatever.

On-base percentage would be hopeless to compare now. Maybe walk percentage?

hv2

Much closer, pitchers walking are 10.4 times less likely than a strikeout but not high enough to be compared to made heaves. That’s even if we took out all two of the intentional walks by Chris Hatcher and Brooks Kieschnick. Kevin Jarvis is the current leader in walk rate at 9.6 percent.

What about plate appearance ending with a hit by a pitch?

hv3

Too low now. Kevin Brown got hit in 2.2 percent of his plate appearances, three total. Roy Oswalt leads with five HBPs, but okay, maybe it’s time to screw around here.

Stolen base attempts for every single or walk?

hv4

Okay, that was closer, but making that stat up felt really dumb. Greg Maddux had seven stolen bases, though, so there’s that.

Pitchers bunt way more often than they would move a runner with a fly ball in the outfield. What’s the sacrifice fly to hit percentage?

hv5

EVEN CLOSER, but still a weirdo stat. What about trying extra-base hit percentage, because surely when pitchers get a hit it’s just a blooper or whatever.

hv7

Welp, might as well start all over. Carlos Zambrano had 24 home runs and 53 total extra-base hits in his career, the most, as you might have noticed, since 2001. 32 percent of his hits were doubles, triples, or home runs, but Manny Parra had the highest percentage of hits go for extra bases at 44.4 percent.

What about extra base hits per plate appearance?

hv6

XBH* Whatever

I don’t follow baseball closely, but not only are these percentages close enough to each other, the outcome we just compared to NBA heaves makes enough sense to be the baseball version, right? Maybe this outcome would be way too high, though, if pitchers were told to swing away more often than move runners along. Regardless, Owings, also the leader in batting average, takes the cake here with 11.4 percent of his plate appearances leading to extra base hits.

I suppose I could’ve filtered this to see pitching numbers from the seventh inning on, or whenever a pinch hitter becomes logical, but I don’t want to look this up and I don’t know how to. However, in an effort to spread heave awareness (STOP RUNNING THE CLOCK OUT TO PRESERVE YOUR BASIC STATS WE LOOK PAST ANYWAY BECAUSE THERE ARE TONS OF DIFFERENT WAYS WE CAN SEPARATE THESE LOW PERCENTAGE SHOTS OR ANY OTHER KIND OF SHOT FROM THE REST) just remember that over the last 15 years, the chances of making a shot from 45+ feet in the NBA has been about as likely as a pitcher stepping up to the plate and hitting a double, triple, or home run.

Now you know. So now when a pitcher is up to bat, you should also think of heaves.

Stay tuned more attempts to reach “peak off-season”, but for your safety you probably shouldn’t.

Statistics were from Basketball-Reference and FanGraphs. I love you both.

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