The NBA is a stats lovers league. And no one loves stats more than the players themselves. Why? Because their salaries (and perceived values) are based on these statistics. NBA players make their money based on their production. Put up big numbers, make more money.
It's been like that for years. But to me it's kind of a dirty little secret that a ton (I'd say a large majority; if not all) of the players are aware of their stats not only in general, but also during the game. Do we really think KG got double figures in scoring for 300+ games in a row (can't find the stat) without being hyper aware, even during the heat of a game, how many points he had? Do we really think the leagues so called "double-double" machines like David Lee, Kevin Love, and Zack Randolph, aren't aware of how many boards and points they have... during the game?
I know that's the way it is. It's a business. And it's also source personal pride and bragging rights for the players. But all it takes is the occasional knucklehead move to remind us just how stat hungry the players are (who can forget Ricky Davis' absurd attempt at a triple-double by shooting at own basket to get a rebound?).
But to me it begs a question... How legit are the stats and "impressive" numbers put up by players on a bad teams? Now I'm not doubting the skills on display at even the sorriest of franchises. But simply wondering that if the good stats the players put up didn't translate to wins, they how useful are they? It also makes me wonder if a player is truly doing everything in his power to win, or instead doing everything in his power to put up impressive numbers?
It's a tough call. There is one player in particular to me, who is the poster child of the player putting up great numbers on a bad team, only to go to a good team, and prove that he has no clue how to play "winning" basketball. And that player is none other than our very own, Tony Campbell. We was lights out at times, but sucked big time as soon as he went to the Knicks.
So, you can call me a cynic, but I'm very wary of stats put up by guys like David Lee, Al Jefferson, Kevin Love, and even Zack Randolph. No doubt all these guys have a load of talent. But they all have never won in the NBA. Is that all their fault? Not entirely. But it can't be overlooked completely.
We've discussed Kevin Love this off-season until we're blue in the face. Hoops pundits across the nation salivate at his juicy stats. His "efficiency" numbers have been off the charts. He's one of the best rebounders in the game. But, even with all of that, we still don't know if his "production" will someday translate to wins.
Personally, I hate praising guys with good stats on teams that suck. So sorry Al Jefferson, Kevin Love and David Lee, you're getting no love from me (OK a little love, because I enjoy watching you play). Win a few games and then we'll talk. In the meantime, keep up the good work. Because in the NBA it really doesn't matter if you win or lose. If you keep putting up numbers like you are, you'll all be very rich men. But I'm sure you knew that already.
But before you bite my head off let me be clear... I'm actually a fan of Kevin Love, David Lee, and Al Jefferson. That's the whole reason I ponder this issue. I know they've all been on crappy teams... but still they haven't won yet. And that makes me wonder.
So let's hear from the CH stat geeks out there. Am I right or wrong?
PS Sorry about the lack of pix. I'm tired and was having trouble uploading them.