Giannis Antetokounmpo’s career-high 55 the latest installment in NBA’s statistical boom

Twenty-two players scored at least 25 points across the NBA on Monday night. Of those 22, 10 scored at least 30, with five Crested 40s and his two hits of 50 or higher. 2006 work.

Before digesting those performances, Giannis Antetokounmpo scored a career-high 55 points against the Wizards on Tuesday. league, and business is booming this season.

Last week alone saw Luka Doncic record the first-ever 60-point, 20-rebound triple-double. Antetokounmpo became the first player since Wilt Chamberlain to complete his 40-20 streak in the prologue to his career-high. The game, and Mitchell would record the eighth-highest scoring night in the league’s nearly 80-year existence.

Just 10 weeks into the schedule, there have already been 14 performances of 50 points or more this season. This matches the 2020-21 total. There were 19 50-point games last season. At this pace, there’s a good chance the total will be shattered at the All-Star break.

Starting Wednesday, there are six players averaging 30 or more points per game, and three more are close to that number averaging 29 or more. has not exceeded three.

Also, it’s not just about scoring. A game score is an overarching number that roughly quantifies a single game’s performance, taking into account the overall box score. On Monday, Mitchell’s 71 points, 11 assists and 8 rebounds put him in a game score of 60.80, which ranks third for him. Best show in the last 40 years.

it’s a trend. Just this season, he’s seen five out of the top 50 games he scored in recorded history. That includes his 3 out of the top 9. Having recorded 6 assists in 7 blocks, the game in mid-November saw him ranked ninth.

You might say there is a definitive answer as to why the modern NBA ground has become statistically fertile. The pace of today’s game could be his second conclusion over an obvious 3-point revolution. You are right about the latter. It cannot be said that the 3-point era will produce more numbers.

But you would be wrong about pacing. His league average is 99.3 possessions per 48 minutes for him so far this season, according to the Basketball-Reference, which is considered a slower pace than the other 18 seasons recorded.

More precisely, about who controls these possessions. His 50 points in his 14 this season Doncic and Embiid, who have been in charge of four of his games, are currently his fifth highest and his eighth highest in recorded history. Own usage. Antetokounmpo entered Tuesday with a utilization percentage of 38.61, according to Basketball-Reference, which would be the fourth-highest mark of all time. The Basketball-Reference also noted that 18 qualifiers finished last season with at least 30 utilization. Its number is 16. No other campaign in history has matched the number of high-usage players.

This is a geeky way of saying what we all know to be true. NBA players have never been more skilled than they are today. The skill has never had a more conducive environment, both in the way scorers are placed and in the way they are umpired. prosper. The numbers we see are the result of that combination.

Freedom of movement has certainly unlocked modern scorers, but before jumping to the easy conclusion that point totals are inflated by more whistles and more free throws, this season, game by game We’ve seen 77 seasons since the early days of the NBA, and only eight seasons have fewer fouls called per game than last season. of 19.3 was the lowest total ever.

I point this out to counter the rhetoric that today’s rules have fostered soft-scorers who seem unable to survive tough times in the past. about it. Much like the highly skilled scorers we see today, the NBA’s defense has never been better.

The diversity of top defenders today is incredible. Guarding the entire position spectrum is no longer a bonus as it is a requirement. From a scheme perspective, I’ve never seen anything so sophisticated and connected.

And these defenders have to do this without fouling at a disproportionate rate, as evidenced by the small free-throw numbers above. This leads me to a point worth considering as relevant to this statistical boom, in my opinion. It’s not about scorers hunting quick-trigger whistles, it’s about defenders avoiding them.

From the landing space rules that protect the shooter to the historic disappearance of almost all contact with the ball handler, today’s defender must be a cautious and conservative hunter for his own survival. Space should always be respected. This leads to a more rhythmic, less interrupted, and ultimately cleaner path to the basket for most of the minute.

Giving scorers of today’s skill and shotmaking level a clean canvas to create shows magic. These performances are magic.

Yes, as these extraordinary statistical feats become more and more common, you may want to at least slightly minimize them. I’m here to denounce that mentality, even if I myself am sometimes a victim of it: in NBA games, he scored 71 points and had 60-20 triple-doubles. to do is not easy.

What we’re seeing this season is great. It’s not about defense or foul call. Or pace. It’s all about leagues with more offensive talent than ever before. I miss the 80’s and 90’s NBA games too. But in terms of pure skill, I can’t imagine a better time to be an NBA fan.

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