Saturday, May 2, 2009

And Now You Know!: It's Pronounced "Lee-ver"

I am simply amazed at this first round series between the Bulls and the Celtics. ESPN and all other sports outlets have made a huge hyperbole out of the first six games that game 7 will most likely be a 15-point blowout. And now that there are talks of Kevin Garnett pulling a Willis Reed things can only get more interesting.

The key to this series has been the point guard battle between Rajon Rondo and rookie Derrick Rose. Let's look at a few of their numbers:

This year Rose, as a rookie, did what very few point guards can do in a season. Rose had 16.8 ppg, 6.3 apg, and just 2.5 turnovers a game. Only 20 other players in NBA history have accomplished that feat. And how about what Rose is doing in the playoffs right now? Rose is averaging 20 ppg, 7 apg, and 6.7 rpg, something that only two other players have maintained over their playoff career.

And let's not forget about Rajon Rondo who is averaging a triple-double in this year's playoffs. Only one other player has ever maintained a triple-double in the playoffs with fewer than 3 turnovers a game while playing six or more games, that man was Magic Johnson.

But with all that said about Rondo and Rose, there is one man who paces these two men when it comes to all around point guards, assists, and lack of turnovers. His name is Fat Lever.

Lever was drafted by the Portalnd Trail Blazers in 1982 and played for three teams over an 11-year career. Lever's stats might not jump out at you as he never lead the league in scoring or assists, thanks in large part to Magic Johnson, John Stockton, Mark Jackson, and Michael Jordan. The two-time all-star did have three separate seasons though in which he had 18+ ppg, 7+ apg, 6+ rpg, and -3 tpg. Only two other players in NBA history can claim they have had those numbers (Gary Payton, LeBron James). Lever did it during three consecutive seasons while the other two players only did it once.

More impressive is that Fat is just one of three players to ever have 15+ points/rebounds/assists in a single playoff game, mind you he was just 6-foot-3. Unfortunately his career though was cut short because of a knee injury but many guards today still look to Fat as an example as an all-around complete player. Many players can put up the numbers on offense but are sloppy with the ball and accept turning it over 7+ times a game. Lever valued every possession and was one of the best at his position. His career in the 80s will always be overshadowed by the likes of other Hall of Fame guards.

And Now You Know! (And Knowing is Half the Battle)

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