January 17, 2008
It is part of NBA lore: in 1961-62, at age 23 an in just his second NBA season, Cincinnati Royals guard Oscar Robertson averaged a triple-double.
It gets better. Not only did Oscar average a triple-double, he went way beyond your typical, Jason Kidd-like, 13-point, 12-assist, 10-rebound effort. The Big O averaged 30.8 points, 11.4 assists, and 12.5 rebounds for a Royals team that won just 43 games and shot only 45 percent from the floor.
Even more impressive was the fact that, after five years in the NBA, Oscar was averaging 30.3 points, 10.6 assists, and 10.4 rebounds over his career. I think my math is sound. I think Oscar was brilliant.
But because there are bars and stools and beers and because
arguments are so much fun, we can't help but wonder just how well those stats
would translate to today's NBA. And we're not even getting into the, "how would the Big O rank amongst today's
athletic guards?" Forget that. Innovators get the benefit of the doubt,
every time. You think people make fun of the first guy to play a keytar?
Hardly. That guy was cool. People loved that guy.
The deep-thinkers at the Association for Pro Basketball Research message board, however, do want to take a look at just what Oscar would average today, given that the NBA is an entirely different game. And, before you answer with bluster, this needs to be pointed out:
It was a much, much faster game back then. There were more possessions to go around, more chances to shoot, and more chances to compile stats. Teams averaged a good 2,000 more shot attempts per season back then in comparison to 2006-07, and the league's average shooting percentage was 42.6. That's pretty lousy. That leads to a lot of rebounds. That leads to a lot of chances to drop 40.
Then again, assists were much harder to come by. You essentially had to throw a pass and have your teammate chuck the ball with 1/128th of a second upon receiving it in order to garner an assist. So the opportunities accrued from the higher shot attempts and faster pace may have been mitigated by the difficulty in grabbing the assist, and the difficulty in getting these chumps to make a shot.
So take a look at the APBR's findings, and have your say in the comments section here. After that, call your Mom. She misses you.