NBA PM: Superlative Stats From the 2016-17 Season


The 2016-17 NBA campaign is officially in the rearview mirror. However, before we start thinking ahead toward next year, let’s take one last look back at some significant and interesting facts and figures from last season.

Listed below are some notable numbers for each team in the Eastern Conference. Next week, we’ll break down some stats for the teams out West.

* Atlanta Hawks:
Last season, the Hawks clinched a playoff berth for the 10th consecutive year. That’s the longest active streak in the Eastern Conference, the lengthiest in Atlanta Hawks history and the second-longest in the NBA. Only the San Antonio Spurs, who have qualified for the postseason a mind-boggling 20 straight seasons have a longer streak than Atlanta.

Tim Hardaway Jr. played the best basketball of his career over the final three months of last season. Over the last 32 games of the 2016-17 campaign, Hardaway averaged 18.2 points, while shooting 47.9 percent from the floor (including 37.8 percent from three-point territory), in 32.3 minutes per contest.

* Boston Celtics:
Isaiah Thomas finished third in the league in scoring (28.9 ppg), and also got buckets when it mattered most. He led all NBA players in total points scored (684) in the fourth quarter, just ahead of Russell Westbrook. Thomas also set a franchise record last season by scoring 20 or more points in 43 consecutive contests.

Al Horford averaged a career-high five assists per game last season, to go along with 14 points. According to Basketball Reference, Horford is the first center to average at least 14 points and five dimes in the same season since Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in 1978-79. Horford also averaged a career-best 1.3 three-pointers per contest and pulled down 6.8 rebounds. He is just the third Celtic in franchise history to average at least 14/6/5/1. The other two Celtics to match those totals are Larry Bird and Antoine Walker.

* Brooklyn Nets:
Caris LeVert finished his rookie season in fine fashion, averaging 15.3 points (on 47.9 percent shooting), 4.3 rebounds and 1.5 assists in 26.2 mpg over his last four games.

* Charlotte Hornets:
Newly acquired center Dwight Howard leads all active players in career double-doubles, with 666. He averaged 13.5 points and 12.7 rebounds per game during his sole season in Atlanta. In the process, he became just the sixth player in NBA history to average a point/rebound double-double in each of his first 13 seasons. The other six are Wilt Chamberlain, Tim Duncan, Moses Malone, Shaquille O’Neal and Bill Russell.

Per, Charlotte averaged an NBA-best and franchise record low 11.5 turnovers per contest last year, which is the third fewest turnovers per game in league history.

Kemba Walker nailed 91 three-pointers after the All-Star break, second most in the NBA. Stephen Curry was the only player to tally more triples.

Nicolas Batum joined LeBron James and Russell Westbrook as one of just three players to score over 1,000 points, grab 450 rebounds and hand out over 450 assists last season.

* Chicago Bulls:
Jimmy Butler was a beast in his final season in Chicago. He became the second Bull in franchise history to post multiple 50-point games in a single season. The other was some guy named Michael Jordan. Butler also averaged career-highs in points (23.9 ppg), rebounds (6.2), assists (5.5), steals (1.88) and minutes (37).

* Cleveland Cavaliers:
The Cavs finished 12-1 against the East in this year’s playoffs. Dating back to the 2015 postseason, Cleveland is 36-5 against Eastern Conference opponents in the playoffs, which includes an 18-2 mark at home and 18-3 mark on the road. Cleveland has won each of its last 13 potential series-clinching playoff games since 2009.

In the 2017 Playoffs, Kyrie Irving averaged 25.9 points and 5.3 assists. He has scored at least 20 points in 19 of his last 23 playoff games.

LeBron James averaged a career-high 8.6 rebounds and a career-high 8.7 assists in 2016-17, yet finished fourth in MVP voting. Years from now we’ll look back in amazement that the best player of his generation, and one of the greatest players to ever live, didn’t crack the top-three in MVP votes in arguably his most impressive statistical season.

King James averaged at least 25 points, six boards and six dimes for the 13th time in his storied career. No other player has even ten such seasons on their resume. James has more 25/6/6 seasons than MJ, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Russell Westbrook and Wilt Chamberlain combined.

How dominant has LeBron been in the NBA Finals over the last ten years? He is the leader in each of the following statistical categories in the Finals dating back to 2007:

1. LeBron James: 1,247 points
2. Kobe Bryant: 516 points
2. Dwyane Wade: 485 points

1. LeBron James: 456 rebounds
2. Pau Gasol: 188 rebounds
3. Tim Duncan: 181 rebounds

1. LeBron James: 339 assists
2. Stephen Curry: 111 assists
3. Dwyane Wade: 102 assists

1. LeBron James: 81 steals
2. Kobe Bryant: 38 steals
3. Dwyane Wade: 37 steals

1. LeBron James: 80 3-pointers
2. Steph Curry: 76 3-pointers
3. Ray Allen: 55 3-pointers

1. LeBron James: 39 blocks
2. Pau Gasol: 30 blocks
3. Dwyane Wade: 24 blocks

* Detroit Pistons:
Andre Drummond led the league in total rebounds and offensive boards in 2016-17. He has recorded more double-doubles (229) than any other NBA player since he entered the league in 2012-13. He also has the most 20-point/20-rebound games (13).

However, Drummond has still not been able to work out his issues at the free-throw line. He shot 38.6 percent last season and is the only player in NBA history to attempt 1,000 free throws in his career and post a career percentage below 40 percent.

Ish Smith ranked second among all NBA point guards in assist-to-turnover ratio (3.73) last season and third overall in the NBA. Chris Paul was the only point guard with a better ratio.

* Indiana Pacers:
In what turned out to be his final six regular season games as a Pacer, Paul George led the Pacers to a 5-1 record in April to push them into the playoffs, while averaging an NBA-high 32.8 points (shooting 54.8 percent from the field and 42.4 percent from three-point range) to go with 8.2 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 2.2 steals per game.

* Miami HEAT:
After starting the season 11-30, the HEAT compiled a 30-11 record over the final 41 games of the 2016-17 campaign. The Golden State Warriors were the only team to post a better record over the second half of the season. Miami became the first team in NBA history to have been at least 19 games under .500 and reach the .500 mark at any point during the same season.

Per, Miami players missed 328 games due to injury/illness this season, the most in the league.

According to STATS, Hassan Whiteside became just the fourth player since 2000-01 to average at least 14 rebounds and two blocks, joining DeAndre Jordan, Dwight Howard (3x) and Ben Wallace. Whiteside also recorded five 20-point, 20-rebound games this season, the most such games for a single-season in HEAT history.

* Milwaukee Bucks:
Per, Giannis Antetokounmpo finished the regular season ranked in the NBA’s top-20 in total points, rebounds, assists, steals and blocks in 2016-17, which no player in NBA history had ever done for an entire season. In fact, he is one of just three players since 1973-74 (the first year steals and blocks were recorded as official stats) to rank in the top-25 in all five of these categories, joining Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Kevin Garnett. Despite playing nearly the same number of minutes per game in 2016-17 (35.6) as he did in 2015-16 (35.3), Antetokounmpo increased his scoring average from 16.9 points per game to 22.9 points per game this season.

The Greek Freak was also the only player to lead his team in points (22.9), rebounds (8.8), assists (5.4), blocks (1.9) and steals (1.6) per game. The only other players in NBA history (since 1946-47) to lead their teams in all of these categories for a full season are Dave Cowens (1977-78), Kevin Garnett (2002-03), LeBron James (2008-09) and Scottie Pippen (1994-95).

* New York Knicks:
Kristaps Porzingis is the only player in NBA history to tally at least 2,000 points, 1,000 rebs, 250 blocks and 100 made three-pointers over his first two seasons.

Porzingis has appeared in 138 games over his first two NBA seasons. He has knocked down a total of 193 three-pointers. To put that in perspective, that’s more three-pointers than Reggie Miller, James Harden, C.J. McCollum, and Peja Stojakovic made over the first 138 games of their careers. KP has also blocked 263 shots. That’s more blocks than Rudy Gobert, Dwight Howard, Yao Ming and Serge Ibaka had in the first 138 games of their careers.

Carmelo Anthony is one of only three players in NBA history to score at least 10,000 points with two franchises (Nuggets and Knicks). The other two are Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (Lakers and Bucks) and Elvin Hayes (Rockets and Wizards). Melo is also one of just five players to average at least 20 points in each their first 14 NBA seasons (Kareem, Shaq, LeBron, Jordan and Lebron are the other four).

Willy Hernangomez was remarkably efficient in limited minutes last season. In fact, over the last 30 years, only two rookies have averaged at least 15 points and 13 rebounds per-36 minutes: Shaquille O’Neal and Willy Hernangomez

* Orlando Magic:
Elfrid Payton, who was the only Orlando player to appear in all 82 games last season (one of 17 in the NBA) and recorded five triple-doubles, which was tied for fifth-most in the NBA. His eight career triple-doubles are the most in franchise history.

* Philadelphia 76ers:
Joel Embiid only appeared in 31 games last season but was dominant when available. Despite playing just 25.4 minutes a night, Embiid averaged 20.2 points, 7.8 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 1.2 three-pointers and 2.5 blocks. In the process, he became just the second player in NBA history to average more than 20 points while playing fewer than 26 minutes. (The other player in this exclusive club is Michael Jordan, who averaged 22.7 ppg in 25.1 mpg during his injury shortened season in 1985-86.)

No player in NBA history has ever averaged at least two treys, two steals and one block per game over the course of a full season. In 2016-17, Robert Covington averaged two triples, 1.9 steals and onw block.

J.J. Redick is one of only three players to have averaged at least 2.5 made three-pointers per game while shooting over 40 percent from behind-the-arc in each of the last three seasons (Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson are the other two).

The Sixers won 18 more games in 2016-17 than they did in 2015-16. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the 18-win improvement from season-to-season was the second-highest in franchise history.

* Toronto Raptors:
Last season in Indiana, C.J. Miles led the Pacers and finished 12th in the NBA while shooting a career-best 41.3 percent from three-point territory. Among players who attempted at least 400 triples, only three finished with a higher percentage (Klay Thompson, C.J. McCollum and J.J. Redick).

Per Basketball Reference, DeMar DeRozan became just the second guard in the last 15 years to score more than 2,000 points in a season, yet make fewer than 35 three-pointers.

* Washington Wizards:
John Wall became the first player in league history to average at least 20.0 points, 4.0 rebounds, 2.0 steals and 0.5 blocks per game. He averaged career highs in scoring (23.1), field goal percentage (.451), assists (10.7) and steals (2.0) last season. Wall joined James Harden and Russell Westbrook as the only players to average a point/assist double-double during the regular season.

Per, Wall also led the Eastern Conference in assists (831) for a fourth straight season, one of three players to do so in league history (Isiah Thomas from 1980-86; Rajon Rondo from 2008-12). During Washington’s postseason run, Wall averaged 27.2 points, 10.3 assists, 3.7 rebounds and 1.7 steals. He became just the eighth player in league history to average at least 25 points and 10 assists in the playoffs.

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About Tommy Beer

Tommy Beer

Tommy Beer is a Senior NBA Analyst and the Fantasy Sports Editor of Basketball Insiders, having covered the NBA for the last nine seasons.