January 20, 2006

Just So You Understand

I’m assuming that, because you’re reading this blog, you know a thing or two about basketball so you may already understand how amazing a quadruple-double is. I decided to look a little deeper into the box scores to demonstrate how difficult it really is. The triple-double, although amazing, really only requires a player to play hard and get a little lucky. For KG, all he needs is to have teammates make shots because the points and rebounds will take care of themselves. Obviously it’s a very difficult thing to do, but it doesn’t necessarily require any magic. The quad does. Not only does KG have to hope his teammates are making their shots, he also has to have a busy night defensively. But after he gets 5 blocks or steals, whoever’s challenging him is going to think twice about how he’s attacking KG and will probably change his approach, thus making it more difficult to get those next 5. See what I mean? It’s like an experiment in statistics; the more variables you add, the more difficult the outcome is to predict.

Okay, so that’s that, let’s move on.

I decided to take a look at how close anyone has come to achieving the quadruple-double this season. I went through every box score from every game this season. Nobody’s had double digit blocks or steals this season and no one has come close to the quad. I decided to split the numbers in half and see how many guys did that this season. Just to make sure we’re clear, I looked for players who had five in at least four statistical categories – we’ll call it a half-quad. This is what I found:

Of the 565 games played in the NBA this season, there have been 20 games in which a player has had a half-quad. Fifteen different players accomplished the feat, with only three players doing it more than once. Andrei Kirilenko did if four times and Chris Paul and Brevin Knight both did it twice.

10 of the 20 times it happened, the players had double-doubles. Brevin Knight accomplished the half-quad almost to the T; 7pts, 5rebs, 5asts, 5stls. There was one triple-double (LeBron) and one game which featured a half-quint (AK-47). In 11 of the games players filled their stat sheets full – meaning they had at least one in every category.

Three of the players who did it were rookies (Paul, Raymond Felton, Sean May). Of the 15 players, 11 were forwards and the rest were guards. One was an MVP (Tim Duncan) and four others have been named to an All-Star team (Dwayne Wade, Jason Kidd, Dirk Nowitzki, Paul Pierce). The rest: Darius Miles, Andre Miller, Lamar Odom.

It seems that as players play more complete games (meaning filling up the stats sheet), their overall numbers drop. When you’re handing out more assists, you’re not taking as many shots. When you’re playing to steal the ball, you may not get as many rebounds. As you do more, you do less? Maybe, in a certain frame of thought. The point is that it’s difficult to get a half-quad, let alone a quadruple-double. When it happens, it really is magic.

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