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The NBA / Gordon Edes : To Open Another Season, Turn the Page

November 03, 1987|Gordon Edes

Tipping off another National Basketball Assn. season, armed with the kind of information you can find only in sports' most unique media guide, the one edited by Harvey Pollack of the Philadelphia 76ers. It runs to 176 pages and includes more charts than Magic Johnson has moves.

Some samples of the Pollack touch:

Hack man: Frank Brickowski, who split last season between the Lakers and San Antonio Spurs, averaged one foul every 4.2 minutes.

His wife won't let him dial anything but 213: James Worthy of the Lakers was the worst three-point shooter in the league last season, misfiring on all 13 of his attempts. Moses Malone of the Bullets was 0 for 11. Who let Moses out of the paint?

Double, double, toil and trouble: Shakespeare gets his due from John MacBeth Paxson.

World B. Wanting: World B. Free had the worst shooting percentage in the league last season, 31.7%. Free also had the biggest drop-off in production, from 23.4 points a game in 1985-86 to 5.8 last season, a decline of 17.6.

Dale Ellis had the biggest improvement, from 7.1 to 24.9, a gain of 17.8.

Tall and short of it: There were 42 players 7 feet and taller in the league last season. There were four under six feet--Spud Webb, Michael Adams, Jim Les and Andre Turner.

So why are their fans in such a hurry? The Lakers had the quickest home games of any team in the league, an average of 2 hours and 2.5 seconds.

Turnabout is great play: Among No. 1 draft picks since the territorial draft was abolished, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has had the greatest immediate impact. The Milwaukee Bucks went from 27-55 in 1968-69 to 56-26 in Abdul-Jabbar's first season, a swing of 29 games.

Abdul-Jabbar's backup at center, Mychal Thompson, had the most negligible impact, as Portland went from 58-24 to 45-37 in Thompson's first season.

Only one No. 1 pick has been on a championship team in his first season: Magic Johnson.

Look ma, clean hands: Maurice Cheeks of the 76ers had 180 steals while committing only 109 fouls.

Every Dinka has his day: Former Sudanese tribesman Manute Bol of the Bullets scored in double figures only once in 82 games. Granville Waiters of the Bulls played more games, 44, and more minutes, 534, than any other player failing to break double figures. Waiters tapped out at 6.

Grant them diplomatic immunity: Washington Coach Kevin Loughery led the league with 20 technical fouls. Don Nelson, who coached the Bucks and is now a vice president with the Warriors, was tossed out of four games.

He only misses with his mouth: Detroit's Dennis Rodman, whose "nothing-but-an-overrated-white-guy" rap on Larry Bird made him the No. 1 motor mouth in the Motor City, had the best shooting night of anyone in the league, going 10 for 10. Michael Jordan made 22 of 23.

Clank, Clank, Clank: Five players went 0 for 9 in games last season: Jerry Reynolds, Robert Reid, Jon Koncak, Chris Mullin and Kenny Carr. Jeff Malone threw in a 1-for-14 effort, and Thurl Bailey checked in at 2 for 20.

Winners' bracket: Five men have played for a National Collegiate Athletic Assn. champion, Olympic gold medalist and NBA champion: Clyde Lovellette, Bill Russell, K.C. Jones, Jerry Lucas and Quinn Buckner.

Some streak: No team in NBA history has ever gone a season without losing two straight games.

Shy, he isn't: There were 20 times last season where a player attempted 34 or more shots in a game. Fourteen of those times, it was Michael Jordan, who peaked at 43 (twice).

One-dimensional, he isn't, either: Jordan blocked 125 shots last season, the only guard to break 100.

Wilt vs. Russ, redux: Hall of Fame centers Wilt Chamberlain and Bill Russell went head to head 142 times in their careers. Chamberlain averaged 28.2 points to Russell's 14.5, and 28.7 rebounds to Russell's 23.7. That includes Wilt's 62-point night in 1962 and a 55-rebound game in 1960.

Russell's teams went 85-57 against Chamberlain's teams.

Did someone say Krystkowiak? The leading name in the NBA again was Johnson, with a dozen players of that surname--Marques, Steffond, Earvin, Steve, Ken, Eddie (Sacramento), Eddie (Seattle), Cleamon, Frank, Buck, Vinnie and Dennis.

Bet on the alumni team: There were four players from Mt. Vernon (N.Y.) High School in the NBA last season--Ray and Gus Williams and Rodney and Scooter McCray.

More players, 44, came from California high schools than from any other state. And UCLA, with 12, produced more pros than any other college.

The answer is not a) Pat Riley or b) K.C. Jones: The last coach of an NBA champion to be honored as coach of the year was Bill Sharman of the Lakers, in 1971-72.

Sticky fingers: Cleveland rookie Ron Harper made the most turnovers in one game, 11.

Velvet hands: Dallas center James Donaldson played 51 minutes of a double-overtime game without turning the ball over once.

No one had to ask him to shoot: Rick Barry is the only player to lead the NCAA (at Miami), the defunct American Basketball Assn. (Oakland) and the NBA (San Francisco) in scoring.

And then he swept the floor and polished the backboards: Charles Barkley of the 76ers last season had the NBA's only quadruple double (double figures in points, rebounds, assists and turnovers).

Where did they go wrong? Le- Roy Ellis and John Q. Trapp have the distinction of having been teammates on both the best and worst teams in NBA history. Ellis and Trapp were members of the 1971-72 Lakers that went 69-13; the following season, they were on the 76ers, who went 9-73.

A red, white and blue memory: Four players remain from the ABA--Artis Gilmore, Caldwell Jones, Maurice Lucas and Moses Malone.

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