NBA / Nov 14, 2012 / 4:30 pm

5 Early Season NBA Statistical Anomalies That Won’t Last

J.R. Smith

J.R. Smith (photo. Rob Hammer)

The NBA season is just warming up, and like everything from Kobe‘s shooting percentages to Marcin Gortat leading the league in blocks, there are bound to be some statistical anomalies occuring out of sheer luck. Yes, sometimes, you can spot trends or improvements in a player’s game before they really happen (or at least get noticed on a larger scale). But five, six or seven games is a VERY small sample, and there are plenty of statistical numbers that are all out of whack through the season’s first two weeks.

Here are five statistics that I don’t believe will last as we get deeper into the schedule…

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5. Jason Smith, Jimmy Butler, Alonzo Gee, Mo Williams and Richard Hamilton will all MISS FREE THROWS this season. This one might be more of a lock than what you’ll see from J.R. Smith in this piece (although probably not, since one of these guys could get injured before they get another trip to the line). As of this writing, all five of these players are perfect from the free throw line this season. Jason Smith is 12 for 12; Butler is also 12 for 12; Gee is better at 20 for 20; the new guy in Utah, Mo Williams, is 18 for 18; and Rip in Chicago is 17 for 17. All of these players will miss at least one free throw before the season is up. This one is like saying the Heat will make the playoffs. It’s a no-brainer.

4. J.R. Smith will not shoot OVER 70 PERCENT from three-point range this season. You read that right. I’m going out on a limb with this one, but in his ninth NBA year, Smith has only shot better than 40 percent on three-pointers once, during his 2007-08 campaign with Denver. Right now, through five games – all of which the Knicks have won – Smith is an incredible 13 of 18 from beyond the arc. 13 out of 18! You, the reader, have a better chance of winning the Powerball Jackpot than J.R. Smith does at shooting better than 70 percent from three-point range over the course of an entire season. I’d be surprised if he keeps it that high through their next game. The guy likes to shoot, and he’ll eventually start to miss.

3. Rajon Rondo will NOT CRACK TEN ASSISTS in every game this season. Dating back to last regular season (excluding the playoffs), Rondo has 30 consecutive games with at least ten assists. His last regular season game without cracking double-figures in assists was on March 9 of this year when he only dished out five in 22 minutes during a win over Portland. On Tuesday night of this week in their game against Chicago, Rondo recorded his tenth – and final – assist with just 22 seconds left on the clock. He’s gonna fall under that plateau during some regular season game this season. The odds of him continuing to reach ten assists every game are pretty much zero, especially when you consider Rondo probably doesn’t care a lick about the streak.

2. Kyle Lowry will not finish the season with a true shooting percentage OVER 70 PERCENT. Lowry, who rolled his ankle on Serge Ibaka‘s foot back on November 6, cannot possibly keep up his torrid shooting over the course of an entire season. To provide some context here, guards – with the exception of James Harden‘s ridiculously efficient last season in OKC as the Sixth Man of the Year (and he only had a 66 true shooting percentage) – do not normally average 54 percent shooting from the field, 44 percent from behind the arc, and almost 95 percent from the line. Lowry’s only really has three games to his credit, since he rolled the ankle halfway through the game against the Thunder, and the small sample size is the primary reason he leads the league in true shooting among players averaging at least 25 minutes a night. Actually, his backup in Toronto, Jose Calderon, who recorded a triple-double against Indiana last night, finished a season with 50/40/90 in field goal percentage, three-point percentage, and free throw percentage during the 2007-08 season (Steve Nash was the last player to do so during the ’09-’10 season). Even in that efficient year for Calderon, he still barely cracked a 60 true shooting percentage. It isn’t happening even if Lowry comes back from his ankle sprain and continues to tear up the league.

1. Brandon Jennings won’t average 3.5 STEALS PER GAME throughout the season. Right now, through six games, Jennings has recorded 21 steals for an average of 3.5 per game. Not since the 1993-94 season, has a player averaged over 3 steals per game for an entire season. That year, Nate McMillan – who has coached for a while now – averaged exactly three steals per game over the course of the season. Jennings’ hot start snagging passes and errant dribbles in the backcourt is not likely to continue.

What statistical anomaly this early in the season will most likely not continue?

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