The 2016-17 NBA regular season wrapped up yesterday and this year more than ever, we saw the league turn Kentucky blue, particularly at the top. Twenty-six former Cats played in the league this season, and with another group set to join them in June, let’s review the season that was for the BBNBA.
Complete Season Stats
(DD = Double Double; While 26 players saw time at some point, only 24 remain on current rosters)
Now, let’s dig a little deeper by comparing those stats to the rest of the league.
In the 2016-17 NBA season, Kentucky Basketball accounted for…
The player with the most points in a single game
Devin Booker, 70 points vs. Boston, March 24
Booker scored 70 points, 51 in the second half, earning him the nickname “Mr. 70.” Booker is one of only six players to score 70 points in one game in NBA history, joining Wilt Chamberlain, Kobe Bryant, David Thompson, Elgin Baylor, and David Robinson. At just 20 years old, he’s the youngest player to ever do it.
The only player in NBA history with 2,000 points, 1,000 rebounds and 100 three pointers in one season
That is a bizarre stat, but hey, what a great reminder of what a complete player Karl has become. He’s also the youngest player (the 15th overall and first since Tim Duncan in 2001-02) to tally 2,000 points and 1,000 rebounds in a season. A year after winning Rookie of the Year, Karl is on his way to superstardom.
The player with the 2nd most assists and steals
John Wall trails only James Harden in assists, with 10.7 per game to Harden’s 11.2. He trails Draymond Green in assists with 2.0 per game, the same average as Green, but Green played two fewer games this year.
The player with the 4th most points and 2nd most blocks
Anthony Davis averaged 28.0 points this season, trailing only Russell Westbrook (31.6), James Harden (29.1), and Isaiah Thomas (28.9). He also had the 2nd most blocks at 2.23 per game, trailing Utah’s Rudy Gobert, who averaged 2.64 per game. It’s worth pointing out that Davis sat out a handful of games due to injury this season as well.
The player with the most points in the paint per game
Karl leads the league in points in the paint per game with 14.1, followed by LeBron James (13.9), Giannis Antetokounmpo (13.1), and Anthony Davis (12.9). Pretty good company.
The player who ran the second farthest
How intense can NBA stats get? They actually track the total distance run during games, and Karl is second behind CJ McCollum with 205.3 miles. That’s a lot of running.
Four of the Top 10 Double Double leaders
Three of the Top 10 Rebounders
|Rank||Player||Rebounds||Rebounds per game|
Three of 25 NBA All-Stars
Karl really should have been part of this group.
The NBA All-Star MVP
Anthony Davis, 52 points
Davis’ 52-point performance broke Wilt Chamberlain’s All-Star Game scoring record of 42 points, set back in 1962. Fittingly, it came in front of a home crowd in New Orleans.
Four of the 22 NBA Rising Stars
The NBA Rising Stars MVP
Jamal Murray, 36 points, 11 assists
Murray hit 9-14 threes, the second most in the Rising Stars Challenge behind Daniel Gibson’s 11 in 2008.
Three of the Top 6 Rookies in the month of April
Skal’s growth since the All-Star break was remarkable to watch, and with him, Ulis and Murray seeing more time due to several starters resting, Kentucky’s rookies shined in the final stretch of the season.
Seven players in the NBA Playoffs
Although the bulk of Kentucky’s talent remains on bad teams because that’s how the draft works, there are seven former Cats reppin’ in the NBA playoffs:
- John Wall, Wizards
- Rajon Rondo, Bulls
- Enes Kanter, Thunder
- James Young, Celtics
- Patrick Patterson, Raptors
- Andrew Harrison, Memphis Grizzlies
- Trey Lyles, Jazz
Terrence Jones was on the Milwaukee Bucks, who made the playoffs, but was waived last week.
The three top scoring centers
According to NBA.com, the top three scoring centers in the NBA all went to Kentucky:
|Anthony Davis||28.0 ppg|
|DeMarcus Cousins||27.0 ppg|
|Karl Towns||25.1 ppg|
|Brook Lopez||20.5 ppg|
|Marc Gasol||19.5 ppg|
Of course, now that Davis and Boogie are on the same team, this is probably the only year Kentucky will have the top three centers, but hey, I’ll take it. Davis played 65% of his minutes at center this year (which roughly reflects the time before Boogie joined the Pelicans), but from now on, he’ll dominate the forward category. Davis and Cousins also rank in the top three centers (and forwards) when it comes to rebounding, with 11.8 and 11.0 rebounds, respectively.
Not a bad year, right?