30 May

Joe Johnson’s All-Time Top 20 NBA Razorback Rankings

Joe Johnson

Among NBA Razorbacks, Johnson now ranks No. 1 in points, rebounds and assists

 

This post means I am officially an old, old man.

In the late 1990s, Joe Johnson and I attended LR Central High School together. As a ridiculously fluid, skilled 6’6″ “point center,” he had “future pro” written all over him from the start of his sophomore year. It surprised absolutely nobody when he ended up being taken in the Top 10 of the 2001 NBA Draft.

But who thought he would end up playing more minutes than any other NBA player besides LeBron James in these last 15 years? Or become such a coveted prospect that even at age 34 James would openly petition him to join Cleveland to push the Cavaliers toward its first world championship?

Johnson is blessed to have enjoyed such longevity over the course of his career. While not quite as powerfully built as James, Johnson is close at 6’7″ and 240 pounds. No doubt, that sturdy frame has helped. So has the hatha yoga he started regularly doing in 2008.

I also think he can credit his inability/unwillingness to jump very high around the rim. In the painted area, I’m certain Johnson has prevented a few injuries to his lower extremities by simply pulling up and jumping 16 inches in the air for a quick floater where other players might have attempted to explode to the bucket (and open themselves up for a higher risk of injury upon landing).

It’s hard to blame Johnson for his reticence to attempt dunks after this play from the 2005 NBA Playoffs:

 

While Johnson can’t/won’t jump very high these days, he has certainly leapt to the top of the class among his NBA Razorback peers.

Seasons ago, he surpassed fellow Little Rock native Sidney Moncrief as the top-scoring NBA Hog of all time. This past season, he’s actually lapped Sid in field goal attempts and he is on track to lap him in points in the next couple years.

Points 

Totals Shooting Per Game
Rk Player From To G FG FGA 3P 3PA FT FTA PTS ▾ FG% 3P% FT% MP PTS
1 Joe Johnson 2002 2016 1143 7403 16733 1832 4928 2680 3346 19318 .442 .372 .801 36.0 16.9
2 Sidney Moncrief 1980 1991 767 4117 8198 110 387 3587 4319 11931 .502 .284 .831 30.2 15.6
3 Alvin Robertson 1985 1996 779 4412 9245 236 800 1822 2451 10882 .477 .295 .743 31.7 14.0
4 Corliss Williamson 1996 2007 822 3603 7355 6 44 1935 2710 9147 .490 .136 .714 22.8 11.1
5 Darrell Walker 1984 1993 720 2469 5682 6 102 1445 2027 6389 .435 .059 .713 25.8 8.9
6 Ron Brewer 1979 1986 501 2497 5437 30 121 947 1149 5971 .459 .248 .824 25.7 11.9
7 Todd Day 1993 2001 483 2036 5017 568 1646 1277 1727 5917 .406 .345 .739 25.3 12.3
8 Joe Kleine 1986 2000 965 1902 4201 13 48 849 1069 4666 .453 .271 .794 15.2 4.8
9 Andrew Lang 1989 2000 737 1780 3785 5 20 866 1164 4431 .470 .250 .744 20.8 6.0
10 Ronnie Brewer 2007 2014 502 1554 3169 90 355 742 1099 3940 .490 .254 .675 23.0 7.8
11 Oliver Miller 1993 2004 493 1536 2874 5 43 548 858 3625 .534 .116 .639 23.0 7.4
12 Jannero Pargo 2003 2015 499 1228 3140 400 1124 319 369 3175 .391 .356 .864 14.9 6.4
13 Lee Mayberry 1993 1999 496 950 2287 379 1006 267 405 2546 .415 .377 .659 20.8 5.1
14 Tony Brown 1985 1992 360 860 1969 36 139 407 566 2163 .437 .259 .719 16.7 6.0
15 Patrick Beverley 2013 2016 224 740 1796 367 984 222 291 2069 .412 .373 .763 27.8 9.2
16 Scott Hastings 1983 1993 578 584 1323 28 96 451 556 1647 .441 .292 .811 10.4 2.8
17 Sonny Weems 2009 2016 183 514 1106 34 120 127 181 1189 .465 .283 .702 18.2 6.5
18 Bobby Portis 2016 2016 62 186 436 16 52 48 66 436 .427 .308 .727 17.8 7.0
19 Dean Tolson 1975 1978 80 153 280 96 176 402 .546 .545 8.5 5.0
20 Corey Beck 1996 1999 88 93 206 3 5 52 76 241 .451 .600 .684 10.8 2.7
Provided by Basketball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 5/27/2016.
Rebounds 
In recent years, Johnson has also surpassed Alvin Robertson as the top rebounding pro Hog. This one is definitely a function of his longevity, as Johnson has only been a mediocre rebounder for his size. He’s essentially got this one locked down for the next seven years, and the only way he loses it after that is if Bobby Portis starts snagging eight or nine boards a game on the regular.
Totals Totals
Rk Player ORB TRB ▾ BLK Minutes per game RPG
1 Joe Johnson 1020 4644 235 36.0 4.1
2 Alvin Robertson 1621 4066 323 31.7 5.2
3 Joe Kleine 1268 3991 285 15.2 4.1
4 Sidney Moncrief 1424 3575 228 30.2 4.7
5 Andrew Lang 1188 3511 1099 20.8 4.8
6 Corliss Williamson 1214 3183 261 22.8 3.9
7 Darrell Walker 1057 3134 225 25.8 4.4
8 Oliver Miller 940 2893 758 23.0 5.9
9 Todd Day 578 1649 291 25.3 3.4
10 Ronnie Brewer 451 1427 120 23.0 2.8
11 Scott Hastings 424 1287 153 10.4 2.2
12 Ron Brewer 335 971 249 25.7 1.9
13 Patrick Beverley 257 792 93 27.8 3.5
14 Tony Brown 352 766 40 16.7 2.1
15 Jannero Pargo 112 701 28 14.9 1.4
16 Lee Mayberry 142 642 43 20.8 1.3
17 Sonny Weems 88 402 28 18.2 2.2
18 Bobby Portis 123 337 22 17.8 5.4
19 Dean Tolson 85 179 27 8.5 2.2
20 Corey Beck 36 125 9 10.8 1.4

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17 Feb

Ranking All 46 NBA/ABA Arkansan Three-Pointer Shooters

In few realms does the state of Arkansas travel the Middle Way. In politics, we’re among the reddest of the red. In education, we’re near the bottom of nearly all national metrics. Income stats, too.

It’s hardly a long shot to say Arkansans don’t do moderation well.

Except when it comes to producing world-classily average deep shooters. Arkansas ranks No. 25 among 50 states in three-point shooting in the NBA and the now-defunct ABA. That’s an accuracy only ranking, tallied by adding up all three-point makes and attempts by all NBA/ABA players born in each state. New Hampshire, South Dakota and Nebraska are tops here, with New Mexico, Delaware and Wyoming groveling at the bottom. Click here to nerd out more on this stuff, as I did for SLAM.

Looking at only native Arkansans, we see one reason for the state’s supreme averageness is the lack of any elite deadeye gunners. No Kyle Korvers, Hubert Davises, Dell Currys – or even Martell Websters or Anthony Morrows -have ever come out of our state. While Joe Johnson did briefly hold the NBA record for three point makes in one quarter (8), he hasn’t consistently been able to sustain the elite accuracy he showed early in his career with the Phoenix Suns.

Indeed, when it comes to accuracy, the best Arkansan long bomber isn’t even know for being an Arkansan. Mike Conley, Jr., son of Razorback track great Mike Conley, moved in childhood from Fayetteville to Indiana.

14 Best NBA/ABA Arkansan Three Point Gunners

3 PT% Made Attempted Native Town
Jasper Wilson* 0.429 6 14 Camden
Mike Conley 0.376 630 1677 Fayetteville
Derek Fisher 0.374 1248 3341 Little Rock
Joe Johnson 0.372 1671 4497 Little Rock
Fred Jones 0.353 346 979 Malvern
Jimmy Oliver 0.34 17 50 Menifee
Marcus Brown 0.333 13 39 West Memphis
Quincy Lewis 0.333 37 111 Little Rock
Jeff Webster 0.333 2 6 Pine Bluff
James Anderson 0.33 173 525 El Dorado
Scottie Pippen 0.326 978 3002 Hamburg
Fat Lever 0.31 162 523 Pine Bluff
Dennis Nutt 0.294 5 17 Little Rock
Sidney Moncrief 0.284 110 387 Little Rock

*I don’t consider Jasper Wilson the most accurate NBA Arkansan three-point shooter of all time. He just lucked out with a small sample size. A “not-small” sample size, in the context of this ranking, should probably begin around 200 career attempts. 

Notice the rankings only consider birthplace, not where the player actually went to high school. That’s why even the most hardcore NBA Arkansan fan will see unfamiliar names on these lists. And while I technically shouldn’t have included Ronnie Brewer on account of his spending his first four years in Oregon, where his dad played basketball, I couldn’t help myself. Too many Arkansans would want the exception to be made.

Ronnie has never been known as a great shooter, so it comes as no surprise he ranks No. 14 in the

Worst 21 NBA/ABA Arkansan Three Point Shooters

Jeff Martin 0.282 29 103 Cherry Valley
Ronnie Brewer 0.254 90 335 Portland, OR
Andrew Lang 0.25 5 20 Pine Bluff
Ron Brewer 0.248 30 121 Fort Smith
Sonny Weems 0.241 19 79 West Memphis
Jim McElroy 0.206 7 34 Cotton Plant
Cory Carr 0.167 5 30 Fordyce
Keith Lee 0.167 2 12 West Memphis
Archie Goodwin 0.159 7 44 Little Rock
Jeremy Evans 0.143 1 7 Crossett
Wil Jones 0.143 12 84 McGehee
Corliss Williamson 0.136 6 44 Russellville
Caldwell Jones 0.123 7 57 McGehee
Major Jones 0.111 1 9 McGhee
Bryant Reeves 0.074 2 27 Fort Smith
Jeff Taylor 0 0 1 Blytheville
Jerry Rook 0 0 2 Jonesboro
Gaylon Nickerson 0 0 2 Osecola
Charles Jones 0 0 6 McGehee
Joe Barry Carroll 0 0 13 Pine Bluff
Michael Cage 0 0 25 West Memphis

More of a surprise is the depth to which second-year pro Archie Goodwin’s shooting has submarined. Sure, Goodwin’s strength has always been driving to the basket. But he had made strides shooting from deep his senior year at Sylvan Hills and was better than this in his lone season at Kentucky. We’ll see how much he improves with more minutes, and more opportunities to get in a groove.

I should also be noted Sonny Weems has in recent years become a 37% three-point shooter in the world’s second-most competitive league. 

Of course, some of the best NBA Arkansans never had a chance to prove their not-so-middling mettle in this realm. Below are mostly native Arkies who either played before played before 1979, when the NBA adopted the three-pointer, or who played but not in the ABA – which used the three from its 1967 get-go.

Read More

08 May

Why Joe Johnson is a More Versatile Threat than Carmelo Anthony

 

joe-johnson-carmelo-anthony-nba-brooklyn-nets-new-york-knicks

Anthony towers over Johnson as a celebrity, but not as an offensive talent.

Yesterday, Miami’s Shane Battier shed insight into the difference between the two best small forwards in New York City:

“There’s not a lot you can take away,” he said of Joe Johnson’s offensive ability.  “I’m not saying you can take away…but Carmelo Anthony, he’s so left-hand dominant. So if you make him put it in his right hand, he really struggles. Joe, you can’t really do that. You really just have to fight him, play him honest, make him work for catches. Don’t let him get any free catches, because once he gets a free catch, he’s got multiple options.”

Battier isn’t the only Heat player praising Johnson’s abilities as Johnson’s Nets get set to clash with the Heat tonight, according to Ethan Skolnick of Bleacher Report. Dwayne Wade first realized just how talented Johnson was in the 2006, when the two players joined a star-studded cast including Anthony, LeBron James and Dwight Howard in Japan for the FIBA World Championships.

From afar, I knew he was good,” Wade told Bleacher Report after Wednesday’s Heat practice. “But we were practicing, and I was like, ‘Oh my God, I didn’t know he was this good.’ And we were all, like, ‘Joe, you know how good you are?’ He was like, ‘Whatever.'” That team didn’t win the gold medal, falling to Greece and settling for bronze. But Johnson won the respect of his peers, tying with Howard for fifth on the team in scoring.

That trip was likely also the start of a close power circle that almost made Johnson a teammate of Wade four years later. Johnson, James and Wade planned to discuss their free agency plans in spring of 2010. Fast forward yet another four years, and Wade and James, of course, have gone on to win two NBA titles together and establish one of the great mini-dynasties in NBA history. Johnson, meanwhile, has lost 13 of the 16 second round games he has played in and has yet to deliver a signature NBA playoff series win. Beating his old friends would certainly qualify.

“He’s talented, man,” Wade told Skolnick as Miami prepared for Game 2 of the Brooklyn-Miami series. “But his personality, he’s so quiet. And no one’s ever pushed him.”

Johnson must push himself if his Nets will have any shot whatsoever of dethroning the champs.

 

For more on Johnson, check out my Sporting Life Arkansas article comparing his playoff plights with Sidney Moncrief.

The greatest Razorback NBA player of the 20th century never made it to the Finals. Blame injuries and the best small forward of his era. By 1986, 28-year-old Sidney Moncrief had transformed his Milwaukee Bucks into perennial Eastern Conference contenders who won seven straight divisional titles. But they got over a hump in the 1986 playoffs only to run into a mountain.

In the second round, the Bucks won that franchise’s first seventh game of a playoff series, beating nemesis Philadelphia 113-112 at home. Moncrief, who had missed four games in the series due to plantar fasciitis, a painful inflammation of the foot, gutted it out for 35 minutes in the pivotal contest. He “played as brave a playoff series as anyone since the Knicks’ Willis Reed hobbled onto Madison Square Garden floor against the Lakers in 1970,” Sports Illustrated’s Jack McCallum wrote.

Moncrief’s left heel and chronically sore knees weren’t the only ailments afflicting Milwaukee heading into the next round. Its other star, Terry Cummings, had a dislocated finger and scorer Ricky Pierce had sprained his ankle. But the Bucks’ most formidable obstacle came in the form of their next opponent’s 29-year-old, six-feet-nine small forward. Larry Bird had already won two consecutive MVP awards and led his team to two NBA titles. What resistance could Moncrief and the Bucks hope to put up as he steamrolled to another?

****

Fast forward to 2014, and now Joe Johnson –  this century’s greatest Razorback NBA’er – faces another 29-year-old, six-feet-nine force of nature.

More here.

12 Feb

Is Joe Johnson the worst All-Star selection in modern NBA history?

Joe Johnson now has more All-Star appearances than Adrian Dantley, Joe Dumars, Chris Mullin,  Reggie Miller and Chris Webber. Is this a travesty? In the well-researched blog below, David Brown makes the case that it is.

I do agree Joe has a strong case this season for being the least deserving All-Star in NBA history – from a statistical standpoint. But David fails to mention two factors that played into his selection this year. First, the Nets are one of the league’s best teams since January 1. They very well may end up storming into the Playoffs and contend in the East – just as was originally forecasted. A big reason for that turnaround will have been Joe’s stellar play over a dozen-game period in January when he hit two game winners. Overall, his season hasn’t been All-Star worthy, but the coaches are likely voting for him because of this first-team All-NBA stretch he had.

Another factor to consider: Joe’s intangibles. He’s a better leader and team unifier than many NBA fans give him credit for. Consider what his presence did for the careers of Josh Smith , Al Horford and even Marvin Williams towards the end of his time in Atlanta. He’s steady, and you can count on him from an emotional standpoint – in this way, he’s similar to Tim Duncan. That kind of consistency is huge in a locker room culture where high pressure and outsized egos are often combustible combinations. My feeling is that some coaches voted for Joe less for his streaky three-point shooting and more the respect they have developed for who he is as a consummate team player.

Yes, rewarding someone for team play is not the purpose of an All-Star selection. But you’ll never convince those silly coaches of that.

18 Dec

NBA Arkansans Ranked In Order of Highest Scoring Game

joe johnson 29-points-quarter

You go, Joe.

On Monday night, Joe Johnson had a quarter for the ages. In one twelve-minute span, the Brooklyn Net scored 29 points including eight three-pointers. That’s historic stuff – tying an NBA record for most threes in a quarter and four points away from the record for most points in a quarter.

But Johnson’s spectacular play in the third quarter didn’t extend to the rest of the game. In the first half, he scored eight points and declined an opportunity to play in the fourth. He ended up totaling 37 points – only the 11th highest scoring game of his career.

Johnson’s third-quarter explosion was noteworthy because he’s never been a supremely explosive scorer. Although he was a main scoring option in Atlanta for years, his career high is 42 points. Where does this career high rank all-time among NBA Arkansans?

Wonder no more. Below are all instances of an NBA Arkansan scoring 40 or more points, ranked in order of highest scoring games.

Carroll, a Pine Bluff native, holds the top spot.

Carroll, a Pine Bluff native, holds the top spot.

1. Joe Barry Carroll

Rk       Age       Date  Tm  Opp   GS MP FG FGA  FG% 2P 2PA  2P% 3P 3PA 3P% FT FTA   FT% PTS 
1     24-224 1983-03-05 GSW  UTA W       22  32 .688 22           0          8  13  .615 52     
2     22-211 1981-02-20 GSW  SDC L       17          17           0         12  17  .706 46     
3     28-192 1987-02-01 GSW  NJN W  1 55 15  37 .405 15  37 .405  0   0     13  18  .722 43 
4     24-196 1983-02-05 GSW  SAS W       14  26 .538 14           0         12  14  .857 40
Age = XX-YYY; XX=Years Old, YYY=Days Old

2. Scottie Pippen

Rk       Age       Date  Tm  Opp   GS MP FG FGA  FG% 2P 2PA   2P% 3P 3PA   3P% FT FTA   FT% PTS 
1     31-146 1997-02-18 CHI  DEN W  1 41 19  27 .704 17  22  .773  2   5  .400  7   7 1.000 47 
2     25-151 1991-02-23 CHI  CHH W  1 31 16  17 .941 16  17  .941  0   0       11  15  .733 43 
3     26-156 1992-02-28 CHI  MIL W  1 42 17  24 .708 17  23  .739  0   1  .000  7   7 1.000 41 
4     30-146 1996-02-18 CHI  IND W  1 44 14  26 .538 10  19  .526  4   7  .571  8  10  .800 40 
5     29-167 1995-03-11 CHI  LAL L  1 40 16  26 .615 12  19  .632  4   7  .571  4   5  .800 40
One of the few stats where he outdid the Sid in the pros.

One of the few stats where he outdid the Sid in the pros.

3. Ron Brewer

Rk       Age       Date  Tm  Opp   GS MP FG FGA  FG% 2P 2PA  2P% 3P 3PA 3P% FT FTA   FT% PTS 
1     26-055 1981-11-10 SAS  LAL W       19          19           0          6   7  .857  44     
2     26-052 1981-11-07 SAS  NYK W       16          16           0          8   8 1.000  40

4. Sidney Moncrief

Rk       Age       Date  Tm  Opp   GS MP FG FGA  FG% 2P 2PA  2P% 3P 3PA   3P% FT FTA   FT% PTS 
1     26-059 1983-11-19 MIL  DEN L       13  17 .765 13           0           17  19  .895 43     
2     25-156 1983-02-24 MIL  HOU W       14  24 .583 14           0           14  14 1.000 42

5. Joe Johnson

Rk       Age       Date  Tm  Opp   GS MP FG FGA  FG% 2P 2PA  2P% 3P 3PA   3P% FT FTA   FT% PTS 
1     24-251 2006-03-07 ATL  GSW W  1 48 14  27 .519 10  17 .588  4  10  .400 10  10 1.000 42 
2     27-181 2008-12-27 ATL  CHI W  1 44 16  31 .516 12  25 .480  4   6  .667  5   6  .833 41 
3     28-173 2009-12-19 ATL  CHI L  1 48 16  32 .500 11  25 .440  5   7  .714  3   4  .750 40 
4     24-263 2006-03-19 ATL  ORL W  1 48 17  24 .708 12  19 .632  5   5 1.000  1   2  .500 40 
5     24-240 2006-02-24 ATL  IND W  1 47 16  24 .667 11  19 .579  5   5 1.000  3   3 1.000 40 
6     24-213 2006-01-28 ATL  CHI L  1 46 16  25 .640 12  21 .571  4   4 1.000  4   4 1.000 40

6. Alvin Robertson

Rk       Age       Date  Tm  Opp   GS MP FG FGA  FG% 2P 2PA  2P% 3P 3PA   3P% FT FTA   FT% PTS 
1     23-152 1985-12-21 SAS  DEN W  1 43 14  19 .737 13  18 .722  1   1 1.000 12  14  .857 41 
2     25-272 1988-04-19 SAS  LAL L  1 44 17  28 .607 16  25 .640  1   3  .333  5   6  .833 40 

7. Todd Day
Rk       Age       Date  Tm  Opp   GS MP FG FGA  FG% 2P 2PA  2P% 3P 3PA   3P% FT FTA   FT% PTS 
1     25-349 1995-12-22 BOS  MIN W  0 38 11  18 .611  6  10 .600  5   8  .625 14  16  .875 41 

8. Corliss Williamson
Rk       Age       Date  Tm  Opp   GS MP FG FGA  FG% 2P 2PA  2P% 3P 3PA   3P% FT FTA   FT% PTS 
1     24-090 1998-03-04 SAC  DET W  1 40 16  23 .696 16  23 .696  0   0        8   9  .889 40 

9. Archie Clark
Rk       Age       Date  Tm  Opp   GS MP FG FGA FG% 2P 2PA 2P% 3P 3PA 3P% FT FTA   FT% PTS 
1     30-134 1971-11-26 BAL  ATL W       15                               10  11  .909 40

O.K. Hard as I might try, I just can't slam the door on folks who nearly scored 40 points
but fell a shade short. Here are members of the 39-Point Club:
Eddie Miles
Rk       Age       Date  Tm  Opp   GS MP FG FGA  FG% 2P 2PA 2P% 3P 3PA 3P% FT FTA   FT% PTS 
1     27-251 1968-03-12 DET  SEA W       18                                 3   3 1.000 39

Darrell Walker
Rk       Age       Date  Tm  Opp   GS MP FG FGA  FG% 2P 2PA  2P% 3P 3PA   3P% FT FTA   FT% PTS 
1     26-014 1987-03-23 DEN  UTA L  1 36 13  18 .722 13  18 .722  0   0       13  16  .813 39 
2     26-002 1987-03-11 DEN  UTA W  1 40 14  21 .667 14  21 .667  0   0       11  14  .786 39
02 May

Another “Joe Johnson Is Very Big In China: A Love Story” Epilogue

You BET there's a story behind this.

You BET there’s a story behind this.

Over the last three years, I’ve had the pleasure of communicating with China’s No. 1 Joe Johnson fan, Yonsan Johnson. We’ve long discussed how his life and his Joe Johnson Fan Club would make a good subject for an article. Today, that story published here.

Below are some of his most recent e-mails to me. In them, you’ll see despair over the fact that Joe hasn’t replied to Tweets in a couple of years, but later you’ll also see hope – hope that Joe will help lift the Nets past the Bulls in the first round of the NBA Playoffs.

Tonight is Game 6. Brooklyn’s in Chicago, down 3-2. If Joe finally turns it on and helps the Nets topple the Bulls, expect the Chinese Joe Johnson Fan Club’s numbers to swell.

Feb 11
Hi, Evin.
how u doing?
I’m now at home with my family for the Chinese new year.

today i am writing to you just wanna talk about my recent feeling about “be a fan of Joe Johnson”.

how time flies, since that gift(Great progress on it) sent to Johnson… lost, dissappointment…
on may 18th, 2011… I found his twitter, gave him some tweets… he replyed…
after that, I would like to tweet to him… supports, greetings, just liked a friend… an ordinary friend…
I showed him the video mix links as well…
I aslo sent him some tweets on SPRING FESTIVAL’S EVE and today…. but, he never gave me the reply…
I don’t know what I was doing wrong, or why he ignored me…

at least… how can you treat your fans like that?

everytime I told myself:”Just do your best, he will know that one day…”
but… everytime you got dissappointment… even… the despair…

I’m now thinking about to give up… maybe… I’ve been doing the useless things…

OK, I can’t say to much now, it is to late…

Evin…
If one day you got the chance to meet Joe Johnson, please tell him…
he used to have a big supporter in China… really loyalty supporter…

Read More

24 Apr

Michael Cage, Scottie Pippen, Joe Johnson … Fat Lever? Top 8 NBA “Arkansans” In Statistical Categories

Where does he rank against Sidney, Joe, Derek, Alvin et al? Courtesy Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

Where does he rank against Sidney, Joe, Derek, Alvin et al? Courtesy Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

Ever wondered how NBA Arkansans stack up against each other in terms of career statistics? Wonder no more: below is the first and only comprehensive list including both native Arkansans and non-natives who played college ball in Arkansas.

You’ll notice Scottie Pippen is the only player in each Top 8 list, followed by Alvin Robertson – who ranks in all categories except rebounds and blocks per game.

For fun, I’ve boldfaced the non-natives who played college ball in Arkansas. They are all Razorbacks.

STEALS

This, by far, is the category in which NBA Arkansans excel the most. Three of the top 12 ball thieves in NBA history rep Arkansas by birthplace (Lever), college (Robertson) or both (Pippen).

Total

Per Game

Scottie Pippen

2307

Alvin Robertson

2.71

Alvin Robertson

2112

Fat Lever

2.2

Fat Lever

1666

Scottie Pippen

2.0

Derek Fisher

1282

Michael Conley, Jr.

1.6

Darrell Walker

1090

Darrell Walker

1.51

Michael Cage

1050

Derek Fisher

1.50

Sidney Moncrief

924

Ronnie Brewer

1.29

Joe Johnson

850

Sidney Moncrief

1.2

POINTS

Total

Per Game

Scottie Pippen

18,940

Joe Barry Carroll

17.7

Joe Johnson

15,850

Joe Johnson

17.6

Joe Barry Carroll

12,455

Archie Clark

16.3

Sidney Moncrief

11,931

Scottie Pippen

16.1

Archie Clark

11819

Sidney Moncrief

15.6

Alvin Robertson

10,882

Alvin Robertson

14.0

Caldwell Jones***

10,241

Fat Lever

13.9

REBOUNDS

Total

Per Game

Caldwell Jones***

10,685

Caldwell  Jones

8.2

Michael Cage

8,646

Nathaniel Clifton

8.2

Scottie Pippen

7,494

Wil Jones

7.7

Wil Jones***

5,560

Joe Barry Carroll

7.7

Joe Barry Carroll

5404

Michael Cage

7.6

Fat Lever

4523

Bryant Reeves

6.9

Nathaniel Clifton

4469

Jim Barnes

6.5

Alvin Robertson

4,066

Scottie Pippen

6.4

N.B. Oliver Miller averaged 5.9 rebounds and Alvin Robertson averaged 5.2 in his NBA career. 

*** The Jones brothers’ stats include their seasons in the American Basketball Association, which merged with the NBA in 1976. I list the total of the NBA and ABA statistics. 

ASSISTS

Total

Per Game

Scottie Pippen

6,135

Fat Lever

6.2

Fat Lever

4,523

Mike Conley , Jr.

5.5

Joe Johnson

3,933

Scottie Pippen

5.2

Alvin Robertson

3929

Alvin Robertson

5.0

Derek Fisher

3,640

Archie Clark

4.8

Archie Clark

3498

Darrell Walker

4.6

Darrell Walker

3,276

Joe Johnson

4.4

Sidney Moncrief

2793

Sidney Moncrief

3.6

Read More

22 Apr

NBA Arkansans In The 2013 Playoffs

This isn’t the best of times for NBA Arkansans.

The playoffs began this weekend with defending champion Miami Heat as the most overwhelming favorite to win it all since the early 2000s Lakers. Back then, Arkansans played pivotal roles on a few title contenders. Little Rock native Derek Fisher, of course, manned the point for Los Angeles, which had to push through powerful Portland teams featuring Scottie Pippen.

A few years later, Corliss Williamson aided the Detroit Pistons’ push to a championship and an injury to Little Rock native Joe Johnson might have been the biggest reason Steve Nash’s run-and-gun Phoenix Suns never made the NBA Finals.

Eight years later, Johnson again finds himself in a supporting role. This time, though, instead of sprinting beside Nash and Amare Stoudemire, he’s jogging with Deron Williams and Brook Lopez on the No. 4 seed Brooklyn Nets. These days, production from Johnson, age 31, is trending downward. This season Johnson averaged 16.3 points on 42.3% shooting – the lowest averages since his second season.

The biggest reason for the drop has been nagging injuries – plantar fasciitis and a quad contusion – since February. Johnson, a six-time All-Star, needs a big playoff series against the No. 5 seed Bulls to give the Nets’ legitimate hope of dethroning Miami. If he’s looking for inspiration, he need look no farther than a series preview which ran in the Chicago Sun-Times.

In it is a position-by-position matchup analysis that pits Johnson, a six-time All-Star who has plenty big-time playoff experience, with Jimmy Butler, a 23-year-old who had played four playoff minutes in his career. The advantage went to Chicago.

By far, the most Arky-fied matchup is in the West, where Junction City native James Anderson and former Razorback Patrick Beverley helped Houston finish the season strong to lock up the eighth seed. Beverley, though, projects to play a much larger role than Anderson against No. 1 Oklahoma City. The 6-1 guard with a 6-7 wingspan joined Houston in January and has proven to be every bit the disruptive defender in the NBA that he was at Arkansas and in Europe. Beverley’s defense of Russell Westbrook is critical to Houston’s upset bid. [The task won’t be easy]

It should be no surprise to Hog fans that P-Bev is the NBA’s second best guard in offensive rebounding rate. In 2007-08, he was Arkansas’ shortest starter yet led the team with 6.6 rebounds a game.

Guards Derek Fisher and Ronnie Brewer are Oklahoma City substitutes. Fisher keeps ticking at age 38 but as his overall numbers continue to dwindle year-by-year it’s apparent he won’t be able to postpone his career’s end much longer. Still, it should not be taken for granted that dude is still playing point guard in the NBA at 38. That in itself is amazing, 33.3% FG shooting be damned.

Brewer, a former Razorback All-American, is a conundrum. He looked like a long-term NBA starter early in his career for the Jazz but in the last three years has bounced between four other teams. These playoffs could determine whether future teams are willing to invest millions more dollars into the 6-7 28-year-old or not.

Brewer’s long-term pro future hinges on his ability to improve his shooting, which has nosedived in the last two seasons. But, realistically, the Thunder don’t need Brewer to shoot even once to prove valuable in these playoffs. His true calling will likely come in a potential Finals rematch with Miami, when he would be summoned from the depths for the most grave task of climbing Mt. Defense. At the summit, above him, will glow LeBron James. Nothing short of a full-fledged living sacrifice will be expected.

“Human pinata” is not the sort of future Hog fans envisioned for Brewer when his career seemed so promising in Utah. Still, there’s no shame in being an NBA Arkansan who is expected to do not-so-big things in the playoffs. Everybody, it appears, is in the same boat.

But just because these guys don’t project to take center court on a national level, they still grab  the spotlight right on this blog.

If Fisher wins a sixth NBA title, he joins Pippen as the NBA Arkansan with the most rings. Where does Fisher rank, though, in other statistical categories?


Stay tuned for Part 2 for a breakdown of the Top 5 NBA Arkansans in each statistical category.

This piece is slated to publish in SYNC magazine.

04 Jan

Joe Johnson, Jannero Pargo At Top of NBA.com’s Best 10 Crossovers of 2012

Former Razorbacks Joe Johnson and Jannero Pargo  finished near the top of the NBA.com’s  Top 10 Crossovers of 2012.

The good friends and one-time teammates at Arkansas and with the Atlanta Hawks find themselves together again, this time for better (in Johnson’s case) and worse (in Pargo’s).

Johnson’s play last month against Boston’s Paul Pierce was selected for the top spot, and will likely go down as the signature highlight of his career. It’s unlike any crossover  before it, like a cobra playing with mongoose on a Twister board.

Johnson Pierce GIF

Pargo shows up at #3, and unfortunately for the 10-year NBA veteran he doesn’t look very good. Orlando’s Jameer Nelson puts Pargo on skates and sends him tumbling nearly out of the frame before rising for a three-pointer (small consolation for the family: Pargo’s brother Jeremy is on the good side of things in clip #4).

I’m sure if Johnson finds out about these rankings, he’ll give Jannero some good-natured ribbing about it.

I doubt Pargo will mind. He seemed like a cool, laid-back cat when I met him last summer at the Clinton Presidential Center before the Hoop Jams fundraiser tournament in Little Rock.

Afterward, I visited Johnson in his high-rise downtown Little Rock apartment to interview him for this SLAM article. I wasn’t too surprised when I found Pargo, along with a couple other of Johnson’s friends, playing NBA Live on Playstation 3. What surprised me, as I recall, is that Pargo was playing as the Atlanta Hawks against the Chicago Bulls, but he didn’t choose to play as himself but instead as Joe Johnson.

Which, I suppose, is a crossover of the metaphysical sort.

15 Jul

Where Darren McFadden, Joe Johnson are the Best in the NFL, NBA

Now, yet another reason to love him.

They share more than Little Rock as a birthplace and Fayetteville as a college destination. They share more than playing for pro teams that use primarily black uniforms. Darren McFadden and Joe Johnson have both staked out turf on top of their respective leagues, not yet in the way they want to – with champagne, commemorative T-shirts and glittering gold – but by leading their leagues in key statistical categories.

To wit, ya’ll:

1) Over the NFL’s last three years, no running back churns out more butter per pass route than D-Mac. That is, McFadden has averaged the league’s most receiving yards per route he runs – whether the ball is thrown to him or not. Here’s the breakdown, per Pro Football Focus:

Rank Player Current Team Rec. Routes YPRR
1 Darren McFadden OAK 906 436 2.08
2 Darren Sproles NO 1924 931 2.07
3 Pierre Thomas NO 1093 537 2.04
4 Arian Foster HOU 1371 724 1.89
5 Ryan Mathews SD 594 314 1.89

This surprising stat is partially explained by Levi Damien, writer for the Raiders blog Silver and Black Pride:

McFadden’s numbers depended on “having a quarterback who is more likely to throw to a running back running a route. The Raiders had Jason Campbell behind center for a season and a half and he was well known for his penchant for check downs. That is a strong reason why both McFadden and Bush were on the list for best YPRR. Over 500 of McFadden’s 906 receiving yards came in 2010 alone when Campbell was the starter.” The blog’s author, however, believes while new Raiders quarterback Carson Palmer is more of a drop-back threat the Raiders will still employ plenty of running back routes to keep these players’ YPRR high.

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