Just the Stats Man
Posted Jan 14 2004 3:46PM
Harvey Pollack keeps track of the NBA like no one else
Did you know that if you put together the distances of all the made shots in the 2002-03 NBA season, it would total 84,884 feet or 16.07 miles? Did you know Allen Iverson has 20 tattoos? Did you know 146 playoff games in NBA history have been decided by one point? You didn't? Don't worry, one man knows. And that one man is Harvey Pollack, the 76ers' Director of Statistical Information.
Each season he puts all these succulent statistics into one place: Harvey Pollack's 2003-2004 NBA Statistical Yearbook.
"The first one was in 1994-95," Pollack said. "Originally, half of the Sixers' media guide was dedicated to what's in the book now. Since it became a separate book, I have more than 240 categories."
You can learn a lot about the NBA from Pollack, the only man still employed in the NBA to be associated with the league for every year of its existence. Pollack and his staff of a dozen interns work year round to pack every inch of the 232-page book. And even those 232 pages aren't enough, as Pollack wedges stats onto inside of the back and front covers.
The 2003-04 yearbook has some telling numbers. Here are some of the more interesting stats from that edition.
"One of my favorite stats is the plus-minus," Pollack said. "I think it shows something."
Used in hockey for years, it has become vogue in the NBA. Plus-minus is determined by adding all the points scored by a player's team and the opposition while he was in the game. So, my team scores 45 points and the other team scores 20 points, my plus-minus rating is +25. Here are the top five and bottom five in the plus-minus ratings for 2002-03.
FOURTH QUARTER SCORING
Here are the leaders for the other three quarters and the fourth quarter top ten:
Pollack separates dunks into seven categories: slam dunks; regular dunks; driving dunks, alley-oop dunks, follow-up dunks; running dunks and reverse dunks.
Shaquille O'Neal led the league with 251 total dunks and 147 slam dunks. Since 1987, O'Neal is the NBA's dunk king. He's stuffed 2,698 shots in his career. That's 5,296 easy points. Here are the leaders in the other categories for 2002-03:
DISTANCE OF 2002-03 FIELD GOALS
"I started measuring this stat about five years ago when someone said all Shaquille O'Neal does is score his baskets on dunks," Pollack said. "The first year, he scored more on layups than dunks."
HAVING THEIR SHOTS BLOCKED
While the NBA keeps track of who blocks the shots, who exactly is having their shots blocked? The results may surprise you.
The top five guys are all taller than 6-9. And the player who had the most shots blocked last season (drum roll, please): Jermaine O'Neal.
Jermaine O'Neal? Yes, the Pacers 7-0 forward-center had 131 shots rejected in 2002-03. As far as having the most shots blocked in the last 11 seasons, Abdur-Rahim leads that list with 960. Here's last season's top five.