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25 May 2005

Putting Manu's Numbers in Perspective

I have written a lot about Manu Ginobili, aka The Sickness. I suggested that he should be the Spurs first offensive option. I pointed out certain remarkable regular season statistics. I wrote that he was better than Ray Allen.

I have read George Karl complaining about his style of play. I have listened to fans boo him in Denver. I endured one particularly obnoxious SEA fan scream "Faker!" or "Hurt him!" every time he got the ball. I watched Carmelo Anthony/Greg Buckner/Kenyon Martin, Danny Fortson, Nick Collison and Damien Wilkins flagrantly foul him. I've read more than one sports writer comment on how he "just puts his head down and goes to the basket."

There are a lot of things I've wanted to write but my opinions, my amazement and my admiration are easily discounted. After all, when he went behind-the-back against Marion and Stoudemire for a spinning (both the ball and his body) layup I reacted like someone who isn't quite impartial. I jumped up off the couch, took off one of my shoes and threw it across the room. That doesn't make any sense does it? Well, neither does going behind your back with a 1 point lead and 2 minutes on the fourth quarter clock (against an all NBA defender no less). (And the celebration I used during the SEA series was no longer applicable...)

So instead of rambling on I'll simply provide you with some numbers. Some perspective.

Manu Ginobili's current stats in the playoffs through 13 games:

21.8 PPG
283 PTS
152 FGA
52.6 FG%
98-127 FT
25-51 from 3
1.862 PPFGA / 1.697 PPFGA w/o 3PT line
1.361 PPSA (includes FTs) / 1.241 PPSA w/o 3PT line

Using basketballreference.com I looked at past playoff performances (single year) of players that satisfied the following requirements: minimum of 10 playoff games and 15 PPG. I extracted the highest PPFGA performance for each year and have them listed below (PPFGA / PPSA). The 3P line was not added until 1979-1980. Therefore players before that year should be compared to the 1.697 / 1.241 values above.

1949-1950 - Dolph Schayes - 1.27 / 0.97
50-51 - Arnie Risen - 1.12 / 0.91
51-52 - Connie Simmons - 1.34 / 1.08
52-53 - George Mikan - 1.11 / 0.90
53-54 - Dolph Schayes - 1.48 / 1.11
54-55 - Dolph Schayes - 1.25 / 0.98
55-56 - Larry Foust - 1.29
56-57 - Bob Pettit - 1.26
57-58 - Cliff Hagan - 1.38 / 1.15
58-59 - Frank Ramsey - 1.33
59-60 - Bob Pettit - 1.25
60-61 - Jerry West - 1.36
61-62 - Jerry West - 1.32
62-63 - Oscar Robertson - 1.45 / 1.15
63-64 - Oscar Robertson - 1.45 / 1.14
64-65 - Wilt Chamberlain - 1.39 / 1.10
65-66 - Jerry West - 1.34
66-67 - Wilt Chamberlain - 1.43 / 1.09
67-68 - Jerry West - 1.47 / 1.19
68-69 - Jerry West - 1.31
69-70 - Kareem - 1.44 / 1.22
70-71 - Walt Frazier - 1.33
71-72 - Walt Frazier - 1.40 / 1.17
72-73 - Earl Monroe - 1.22
73-74 - Chet Walker - 1.44 / 1.18
74-75 - Don Nelson - 1.45 / 1.26 (15.4 PPG)
75-76 - Phil Smith - 1.28
76-77 - Kareem - 1.57 / 1.29 (34.6 PPG)
77-78 - World B. Free - 1.30
78-79 - George Gervin - 1.36 / 1.17
79-80 - Kareem - 1.38
80-81 - Cedric Maxwell - 1.58 / 1.29
81-82 - Magic - 1.55 / 1.23
82-83 - Moses Malone - 1.44 / 1.17
83-84 - Darryl Dawkins - 1.72 / 1.31
84-85 - Adrian Dantley - 1.68 / 1.24
85-86 - Barkley - 1.67 / 1.26
86-87 - Hakeem - 1.63 / 1.32
87-88 - Danny Schayes - 2.05 / 1.45 (16.4 PPG)
88-89 - MJ - 1.52 / 1.21
89-90 - Terry Porter - 1.58 / 1.25
90-91 - Robert Parish - 1.63 / 1.28
91-92 - Karl Malone - 1.63 / 1.23
92-93 - Shawn Kemp - 1.46 / 1.18
93-94 - B.J. Armstrong - 1.44 / 1.22
94-95 - Kevin Johnson - 1.65 / 1.33
95-96 - Shawn Kemp - 1.62 / 1.28
96-97 - Dikembe - 1.79 / 1.35
97-98 - Shaq - 1.54 / 1.21
98-99 - Tim Duncan - 1.40 / 1.14
99-00 - Steve Smith - 1.51 / 1.27
00-01 - Baron Davis - 1.45 / 1.21
01-02 - Shaq - 1.41 / 1.14
02-03 - Tim Duncan - 1.44 / 1.15
03-04 - Shaq - 1.54 / 1.13

I bolded the players with better numbers than The Sickness. Don Nelson and Kareem didn't shoot many threes, so it would make more sense to compare them to Manu's current numbers (which would leave them behind Ginobili). That leaves Danny Schayes as the only player to put up better numbers than Manu currently has in the categories highlighted.

I am not implying that The Sickness is a better offensive player than Shaq or Jerry West or MJ. However, it is readily apparent that he is having one of the most amazing playoff performances in the history of the NBA.

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All content copyright Matthew Powell 2005.