It's humbling to think back on the past. My aunt stocking up on rations for Y2K and the 9/11 catastrophe are still very fresh memories for me, but the 2000-2001 NBA season was 12 years ago! That's roughly half of the time I have spent experiencing things on this planet.
Associating the passage of time with the NBA is something I've always done, but I also have a bedroom plastered with 90's Bulls memorabilia so maybe I'm just stuck in a perpetual state of nostalgia.
In the 2000-2001 season, Kobe Bryant was a spry, young 22 year old with a full head of hair in the middle of a historic dynasty. This makes me feel all existential and shit. So much time has passed between then and now even though it only feels like a few years ago. Think about how many random breakout seasons there were and how the NBA landscape has completely changed since then (i.e. No more hand checking, new CBA, the stretch 4 becoming prevalent)
I decided to go back and search for some of these seasons in the Basketball Reference database. I chose 2000 as a starting point because it's roughly the past decade, and the 1990's are a whole different post. Most of these findings weren't exactly shocking, but it's nice to look back and see just how good some of today's aging veterans used to be. This journey will feature way too many players spanning from the year 2000 - 2009 and will be split into multiple posts.
Detroit Pistons, SG: Jerry Stackhouse 26 Years Old
40.2 Minutes, 29.8 Points, 3.9 Rebounds, 5.1 Assists, 1.2 Steals, 21.8 PER
Season Highs: Points (57), Rebounds (12), Assists (11), Steals (5), Blocks (4), 3PM (6), FTM (18), TO (11)
- Kobe Bryant
- Allen Iverson
- Tracy McGrady
- LeBron James
- Dwyane Wade
- Kevin Durant
- Jerry Stackhouse
Golden State Warriors, SF: Antawn Jamison 24 Years Old
41.4 Minutes, 24.9 Points, 8.7 Rebounds, 2.0 Assists, 1.4 Steals, 19.0 PER
Season Highs: Points (51), Rebounds (19), Assists (7), Steals (5), Blocks (3), 3PM (4), FTM (13), TO (8)
- Minutes Played Per Game (41.4)
- Field Goals Made Per Game (9.8)
- Field Goals Attempted Per Game (22.1)
- Free Throws Made Per Game (4.7)
- Free Throw Attempts Per Game (6.5)
- Steals Per Game (1.4)
- Usage Percentage (27.9)
Philadelphia 76ers, C: Theo Ratliff 28 Years Old
12.4 Points, 8.3 Rebounds, 3.7 Blocks, 16.3 PER
Season Highs: Points (22), Rebounds (17), Assists (4), Steals (3), Blocks (9), FTM (9), TO (7)
- Points Per Game (12.7)
- Rebounds Per Game (8.3)
- Assists Per Game (1.2)
- Blocks Per Game (3.7)
- Free Throws Made (3.3)
- Field Goals Attempted Per Game (9.1)
- Field Goals Made Per Game (4.6)
- Defensive Win Shares (3.5)
Miami Heat, PF: Anthony Mason 34 Years Old
40.7 Minutes, 16.1 Points, 9.6 Rebounds, 3.1 Assists, 1.0 Steal, 17.4 PER
Season Highs: Points (29), Rebounds (18), Assists (9), Steals (4), Blocks (2), FTM (12), TO (7)
After two decent years in Charlotte, Mason bounced back in a big way with his first year with the Heat. He was .1 points per game off of his career high which he set 4 years prior, but if you adjust for age like you adjust for inflation then it ends up being his best scoring year I guess. He also was a huge part of a 50 win team. Not bad.
Anthony Mason set the following career highs:
- Age Inflation Adjusted Points Per Game (16.1)
- Free Throws Made Per Game (4.6)
- Free Throw Attempts Per Game (5.9)
- Free Throw Percentage (78.1%)
- Field Goals Attempted Per Game (11.9)
- Defensive Rating (98)
- Defensive Win Shares (5.6)
- Win Shares (11.6)
"Chemistry problems plagued the Bucks, who had reached within one game of the 2001 NBA Finals just prior to the acquisition of Mason, and the blame largely fell on Mason, who, according to ESPN, had entered training camp 30 pounds overweight and openly criticized fellow Bucks players on and off the court" - Wikipedia.
Such a graceful exit from the league.
Boston Celtics, PF: Antoine Walker 24 Years Old
41.9 Minutes, 23.4 Points, 8.9 Rebounds, 5.5 Assists, 1.7 Steals, 18.9 PER
Best Game: 47 Points, 5 Rebounds, 13 Assists, 4 Steals, 1 Block
'00-'01 Rankings: Minutes Played (2nd), Field Goal Attempts (5th), 3 Pointers Made (1st), 3 Pointers Attempted (1st), Steals (9th), Turnovers (2nd)
Season Highs: Points (47), Rebounds (19), Assists (13), Steals (6), Blocks (3), 3PM (9), FTM (9), TO (8)
Reporter: "Antoine, why do you shoot so many 3 pointers?"
Antoine: "Because there aren't any 4 pointers."
That exchange is best put into context after viewing this stat. Walker is only 1 of 20 players in history to average 7 or more 3 point attempts in a season. Antione has the 2nd most of such seasons (3) behind Ray Allen (5). He accomplished this feat in 3 straight years, starting with the season we are talking about in this post. Only 6 players have had 7+ attempts per game in 2 more more seasons.
Walker, fresh off a year that saw him grace the cover of NBA Live '99, unleashed his full force upon the NBA in '00-'01 setting the following career highs:
- Points Per Game (23.4)
- Fields Goals Made Per Game (8.8)
- Field Goals Attempted Per Game (21.2)
- 3 Pointers Made Per Game (2.7)
- Assists Per Game (5.5)
- Steals Per Game (1.7)
- Turnovers Per Game (3.7)
- Player Efficiency Rating (18.9)
- Assist Percentage (26.8)
- Offensive Win Shares (2.7)
Boston finished the year with a record of 36-46. They were 5 games out of the playoffs and 5th in the Pacific Conference.
Antoine Walker played only 2 more seasons in Boston after this. He then made stops in Dallas, Atlanta, Boston again, Miami (CHAMPIONSHIP!), and finally ended his career in Minnesota in 2008 at the age of 31.
He played in only 2 preseason games in 2009 after being dealt to the Grizzlies (in a trade that dealt the rights to Kevin Love) and was then waived.
2009 also saw 'Toine get arrested for a DUI and accrue around $800,000 in gambling debts. He then had 3 felony charges filed against him for writing bad checks.
Walker filed for bankruptcy in 2010 with a debt total of $12.7 million. Not the best two year stretch.
He then made attempts to play for the Mets de Guaynabo and the Idaho Stampede in 2010. He played 2 years for the Stampede in an attempt to stage a comeback to the NBA, but instead officially retired after the 2012 season.
Houston Rockets, PG: Steve Francis 23 Years Old
39.9 Minutes, 19.9 Points, 6.9 Rebounds, 6.5 Assists, 1.8 Steals, 21.6 PER
'00-'01 Rankings: Minutes Played (9th), Steals (8th), Turnovers (4th), Offensive Win Shares (5th), Win Shares (7th)
Season Highs: Points (36), Rebounds (15), Assists (13), Steals (5), Blocks (4), 3PM (6), FTM (11), TO (9)
How about some statistical context to quantify how good he was? Sure!
Players to average 19 points, 6 rebounds, and 6 assists since 2000-2001
- LeBron James (9 Times)
- Steve Francis (3 Times)
- Kevin Garnett (1 Time)
- Field Goal Percentage (45.1%)
- 3 Pointers Made (1.7)
- 3 Point Attempts (4.2)
- 3 Point Percentage (39.6%)
- Offensive Rebounds (2.4)
- Steals (1.8)
- Win Shares (12.2)
- Offensive Win Shares (9.2)
- Offensive Rating (113)
- Total Rebound Percentage (10.0%)
- Offensive Rebound Percentage (7.1%)
- Effective Field Goal Percentage (50.6%)
- Player Efficiency Rating (21.6)