NBA Stat Central #14: Beating Up On The Lottery Teams


On today’s NBA Stat Central, we’re going to take a look at the league leaders and break down their games based on the teams they’re facing. Some players pad their stats by beating up on the lottery teams, while they struggle against the playoff teams. Other players don’t discriminate and dominate against everyone.

We’re here every Friday on to take a deeper look into NBA statistics with a new theme every week!

Let’s get right into NBA Stat Central!

Points Per Game

PlayerOverallVs. Playoff TeamsVs. Lottery Teams
1. Kobe Bryant29.730.328.8
2. Carmelo Anthony29.229.129.2
3. Kevin Durant28.728.229.1
4. LeBron James26.326.426.3
5. James Harden26.32527.6

It makes sense that Harden would do more of his damage against lottery teams, as he takes advantage of weaker defenses and matchup problems. However, Bryant does his damage more against playoff teams. Is it because of his insatiable desire to be considered the best, that he’s able to step up huge in big games?

Rebounds Per Game

PlayerOverallVs. Playoff TeamsVs. Lottery Teams
1. Anderson Varejao14.414.314.6
2. Kevin Love1413.614.6
3. Dwight Howard12.712.612.8
4. Zach Randolph11.612.410
5. Omer Asik11.21111.4

Interesting to note that DeMarcus Cousins is No. 15 on the list against playoff teams, yet he jumps all the way up to No. 4 against lottery teams.

Assists Per Game

PlayerOverallVs. Playoff TeamsVs. Lottery Teams
1. Rajon Rondo11.19.712.8
2. Chris Paul9.78.810.7
3. Greivis Vasquez98.410.2
4. Jrue Holiday8.88.69.1
5. Steve Nash8.89.57.4

We’ve got our first MAJOR jump, courtesy of Rondo. He averages a full 3.1 more assists against lottery teams. Also of note is Nash, who like Bryant, does much better against playoff teams. Again, is it because of increased focus when the spotlight shines the brightest?

Field Goal Percentage

PlayerOverallVs. Playoff TeamsVs. Lottery Teams
1. Tyson Chandler67.30%64.20%70.10%
2. DeAndre Jordan59.80%61.60%57.50%
3. Dwight Howard58.60%61.00%55.90%
4. Serge Ibaka56.40%57.10%55.90%
5. JaVale McGee55.90%58.80%52.40%

Well, this one makes no sense at all. Aside from Chandler, who beats up lottery teams at a historic rate, everyone else is much better against playoff teams. Is it that their team plays a more disciplined style and the centers aren’t messing around outside of their comfort zone?

Team Field Goal Percentage

TeamOverallVs. Playoff TeamsVs. Lottery Teams
1. Miami Heat48.80%47.90%50.00%
2. San Antonio Spurs48.70%47.90%49.80%
3. Oklahoma City Thunder47.90%48.10%47.80%
4. Los Angeles Clippers47.80%47.20%48.40%
5. Denver Nuggets46.40%46.80%46.10%

The top teams are pretty consistent, but there are some real discrepancies as we get further down the list. The Dallas Mavericks shoot 42.2% against playoff teams and 47.7% against lottery teams. The Phoenix Suns shoot 42.5% against playoff teams and 46.6% against lottery teams.

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HoopsHabit’s Regular Column Schedule:

Monday – NBA Awards Watch
Wednesday – NBA Power Rankings
Friday – NBA Stat Central
Sunday – Your NBA Fix Podcast