Monday, May 25, 2015

NBA 2014-15: Final “Joey Hassett” Scoring/Shooting Ratings


Timing is everything – as Paul Pierce and his fellow Wizards were reminded with such finality in the second round of this year’s playoffs. It’s always “too soon” until it’s “too late.”

That’s true whether we’re measuring in milliseconds or millennia.

Take the case of Joe Hassett.

One of the three or four best players ever to come out of the state of Rhode Island, Joey’s probably the best pure shooter I’ve ever seen. His touch was comparable to Steph Curry’s, and he could step out just as far if not farther.

His LaSalle Academy team was playing in the New England Catholic Tournament at Boston College back in 1973. Local powers Catholic Memorial and Don Bosco Tech (under coach Kevin Mackey, who would later find both fame and infamy at Cleveland State) were the betting favorites, but the floppy-haired kid from (and bound for) Providence stole the show, showing a shooting range that seemed to extend to midcourt.

At 6’5” with a fairly decent wingspan, the skill set of the only moderately athletic Hassett would certainly have a role in today’s NBA, a key one perhaps on a good team in need of outside firepower.

Unfortunately for the New Englander, he began his modest six-year pro career 3,000 miles from home and two years prior to the NBA’s adoption of the three-point shot. (On a brighter note, his Sonics earned championship rings in 1979 after having come up short in the Finals during his rookie year, Hassett’s only brushes with the playoffs.)

Now, when the league office decided to add that stripe to its court, our Joe was ready to go. In 1981-82, for example, Hassett (while playing for Curry’s Dubs, ironically) led the Association with 214 attempts from behind the arc, as many or more than all but five teams. During each of the first three seasons of implementation, Joe Hassett ranked Top Three in takes, Top Four in makes and Top Ten in percentage.

The next season he earned a spot in coach Al Attles’s rotation, but lasted only six games, registering the Warriors one and only three-pointer during that stretch.  A crowded backcourt (World B. Free, Michael Ray Richardson, Lewis Lloyd, rookie Sleepy Floyd, among others) put an official end to Joey’s career at the season’s midpoint.

Clearly, Hassett’s shooting game was well ahead of its time.

But before we denounce the hoop gods for their mistreatment of this poor chap, let’s look at the situation from the other end. If Hassett had come along 20 or 30 years sooner, any coach worth his salt would have immediately made him a post player by virtue of what we’d now call his “length.” In an old-school setting, Joey’s shot selection would have had the whole team running laps.

Those gangly 180 pounds were really not designed to be so utilized.

But Hassett arrived on the heels of players like “The Big O” and “Pistol Pete,” a couple of outstanding players who coupled creative guard skills with similar size. The door that would soon enough lead to Magic Johnson had already been opened.


Timing, after all, is everything.



In honor of Joe Hassett (and, for the heck of it, a couple of other Rhode Island legends, Ernie DiGregorio and the late Marvin Barnes), here are the NBA’s Final rankings of Scoring Efficiency for 2014-15.

The Grading Scale 

To rank the teams, we’ll consider Points per game, Points per shot, Points per possession and S(H)UM. (That last category is simply the sum of a team’s FG%, 3FG% and FT%.)


No. 1 Golden State [5]
PPG  /  PPS  /  PPP  /  S(H)UM
110.0 [1st] – 1.263 [2nd] –1.089 [1st] – 1.644 [1st]

No. 2 LA Clippers [18]
PPG  /  PPS  /  PPP  /  S(H)UM
106.7 [2nd] – 1.281 [1st] –1.088 [2nd] – 1.559 [13th]

No. 2 Toronto [18]
PPG  /  PPS  /  PPP  /  S(H)UM
104.0 [4th] – 1.249 [6th] –1.071 [3rd] – 1.594 [5th]

No. 4 Atlanta [22]
PPG  /  PPS  /  PPP  /  S(H)UM
102.5 [10th] – 1.255 [4th] –1.055 [6th] – 1.634 [2nd]

No. 5 San Antonio [25]
PPG  /  PPS  /  PPP  /  S(H)UM
103.2 [7th] – 1.234 [8th] –1.054 [7th] – 1.615 [3rd]

No. 6 Cleveland [26]
PPG  /  PPS  /  PPP  /  S(H)UM
103.1 [8th] – 1.255 [5th] –1.068 [4th] – 1.576 [9th]

No. 7 Dallas [29]
PPG  /  PPS  /  PPP  /  S(H)UM
105.2 [3rd] – 1.226 [10th] –1.063 [5th] – 1.567 [11th]

No. 8 Portland [36]
PPG  /  PPS  /  PPP  /  S(H)UM
102.8 [9th] – 1.196 [15th] –1.048 [8th] – 1.613 [4th]

No. 9 Chicago [43.5]
PPG  /  PPS  /  PPP  /  S(H)UM
100.8 [15th] – 1.216 [11th] –1.038 [10th] – 1.578 [7th] *

No. 10 New Orleans [45.5]
PPG  /  PPS  /  PPP  /  S(H)UM
99.4 [16th] – 1.199 [13th] –1.046 [9th] – 1.578 [7th]*

No. 11 Sacramento [48]
PPG  /  PPS  /  PPP  /  S(H)UM
101.3 [14th] – 1.256 [3rd] –1.014 [17th] – 1.558 [14th]

No. 12 Oklahoma City [50]
PPG  /  PPS  /  PPP  /  S(H)UM
104.0 [5th] – 1.197 [14th] –1.035 [11th] – 1.540 [20th]

No. 13 Houston [54.5]
PPG  /  PPS  /  PPP  /  S(H)UM
103.9 [6th] – 1.247 [7th] –1.033 [12th] – 1.507 [26th]

No. 14 Phoenix [57]
PPG  /  PPS  /  PPP  /  S(H)UM
102.4 [11th] – 1.193 [17th] –1.022 [14th] – 1.553 [15th]

No. 15 Memphis [61]
PPG  /  PPS  /  PPP  /  S(H)UM
98.3 [20th] – 1.192 [18th] –1.022 [13th] – 1.570 [10th]

No. 16 Washington [67]
PPG  /  PPS  /  PPP  /  S(H)UM
98.5 [17th] – 1.190 [19th] –1.011 [19th] – 1.564 [12th]

No. 17 Milwaukee [69]
PPG  /  PPS  /  PPP  /  S(H)UM
97.8 [22nd] – 1.194 [16th] –0.998 [25th] – 1.579 [6th]

No. 18 Miami [74]
PPG  /  PPS  /  PPP  /  S(H)UM
94.7 [27th] – 1.227 [9th] –1.006 [22nd] – 1.552 [16th]

No. 19 Utah [78]
PPG  /  PPS  /  PPP  /  S(H)UM
95.1 [26th] – 1.202 [12th] –1.016 [15th] – 1.511 [25th]

No. 20 Brooklyn [80]
PPG  /  PPS  /  PPP  /  S(H)UM
98.0 [21st] – 1.181 [20th] – 1.011 [18th] – 1.530 [21st]

No. 21 Boston [81]
PPG  /  PPS  /  PPP  /  S(H)UM
101.4 [13th] – 1.153 [25th] – 1.010 [20th] – 1.524 [23rd]

No. 22 Denver [83]
PPG  /  PPS  /  PPP  /  S(H)UM
101.5 [12th] – 1.162 [23rd] –1.008 [21st] – 1.492 [27th]

No. 23 Indiana [86]
PPG  /  PPS  /  PPP  /  S(H)UM
97.3 [24th] – 1.170 [22nd] –1.000 [23rd] – 1.547 [17th]

No. 24 Minnesota [88]
PPG  /  PPS  /  PPP  /  S(H)UM
97.8 [23rd] – 1.175 [21st] –0.989 [26th] – 1.546 [18th]

No. 25 Detroit [90]
PPG  /  PPS  /  PPP  /  S(H)UM
98.5 [18th] – 1.148 [27th] –1.015 [16th] – 1.479 [29th]

No. 26 LA Lakers [93]
PPG  /  PPS  /  PPP  /  S(H)UM
98.5 [19th] – 1.150 [26th] –1.000 [24th] – 1.520 [24th]

No. 27 Orlando [98]
PPG  /  PPS  /  PPP  /  S(H)UM
95.7 [25th] – 1.155 [24th] –0.989 [27th] – 1.529 [22nd]

No. 28 New York [106]
PPG  /  PPS  /  PPP  /  S(H)UM
91.9 [30th] – 1.120 [28th] –0.964 [29th] – 1.544 [19th]

No.29 Charlotte [113]
PPG  /  PPS  /  PPP  /  S(H)UM
94.2 [28th] – 1.114 [29th] –0.968 [28th] – 1.486 [28th]

No. 30 Philadelphia [119]
PPG  /  PPS  /  PPP  /  S(H)UM
92.0 [29th] – 1.113 [30th] –0.922 [30th] – 1.404 [30th]

The worst scoring teams to qualify for post-season play were Boston and Brooklyn.

The best scoring team not to qualify was Sacramento. I expect a crafty coach like George Karl to manufacture a turn-around with the Kings next season.