Michael Adams, Mike James and Other One-Hit Wonders
Have you guys ever heard of Michael Adams?
Adams, a 5'10" point guard guard for several NBA, CBA, and USBL teams in the 80's and 90's, was never an elite player in the NBA. Except for 90-91 season.
In 90-91, he posted the following numbers in 66 games:
(In parentheses are the next-highest season totals he ever got for that stat, followed by his career average)
PPG-26.5 (18.5, 14.7)
APG-10.5 (7.6, 6.4)
SPG-2.2 (2.2, 1.7)
These numbers were not the result of more playing time. In fact, Adams had 3 seasons where his MPG was higher than in 90-91. This season was simply an anomaly that Adams was enver able to come clos to matching. Ironically, Adams was not named an All-Star that year, but did get a spot the following year after an 18 and 7 season.
Another such "One-hit Wonder" is Michael James, the PG who has played on 11 teams, including the Bulls last season. An undrafted free agent out of Duquesne, James has been a role player most of his career. But in 05-06, he posted the following numbers while playing 79 games for the Raptors, one of the few long-term starting roles he ever had:
PPG-20.3 (12.4, 10.4)
APG-5.8 (4.4, 3.6)
3PT% (minimum of 28 games)-44% (38%, 38%)
James only averaged 10 points the following season and never had a double-digit averageafter that.
Weird stuff to say the least.
Adams did not really play that well it was just the pace they played at was superfast, he shot under 40% and under 30% from 3.
Didn't Olowokandi have a big year right before his contract was up?
Richard Dumas due to drug use.
Adams may have played in a fast-paced offense, but why didn't he post numbers anywhere close to those in his other 3 years on the Nuggets?
Van Horn also had a monster year in '99 especially because overall scoring was so bad in the lockout year, yes only 5 above his career average but he was 5th in the league in scoring, only his 2nd year in the league and he never came close to that kind of production again
Well Paul Westhead only coached denver for 2 years, and Adams was on the Bullets the other year. Not saying it is not worth mentioning because it is amazing he scored that many I remember he came to my basketball camp when I was a kid and kids could not believe he averaged 26.5 a game in the league looking at him. But I think that in the couple years before and after than year he played about the same but just at a slower pace, and playing from behind also usually makes it a little easier to score.
Pervis Ellison averaged 20 a game his 3rd year in the league and was trash most of his career he might be #1 candidate so far. though he did have one other good year
i really liked mike james when he played for the pistons on our 04 team... but i was surprised he played that well for the raps.... then again the raptors that yr were awful and even morris peterson averaged 17 a game for them....that was also the yr bosh really had a breakout season.... looking back it seems like boris diaw's 06 season was almost like a fluke cuz hes only regressed and hasnt even showed that kind of playing since
Troy "Laker killer" Hudson had a huge year when cassell got hurt
look at this list this is like 90% of the candidates lol
Dana Barros made the all star team WTF? I did not even know that lol, ok thread over Dana Barros wins
I actually met Michael Adams when I was at a basketball camp when I was 12. I popped a J in his face and won a layup contest where I received an autographed basketball from him. He was a very nice guy and a dead on 3 point shooter.
I know Michael Adams, I was a huge card collecter when I was younger and was shocked to see how good he was during that 3 or 4 year stretch ( especially his 26/10 season, although I do give a fair amount of credit for his assists to playing with Joe Wolf).
Despite playing only 653 career games, Michael Adams is top 100 All-Time in assists.
Cedric Ceballos is a guy that comes to mind, he has a nice 3 year stretch, but went from playing 11 mpg during his first 2 seasons to dropping 19 and 6, 21 and 8 and 21 and 7 on over 50% shooting before fading back into a bench scorer and occasional starter.
Shawn Bradley averaged 13.2 ppg 8.4 rpg and 3.4 bpg in 96-97. If any center put up those numbers in today's game, they'd be an All-Star.
Marc Jackson finished 2nd to Mike Miller as 2000-01's Rookie of the Year averaging 13.2 ppg and 7.5 rpg. He only averaged over 10 ppg one other season in his career and never averaged more than 6 rpg.
Remember Lester Hudson?
The guy was a late 2nd round pick by the Celtics and bounced around the league for a little bit before being called up by the Cavs after ending up in the D-League. Needless to say, the guy put up some interesting numbers.
12.7 PPG, 3.5 RPG, 2.7 APG, 39% FG, 24 MPG.
These may not be very eye popping, but for a D-League call-up, they were huge. I hope he gets at least 1 more shot to prove those numbers weren't a fluke.
Denver lost their two leading scorers in Fat Lever (traded to the Mavericks) and Alex English (player who scored the most points in the decade of the 80's, signed for one final season with the Mavericks). With those two leaving, Adams had a monster scoring season, yet the team was much worse. He played in 66 games and the team went 19-47, though he had obvious value as they were 1-15 without him.
Nonetheless, they won 23 fewer games than the year before and Mike was traded to Washington. He actually became an All-Star the next season playing on a bad Washington team. Adams was obviously quite a little dynamo, but circumstance was a large part of his wildly impressive 1990-91 season. When he was not asked to be the main scoring option and had talent around him, he was a much more effective percentage shooter and his teams generally had more success.
Throw Mike James in that same boat with the 2005-06 Raptors. I watched that team often and this was a team that finished 27-55, winning the lottery for the #1 pick in that summers draft (just the Raptors luck to get the first pick in the draft that outlawed high schoolers). Mike's numbers were solid offensively, he even shot near 47%, but he was a guy who was going to give up about as much as he scored. Seeing that he was playing major minutes, the Raptors finished as one of the worst defensive teams in the league. Not all his fault, but I do not think it was a sign of him being your answer as a starting PG, despite his averages.
Mike signed with the Minnesota Timberwolves, playing with a Kevin Garnett who was the absolute #1 scoring option and still in his prime as well as a player who never met a shot he didn't like named Ricky "Buckets" Davis. Mike also played 12 fewer minutes per game, which undoubtedly factored in to his averaging far less ppg. Minnesota also played at a slower pace and finished 32-50 in what was at the time a much stronger conference than James had played in before.
So, those are a few reasons those seasons seem to stand out for those two players. Here are some other sort of anomaly seasons:
- Dana Barros, 1994-95, Philadelphia 76ers: Again, Barros' success that year is very much like Adams and James. The 6ers went 24-58, though Dana averaged 20.6 ppg and 7.5 apg on very impressive 49 FG-46 3PT-90 FT (89.9% if you want to be technical). He made the All-Star team despite not being on the ballot at the start of the season, than signed a nice contract with the Celtics (he was from Massachusetts and went to Boston College). He averaged 13 ppg in his first year with the Celtics (around the same he averaged the year before his All-Star season with Philly) than as the team got better became less of a factor. A large part of the reason for his success with Philly more than likely stemmed from them losing Charles Barkley (Barros' arrival coincided with Chuck going to Phoenix) and going through an obvious rebuild. His All-Star season also interestingly enough was in a contract season. Well, have to say in the modern NBA, that is when a lot of players best seasons seem to happen.
- Chris Gatling, 1996-97, Dallas Mavericks/New Jersey Nets: Gatling played 44 games pre All-Star break unlike he would for the rest of his career. The Mavs got a new coach in Phil Jackson's long time assistant Jim Cleamons and they cleaned house big time. They sent all three J's (Jason Kidd, Jimmy Jackson and Jamal Mashburn) packing, even eventually trading Gatling as well that season. Well, with a team that was heavily perimeter oriented to begin with, Gatling got the benefit of being their one post option. He averaged 19 ppg and 7.9 rpg, making the All-Star game. I remember seeing him in it, he went 1-8 from the field, trying desperately to score that one bucket. He more than likely knew that would be his only chance. The rest of his career he would hover around 12 ppg a few more times, but this was his statistical time to shine on a bad team in complete disarray. At least he got an All-Star appearance out of the deal.
- Juwan Howard, 1995-96, Washington Bullets: They were still the Bullets than. Have to say, Juwan did have some more solid seasons, but his 2nd year statistically seemed to be his absolute peak. This team looked like it had a lot of potential, it had Chris Webber (who only played 15 games that season unfortunately) and a rookie Rasheed Wallace. All of them were under-23. They finished below .500 for the year, but Juwan put up 22, 8 and 4.4. I always remembered him being a multiple All-Star, but this was actually his only ASG appearance, he even was 3rd Team All-NBA. His contract must have had some loop hole, because he actually signed a HUGE (at the time) deal with Miami after the season was over. I remember him saying how he was crying when he had to tell Chris Webber. Well, apparently Miami did bad math and the contract was not kosher, so he ended up still getting paid a lot with the Bullets who soon became the Wizards. He was still a pretty good player, but never came within 3 ppg of his second season average. Would have expected steady improvement, maybe a few more All-Star games, but that never happened.
- Larry Hughes, 2004-05, Washington Wizards: This time, they were the Wizards. Larry Hughes had the contract year to end all contract years. He had a nice statistical season before, but this season he went well beyond anything he ever produced again. Averaging 22-6.3 rpg- 4.7 apg, Hughes managed to play the passing lanes enough to lead the league with 2.9 spg. This landed him on the All-Defensive 1st Team, something he would never come close to again. It is semi-amazing that Hughes could do this with the chuckers known as Gilbert Arenas and Antawn Jamison on his team, they had some solid interior defenders and role players that helped the team finish 45-37. Still, you have to assume Hughes went absolutely all out this season, because he never came close to this kind of production other than for teams that were pretty awful (he did put up big numbers on a terrible Golden State team after a mid-season trade from Philly). Still, Hughes season is a huge "buyer beware" statement. You sign a 26 year old coming off a season like this, you at least expect somewhere near that production. Especially when the deal is 8 figures. Well, Hughes time in Cleveland was enough to make one forget he ever had a season in the realm of this one.
- Jerry Stackhouse, 2000-01, Detroit Pistons: Jerry Stackhouse was an All-Star the year previous and was known as a solid scorer. Grant Hill even had departed, so it makes sense that Stack had a huge output. Just, 29.8 ppg leading the NBA in scoring huge (scoring, not PPG which went to Stackhouse's former teammate Allen Iverson)? Well, people did expect big things from Jerry Stackhouse, but this season certainly stands out statistically over his others. The Pistons only went 32-50 with the loss of Grant Hill, but it was impressive seeing Stackhouse pile on the points. The next seasons with a few changes (namely, Cliff Robinson taking over for Joe Smith, plus a deeper bench), Stackhouse scored 21.4 ppg and the Pistons went 50-32. Having help can make your stats less eye popping, but it sure makes it easier to win games.
- Nathaniel "Tiny" Archibald, 1972-73, Kansas City-Omaha Kings: Nate Archibald was another multiple All-Star and great player, but this season he holds a distinction no one else has ever matched in the NBA. He won the scoring and assist title in the same season. 34 ppg and 11.4 apg. 5.8 more ppg and 2.2 more apg than any other season in his career (in fact, both his bests in those categories other than this amazing season came his previous season for the Cincinnati Royals, a team that went 30-52). The Kings only went 36-46, but they needed Archibald to score quite a bit and as always, he could create offense for others as well. This season definitely stands out for him and while he was a 6 time All-Star and Hall of Famer, this season statistically blows all of his others out of the water.
- Walt Bellamy, 1961-62, Chicago Packers: Bells is another multiple time All-Star and Hall of Famer, but I always found it interesting that his statistics never came close to what they were his rookie season. In what was a year that saw many insane seasons (Wilt averaging 50.4/25.7, Oscar averaging a triple double, Elgin Baylor having 48 monster games while serving military duty part time, Bill Russell taking home the MVP over all of them with his usual huge rebounding/defense), Bellamy had one of the best rookie seasons of All-Time. It was not Wilt (well, who was?), but his 31.6 ppg and 19 rpg were second and third in the league that year respectively (though if Elgin had played enough games, his scoring would have been third as well). Bells team only finished 18-62 on the year, though he was a very deserving All-Star, leading the league in FG% and going for 23/17 in the ASG. The next season, with the Packers becoming the Zephyr's, Bellamy scored -3.7 ppg and averaged -2.6 rpg. In fact, his scoring dipped lower in each of his next 7 successive seasons before besting the 16.7 ppg in 1967-68 with 17.4 in 1968-69 (when he played an NBA regular season record 88 games being traded from the Knicks to the Pistons). You ultimately hope that a players best season will come later on, but Bellamy's rookie year stands out like a sore thumb in light of the rest of his career.
Those were just a few that came to my mind. Hopefully I gave some decent reasons as to why this might have happened. In most cases, there is either some circumstance or incentive for these seasons to take place. Some of the NBA's best statistical scoring seasons have been had on some of the league's worst teams. Only 4 players in NBA history led the league in scoring the same year they won a championship, George Mikan (1951), Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (1971), Michael Jordan (all 6 times) and Shaq (2000). If a player has a huge season that bucks overall consistency, the players listed show that likelihood points to them not being on a very good team. Larry Hughes being the contract season exception.
Tony Campbell was a very talented small forward for the Lakers who never got a chance to show much then had a monster year on a very bad Minny team, scoring 20+.
I think Barros wins still although he played high minutes his efficiency was off the charts with those shooting #'s mikey posted.