Marc’s Remarks: Bizarre stats are fun . . . to a certain point

Tuesday night, I was able to watch two different record-setting games. The first was the Jazz game against the Dallas Mavericks. In the fourth quarter of that game, Mavs mainstay Dirk Nowitzki passed Hall of Famer Oscar Robertson as 10th all-time on the scoring list.

The other record happened during the Lakers game. Steve Nash passed Marc Jackson for third all-time in assists. Nash just turned 40 years old, so he will likely not pass Jason Kidd for second all-time and has no shot to pass John Stockton.

To me, records are made to be broken. Jackson, now coach for the Golden State Warriors, tweeted to Nash, congratulating him on taking his spot on the list. I root for someone to break the scoring record or the assist record, although that record is one of the few that a Jazz player owns.

But other sorts of records seem to pop up now and again. These records look like someone is fishing for a story or something to say during a lull in the television broadcast. Baseball is full of these records.

One of the best jokes I heard a few weeks ago from one of my friends goes something like this: “So-and-so is the first person to hit a home run on a cloudy day into right field when temperatures were above 50 degrees with winds at 10 miles per hour in 70 years.” It might not get that exaggerated, but hopefully you get my point.

One thing I do admire is that baseball keeps such detailed records that these statistics can actually be found. But they are also useless.

Perhaps my pet peeve when it comes to streaks is a win/loss record. Every year you hear of some team or another that hasn’t beaten another team in so many years. This can come up during championship games in certain sports a lot.

One example could be that one team hasn’t beaten another such team in the Super Bowl since 1970. The problem with this stat is that the teams might have only met in the Super Bowl three times, and none were in the last 20 years.

While this stat might sound staggering, it is also irrelevant. None of the players who played against the other team that year are in the league anymore. Even 10-year records like that don’t hold much weight, because rosters on professional teams change dramatically every year.

I just read an article last week that talked about Los Angeles Clippers point guard Chris Paul. The Clippers were a franchise that had been a laughingstock of the NBA for decades.

When Paul came in, it breathed new life into a stagnant franchise. Paul even liked to talk to the media before the games, asking when the last time was that the Clippers beat a certain team on the road.

The difference here is that the Clippers now had the best point guard in the league to team up with one of the most explosive players to play in the NBA over the past four years. Paul made that team better.

To hold the Clippers with Paul against the lack of success that the Clippers had before Paul got there really isn’t relevant. Paul makes that team 100 percent better. He has been there two years, and the Clippers now have two straight division titles and two playoff berths. They are currently the third-best team in the Western Conference, at least record-wise.

One irrelevant record I like to tote around is the fact that the Utah Jazz is the only team in the Western Conference that doesn’t have a losing record against the Miami Heat since LeBron James came to town. The same issue applies, though. Teams are always different. This statistic is only relevant to depressed Jazz fans like me.

The statistic over the last few months is the 41 straight 25-point games put up by Kevin Durant. He is the first player to do this since Michael Jordan. The streak was broken Tuesday, well short of the record of 80 held by Wilt Chamberlain.

Stats like that are impressive because of how difficult it is to score in the NBA. But let’s not get carried away with the Jordan comparisons. Let’s not get obsessed with the guy who hit the home run into the wind that hadn’t been hit in 70 years. Many of these stats are useless. Someone was bound to do it eventually.

Other stories you might be interested in:

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'Cats fall to UM again
Portland Trail Blazers invite former Wildcat to Summer League team

Posted by on April 10, 2014. Filed under Baseball, Basketball, Columns, Marc's Remarks, Opinion, Sports, Sports Columns. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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