During the 2015-16 regular season, Cal freshman Jaylen Brown put up respectable averages of 15 points and six rebounds per game. At the same time, he shot 46% from the floor (including 31% from behind the 3-point arc). During the 2016 Pac-12 and NCAA tournaments, however, he wilted and averaged only eight points and three rebounds. In those three tournament games, Brown had almost three times as many turnovers (14) as field goals (5). Additionally, he shot an abysmal 17% from the floor, including a 3-17 outing in an 82-78 overtime loss to Utah. Regardless, Boston Celtics GM Danny Ainge seemingly went against the grain and took Brown with the team’s #3 overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft. While it’s unlikely that Brown will be a Top 10 Bust, he certainly is on the radar screen.
In honor of Thanksgiving, I prepared a double feature of Brendan Fraser turkeys. Opening the twin bill at 6A, Dudley Do-Right (1999) failed despite seemingly having the ingredients to succeed. Of note, the movie followed the formula of Fraser’s prior hit George of the Jungle (1997). Specifically, the actor went back to the well by portraying a likable doofus in a live-action adaptation of a 1960s cartoon. Furthermore, the film had an accomplished writer/director. Serving both roles, Hugh Wilson had an impressive track record which included the classic TV show WKRP in Cincinnati (1978-82) and hit movie Police Academy (1984). Even with a marketable star, a talented creative influence, and a sizable production budget of $75 million, Dudley Do-Right flopped with only $10 million at the box office. I have my own theory about why the film became a Top 10 Bust, but you’ll have to read this to find out.
Like it or not, the nerds have changed how we look at sports. Thanks to sabermetricians, statistics like OPS and WAR are as recognizable as HR and RBI. Similar to WAR (wins above replacement) for baseball, WiSh (win shares) is an all-encompassing statistic for basketball. Ranked by WiSh, the Top 5 players in NBA history are: 1) Kareem Abdul-Jabbar; 2) Wilt Chamberlain; 3) Karl Malone; 4) Michael Jordan; and 5) John Stockton. Without a doubt, each one of those players is a legend of the game. As an all-time NBA ranking, however, it’s just doesn’t work.
Alternatively, the Top 5 players ranked by total MVPs are: 1) Michael Jordan; 2) Bill Russell; 3) Kareem Abdul-Jabbar; 4) LeBron James; and 5) Wilt Chamberlain. Aaahhh, much better. Arguably, MVP awards provide a better proxy for all-time greatness than win shares. Regardless, WiSh still can be useful to establish a threshold above which a superstar can be defined. Similarly, it can determine a threshold below which a bust can be defined.