Terrence Ross tied Vince Carter’s single-game Toronto Raptors scoring record with 51 points against the Los Angeles Clippers last night.
- The same Terrence Ross who went more than three weeks earlier this season without scoring 51 combined points?
- The same Terrence Ross who had scored fewer points than J.J. Redick this season entering Saturday despite playing 18 more games than Redick?
- The same Terrence Ross who began the night averaging 9.3 points per game?
That’s the one.
Ross’ career game boosted his season scoring average to 10.2, but that’s still historically low for a 50-point scorer.
There have been 307 50-point games since 1963-64, as far back as Basketball-Reference’s records go. Nobody – not Tony Delk, not Willie Burton – had a lower season average the year of a 50-point game than Ross.
To see how big an outlier Ross is, here are the other 306 50-point games, sorted by the season scoring average of each player. Ross’ points per game are represented by the horizontal red bar – the bar that every vertical line representing a previous 50-point game clears.
Since the Raptors traded Rudy Gay, Ross has started, and his role within the offense has expanded. He’s not a lock to remain the 50-point scorer with the lowest season average.
Ross could definitely catch at least Delk, who averaged 12.3 points per game in 2000-01, when he dropped 53 on the Sacramento Kings.
But it’s hardly a given Ross will get there.
How far back is he? He could score 51 in each of his next two games, and he would still trail Delk.
Tony Parker revealed a plan nearly two years ago to play until he’s 38.
Coming off his worst season since his rookie year, the Spurs point guard is sticking to that goal.
Parker, via Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports:
“The Spurs know I want to play until I’m 38,” Parker told Yahoo Sports in a recent phone interview. “That will be 20 seasons for me. That’s my goal. This year is No. 15. And if I’m lucky enough and I’m healthy, hopefully I can play 20 seasons and then I’ll be ready to retire.”
That seems pretty ambitious, no matter how you handle the conflicting math. (Parker is 33. If he plays 20 seasons, he’ll spend most of his final season at age 39 and turn 40 during the playoffs.)
Parker is already showing signs of slippage. Many of his key numbers were down last season, including ESPN’s real-plus minus, where he quietly slipped from 12th to 67th among point guards.
But Gregg Popovich is very liberal with resting his players, and Parker won’t have to carry too much of the load. Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili will probably retire before Parker, but the Spurs will still have Kawhi Leonard and LaMarcus Aldridge.
I wouldn’t count on it, but it’s possible Parker lasts that long.
The Pelicans starting center, Omer Asik, is injured.
Their backup center, Alexis Ajinca, is injured.
Enter Greg Smith.
Scott Kushner of The Advocate:
Smith was part of the Rockets’ 2012-13 rotation, but otherwise, he has seen limited minutes in his four-year career with Houston and Dallas. In that small sample, he has looked alright. The 6-foot-10 24-year-old uses his big frame and massive hands to catch passes and finish efficiently near the rim. He has also become more disciplined defensively.
I wouldn’t be surprised if he makes the regular-season roster behind the 13 Pelicans with guaranteed salaries.
But it’s also possible New Orleans signed him just an extra preseason body. That’d beat relying too heavily on the aging Kendrick Perkins and undersized Jeff Adrien at center. Anthony Davis is the Pelicans’ best option at center with Asik and Ajinca sidelined (and maybe even with them healthy), but the biggest drawback to playing him there is the injury risk. If Davis is going to deal with the banging at center, might as well save it for games that count.
Still, even New Orleans plans to keep Smith only through the preseason, this at least gives him a chance to impress.