The record books are tainted

Zach Harper —  January 14, 2012 — 11 Comments

I was going through the Synergy breakdown of Friday night’s game and I found something very troubling.

I couldn’t find a sweet little behind the back bounce pass from Ricky Rubio to Kevin Love near the end of the third quarter that sent a quiver up my spine. I remember freaking out about it in the Daily Dime Live chat. And by freak out, I said, “Rubio! That was SICK.” Here is the assist in question:

If you’ll notice, Ricky Rubio majestically dribbles up the right sideline in a coy innocence to disarm the Hornets. As Carl Landry and Squeaky Johnson attempt to trap Rubio into some sort of dungeon-like double team, Ricky effortlessly avoids such a dastardly and borderline illegal tactic (it takes TWO of you just to guard this poor little kid?) by clairvoyantly acknowledging the strategy before him and reacting in the time it takes a baby hummingbird to flutter its wings up just once.  The precision of the delivery of such a pass may or may not have caused you to hear the gasp of angels, befuddled at such artistry before them.

Kevin Love grabbed the pass, pivoted toward the basket and away from the defender, and then dropped a shot off the backboard and into the hoop. Love secured the greatness transfered to him at the 28.4-second mark. With 27.5 seconds left on the clock, the shot had been released from his vice-like grip and softly showed his accuracy around the rim. That’s right; in less than a second, the pass was caught and released like a marlin off the coasts of Bermuda. Should this count as an assist?

According to an article in the Wall Street Journal, “The NBA statistician’s manual says an assist should be ‘credited to a player tossing the last pass leading directly to a field goal, only if the player scoring the goal responds by demonstrating immediate reaction to the basket.'”

I don’t know about you, but if I were to time an immediate reaction, I’d say it coming in at 0.9 seconds would suffice our target of immediacy. And yet…

There is no assist to accompany this basket to the sock hop.

I’m not going to sit here at 3am and wonder aloud if the NBA is trying to prevent Ricky Rubio from breaking John Stockton’s all-time assist record. He officially has 88 assists at the moment, but who knows how many others have been missed along the course of 11 games? We don’t know if Ricky is really 15,718 assists away from tying the all-time mark. We don’t know if Ricky is 15,717 away or maybe he’s already surpassed it.

What we do know is Ricky Rubio should have finished with his fifth double-double of the season by being justly rewarded his 10 assists on the night.

Hopefully, David Stern hasn’t vetoed the hard-earned statistics of our rookie point guard.

Zach Harper

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11 responses to The record books are tainted

  1. David Stern is lowballing Rubio’s stats so that he can steal him from the Wolves when they trade Eric Gordon.

  2. Totally agree, I remember thinking when I was watching this game and nonchalantly keeping track of the assists that one had gone missing somewhere and not been counted, and this was it! wtf, i guess they can’t change it now

  3. Good eye and even better article. There is no reason that should NOT be an assist.

  4. If you look at the ESPN highlights video, that play is even shown on the “Hey, Rubio is starting, that guy can ball” part of the recap, and it’s not an assist?

  5. Did anyone count the missed jumpers that *should* have been Rubio assists? Wes et al rob Ricky’s dimes like a parking meter!

  6. You’re totally right, I was watching the game and checking the boxscore at the same time, and I don’t understand why it didn’t count as an assist, when it was, indeed, a beautiful one.

  7. DEFINITELY was an assist. They give assists even if you dribble once in the NBA.

    That was the assist that made his game a double double.

  8. Wow, that was definitely an assist. If you want to watch all 10 of his assists from that game, you can right here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ju-Ywo36KRw

    By the way, I bet Rubio doesn’t care about the stats. All he does is WIN.

  9. What’s funny is that I phoned NBA League office, the person who answered admitted it was an assist, but since assists are “subjective” they cannot add it, they can only change an assist that’s already been credited.

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