Dirk's Pursuit Of The 50-40-90 Club

With three Mavs games remaining, Dirk's chase to 'The 50-40-90 Club' requires calculations. Dirk has accomplished the feat once (2006-07), and until recently was on pace to do so again. We do the math on yet another milestone - something only six NBA players have ever done.



There is little he hasn't done. There is, it seems, little he cannot do.

But if Dallas Mavericks superstar Dirk Nowitzki does 59-40-90 again?

That will be a neat trick.

The list of players who have shot at least 50 percent from the field, 40 percent from the arc, and 90 percent on FTs in the same season is very short. Dirk has accomplished the feat once (2006-07), and until recently was on pace to do so again.
Smile
In NBA history, this accomplishment is relatively rare. Only two players in NBA history have done it more than once (Nash and Bird) and only six in total have EVER done it. There's a fuller outline of it here.

Will he do it again?

Lately, his numbers have slipped a bit and right now he is on the outside looking in. Currently, he's at 49.5, 39.8, and 90.1. (There is no rounding up for this "club.'' You must meet or exceed the number to qualify.)

What are his chances?

Dirk is above the 90 right now, so it's clearly possible for him to maintain that level over the final three games. He is at the cusp of the 40 (if he hits his next 3-point try, he will be at 40, exactly), so that threshold is also well within easy reach for him.

However, the 50 is going to be unlikely, as it would take several special games in a row, against three teams (Spurs, Suns and Grizzlies) that are very good and will likely focus on stopping him.

To get to 50, exactly, he must, for instance, make 12/12 plus 50 percent of the rest of his shots. (So he goes 12-of-12 against the Spurs on Thursday and then is "free'' to go 20-of-40 or 3-of-6 or whatever the rest of the regular season.) The less he shoots over the final three games, the higher percentage he will need to make in those games in order to end the season at 50 percent or higher.

The following total (or better) over the final three would qualify him for the 50:

12/12 ...or an average of 4/4 (100%)
18/24 ...or an average of 6/8 (75%)
21/30 ...or an average of 7/10 (70%)
24/36 ...or an average of 8/12 (67%)
27/42 ...or an average of 9/14 (64%)
30/48 ...or an average of 10/16 (62%)
33/54 ...or an average of 11/18 (61%)
36/60 ...or an average of 12/20 (60%)

While certainly not impossible for a player who has done such amazing things in his career -- the latest of which we've documented here in great 10th-all-time-scorer detail -- the odds of Dirk accomplishing that are low. So far this season there are only 14 games in which he has shot well enough that, if he did the same for two more games, it would get him up to the 50-percent plateau for the season.

So what he has done once in every 65.7 games, he now needs to do in three games in a row.
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Nevertheless, it could happen. And whether he makes it or not, the fact that he even has a shot at it (at age 35, when most players are well over the hill!), and has done it before, further highlights the special nature of Dirk's career.

What a treat!

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