50–40–90 club

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Steve Nash of the Phoenix Suns

Informally, the 50–40–90 club is the group of National Basketball Association (NBA) players who have had a shooting percentage at or above 50% for field goals, 40% for three-pointers, and 90% for free throws during an entire NBA regular season while also achieving the NBA minimum number of makes in each category (300 field goals, 82 three-pointers, and 125 free throws).[1][2] A total of seven players have had 50–40–90 seasons.

50–40–90 indicates a great all-around shooting performance and is considered the ultimate standard for shooters.[3] Only Steve Nash (four times) and Larry Bird (twice) have repeat 50–40–90 seasons. Nash's lifetime 49–43–90 regular season average is the closest anyone has come to achieving a career 50–40–90 mark.[4] Nash's lifetime 47–40–90 playoff average is the closest anyone has come to achieving a career 50–40–90 mark in the playoffs.[5] Dirk Nowitzki is the only member that falls short of the updated minimum requirement for three-point makes implemented since 2013, finishing with 72 threes in 2007.

Members[edit]

Stephen Curry on a game night

Since the NBA introduced the three-point field goal in the 1979–80 season, the 50–40–90 shooting threshold has been reached by seven players:[3]

Nash and Bird are the only players who achieved 50–40–90 in multiple seasons; Bird was the first to join this club and achieved it twice consecutively while Nash achieved it four times in five seasons.[6]

Nash narrowly missed five consecutive 50–40–90 seasons by shooting at 89.9% from the free throw line for the 2006–07 season, one made free throw short of the 90% mark.[7] While not a criterion, it is notable that Curry is the only member to average at least 30 points-per-game during a 50–40–90 season, with Bird narrowly missing the mark at 29.93 ppg during his second 50–40–90 season. Nash (during his second 50–40–90 season) and Curry are the only members to achieve a 50–40–90 season while also beating one of the criteria by an additional 5%, with both of them averaging at least 45% (versus 40% required) on their three-pointer shooting. Curry is currently on pace to be one of the first to join the 50-50-90 club, surpassing his recently accomplishment of 50-40-90.

Terminology and calculations[edit]

Similar to baseball batting averages, official NBA shooting percentages are computed to the third decimal place (thousandths), but is referred to in a "percentage", rather than "permillage" like in baseball. A player who shot .8995 on free throws would be officially computed as shooting .900 and referred to as a 90% shooter, but a player who shot .8994 would be officially computed as shooting .899 and referred to as an 89.9% shooter. While the significant number is the same for the two sports, a baseball player with a batting average of .300 is referred to as a "three hundred hitter" rather than a "30% hitter".

While the NBA officially uses a three digit number, it reports shooting statistics in a shortened and rounded form as a percentage, so that .899 to the third decimal place is simplified as a two digit "90%" in most of its reporting.[8] Thus, a true 50–40–90 season requires a player to achieve or exceed 50.0 – 40.0 – 90.0.

This rounding to the second digit has pertinence regarding several near misses for 50–40–90 seasons, as the player's three digit results were "49.6 to 49.9" - "39.6 to 39.9" - "89.6 to 89.9" rather than fully 50.0% – 40.0% – 90.0%. These near-miss results can be found in secondary tables, below.

To qualify, a player also has to successfully make at least 300 field goals, 82 three-point field goals (since the 2013–14 season) and 125 free throws.[9] These values have been used since the 1999–2000 season except in the lockout-shortened 2011–12 season; requirements varied with the schedule length several times before that.[10]

This requirement to consistently produce through a season has pertinence regarding several players have been cited in the media or by their basketball clubs for having a 50–40–90 season, while ignoring the full minimum successful shots makes criteria required to be considered a leader in each category. For example, a book published in 2009 credits Steve Kerr as achieving a miracle 50–50–90 in the 1995–96 season, but ignores the fact that he was considerably short of the minimum requirements for field goals (short by 56 makes) or free throws (short by 47 makes) to be recognized officially.[11]

Player Season GP FG FGA FG% 3P 3PA 3P% FT FTA FT% PTS PPG Ref.
Larry Bird 1986–87 74 786 1,497 53% (.525) 90 225 40% (.400) 414 455 91% (.910) 2,076 28.05 [12]
Larry Bird (2) 1987–88 76 881 1,672 53% (.527) 98 237 41% (.414) 415 453 92% (.916) 2,275 29.93 [12]
Mark Price 1988–89 75 529 1,006 53% (.526) 93 211 44% (.441) 263 292 90% (.901) 1,414 18.85 [13]
Reggie Miller 1993–94 79 524 1,042 50% (.503) 123 292 42% (.421) 403 444 91% (.908) 1,574 19.92 [14]
Steve Nash 2005–06 79 541 1,056 51% (.512) 150 342 44% (.439) 257 279 92% (.921) 1,489 18.85 [7]
Dirk Nowitzki 2006–07 78 673 1,341 50% (.502) 72 173 42% (.416) 498 551 90% (.904) 1,916 24.56 [15]
Steve Nash (2) 2007–08 81 485 962 50% (.504) 179 381 47% (.470) 222 245 91% (.906) 1,371 16.93 [7]
Steve Nash (3) 2008–09 74 428 851 50% (.503) 108 246 44% (.439) 196 210 93% (.933) 1,160 15.68 [7]
Steve Nash (4) 2009–10 81 499 985 51% (.507) 124 291 43% (.426) 211 225 94% (.938) 1,333 16.46 [7]
Kevin Durant 2012–13 81 731 1,433 51% (.510) 139 334 42% (.416) 679 750 91% (.905) 2,280 28.15 [16]
Stephen Curry 2015–16 79 805 1,598 50% (.504) 402 886 45% (.454) 363 400 91% (.908) 2,375 30.06 [17]

Close Calls[edit]

Other players have been very close, but still failed to completely meet the criteria for an official 50–40–90 season.

Missed by less than 1.0%[edit]

Six players, over eight attempts (two repeats), missed the 50–40–90 mark by less than 1.0% in one (or more) of the 50.0% - 40.0% - 90.0% criteria required. Four of these players – Bird, Curry, Nash and Nowitzki – did achieve official 50–40–90 seasons during their careers. The following table highlights, with color and asterisks, the statistical categories in which these six players fell short.

Player Season GP FG FGA FG% 3P 3PA 3P% FT FTA FT% PTS PPG Ref.
Larry Bird 1985–86 82 796 1,606 50% (.496)* 82 194 42% (.423) 441 492 90% (.896)* 2,115 25.79 [12]
Jeff Hornacek 1990–91 80 544 1,051 52% (.518) 61 146 42% (.418) 201 224 90% (.897)* 1,350 16.88 [18]
Steve Nash 2006–07 76 517 971 53% (.532) 156 343 45% (.455) 222 247 90% (.899)* 1,412 18.58 [7]
José Calderón 2008–09 68 320 644 50% (.497)* 82 202 41% (.406) 151 154 98% (.981) 873 12.84 [19]
Steve Nash (2) 2010–11 75 399 811 49% (.492)* 81 205 40% (.395)* 227 249 91% (.912) 1,106 14.7 [20]
Dirk Nowitzki 2010–11 73 610 1,179 52% (.517) 66 168 39% (.393)* 395 443 89% (.892)* 1,681 23.0 [15]
Dirk Nowitzki (2) 2013–14 80 633 1,273 50% (.497)* 131 329 40% (.398)* 338 376 90% (.899)* 1,735 21.69 [15]
Stephen Curry 2017–18 51 428 864 50% (.495)* 212 501 42% (.423) 278 302 92% (.921) 1,346 26.39 [17]

Missed minimum makes by less than 15%[edit]

Three players missed the official 50–40–90 list above by finishing the season without meeting the needed minimum figures to be considered a statistical season leader in the respective category that particular year (minimums have varied over the decades[10]). The miss can also include one or more "miss up to two of 50.0% - 40.0% - 90.0% by less than 1.0%" added to the shortfelt numbers. The following table highlights, with color and asterisks, the statistical categories in which these three players fell short. The minimum requirements to be listed here are: within 15% of the needed made shots in no worse than two of the three categories.

Player Season GP FG FGA FG% 3P 3PA 3P% FT FTA FT% PTS PPG Ref.
Mario Elie 1996–97 78 291* 585 50% (.497)* 120 286 42% (.420) 207 231 90% (.896)* 909 11.7 [21]
José Calderón 2007–08 82 367 707 52% (.519) 79 184 43% (.429) 109* 120 91% (.908) 922 11.2 [19]
Steve Nash 2012–13 50 236* 475 50% (.497)* 57 130 44% (.438) 107* 116 92% (.922) 636 12.7 [7]

References[edit]

Specific
  1. ^ Casciaro, Joseph (April 14, 2016). "Curry joins exclusive 50-40-90 club after historic shooting season". theScore. Retrieved July 26, 2017.
  2. ^ Powell, Shaun (October 7, 2010). "All-Shooting Team: Five guys with 'the touch' make the list". NBA.com. Turner Sports Interactive, Inc. Archived from the original on 12 October 2010. Retrieved October 20, 2010.
  3. ^ a b "The vanguards: Rating Nash amongst the best". canada.com. Postmedia Network Inc. January 3, 2007. Archived from the original on November 9, 2012. Retrieved October 20, 2010.
  4. ^ "Player Game Finder". Basketball reference .com.
  5. ^ "Player Game Finder". Retrieved 14 June 2018.
  6. ^ "Spurs In His Side". National Post. National Post Inc. September 17, 2010. Retrieved October 21, 2010.[permanent dead link]
  7. ^ a b c d e f g "Steve Nash Stats". basketball-reference.com. Retrieved October 19, 2010.
  8. ^ Cohen, Richard M., and Neft, David S.: The Sports Encyclopedia: Pro Basketball Edition, St. Martin's Press, 1990.
  9. ^ "Minimum Stats for Leaders". NBA.com. Turner Sports Interactive, Inc. Archived from the original on 17 November 2010. Retrieved October 20, 2010.
  10. ^ a b "Rate Statistic Requirements". basketball-reference.com. Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved October 20, 2010.
  11. ^ Ballard, Chris (2009). The Art of the Beautiful Game: The Thinking Fan's Tour of the NBA. Simon and Schuster. p. 37. ISBN 9781439141175.
  12. ^ a b c "Larry Bird Stats". basketball-reference.com. Retrieved October 19, 2010.
  13. ^ "Mark Price Stats". basketball-reference.com. Retrieved October 19, 2010.
  14. ^ "Reggie Miller Stats". basketball-reference.com. Retrieved October 19, 2010.
  15. ^ a b c "Dirk Nowitzki Stats". basketball-reference.com. Retrieved October 19, 2010.
  16. ^ "Kevin Durant Stats". basketball-reference.com. Retrieved April 17, 2013.
  17. ^ a b "Stephen Curry Stats". basketball-reference.com. Retrieved August 26, 2017.
  18. ^ "Jeff Hornacek Stats". basketball-reference.com. Retrieved October 20, 2010.
  19. ^ a b "José Calderón Stats". basketball-reference.com. Retrieved October 19, 2010.
  20. ^ "Wally Szczerbiak Stats". basketball-reference.com. Retrieved August 10, 2013.
  21. ^ "Mario Elie Stats". basketball-reference.com. Retrieved October 21, 2010.
General