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Who knew?!

PS - If you have an image of Pistol Pete in your mind, and want it preserved, then don't watch this video. I've heard horror stories of Willie Mays playing for the New York Mets, and I suspect they aren't that much different than this.

"Remembering The Sad And Too-Short Celtic Stint Of Pete Maravich" by Professor Parquet on celticsblog.com

Maravich:  Incroyable.

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On 1/9/2015 at 10:57 AM, DaveO said:

Maravich:  Incroyable.

There's one statistic I just cannot get over.

Maravich is the all-time leading scorer in college basketball, and he did it in only *three years* and without a three-point line to accentuate his excellent shot.

He averaged - *averaged* - 44.2 points per game in college.

He also won the NBA scoring title one year with a 31.1 point-per-game average.

The statistic I can't get over?

In college, his shooting percentage was 43.8%. In the NBA, it was 44.1%.

How does anyone average 44.2 points per game shooting 43.8%?

"Pistol" Pete, that's how - arguably the most overrated basketball player in history.

I do acknowledge, however, that his hand-eye coordination was developed (*) more than any other player in history. There's no way to know what his natural gifts were because he practiced so much when he was young - 8 hours a day shooting and dribbling in the summers, and 4 hours a day in the winters. This is why, when you look at his highlights, he seems like the greatest player ever; but he wasn't - all he could do was dribble, pass, and shoot, and his abysmal shooting percentage speaks for itself.

(*) If you're asking me if he was "better than Bird or Magic," my answer would be "no, not even close." But I believe that Maravich did not have anything approaching their natural gifts, and that's why I say "developed more" - he most likely started from a lower level, and worked his way to the upper echelons of dribblers and passers. He *was* arguably the greatest dribbler to ever live (apologies to Curly Neal), and his passing was outstanding also (on the five occasions in his career when he passed).

Pete Maravich was certainly a unique basketball player, and there hasn't ever been another one, at least not yet.

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@Don:   One change in pro basketball over the years and decades is that shooting percentages have increased a lot.  Before and during the 60's and probably into the 70's shooting percentages were overall a lot lower.  Lots lower.  Its one of the reasons that rebounding averages have dramatically dropped over the years.  Lots less missed shots.   Lots.  Its a significant change.

Maravich's percentages might have been excellent for that time.  I haven't bothered to check, but overall shooting percentages have increased significantly over the decades.  A 2nd consideration for both pts and shooting percentages is "how many of his points came from foul shots?"   I didn't check, but any great scorer who is great at drawing fouls and getting foul shots might have a relatively lower average field goal shooting percentage.

okay..I checked a little.  Go look at Elgin Baylor and John Havlicheck..all time greats, absolutely huge scorers over their careers and somewhat contemporaries of Maravich along with being in the roughly same size/height range.  Their shooting percentages are in the ball park of Maravich as pros.  From my perspective I loved watching Earl Monroe.  I sort of equate him with Maravich in this context;  two of the most entertaining, exciting, bedeviling players to ever watch.   Were they the best?   Virtually nobody would ever claim that.  But if you enjoyed watching....they would often be on the top of lists of most entertaining players ever.

On the practicing side....lets face it all the greatest players practiced a lot.  If you followed Jordan, or Lebron or Kobe over their careers;  those 3 guys with all those amazing physical gifts changed their games dramatically over time.   They practiced a lot.   I suspect Maravich was similar to them in the volume of practice time and effort.

Anyway I suggest looking at the video I sourced above.  Maravich had a trick pass he developed that amazed Red Auerbach.  He must have practiced that endlessly.

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@Don:   One change in pro basketball over the years and decades is that shooting percentages have increased a lot.  Before and during the 60's and probably into the 70's shooting percentages were overall a lot lower.  Lots lower.  Its one of the reasons that rebounding averages have dramatically dropped over the years.  Lots less missed shots.   Lots.  Its a significant change.

Maravich's percentages might have been excellent for that time.  I haven't bothered to check, but overall shooting percentages have increased significantly over the decades.  A 2nd consideration for both pts and shooting percentages is "how many of his points came from foul shots?"   I didn't check, but any great scorer who is great at drawing fouls and getting foul shots might have a relatively lower average field goal shooting percentage.

okay..I checked a little.  Go look at Elgin Baylor and John Havlicheck..all time greats, absolutely huge scorers over their careers and somewhat contemporaries of Maravich along with being in the roughly same size/height range.  Their shooting percentages are in the ball park of Maravich as pros.  From my perspective I loved watching Earl Monroe.  I sort of equate him with Maravich in this context;  two of the most entertaining, exciting, bedeviling players to ever watch.   Were they the best?   Virtually nobody would ever claim that.  But if you enjoyed watching....they would often be on the top of lists of most entertaining players ever.

On the practicing side....lets face it all the greatest players practiced a lot.  If you followed Jordan, or Lebron or Kobe over their careers;  those 3 guys with all those amazing physical gifts changed their games dramatically over time.   They practiced a lot.   I suspect Maravich was similar to them in the volume of practice time and effort.

Anyway I suggest looking at the video I sourced above.  Maravich had a trick pass he developed that amazed Red Auerbach.  He must have practiced that endlessly.

I had a look at the NCAA All-Americans that I could find statistics for around the time Maravich played (guards and forwards only, 1967-1970), and here are their career field-goal percentages. There were so many that I *couldn't* find statistics for that I gave up, but here's what I found:

Austin Carr 52.9%

Rick Mount 48.3%

Clem Haskins 45.4%

John Roche 45.3%

Pete Maravich 43.8%

Calvin Murphy 43.8%

Jo Jo White 42.0%

About the hours spent practicing - I'm fairly convinced that Maravich was something of a loner, practicing dribbling an unusually high percentage of his practice time (if you look at that video, it's really unbelievable what he can do with dribbling a basketball, and I'm pretty sure he was in his mid-30s when he filmed it).

If you're talking about the fake-slap pass, I'm very impressed that he thought of it, but it's not that hard to do. Here's a pretty extensive video for when you get some time:

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I can't speak to overall and comparative college stats but there is data on pro basketball stats including this amazing source of long term data   This author went to the trouble of assembling all kinds of shooting and point scoring data for the entire league from its inception through 2004.   Interesting to see how shooting accuracy improved over the years and decades.   The late 50's and then the 1960's were a period of relatively high numbers of shots in total;  think Boston Celtics and fast breaks and lots of teams trying to emulate them.

During the period of the 1970's, when Maravich played in the NBA, average field goal shooting percentages for the entire league were somewhat higher than his percentage but I wouldn't call his percentage abnormally low for that period.   For some of those years when he was healthiest, he gunned it up a lot.  I wonder if he drew a lot of fouls or not.

Maravich, for the most part didn't play on winning teams, and was never a guy whom you would unquestionably describe as making his teammates better.   He made LOTS of flashy passes, maybe more than anyone else at his peak.  ...hm....maybe they didn't all work.

Here are his detailed stats  At the bottom of that page they compare him to players they deem "similar".   None of those comparative players were super stars of any renown, although all servicable players.

He was truly amazing to watch.   Was he great???   Well he was a great scorer in college and he had a couple of great scoring years in the NBA.   He probably was a freak in terms of practicing while younger.   But they all practice.  A lot.  Its very noticeable among the greatest of the great; clearly with guys like Kobe, Jordan, and Lebron.   Their games made dramatic improvements between seasons.

Maravich probably "outpracticed" them when he was younger.  If you want to know another practice freak...think Chris Mullen.  He was a pro all star, was on the Olympic Dream Team, and had a far more successful pro career than Maravich.  That guy was beyond nuts for practicing...while young and into the pros.  Ultimately he simply wasn't as athletic as the super guys like Jordan, Lebron, and Kobe.   I suppose no matter how much one practices there is a leveling out point.

My original assessment was that Maravich was incredible...or incroyable.   Very different from great.   He was somebody you wanted to watch though.  Simply and utterly amazing while effective.

But evidently not as effective as the greatest of the greats.  He was probably there as much for the "show".  Cripes he admitted that.

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I'm in the Pat Riley camp - Maravich was perhaps "the most-overrated superstar" ... but he was still a superstar. I think the reason he's "overrated" is because his father encouraged him to do it all, and you just can't do that in a team game. Today, he would play a different game - maybe even average a career triple-double like Oscar Robertson (although 10 rebounds would be a stretch - I think he'd be a 20P-10A-5R man *with world championships* which is first-ballot HOF material, basically Oscar Robertson's career (Robertson was an amazing 25.7P-9.5A-7.5R over his entire career)).

Watch this whole thing - his final basket (points 67-68) was humbling for all involved (defender (who, for most of the game, was Walt Frazier), spectators, viewer). Right after that, he also fouled out on an offensive charge, but the defender was *clearly* in motion - he would have shot two free throws and had 70 points.

Only six players have ever scored more points in an NBA game (Chamberlain, Bryant, Thompson, Baylor, Robinson, Jordan).

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On 1/14/2015 at 8:06 PM, DaveO said:

My original assessment was that Maravich was incredible...or incroyable.   Very different from great.   He was somebody you wanted to watch though.  Simply and utterly amazing while effective. 

On 2/24/2015 at 6:43 PM, farmer john said:

Watching Steph Curry torch the Wizards last night I would say he has a bit of Pistol Pete in his game- not super athletic but just really really good at playing with a basketball.

One might even call him "The Pre Anthony."  B)

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13 hours ago, DonRocks said:

Interestingly, Larry Bird's first game in the NBA was the first-ever NBA game where a 3-point shot was made (in other words, Bird had the 3-point shot available to him for his entire career).

On Oct 12, 1979, Chris Ford scored a 3-pointer with 3:48 left in the 1st quarter against the Houston Rockets - the first 3-pointer in NBA history. Rick Barry made one in the same game as well (this was his final season).

That was Pistol Pete Maravich's final season in the NBA and he went 10-15 on 3s. He would have averaged 60 per game in college and 35-40 in the pros with the three-point option. 

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