Michael Jordan was Batman. Scottie Pippen was Robin. And Horace Grant was... Jim Gordon? Batgirl? Given his eyeglasses, maybe an alternate-reality version of Hugo Strange.
The third major member of the first Bulls Trilogy, Horace Grant And His Eyeglasses served two primary functions: to mop up the boards and defer to Jordan and Pippen when possible. Oh, and he was able to score well too. Very, very well.
With his post moves and the fact that double-teams were more rare than lightning strikes with Jordan on the floor, Grant seemingly put the ball in the bucket every time he touched it. That's only barely an exaggeration: his Offensive Rating (ORtg), which measures the total number of points from a player per 100 individual possessions, never fell below 118 during the Bulls' first three championship seasons.
But it was the Bulls' second championship that Horace Grant truly saved Gotham. That year, in addition to this 16.3 percent total rebound rate and .578 effective field goal percentage (eFG%), Grant posted a 132.17 ORtg. That means that every time Grant tried to score, he likely did it, averaging 1.32 points on those possessions throughout the regular season. That was a record at the time, breaking James Donaldson's 132.05 ORtg from the 1986-1987 season.
At least for the next week, that record will stand. But past that? Well, that will all come down to Tyson Chandler and whether his current 133.1 ORtg will hold during what's left of the regular season.
You may not realize this, but with his 131.03 points per 100 possessions during his final season in Dallas (2011-2012), Chandler already holds the No. 3 all-time most efficient offensive season. Just like Ludacris told me though, it's all about that No. 1 spot. Chandler has a chance to grab it.
Projections are what we're about here at numberFire, so I had Chief Analyst Keith Goldner run the numbers on whether Chandler will grab the record. And the results came back that it's likely, but it's not one of those slam dunks that Chandler's been so adept at this season.
There's a single problem with trying to calculate Tyson Chandler's chances at grabbing the Offensive Rating record: we don't know how many games he's going to play. After playing two straight games of at least 37 minutes, Chandler sat out last night against the Wizards. He did later say that he would have played if it were a playoff game, but the next five contests are seemingly as meaningless as that one. It's entirely possible that Chandler will ride the bench all the way to the record.
However, we figure that he won't actually do that. The Knicks still haven't completely clinched the two seed, after all. That means we'll likely see him a few times in the Knicks' remaining games against the Bulls, Cavs, Pacers, Bobcats, and Hawks.
Keith decided to break down his chances based on how many games he'll play. Since Chandler already holds a higher ORtg than Grant, it stands to reason that the fewer games he plays, the better chance at the record.
|Games Played||Record Probability|
If Chandler plays all five of the Knicks' remaining games, then he holds a 65.45 percent chance at breaking the all-time ORtg record. Better adjust those glasses, Horace Grant, because somebody's coming for you.
How Chandler Got Here
The Offensive Rating Formula as developed by Dean Oliver in 2004 has four key components: scoring possessions, missed field goal possessions, missed free throw possessions, and possessions with turnovers. And on almost all of these counts, Tyson Chandler is having among the best seasons of his career.
Chandler's current .671 true shooting percentage, which takes into account the effectiveness of free throws and three-pointers as well, currently sits first in the NBA. Directly behind Chandler? Well, that would be Kevin Durant (.644) and LeBron James (.638). That's not bad company to hold at the top of the charts.
But Chandler's TS% was higher in both of his last two seasons. The real key to his offensive rating explosion this year may just be his turnover rate. At 14.5 percent, Tyson Chandler's turnover rate is the second-lowest of his career and miles below his 17.5 percent career average. The only other season Chandler has been below 15 percent? That would be his 2010-2011 season, which you may remember as the current No. 3 all-time single-season offensive rating.
There is a new Police Commissioner in town. Tyson Chandler is even more efficient than the old guard, and the new Carmelo-sized Batman has an even greater partner with which to work. Gotham is safe from the terrors of inefficient scoring once more, all thanks to the man in the middle.