Word on the Street

20-10-50 Guy (twen’-te ten fif’-te gi) noun. A professional basketball player who has averaged at least 20 points and 10 rebounds or assists for a single season, and whose team lost at least 50 games.

Usage example:Not surprisingly, Zach Randolph is the classic 20-10-50 guy.”

Word history: This term was coined back in the fall of 2004 during the aftermath of my very first fantasy basketball draft. My buddy Markus was giving me hell for drafting Stephon Marbury, who was coming off a season in which he averaged 20.2 PPG and 8.9 APG. The conversation went something like this:

Markus: Dude, why would you draft Starbury? The guy’s a cancer. He’s like a tumor growing on top of another tumor. He’s such a cancer, the American Medical Association is considering renaming “chemotherapy” to “stephonotherapy.”

Me: Dude, team chemistry doesn’t affect fantasy stats. And Marbury has great numbers.

Markus: Yep. He’s always good for 20 points, 10 assists and 50 losses.

We both broke up laughing, and thus the 20-10-50 guy was born. Markus immediately pointed out that the Chicago Bulls traded Elton Brand after two consecutive 20-10-50 seasons. Quipped Markus: “That’s when the Bulls said, ‘Let’s trade our best player, because he must be the reason we’re losing.'”

I finally unleashed another friend Roger on this subject, because, after all, he specializes in digging up arcane stats like this. Here are his findings:

20-10-50 guys – Assists:

Turns out this is pretty rare. In fact, it’s happened once: in 1990-91, Michael Adams averaged 26.5-10.5 for the worst defensive team of all time. The only other guy who came close was Tim Hardaway, who in 1992-93 averaged 21.5-10.6 for a Golden State Warriors squad that went 34-48.

20-10-50 guys – Rebounds:

Now we’re cooking! This happened 35 times in league history. Roger created a nifty spreadsheet full of pretty numbers, but here’s the breakdown:

1950s: One guy did it, Neil Johnston of the Philadelphia Warriors, who went 12-57 in 1952-53 despite Johnston’s 22.3-13.9.

1960s: It happened 10 times: once each for Elgin Baylor (29.6-16.4 in 1959-60 for the 25-50 Minneapolis Lakers), Bob Pettit (31.1-18.7 in 1961-62 for the 29-51 St. Louis Hawks), Bailey Howell (21.6-10.1 in 1963-64 for the 23-57 Detroit Pistons), Gus Johnson (20.7-11.7 in 1966-67 for the 20-61 Baltimore Bullets), John Block (20.2-11.0 in 1967-68 for the 15-67 San Diego Rockets); twice for Willie Naulls (23.4-13.4 in 1960-61 for the 21-58 New York Knicks and 25.0-11.6 in 1961-62 for the 29-51 Knicks); and an amazing three times for Walt “Bells” Bellamy (31.6-19.0 in 1961-62 for the 18-62 Chicago Packers; 27.9-16.4 in 1962-63 for the 25-55 Chicago Zephyrs; and 22.8-15.7 in 1965-66 for the 30-50 New York Knicks).

1970s: It happened 9 times: once each for Elvin Hayes (27.5-16.9 in 1969-70 for the 27-55 San Diego Rockets), Nate Thurmond (21.9-17.7 in 1969-70 for the 30-52 San Francisco Warriors), Bob Kauffman (20.4-10.7 in 1970-71 for the 22-60 Buffalo Braves), Spencer Haywood (29.2-12.9 in 1972-73 for the 26-56 Seattle Super Sonics), Bob McAdoo (25.8-12.9 in 1976-77 for the 30-52 Buffalo Braves…although he was traded that season to the 40-42 New York Knicks), Artis Gilmore (23.7-12.7 in 1978-79 for the 31-51 Chicago Bulls), and Truck Robinson (21.1-11.6 in 1978-79 for the 26-56 New Orleans Jazz…although he was traded that season for the 50-32 Phoenix Suns); and twice for Sidney Wicks (24.5-11.5 in 1971-72 for the 18-64 Portland Trail Blazers and 23.8-10.9 in 1972-73 for the 21-61 Blazers).

1980s: It happened only twice: once each for Terry Cummings (23.7-10.6 in 1982-83 for the 25-57 San Diego Clippers) and Otis Thorpe (20.8-10.2 in 1987-88 for the 28-54 San Antonio Spurs).

1990s: It happened three times: once each for Roy Tarpley (20.4-11.0 in 1990-91 for the 28-54 Dallas Mavericks), Pervis “Out of Service” Ellison (20.0-11.2 in 1991-92 for the 25-57 Washington Bullets), and Derrick Coleman (20.5-10.6 in 1994-95 for the 30-52 New Jersey Nets).

2000s: It has happened eight times so far: once each for Shareef Abdur-Rahim (20.3-10.1 in 1999-00 for the 22-60 Vancouver Grizzlies) and Kevin Garnett (22.4-12.8 in 2006-07 for the 32-50 Minnesota Timberwolves); and twice each for Elton Brand (20.1-10.0 in 1999-00 for the 17-65 Chicago Bulls and 20.1-10.1 in 2000-01 for the 15-67 Bulls), Zach Randolph (23.6-10.1 in 2006-07 for the 32-50 Portland Trail Blazers and 20.8-10.1 in 2008-09*), and Al Jefferson (21.0-11.1 in 2007-08 for the 22-60 Minnesota Timberwolves and 23.1-11.0 in 2008-09 for the 24-58 Timberwolves).

*In 2008-09, Z-Bo became the only player in NBA history to average 20-10 for two 50-loss teams: the 32-50 New York Knicks and the 19-63 Los Angeles Clippers. Even better, Randolph – currently averaging 20.3 PPG and 10.7 RPG for the 1-6 Memphis Grizzlies – stands an excellent chance of becoming a 20-10-50 guy for the third time after consecutive trades from two 50-loss teams to another 50-loss team (the Griz were 24-58 last season). In my humble opinion, that marks Z-Bo as the classic 20-10-50 guy.

Zach ponders the grim certainty of yet another 20-10-50 season.


Labels: Stephon Marbury (Starbuty) / Terry Cummings / Michael Adams / Tim Hardaway / Neil Johnston / Sidney Wicks / Elvin Hayes / Elgin Baylor / Al Jefferson / Nate Thurmond / Bob McAdoo / Elton Brand / Shareef Abdur-Rahim / Artis Gilmore / Bob Pettit / Bailey Howell / Bob Kauffman / Zach Randolph (Z-Bo) / Truck Robinson / Gus Johnson / Otis Thorpe / Pervis Ellison (Out of Service) / Spencer Haywood / Willie Naulls / Derrick Coleman / John Block / Roy Tarpley / Walt Bellamy (Bells) / Kevin Garnett / Minneapolis Lakers / Memphis Grizzlies (Vancouver Grizzlies) / St. Louis Hawks / Detroit Pistons / Minnesota Timberwolves / San Diego Rockets / New York Knicks / Seattle Super Sonics / Portland Trail Blazers / San Antonio Spurs / Golden State Warriors (Philadelphia Warriors, San Francisco Warriors) / Los Angeles Clippers (Buffalo Braves, San Diego Clippers) / New Orleans Jazz / Washington Bullets (Chicago Zephyrs, Chicago Packers, Baltimore Bullets) / Dallas Mavericks / New Jersey NetsChicago Bulls / Phoenix Suns / NBAWord on the Street


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