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Nate Williams 1972-73 Minutes Played

Posted by Justin Kubatko on June 3, 2009

In many guides, Nate Williams is credited with 1079 minutes played for the Kansas City-Omaha Kings in 1972-73. Williams scored 940 points that season, so if he really played 1079 minutes then his scoring rate of 41.8 points per 48 minutes would be one of the best marks in NBA history. Since Williams never even averaged 30 points per 48 minutes in any other season, this number was called into question by some members of the APBR. They discovered that while the Kings as a team had been credited with a total of 19880 minutes played, the sum of the individual minutes played for the Kings players was 18980, a deficit of 900 minutes. They reasonably assumed that Williams had been shorted 900 minutes, and that his season total should be amended to 1979 minutes. That number has been around for a few years now (it's the number you'll find on this site), but I did some further research that suggests that it may not be correct either.

If the Kings really had a team total of 19880 minutes played, this suggests that they played eight overtime periods:

  • 19880 - (82 * 48 * 5) = 200 => 200 / (5 * 5) = 8

However, I could only identify four overtime games that the Kings played in:

  • Dec 1, 1972 vs. Chicago Bulls (1OT)
  • Dec 15, 1972 vs. Detroit Pistons (1OT)
  • Jan 9, 1973 vs. New York Knickerbockers (1OT)
  • Feb 22, 1973 vs. Milwaukee Bucks (1OT)

Based on this, one of two things must be true:

  1. The Kings team minutes played total is incorrect, and it should actually be 19780 minutes, or
  2. I have failed to identify the other overtime games that the Kings played in.

I believe the answer is #1 above. Why? First, if I'm missing some overtime games for the Kings then I'm missing some overtime games for other teams as well. However, the minutes played totals for the other teams match up with the number of overtime periods I have them playing. Second, the sum of player minutes played for every other team matches their team total.

Given this information, I believe that the Kings team total should be 19780 minutes, and that Williams should actually be credited with 1879 minutes played. What do you think? Is my logic sound?

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7 Responses to “Nate Williams 1972-73 Minutes Played”

  1. Mike G Says:

    I'd stay with the 1979. On a keyboard, the zero is next to the 9. A typist hitting 0 instead of 8 is off by 2 keys. Kind of like when I sing.

  2. Mike G Says:

    Also, how common is it that a team's total minutes are determinably wrong in the records? If this would be one of relatively few such instances, that makes it less likely.

  3. Gary C Says:

    If the others teams' minutes balance, you pretty much have to have the number of overtime games and periods right, so the team total must be your amendment. I would definitely make that the default assumption.

    Doesn't the NBA or the Kings have old dailies with the game by game stats? Or am I just spoiled by baseball? I would have thought that by the mid to late 60's and the growing influence of Harvey Pollack that they started to be more thorough about these things.

  4. Justin Kubatko Says:

    Mike, if you leave the Kings team total at 19880 then that means that they played eight overtime periods. As I mentioned, however, I can only find four overtime periods for the Kings (the Kings media guide confirms this). Unless there are four other overtime periods I haven't accounted for, the Kings team total has to be off by 100 minutes.

  5. Mike G Says:

    Well, if your numbers were off by 125 minutes or 75, I'd still say there are probably some more overtimes to be found. But since it's a single keypad error to create a 100 minute discrepancy, I'll guess you are right.

    Will update my files when I see it on yours.

  6. Gabe Says:

    what about mid-season trades? are any players counted for games where they shouldn't be? maybe if they played against the Kings in that season before/after playing for the Kings, the player was counted for the wrong team.

  7. Justin Kubatko Says:

    Gabe, but in that case wouldn't it be true that player minutes played would not sum to team minutes played for at least one other team? However, that's not the case.