Good Offense, Terrible Defense

One of my favorite footnotes in basketball history comes from the 1990-91 NBA season. Not Michael Jordan finally winning a championship. Rather, one team, the Denver Nuggets.

See, the 1990 Nuggets applied the Loyola Run and Gun offense under former university coach Paul Westhead. They scored 119 points per game on average. The Bulls scored 110, and even this regular season’s Bucks and Warriors, in an era of fast paced high scoring basketball only managed around 118.

With this scoring boom, the Nuggets finished-worst in the entire league with a 20-62 record? How? Well, that their opponents scored an average of 130 (!) points may have something to do with it. (For reference, again in a period of high scoring, the current Atlanta Hawks, the worst team in that regard, give their opponents only 119)

The closest baseball equivalent would be the 1930 Phillies, taking place in a monster hitters year. The Phillies that year finished last in the hit-crazy NL, scoring six runs per game on average-and giving up around eight.

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