If Channing Frye hadn’t attempted a three-pointer midway through the first quarter last night in Orlando’s 100-115 loss to the Bucks, he would have played over 15 minutes without a shot, a point, a free throw, an assist, a rebound, a block, a turnover, a personal foul, or any indication in the box score he had even been on the court. This is even more unusual then it first sounds, and the coincidences become even more odd the more we looked at historical box scores. In essence, it’s never been done before, except one player who came pretty close, and the serendipity of that player is astounding.
What makes Frye’s performance last night so much more unique than becoming a member of the one trillion club, popularized by OSU walk-on Mark Titus, is the fact Frye played over 15 minutes. The r/NBA chain that first clued us in to Frye’s 0-for night didn’t take into account just how long Frye was on the court without doing anything. Literally, anything.
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The best we could do to narrow this down was look at players who played 15 minutes or more without a point, rebound or assist since 1986 using Basketball-Reference.com’s handy play index. This only winnows it down so far, with hundreds of results, so we had to scan them looking for more zeros. We didn’t find a single instance where an NBA player had that much court time with as little to show for it as Frye.
We could only find four instances where players even came close to matching Frye’s disappearing act on the court, and even among those players none finished with such an impressive string of zeros with just a lone shot. Here are the four we found:
McLeod played 15 minutes against the Wizards and finished without any points, free throws, free throw attempts, rebounds, assists, blocks, steals, or fouls. He did take two shots, missing both.
Hunter played 17 minutes against the Sixers that night and had the same 0 next to each category McLeod did. Hunter did, however, take five shots in that time — including two 3-pointers — without connecting on a single one.
Anderson played 18 minutes against the Wizards and had the same box score as McLeod did, taking two shots and missing both without recording a single other statistic in that time.
There was one player who had the same zero-heavy night and only took one shot, but they played a little less than 15 minutes (14:34). It happened on February 6, 2006 in a game between the Oklahoma City/New Orleans Thunder and the New Jersey Nets.
New Jersey’s backup point guard took just one shot in those 14-plus minutes, missing it obviously, and failing to record a single turnover, free throw, foul, rebound, assist, steal or block in that whole time. The player who started in front of him, Jason Kidd, came within a rebound of a triple-double during a 99-91 Nets win.
The backup point guard’s name? Jacque Vaughn, Frye’s coach in Orlando — at least for now.
Was this a pretty nerdy exercise? Absolutely. But when you think about the history Frye set last night, then take into account the closest any modern-era player has come to matching that same set of parameters ended up being his current coach, you just have to shake your head and wonder at the coincidences in life.
What do you think?
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