Talking +/- and the Cleveland Cavaliers…and a bonus Buckeyes stat too

Since I have last checked in with a Stats of the Week Article (Christmas Eve), many bad things have happened.  The Cavaliers have gone 0-12 (losing by an average score of 93.8 to 110.3), our main man Christian “Skyenga” got hurt, Boobie Gibson got hurt, Anderson Varejao was lost for the season with an injury suffered in practice and the Cavaliers lost by 55, while scoring only 57, against the Los Angeles Lakers.  Not good.  Hopefully a return visit to some Cavaliers Stats will put an end to the misery!

I have always been intrigued by the +/- statistic (the net score of the game while a certain player is on the court).  LeBron James was always among the league leaders in that statistic while he was with the Cavaliers.  Interestingly enough, the other player who was always very high in the ranking was Anderson Varejao.  To me, this showed that Varejao, although his numbers are not very eye popping, was a very valuable member of the team during their run of success the past few years.  For example, last year LeBron’s +/- for the season was +650 (1st in the NBA), while next on the team was Varejao’s +511 (3rd in the NBA).  Looking into that stat even further, Varejao led the league with a +.235/min (compared to LeBron’s +.219/min).  These two guys were very valuable and this statistic really showed that.

That being said, I looked at the box score on the morning of January 12, 2011, and was amazed with what I saw:

STARTERS          MIN   FG-A    3P-A    FT-A  REB  AST  STL   BLK        +/-    PTS
Antawn Jamison     31   3-10      0-3     0-0    8       3       2        0           -46       6
J.J. Hickson              17     1-8      0-0     3-4    4       0       0     1             -29       5
Ryan Hollins            16     1-2      0-0     0-0    4       2       0     1              -35        2
Mo Williams            26     1-9      0-3     0-2    1       1      1      0               -46        2
Manny Harris           41     2-8      0-3     4-6    6       1      0      0              -57        8

BENCH               MIN FG-A   3P-A   FT-A   REB  AST  STL BLK         +/-       PTS
Jamario Moon        14   2-5     1-3    0-0      3     1      1     0            -4         5
Ramon Sessions   26   4-8     0-0    2-2      1     4      1     0           -10       10
Alonzo Gee             30   6-12   0-2    0-0      8     0      3     1            -17       12
Samardo Samuels 33   1-12   0-0    1-2      6     0      1     1           -24       3
Christian Eyenga     7    2-3     0-0    0-0      1     0      0     0           -10      4
Anderson Varejao DNP – Foot Injury
Anthony Parker DNP – Lower Back Strain
TOTALS                   23-77 1-14   10-16  42    12     9    4                  57 
                                .299      .071     .625

Obviously when you lose by 55 points, you are going to have some high negatives in the plus/minus category.  A few numbers really stick out to me.  First, the Cavaliers, in a 55 point loss, were worse off having Manny Harris out there on the floor.  They lost by 57 while he was playing, and they won by 2 while he was on the bench.  My Wide Receiver Coach at CWRU always would say to guys when they made a bad play “Son, I could have put this traffic cone out on the field for that play and it would have done better than you”.  In this case, that statement applied to Manny Harris’s performance that night.  Not good. 

Second, Ryan Hollins put up a -35 in only 16 minutes.  That is an amazing -2.19/minute.  This must not have gone unnoticed by Byron Scott, as even though the Cavaliers are playing short handed, Hollins has gotten DNP- Coach’s Decisions all three games since the LA Laker debacle.  Even veteran leaders Mo Williams and Antawn Jamison both put up a -46, so no one (except the DNP – Injured crew) was spared in this embarrassing effort.

Taking a look at the season +/- statistics for the Cavaliers isn’t much more fun.  The Cavaliers are averaging 93.7 points scored and 104.9 points allowed.  That is an average point differential of -11.2 per game.  This does not lead to very many positives (none at all in fact) when you look at the season +/- for each player. 

The following chart shows a breakdown of where the Cavaliers currently stand:




+/- per G


+/- per MIN

Daniel Gibson






Anderson Varejao






Anthony Parker






Antawn Jamison






Jawad Williams






Alonzo Gee






Joey Graham






Ramon Sessions






Jamario Moon






Samardo Samuels






Mo Williams






J.J. Hickson






Leon Powe






Ryan Hollins






Manny Harris






Christian Eyenga






The best Cavalier in +/- so far this year has been Boobie Gibson.  

For some this might be surprising, but for the few of us who actually have been paying attention to the Cavaliers this year it is not surprising at all.  Gibson has consistently played well game in and game out this year.  In addition to that he gives 100% effort at all times, and it is showing with the production he is giving the Cavaliers this year.  He not only leads the team in +/- per game (-2.70), but he leads the team in +/- per minutes played (-0.092). 

Two of the worst players for the Cavaliers this year, in terms of +/-, have been J.J. Hickson and Mo Williams.  Hickson has a total of -285, a per game of -7.31 and a per minute of -0.303, while Williams is at a total of -278, a per game of -8.42 and a per minute of -0.227.  Those numbers are very poor, especially for players with the talent levels of Hickson and Williams.  These poor numbers scream out lack of effort for these players, which is inexcusable.

As far as my guy Christian “Skyenga”, he gets a pass for right now, because his sample is so small to fully analyze.  In the 5 games that he has played, the Cavaliers have gone 0-5, losing by an average of 21 points per game.  Hopefully he recovers from the ankle injury and gets back on the court to get his first official NBA win, and also to continue his rise thru the Cavalier All-Time Scoring Ranks.  Stay tuned.


Miscellaneous Cavaliers Stats: 

The number of players who have appeared in all 41 games in now down to zero.  This is the 8th season in the 41 year history of the Cavaliers in which no player appeared in every game.  Interestingly, this is the 4th consecutive season that no one played all 82 games.  The last player to achieve this was Eric Snow in the 2006-07 season.

Mo Williams has only averaged 13.6 points per game this year, lowering his career Cavalier average to 16.3 points per game.  This moved him out of the top-10 and moved Mark Price (16.4 points per game) back into the top-10 in Cavalier History.

In 4 games as the starting center this year, J.J. Hickson has scored 73 points (18.3 ppg) and pulled down 55 rebounds (13.8 rpg).

Antawn Jamison scored his 1,000th career point as a Cavalier vs. the Nuggets last Saturday.

Daniel Gibson needs 29 three point attempts to reach 1,000 for his career.

Anderson Varejao joined a group of 6 other players to have 300+ assists, 300+ blocks and 300+ steals in their Cavalier career.  These other 6 players are: Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Hot Rod Williams, Larry Nance, LeBron James, Brad Daugherty and Jim Brewer.

Only David Andersen of the New Orleans Hornets has attempted more free throws without missing (8) in the entire NBA currently this year, than Jamario Moon (7).

Bonus Ohio State Basketball Stats (thru 19 games): 

Big Ten Career Three Pointers Made:

1. Pete Lisicky (Penn State) 332

2. Shawn Respert (Michigan State) 331

3. Cory Bradford (Illinois) 327

4. Craig Moore (Northwestern) 320

5. Jon Diebler (Ohio State) 316

6. Joe Crispin (Penn State) 308

7. Dee Brown (Illinois) 299

Ohio State Career Scoring Leaders:

22. Brent Darby (2000-03) 1,368

23. Jim Cleamons (1969-71) 1,335

24. Jamar Butler (2005-08) 1,313

25. Jon Diebler (2008-11) 1,285

      Clark Kellogg (1980-82) 1,285

27. David Lighty (2007-11) 1,259

28. Ronnie Stokes (1982-85) 1,240

29. Larry Siegfried (1959-61) 1,228

30. John Havlicek (1960-62) 1,223

31. Luke Witte (1971-73) 1,211

32. Lawrence Funderburke (1992-94) 1,179

33. William Buford (2009-11) 1,151

With his next game played, David Lighty will set the Ohio State career record with 140.  He is currently tied with Jamar Butler at 139.

Jon Diebler is 218 minutes played away from passing Herb Williams for the Ohio State Career Record for Minutes Played.

Dallas Lauderdale needs 4 blocked shots for 200 in his career.  He currently ranks 3rd in Ohio State history behind only Ken Johnson (444) and Herb Williams (328).

With the win vs. Iowa, Thad Matta now ranks 3rd in Ohio State History in career wins (175), breaking a tie with Eldon Miller.  Fred Taylor (297) ranks first followed by Harold Olsen (260) in second. 

Brendan Bowers

About Brendan Bowers

I am the founding editor of I am also a content strategist and social media manager with Electronic Merchant Systems in Cleveland. My work has been published in SLAM Magazine, KICKS Magazine, The Locker Room Magazine,,, and elsewhere. I've also written a lot of articles that have been published here.