Appreciate Elton Brand for doing things rarely seen for a player his height

It really can’t be understated how impressive the newly-retired Elton Brand’s career accomplishments are for a player his height.

While the 6-8 power forward’s vertical leap is pretty much impossible to find on the internet, it was never significant, arguably even below NBA-average-looking from the naked eye.  Part of his success is an example of how important wingspan is. Brand’s was a massive 7.5  feet, according to DraftExpress.  It’s also an example of how far a relentless motor, great timing and a strong basketball IQ can take you.

Here are some of the most notable nuggets which exemplify this:

- Starting out with the best one, regarding Brand’s outstanding rim-protecting prowess. He averaged 1.7 blocks for his career, finishing with 1,828 total. That’s 486 more blocks than any player 6-foot-8 or shorter since blocks were first recorded in 1973.

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- Brand’s career scoring average of 15.9 and Player Efficiency Rating of 20.5 are bested only by Charles Barkley over the last 30 seasons for power forwards or centers 6-foot-8 or shorter. Barkley is in a class of his own when it comes to players overachieving for their size, and his PER was an incredible 24.6. Sir Charles’ name will come up again here.

- Looking at all forwards and centers at Brand’s height or shorter since the 1976 NBA-ABA merger, only Barkley, Shawn Marion and Buck Williams have more total win shares (an estimate of how many wins a player contributes to his team) than Brand’s 109.6.

- Brand had four seasons in which he averaged 20 points and 10 rebounds. Only five other players Brand’s height or shorter over the last 30 years have had a season like this, and other than Barkley (11 seasons), none of them did it more than once. That list of vertically challenged players reads as Larry Johnson (1993), Antoine Walker (1998), Shawn Marion (2006) and Antawn Jamison (2008). Four 20-10 seasons is impressive for any player, let alone an undersized-one.


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- Brand finally gets Barkley with this one. The Duke product is the only player six-foot-8 or shorter to average 20 points, 10 rebounds and two blocks in a season (since blocks were recorded in 1973). He did it twice, in 2003-04 and 2005-06 for the Clippers.

- Since Brand entered the league as a 20-year-old in 1999, only two players 6-foot-8 or shorter have averaged more rebounds per game. That would be Marion (another freakishly effective player for his height) and Kenneth Faried, both at 8.7.

One last number that puts Brand's achievements into perspective is 19. That’s the total number of double-doubles Mike Sweetney and Ike Diogu combined for in the NBA, compared to Brand’s 408. Diogu and Sweetney were two other top-10 picks at 6-foot-8 who beasted in college and drew comparisons to Brand coming into the league. They didn’t have the intangibles Brand had, and both quickly flamed out as colossal busts.

In summation, you should respect the heck out of Elton Brand.