We Were Witnesses to History (Thanks To Earl Barron)

If you can't tell from the title to this's a really slow day at work. Since it's so slow, my mind drifted to what pretty much anyone's mind would drift to in a similar circumstance - Earl Barron.

Who can forget the cold winters day in which the 7 foot, 29 year old out of Memphis was signed by the Suns as a replacement for Robin Lopez? How about that delightful December day when he was named the starting center?

Certainly those were all great memories, but what will stick out for me most was that besides not being all that good at basketball, Barron was just an AWFUL shooter. With that memory in my back pocket I set out to discover just how bad the Earl of Barron was shooting the orange sphere for Planet ORNG.

First Barron's Phoenix stats:

  • 12 games, 12 made field goals in 51 attempts - that's a FG% of 23.5.

23.5% is bad. But just how bad? Let's compare to the history of the Suns franchise:

  • There have been 288 different players in Suns history.
  • Those 288 players participated in a total of 652 individual seasons. For purposes of this discussion an individual season is just the number of NBA seasons in which an individual played on the Suns. Example: Jason Richardson played parts of 3 seasons in Phoenix - thus he has 3 of the 652 individual seasons for the Suns. Get it? Got it? Good. Further example: Ian Lockhart played 1 game for the Suns in the 1990-91 season - that's an individual season.

In all of those 652 individual seasons, only 14 times has someone shot worse than Barron's 23.5%. Those unfortunate few?

  • Fred Taylor (1970-71) - 6/27, 22%
  • Rick Robey (1984-85) - 2/9, 22%
  • Micheal Williams (1989-90) - 2/10, 20%
  • Mike Holton (1985-86) - 4/20, 20%
  • Dee Brown (2008-09) - 1/5, 20%
  • Skeeter Henry (1993-94) - 1/5, 20%
  • Mark Davis (1988-89) - 1/5, 20%
  • David Wood (1995-96) - 1/6, 16.7%
  • Yuta Tabuse (2004-05) - 1/6, 16.7%
  • Cezary Trybanski (2003-04) - 0/2, 0%
  • Winston Crite (1988-89) - 0/3, 0%
  • Ed Biedenbach (1968-69) - 0/6, 0%
  • Kenny Gattison (1988-89) - 0/1, 0%
  • Robert Archibald (2003-04) - 0/1, 0%

Notice anything special about those players? Well besides the fact that about half of them appear on my BARELY ORNG list from last spring and that they all suck - none of them attempted more than 27 shots. Generally that's because guys who are awful don't get enough playing time to get more than 27 shots up. Earl Barron got up 51.

In fact, Earl has the lowest field goal percentage of any Phoenix Suns player in history that attempted more than 27 shots. I had to bold that. Think of some of the guys who've played for this team. I barely recall seeing an Earl Clark shot that wasn't a brick, yet in his 2 individual seasons he shot 14% and 15% better than Barron.

To find Barron some company I searched for any Suns players who joined him in what I'll call the special "Over 50 shots, under 30% shooting" club. It's like the 40/40 club, except crappy and probably without steroids. Even with that extended crtieria, Barron has only 3 buddies in Suns franchise history:

  • Jumaine Jones (2006-07) - 14/51, 27.5%
  • Jeff Cook (1987-88) - 14/59, 23.7%
  • Joe Thomas (1970-71) - 23/86, 26.7%

Who the hell is Joe Thomas? Never mind that. Guess what all of those players have in common? If you guessed that their awful shooting seasons with Phoenix were their last in the NBA - you win 651 Scott Howard fun bucks. Bad news for our boy E-Barron.

In my final attempt to discover just how historically bad Earl Barron's shooting was, I took my 50 shots / 30% club, lowered it to 50 shots / 23.5% and then took my search to single seasons in the history of the NBA. The NBA has been around since 1946 and a LOT of people have played in the league. Feel free to find out how many or just trust that it's a lot.

So in the entire 64 year history of the NBA only 58 TOTAL players have had individual seasons in which they attempted 50 or more shots and hit at a 23.5% or lower clip. To get a bit more granular:

  • 23 of those 58 individual seasons occurred in the first year the league existed.
  • 52 of the 58 happened before 1960.

That leaves exactly 6 players who have "achieved" my criteria since 1960. Drumroll please...

Yup. He was really, really, really bad. So bad that he barely has any company in recent history of the NBA. I'd be surprised if anyone reading this has even heard of the 4 guys on that list not named Travis Knight or Earl Barron.

For Barron it's like a Hall of Fame induction for awfulness. Long story short: Dude couldn't shoot. Ball don't lie or something.

This one's for you Earl - best of luck in the coming business year. Can't believe the Suns let you go.

So ends the most words committed to Earl Barron not written by Scott Schroeder, Seth Pollack, or Eagle Sun.