1985-1986 Stats: 81 GP, 31.2 MPG, 16.5 PPG, 8.2 RPG, 1.6 APG, 0.7 SPG, 0.9 BPG, 51.7 FG%, 89.3 FT%
1985-1986 Advanced: 59.4 TS%, 51.7 eFG%, 19.0 PER, 120 ORtg, 106 DRtg, 9.2 WS
All-Star Team? No
Team: 39-43, lost in first round to Milwaukee Bucks (3-0)
I’m surprised that people don’t talk more about Mike Gminski. First of all, his last name is Gminski. The letters G and M aren’t supposed to be that close to each other. Imagine if Michael Jordan was Gmichael Jordan. It’s just uncharted territory for basketball players, even centers like Gmike Gminski. Secondly, Gminski had the beard of a champion, perfectly trimmed to look like a 6’9″ lumberjack. He was Brad Miller before Brad Miller.
He was a solid mid-range shooter, even setting the team’s franchise record for free throw percentage this year by hitting at an 89.3 percent clip. That’s not the record for Nets centers, mind you, that’s the record for Nets, period. He also put up the second-highest offensive rating of any Nets player ever, producing an insane 120.1 points per 100 possessions.
Gminski was not a phenomenal player, but he had an excellent year in 1985-1986, leading a team with offensive-minded players like Otis Birdsong, Micheal Ray Richardson, and Buck Williams in scoring. Watch him drop a no-small-feat 41 points on the Larry Bird-led Boston Celtics, who went on to win the NBA championship and had Bill Walton and Robert Parish in the Gmiddle.
Here’s the incredible box score, but if you don’t feel like clicking: 41 points, 22 rebounds, 15-23 shooting, 11-12 FT, and a win against a team that only lost 15 games that year.
Gminski didn’t dunk on anyone, but displayed an easy touch around the rim, fighting for rebounds and using the glass effectively. Gminski stepped out on occasion, but fought for buckets inside and scored with patience. He played like your dad taught you how. He finished with a 41 points and 22 rebounds, both career-highs. For the record, Brook Lopez’s career-high in points is 39, and his career-high in rebounds is 20. He didn’t do those on the same day, and he sure didn’t do it against the 1985-1986 NBA champions.