Most Undersized Playmakers in the NBA

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Most Undersized Playmakers in the NBA
Phelan M. Ebenhack/Associated Press

Who doesn't love the underdog, and who is more of an underdog than an undersized NBA playmaker? 

Standing at exactly 5’6.75” myself, I’m all about the little dude. Of course, my playmaking talents are just a smidgen “short” of these guys.

There aren’t too many jobs where being six feet puts you well below average, but this year that accounts for less than five percent of all NBA players.

Some of these little men play big, though, creating shots for themselves and their teammates.

On a quest to see who my kinsmen would be (if I had playmaking ability), I first cut the field down to players that were six feet or under based on their pre-draft measurements per the Draft Express database*. (I used barefoot heights, because contrary to popular belief, shoes don’t make you taller, they just put space between the bottom of your feet and the floor.)

I then determined which selected players create the most points per game by looking at how many points they generated through assists and unassisted field goals.

Both numbers were found thanks to the complete data at Basketball-Reference, which provides “points generated off assists” (PGA) and number of assisted field goals (from which you can derive unassisted field goals with a little simple subtraction). You can find the data by going to each players' profile page. 

The actual formula I used is: [PGA+(FG-Assisted FG)*2+(3P-Assisted 3P)]/G.

The results are listed in order of how much each of these diminutive ballers contributes to his team.

*You may notice a difference in heights with some players. There’s a reason for that.

While I understand that there is often a discrepancy between what a listed height is and actual reality, I can’t just substitute my opinion for the listed height. Draft measurements tend to be more accurate, and I use them when available. However, they aren't always available, and when needed I used listed heights.

That raises an issue when comparing historical players, such as Isiah Thomas or Tiny Archibald, who were probably listed as taller than they really were. Comparing modern players with their actual heights to historical players with their exaggerated, listed heights, would be a bit of “apples and oranges.”

Therefore, to keep things even, when looking at the historical perspective I used listed heights instead of actual heights, but when viewing only active players I looked at actual heights.  

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