Hal Greer

Born: June 26, 1936
Position: Shooting Guard and Point Guard
Professional Career:
Syracuse Nationals (NBA): 1958-’63
Philadelphia 76ers (NBA): 1963-’73

Hal Greer

Consistently consistent. Unassumedly unassumed.

Hal Greer just trucked along in the background of the 1960s NBA.

He never led the league in scoring, never came close in fact, but he was one of the league’s best scorers. He never came close to sniffing an assist title, but he was a crafty passer. He never made the All-NBA 1st Team, but he did tally seven consecutive All-NBA 2nd Team appearances and ten straight All-Star games.

From 1961 to 1971, Greer never averaged below 18.6 points and never above 24.1. His teams made the playoffs every year from 1959 to 1971. During the same period, he played 1003 of a possible 1037 games. Players in the league recognized Greer as one of the exemplars of excellent guard play.

And yet he just trucks along in the background, even though he had one of the silkiest jump shots to grace the hardwood. He rarely gets put down as one of the great shooting guards in NBA history when popular Top 10 lists come out. Surprising, given that when he retired in 1973, Greer had scored more points than any player to that point, except Wilt Chamberlain, Jerry West, Oscar Robertson, and Elgin Baylor. He had also played more games than any player ever. Only Oscar, Wilt, and Bill Russell had played more minutes.

But Greer is in the background because he started his career in 1959 with the Syracuse Nationals, the smallest of the NBA’s markets at the time. At the beginning of his career in Syracuse, perennial All-Star Dolph Schayes commanded what attention Syracuse received. Greer didn’t become a starter until 1961. From 1962 to 1964, Greer was the Nats/76ers best player (Syracuse having moved to Philly in 1963). However, it was the lowest ebb in talent for the club as its initial core of Schayes, Red Kerr, and Larry Costello aged, and younger players like Chet Walker were still maturing into full-fledged stardom.

Then in 1965 along came the outsized personality, ego, and talent of Wilt Chamberlain. Greer was a bit piqued at the Dipper’s arrival. Hal may have been in the background for the popular basketball conscience, but by this point he was the 76ers’s #1 player and scoring option. Chamberlain certainly changed that equation and thus Greer had to adapt and relegate himself to second banana status once again. Even with Wilt’s departure in 1968, a new star in Billy Cunningham assumed the mantle as Philly’s best player. Even on his own team, Greer had trouble standing out.

But just because someone fails to standout doesn’t mean they aren’t noteworthy. To this day, Greer remains unsurpassed in Nats/76ers history in total points scored.

In 1967, the 76ers stormed to a then-record 68 wins and the championship. Wilt was rightly NBA MVP, but Greer – along with Chet Walker – was charged with breaking down defenses if the offense got a little stale. And on the flip side, Greer was always game to harass and dig into the opponent’s best guard. In the 1967 playoffs, Greer came through with a nightly average of 28 points. And in the NBA Finals, Greer was tireless in averaging 26 points, 8 rebounds and 6 assists per game.

Lastly, Greer’s longevity – hinted at above with his games and minutes played – also merits bringing him out from the historical shadows. When he retired in 1973, he and Elgin Baylor were the only NBA players to have scored over 10,000 points after turning 30 years old. And at age 34 he was still scoring 18.6 PPG. That may seem trivial, but it’s more noteworthy than you think.

Then again that’s Hal Greer, more noteworthy than you think.

After all, he did shoot jump shots for free throws.

 

Honors

Champion (1967)
7x All-NBA 2nd Team (1963-’69)
10x All-Star (1961-’70)
All-Star Game MVP (1968)

Statistics

Regular Season Career Averages (1122 games):
19.2 PPG, 5.0 RPG, 4.0 APG
.506 TS%, .452 FG%, .801 FT%
15.7 PER, .124 WS/48

Playoff Career Averages (92 games):
20.4 PPG, 5.5 RPG, 4.3 APG
.491 TS%, .425 FG%, .812 FT%
14.7 PER, .096 WS/48

George Gervin

Born: April 27, 1952
Position: Shooting Guard and Small Forward
Professional Career:
Virginia Squires (ABA): 1972-’74
San Antonio Spurs (ABA/NBA): 1974-’85
Chicago Bulls (NBA): 1985-’86

George Gervin
George Gervin

One of the smoothest players to ever lace up a pair of Nikes, George Gervin was an effortless scoring machine. Nothing ever seemed to rattle, faze, or perturb the Ice Man. Inspired by Elgin Baylor’s litany of acrobatic and scooping shots, Gervin patented his own finger roll to stunning results.

The shot was a so unorthodox and yet so effective it couldn’t help but make Gervin a star. His offensive arsenal went beyond the finger roll, though. He had a stellar, if gawky, jump shot. His skin-and-bones frame meant post ups were out of the question, but Gervin was constantly able to squirm and sliver through defenses to attack the rim.

He couldn’t play a lick of defense but when you snag four scoring titles in five years, on outstanding field goal percentages, your team figures out how to make due. Indeed, Gervin had a scorching stretch from 1978 to 1984 where he averaged 28.8 points per game while shooting 51% from the field and 84% from the free throw line.

The San Antonio Spurs, whether in the ABA or NBA, certainly made the most of Gervin’s career as they missed the playoffs just once and advanced to the second round seven times including three trips to the Conference Finals.

Gervin’s offensive deluges were aided by players like James Silas – the floor general and leader of the Spurs in the 1970s – and Larry Kenon early in his career. Then a second band of helpmates in Johnny Moore, Mike Mitchell, and Artis Gilmore came aboard in the early 1980s. These players handled the passing, the defense, and the rebounding while Ice handled the scoring. Dick Motta in 1982 summed up defensive strategies for Gervin:

“You don’t stop George Gervin. You just hope that his arm gets tired after 40 shots. I believe the guy can score when he wants to. I wonder if he gets bored out there.”

At the tail-end of his career when the ice began to melt, Spurs coach Cotton Fitzsimmons broached Gervin with the idea of being a sixth man. After all, Gervin was in his early 30s now and his defense – never good – was getting horrendous. Gervin retorted, “I ain’t no John Havlicek.” Indeed he wasn’t. Havlicek was an all-around player while Gervin was “singular, comet-like” to use Terry Stembridge’s words.

Even if singular, his talent was awe-inspiring and it was enough to ensure that the San Antonio Spurs were a viable enough franchise to be absorbed by the NBA when the ABA finally collapsed in 1976. Future Spurs legends may have hung the title banners, but Gervin’s presence is what kept the franchise alive instead of having it permanently put on ice.

Honors

5x All-NBA 1st Team (1978-’82)
2x All-ABA 2nd Team (1975-’76)
2x All-NBA 2nd Team (1977, 1983)
12x ABA/NBA All-Star (1974-’85)
NBA All-Star Game MVP (1980)
ABA All-Rookie 1st Team (1973)

 

Statistics

Regular Season Career Averages (1060 games):
25.1 PPG, 5.3 RPG, 2.6 APG, 1.2 SPG, 1.0 BPG
.564 TS%, .504 FG%, .841 FT%
21.4 PER, .157 WS/48

Playoff Career Averages (84 games):
26.5 PPG, 6.9 RPG, 2.9 APG, 1.1 SPG, 1.0 BPG
.560 TS%, .501 FG%, .820 FT%
21.2 PER, .146 WS/48

Bob Cousy

Born: August 9, 1928
Position: Point Guard
Professional Career:
Boston Celtics (NBA): 1950-’63
Cincinatti Royals (NBA): 1969-’70

Bob Cousy

When George Mikan retired from the NBA in 1954, the NBA lost its first great star. The man ssuming Mikan’s massive place as the Face of the NBA, was surprisingly only 6’1″ tall. Well, only surprising if you accounted for stature. If you counted for talent and wizardry, then it’s not the least bit shocking that Bob Cousy mesmerized NBA fans in the 1950s and became the league’s big star.

The Cooz captivated crowds with his straight-from-the-playground theatrics. He never did these things for show, however. It was perfectly natural for Cousy to dribble behind the back and flip no-look passes. Elevating to dump dimes by dropping them over his head were legitimately done not for showmanship. These types of dazzling displays were genuinely natural Cousy. It’s how the game made sense to him. The deceitful pass beguiled the opponent and therefore gave his team the advantage.

Cooz

Cousy’s breathtaking passing has always, and rightly, held supreme over his ability to score. However, he was a fearful scorer. From 1951 to 1959 he finished in the top 10 in points per game seven times topping out in 1954 and 1955 with back-to-back second-place finishes. All the while, Cousy was leading the league in assists per game for eight straight years, 1953 through 1960.

Only Nate Archibald, Wilt Chamberlain, and Oscar Robertson have also finished so high in PPG and APG simultaneously. And of course, the Cooz was the first of these four to accomplish it.

The Houdini of the Hardwood helped transform the Boston Celtics from bottom dwellers in the East to perennial contenders. Along with Ed Macauley and Bill Sharman he formed the first of Boston’s many fabled Big 3s. And although Cousy ended his Celtics career with six titles, it was a rough road to that glory.

The Cousy-Sharman-Macauley Celtics always made the playoffs from 1951 to 1956, but were always thwarted, particularly by the Syracuse Nationals. The team was an offensive juggernaut, but was a sieve on the defensive end. Sharman more than held his own on both ends, but Cousy and Macauley just weren’t good enough on defense. That agony finally faded when Boston traded Macauley for Bill Russell while also drafting Tommy Heinsohn in 1957. With the team finally finding the right balance of offense and defense, the Celtics were better than ever winning the title in ’57 and Cousy won his only MVP award that same season.

It came not a moment too soon. After the numerous playoff failures, the Celtics management contemplated breaking up the most expensive roster in the NBA if they lost the 1957 Finals. The ultimate victory was particularly sweet as Boston swept their longtime tormenters, the Nationals, in the Eastern Division Finals. After breaking though that year, though, Cousy enjoyed five more championship victories over the next six years, finally retiring in 1963.

It’s often hard for those of us today to fully appreciate just how out-of-this-world Cousy was as a rookie 1951. His moves don’t seem as miraculous 60 years later. His 9.5 APG were earth-shattering in 1960, but have since become routine. The best we can do is remind ourselves that once upon a time in Beantown, NBA fans were dazzled by a Houdini of the Hardwood with never before seen tricks and left everyone spellbound.

Honors

MVP (1957)
6x Champion (1957, 1959-’63)
10x All-NBA 1st Team (1952-’61)
2x All-NBA 2nd Team (1962-’63)
13x All-Star (1951-’63)
2x All-Star Game MVP (1954, 1957)

Statistics

Regular Season Career Averages (924 games):
18.4 PPG, 7.5 APG, 5.2 RPG, .375 FG%, .803 FT%
19.8 PER, .139 WS/48

Playoff Career Averages (109 games):
18.5 PPG, 8.6 APG, 5.0 RPG, .342 FG%, .801 FT%
17.4 PER, .109 WS/48

 

 

Reggie Miller

Born: August 24, 1965
Position: Shooting Guard
Professional Career:
Indiana Pacers (NBA): 1987-’05

Reggie Miller (Indianapolis Star)
Reggie Miller (Indianapolis Star)

Reggie Miller possessed a career predicated more on longevity than overwhelming dominance. He made a respectable five All-Star Games in his 18-year career. He also garnered a decent three selections to the All-NBA 3rd Team. His career-high in PPG (24.6) came in his third season and on only one other occasion did Miller surpass the 22-point per game plateau. He averaged a mere 3 rebounds and 3 assists per game. He only grabbed one steal per game.

The early part of his career, 1987-88 through 1991-92, saw his Indiana Pacers muddle around 40 wins a year as he and a quirky mix of Chuck Person and Detlef Schrempf slogged in a powerful Eastern Conference dominated by the Boston Celtics, Detroit Pistons, and Chicago Bulls. However, as those franchises succumbed to age and premature Michael Jordan retirements, Miller’s persistence, and the retooling of the Pacers allowed for a superb second act in Miller’s career.

Reggie’s remarkable consistency allowed for such a retooling. Sure, he never had breathtaking scoring averages, but from 1990 to 2001, he never fell below 18 PPG. That steady scoring did come on breathtaking percentages, however. He routinely led the NBA in free throw percentage, or came very close. That tends to happen when you shoot 88.8% from the line for your career.

Rik Smits, Dale Davis, Antonio Davis, Derrick McKey, Byron Scott, and Mark Jackson highlighted the first Pacers run to the Eastern Conference Finals in 1994 and 1995. Each of those series ended in seven games with Indiana on the losing end. Then, after another regrouping, the Pacers enjoyed another run of greatness making the ECF in 1998 and 1999 and, finally, the NBA Finals in 2000 with additions of Jalen Rose, Chris Mullin, and Travis Best. Yet another rejuvenation occurred in 2004 with Jermaine O’Neal, Ron Artest, and Al Harrington leading the way to an Eastern Conference Finals appearance.

Reggie Miller was the only link between all these different teams, and all these coaches and players that came through Indiana.

In addition to the remarkable free-throw shooting, his three-point shooting was absolutely prodigious. Bounding off of screens and picks galore, Miller could curl, catch, and shoot faster than just about any player in NBA history. To make matters worse for defenders, Miller had a habit of extending his leg while shooting to catch the opponent and draw a foul. So even if he didn’t knock down the shot, he was going to receive two free throws that he was assuredly going to make.

Miller also chose the best times to unleash torrential scoring when it comes to remembering outstanding performances. 25-point quarters in Madison Square Garden tend to sear memories. As do 8 points in 9 seconds. Or whirling three-point shots that miraculously bank in. And shoving Michael Jordan to break free for a three.

Reggie lived for the stage of the postseason and thanks to his dramatic performances – and his incredible endurance – he carved out a memorable place in basketball history.

Honors

3x All-NBA 3rd Team (1995-’96, 1998)
5x All-Star (1990, 1995-’96, 1998, 2000)

Statistics

Regular Season Career Averages (1389 games):
18.2 PPG, 3.0 APG, 3.0 RPG, 1.1 SPG, .471% FG, .395 3PT%, .888 FT%
18.4 PER, .176 WS/48

Playoff Career Averages (144 games):
20.6 PPG, 2.5 APG, 2.9 RPG, 1.0 SPG, . 449FG%, .390 3PT%, .893 FT%
19.5 PER, .180 WS/48

The Lost All-NBA 3rd Teams: 1974-75 Season

Top: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar; Bottom (l to r): Bob Dandridge, Randy Smith, Earl Monroe, and Rudy Tomjanovich
Top: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar; Bottom (l to r): Bob Dandridge, Randy Smith, Earl Monroe, and Rudy Tomjanovich

Ed. Note: Prior to the 1988-89 season, the NBA only had All-NBA 1st and All-NBA 2nd Teams. To fill in that historical award gap, the crack Pro Hoops History committee of one has gone back and created the Lost All-NBA 3rd Teams.

Kicking off the 1975 All-NBA 3rd Team is the super athlete Randy Smith. The Buffalo Braves point guard was the 104th(!) pick of the 1971 draft and now here he is averaging 18 PPG and 6.5 APG for a 49-win ball club. Smith contributed to the Braves very good year with a knack for making buoyant jump shots, making daring steals, and crashing the boards superbly for his position with 4.2 RPG.

Randy’s teammate Bob McAdoo took home MVP honors for the NBA and knocked Kareem Abdul-Jabbar off the All-NBA 1st Team. So here is Kareem on the 3rd team squad after a relatively underwhelming season. Well, underwhelming for him. Kareem still averaged 30 points, 14 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 blocks per game on a career-low 51% shooting. He missed 17 games and the Bucks straggled to 38 wins in his absence. Picking up the slack as best he could was Bob Dandridge. The Bucks forward averaged 20 points and 7 rebounds per game and was Milwaukee’s most persistent performer all year. More troublesome for Milwaukee was that Jabbar was unhappy and grumbling for a change of scenery. It would come soon enough with an offseason trade to Los Angeles.

Occupying the other forward slot with Dandridge – for the second straight year – is Rudy Tomjanovich. Rudy T’s statistical output dipped somewhat from the previous year, but the Rockets performed better for the season finishing an even 41-41 and making the playoffs. The 41 wins were a franchise record at that point and Houston advanced to the second round of the Eastern Conference playoffs. In the postseason Tomjanovich played out of his mind averaging 23 points on 56% shooting. Remember this is a power forward who got a good deal of his points on mid-and-long range jump shots. So the accomplishment is all the more noteworthy.

For Rudy T to get Houston to the second round required dispatching the New York Knicks in the 1st Round. The early playoff exit was disappointing for New York, but Earl Monroe was the story for the Knicks that season. After being traded from Baltimore to New York in 1971, Monroe was used mostly as a reserve on a well-balanced attack. But as Dave DeBusschere, Willis Reed, Dick Barnett and Jerry Lucas retired, Monroe’s offensive output was needed more and more. In 1975, he once again received big time minutes and rose to the challenge. Earl the Pearl averaged 21 points as he began an oft-forgot career renaissance at age 30.

Pos. Player Team G PPG RPG APG BPG SPG FG% FT% WS PER
F Rudy Tomjanovich Houston Rockets 81 20.7 7.6 2.9 0.3 0.9 0.525 0.790 10.1 17.8
F Bob Dandridge Milwaukee Bucks 80 19.9 6.9 3.0 0.6 1.5 0.473 0.805 7.0 16.7
C Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Milwaukee Bucks 65 30.0 14.0 4.1 3.3 1.0 0.513 0.765 12.9 26.4
G Randy Smith Buffalo Braves 82 17.8 4.2 6.5 0.0 1.7 0.484 0.800 7.2 17.1
G Earl Monroe New York Knicks 78 20.9 4.2 3.5 0.4 1.4 0.457 0.827 6.6 17.7

The Lost All-NBA 3rd Teams: 1973-74 Season

Bob Lanier (L); Calvin Murphy and Rudy Tomjanovich (center); Bob Dandridge (upper R); Pete Maravich (bottom R)
Bob Lanier (L); Calvin Murphy and Rudy Tomjanovich (center); Bob Dandridge (upper R); Pete Maravich (bottom R)

Ed. Note: Prior to the 1988-89 season, the NBA only had All-NBA 1st and All-NBA 2nd Teams. To fill in that historical award gap, the crack Pro Hoops History committee of one has gone back and created the Lost All-NBA 3rd Teams.

The 1973 All-NBA 3rd Team was filled with comeback kids, but this year’s team is full of some of the NBA’s new wave of bright young stars: Bob Lanier, Calvin Murphy, Rudy Tomjanovich, Bob Dandridge, and Pete Maravich.

Now in his fourth season, Bob Lanier has already made a 3rd Team before (1972). This time around though his domination is more impressive than before. His scoring and rebounding averages dropped slightly, but Lanier’s assists rose to four per game and his defense was superb averaging 3.0 blocks per game this year – the first the NBA kept track of blocked shots. Bob’s effectiveness led Detroit to a 52-win season and a narrow defeat in seven games to the Chicago Bulls in the 2nd Round of the Western Conference playoffs. All things considered this was the most successful season for the Pistons between their Finals appearances in the mid-1950s and their rise as the Bad Boys in the late 1980s. And Lanier, literally and figuratively, was at the center of it all.

Another powerhouse team from the NBA’s Midwest Division along with the Pistons this year were the Milwaukee Bucks. The Bucks finished with 59 wins, the best of any team in 1974. Of course, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was the main reason for that, but by this point Oscar Robertson was roughed up and ready for retirement, so it was fifth-year man Bob Dandridge and Lucius Allen who truly ran as Kareem’s wing men this season. Unfortunately, Allen got snuffed out for 3rd Team consideration by a couple of super guards detailed below, but Dandridge’s 19 points per game and exquisite defensive pressure lock up a spot for him. Already champs from 1971, the Bucks and Dandridge narrowly missed out on a second title this year, losing to Boston in an epic seven-game series.

At the other forward spot with Dandridge is Rudy Tomjanovich. The Rockets power forward in his fourth NBA season put together his finest season: 24.5 PPG, 9 RPG, and 3 APG while shooting a blistering .536 FG% and .848 FT%. Although ranging around at forward, Rudy T brought a long-range shooting touch that tormented opponents. Nearly matching that offensive torching was Calvin Murphy, point guard for the Rockets. Murphy – also in his fourth NBA season – averaged 20.4 PPG and 7.4 APG while knocking down 52% of his shots and 87% of his free throws. All of this while standing just a mere 5’9″ tall. Although Houston finished with just 32 wins this year, the duo – and best of friends – are worthy selections for the All-NBA 3rd Team as they pushed Houston to a .500 record during the last half of the season and set the Rockets up for a huge push in the 1975 season.

Taking home the final spot is guard Pete Maravich for the Atlanta Hawks – who was ALSO in his fourth NBA season; that 1970 draft class was STRONG. Maravich torched the NBA for nearly 28 points a night. Of course, the amount of points with Pistol Pete was secondary to how he got the points. He dazzled crowds with his dribbling and contorting shots. Unfortunately for Maravich, the Hawks had run out of steam. His partnership with Lou Hudson – who also scored 25 PPG this year – failed to get Atlanta to the playoffs this year after a string of appearances. During the offseason, the Hawks traded their star guard to the expansion New Orleans Jazz for two players and FIVE draft picks – one of which eventually became Alex English and another David Thompson. Was Maravich worth that cost? Probably not. But he was definitely talented enough  in 1974 for New Orleans to ask that question and answer “yes”.

Pos. Player Team G PPG RPG APG BPG SPG FG% FT% WS PER
F Bob Dandridge Milwaukee Bucks 71 18.9 6.7 2.8 0.6 1.6 0.503 0.818 8.4 17.0
F Rudy Tomjanovich Houston Rockets 80 24.5 9.0 3.1 0.8 1.1 0.536 0.848 12.8 20.5
C Bob Lanier Detroit Pistons 81 22.5 13.3 4.2 3.0 1.4 0.504 0.797 14.4 23.9
G Pete Maravich Atlanta Hawks 76 27.7 4.9 5.2 0.2 1.5 0.457 0.826 7.6 20.3
G Calvin Murpy Houston Rockets 81 20.4 2.3 7.4 0.0 1.9 0.522 0.868 9.2 20.0

 

The Lost All-NBA 3rd Teams: 1972-73 Season

Dave DeBusschere (top L); Charlie Scott (bottom L); Nate Thurmond (center);  Lenny Wilkens (top R); Lou Hudson (bottom R)
Dave DeBusschere (top L); Charlie Scott (bottom L); Nate Thurmond (center); Lenny Wilkens (top R); Lou Hudson (bottom R)

Ed. Note: Prior to the 1988-89 season, the NBA only had All-NBA 1st and All-NBA 2nd Teams. To fill in that historical award gap, the crack Pro Hoops History committee of one has gone back and created the Lost All-NBA 3rd Teams.

The story of the 1972-73 All-NBA 3rd Team is one of comebacks. Nate Thurmond (1967), Dave DeBusschere (1965), and Lenny Wilkens (1965, ’67, ’68) have been chosen before for these 3rd teams, but it’s been quite awhile for each man. It’s no fault of their own, really. Either untimely injuries or super seasons from other stars have juuuust bounced them from selection many times.

Dave DeBusschere‘s presence at power forward on this squad is largely due to his unflappable presence with the New York Knicks front court. Although DeBusschere was 32-years-old, his running mates Willis Reed (30 years of age) and Jerry Lucas (also 32) were much worse for the wear than he was. Dave logged 37 minutes per game while missing just 5 games this season. Meanwhile Lucas and Reed hovered at 28 minutes a night and missed over 10 games each this season. Appropriately, DeBusschere led the Knicks in rebounding and was also second in points behind Walt Frazier. All while playing his usual high brand of defense. He was named to the All-Defensive 1st Team for the fifth-straight season, after all. DeBusschere kept up his superb play in the playoffs helping New York to its second title in four seasons.

Speaking of defense, the venerable Nate Thurmond was the mighty rock anchoring the most successful Golden State Warriors team since they made a run to the Finals in 1967. With the return of Rick Barry from the ABA, the Warriors reeled off 47 wins and upset the 60-win Milwaukee Bucks in the playoffs before bowing out to the Lakers in the Western Conference Finals. Thurmond averaged a mirror-image double-double of 17 points and 17 rebounds this year. Unfortunately for Nate, this would be his last truly great season. The 31-year-old defensive stalwart began to decline the next season and then fell off a cliff for the 1974-75 season. Nonetheless, he puts in a fine career and 1973 was a great last hurrah of stellar production from Thurmond.

Last in the trio of comeback artists is Lenny Wilkens. After three seasons in Seattle as player-coach, Wilkens was traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers for the 1973 season and relinquished the coaching duties. At 35-years-old, Wilkens put in fine work as a point guard for Cleveland averaging about 20 points and 8 assists per game. The Cavs, just in their 3rd season, were better off for Lenny’s presence reaching 32 wins after campaigns of 15-and-23 wins the previous two years. Still, the potent Wilkens, like Thurmond and DeBusschere, was nearing the end of his career. Sure enough, the next season he dipped a little like Thurmond and then fell off a cliff in 1975. By that time, Wilkens was back to being a player-coach with the Portland Trail Blazers. Soon enough he was full-time coaching and on his way to being one of the greatest coaches in basketball history.

Well, enough with the comebacks now it’s time for old faithful of the Lost All-NBA 3rd Teams, Lou Hudson. For the third-straight and final season, Hudson plays well enough to garner a forward spot on this here selection ceremony. At this point, there’s nothing left to say for Hudson that hasn’t been said already – well, nothing new except he averaged a career-high 27 points per game this season. And of course he was still donning an awesome mustache.

Getting to our last player, we have the first infusion of ABA blood into the All-NBA 3rd Team body. 24-year-old Charlie Scott played two seasons in the ABA averaging 30.6 PPG during his stint with the Virginia Squires. Moving to the NBA full-time in 1972-73, Scott didn’t seem at all bothered by the switch averaging 25 points, 6 assists and 4 rebounds a game for the Phoenix Suns. At 6’5″ tall, Scott could play either guard spot, but team success for the Suns was a tough get in this era whether Charlie was point or shooting guard. The old guard led by Connie Hawkins was fading fast. Great as he was this season, Scott could only muster 38 wins for the Suns. Perhaps most important, though, is that Scott proved that players who started in the ABA and transitioned to the NBA could still be stars despite the complaints and insults lobbed the ABA’s way. In a few year’s time, the red, white, and blue league will be filling these ranks with their alumni.

Position Player Team G PPG RPG APG FG% FT% WS PER
F Lou Hudson Atlanta Hawks 75 27.1 6.2 3.4 0.477 0.825 9.3 19.0
F Dave DeBusschere New York Knicks 77 16.3 10.2 3.4 0.435 0.746 6.6 16.0
C Nate Thurmond Golden State Warriors 79 17.1 17.1 3.5 0.446 0.718 9.9 17.3
G Lenny Wilkens Cleveland Cavaliers 75 20.5 4.6 8.4 0.449 0.828 9.5 19.3
G Charlie Scott Phoenix Suns 81 25.3 4.2 6.1 0.446 0.784 6.5 19.0