New York Knicks
The New York Knickerbockers, more referred to as the Knicks, are an American professional basketball team based in the borough of Manhattan, in New York City. The Knicks compete in the National Basketball Association as a member of the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference; the team plays its home games at Madison Square Garden, an arena they share with the New York Rangers of the National Hockey League. They are one of two NBA teams located in New York City. Alongside the Boston Celtics, the Knicks are one of two original NBA teams still located in its original city; the team, established by Ned Irish in 1946, was one of the founding members of the Basketball Association of America, which became the NBA after merging with the rival National Basketball League in 1949. The Knicks were successful during their early years and were constant playoff contenders under the franchise's first head coach Joe Lapchick. Beginning in 1950, the Knicks made three consecutive appearances in the NBA Finals, all of which were losing efforts.
Lapchick resigned in 1956 and the team subsequently began to falter. It was not until the late 1960s when Red Holzman became head coach that the Knicks began to regain their former dominance. Holzman guided the Knicks to two NBA championships, in 1970 and 1973; the Knicks of the 1980s had mixed success. The playoff-level Knicks of the 1990s were led by future Hall of Fame center Patrick Ewing. During this time, they were known for playing tough defense under head coaches Pat Riley and Jeff Van Gundy, making two appearances in the NBA Finals, in 1994 and 1999. However, they were unable to win an NBA championship during this era. Since 2000, the Knicks have struggled to regain their former glory, but won its first division title in 19 years in 2012–13, led by a core of forwards Carmelo Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire, they were eliminated in the Eastern Conference semi-finals by the Indiana Pacers, have failed to make the playoffs since. In 1946, basketball college basketball, was a growing and profitable sport in New York City.
Hockey generated considerable profits. Max Kase, a New York sportswriter, became the sports editor at the Boston American in the 1930s, when he met Boston Garden owner Walter A. Brown. Kase developed the idea of an organized professional league to showcase college players upon their graduation and felt it could become profitable if properly assembled. Brown, intrigued by the opportunity to attain additional income when the hockey teams were not playing or on the road, contacted several arena owners. On June 6, 1946, Kase and Brown and a group of seventeen others assembled at the Commodore Hotel in New York City, as the Basketball Association of America, where charter franchises were granted to major cities throughout the country. Ned Irish, a college basketball promoter, retired sportswriter and president of Madison Square Garden, was in attendance. Kase planned to own and operate the New York franchise himself and approached Irish with a proposal to lease the Garden. Irish explained that the rules of the Arena Managers Association of America stated that Madison Square Garden was required to own any professional teams that played in the arena.
On the day of the meeting, Kase made his proposal to the panel of owners. Irish wanted a distinct name for his franchise, representative of the city of New York, he called together members of his staff for a meeting to cast their votes in a hat. After tallying the votes, the franchise was named the Knickerbockers; the "Knickerbocker" name comes from the pseudonym used by Washington Irving in his book A History of New York, a name that became applied to the descendants of the original Dutch settlers of what became New York, by extension, to New Yorkers in general. In search of a head coach, Irish approached successful St. John's University coach Joe Lapchick in May 1946. Lapchick accepted after Irish promised to make him the highest paid coach in the league. Irish obliged, hiring former Manhattan College coach Neil Cohalan as interim coach for the first year. With no college draft in the league's initial year, there was no guarantee that the Knicks or the league itself would thrive. Teams focused on signing college players from their respective cities as a way to promote the professional league.
The Knicks held their first training camp in the Catskill Mountains at the Nevele Country Club. Twenty-five players were invited to attend the three-week session. Players worked out twice a day and the chemistry between the New York natives was instant. With a roster assembled, the Knicks faced the Toronto Huskies at Toronto's Maple Leaf Gardens on November 1, 1946, in what would be the franchise's first game—as well as the first in league history. In a low-scoring affair presented in front of 7,090 spectators, the Knicks defeated the Huskies 68–66 with Leo Gottlieb leading the Knicks in scoring with 14 points. With Madison Square Garden's crowded schedule, the Knicks were forced to play many of their home games at the 69th Regiment Armory during the team's early years; the Knicks went on to finish their inaugural campaign with a 33–27 record and achieved a playoff berth under Cohalan despite a dismal shooting percentage of 28 perce
The Boston Celtics are an American professional basketball team based in Boston, Massachusetts. The Celtics compete in the National Basketball Association as a member of the league's Eastern Conference Atlantic Division. Founded in 1946 as one of the league's original eight teams, the team play their home games at TD Garden, which they share with the National Hockey League's Boston Bruins; the Celtics are one of the most successful teams in NBA history. The Celtics have a notable rivalry with the Los Angeles Lakers, have played the Lakers a record 12 times in the NBA Finals, of which the Celtics have won nine. Four Celtics players have won the NBA Most Valuable Player Award for an NBA record total of 10 MVP awards. Both the nickname "Celtics" and their mascot "Lucky the Leprechaun" are a nod to Boston's large Irish population. After winning 16 championships throughout the 20th century, the Celtics, after struggling through the 1990s, rose again to win a championship in 2008 with the help of Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Ray Allen in what was known as the new "Big Three" era, following the original "Big Three" era that featured Larry Bird, Kevin McHale, Robert Parish, which combined to win the 1981, 1984, 1986 championships.
Following the win in 2008, general manager Danny Ainge began a rebuilding process with the help of head coach Brad Stevens, who led the Celtics to a return to the playoffs from 2015. During the following season, the Celtics clinched the top seed in the Eastern Conference, but were eliminated in the Conference Finals; this prompted an aggressive rebuild in 2017, where the team acquired All-Stars Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward. However, the pair struggled with injuries throughout the 2017–18 season, the team was again defeated in the Eastern Conference Finals; the Boston Celtics were formed on June 6, 1946, by Boston Garden-Arena Corporation president Walter A. Brown as a team in the Basketball Association of America, became part of the National Basketball Association after the absorption of the National Basketball League by the BAA in the fall of 1949. In 1950, the Celtics signed Chuck Cooper; the Celtics struggled until the hiring of coach Red Auerbach. In the franchise's early days, Auerbach had no assistants, ran all the practices, did all the scouting—both of opposing teams and college draft prospects—and scheduled all road trips.
One of the first great players to join the Celtics was Bob Cousy, whom Auerbach refused to draft out of nearby Holy Cross because he was "too flashy." Cousy's contract became the property of the Chicago Stags, but when that franchise went bankrupt, Cousy went to the Celtics in a dispersal draft. After the 1955–56 season, Auerbach made a stunning trade, sending perennial All-Star Ed Macauley to the St. Louis Hawks along with the draft rights to Cliff Hagan for the second overall pick in the draft. After negotiating with the Rochester Royals—a negotiation that included a promise that the Celtics owner would send the sought-after Ice Capades to Rochester if the Royals would let Russell slide to #2—Auerbach used the pick to select University of San Francisco center Bill Russell. Auerbach acquired Holy Cross standout, 1957 NBA Rookie of the Year, Tommy Heinsohn. Russell and Heinsohn worked extraordinarily well with Cousy, they were the players around whom Auerbach would build the champion Celtics for more than a decade.
With Bill Russell, the Celtics advanced to the 1957 NBA Finals and defeated the St. Louis Hawks in seven games, the first of a record 17 championships. Russell went on making him the most decorated player in NBA history. In 1958, the Celtics again advanced to this time losing to the Hawks in 6 games. However, with the acquisition of K. C. Jones that year, the Celtics began a dynasty. In 1959, the Celtics won the NBA Championship after sweeping the Minneapolis Lakers, the first of their record eight consecutive championships. During that time, the Celtics met the Lakers in the Finals five times, starting an intense and bitter rivalry that has spanned generations. In 1964, the Celtics became the first NBA team to have an all African-American starting lineup. On December 26, 1964, Willie Naulls replaced an injured Tommy Heinsohn, joining Tom'Satch' Sanders, K. C. Jones, Sam Jones, Bill Russell in the starting lineup; the Celtics defeated St. Louis 97–84. Boston won its next 11 games with Naulls starting in place of Heinsohn.
The Celtics of the late 1950s–1960s are considered as one of the most dominant teams of all time. Auerbach retired as coach after the 1965–66 season and Russell took over as player-coach, Auerbach's ploy to keep Russell interested. With his appointment Russell became the first African-American coach in any U. S. pro sport. Auerbach would remain a position he would hold well into the 1980s. However, the Celtics' string of NBA titles ended when they lost to the Philadelphia 76ers in the 1966 Eastern Conference Finals; the aging team managed two more championships in 1968 and 1969, defeating the Los Angeles Lakers each time. Russell retired after the 1969 season ending a Celtics dynasty that had garnered an unrivaled 11 NBA titles in 13 seasons; the team's run of 8 consecutive is the longest championship streak in U. S. professional sports history. The 1970 season was a rebuilding year, as the Celtics had their first losing record since the 1949–50 season
The Washington Wizards are an American professional basketball team based in Washington, D. C; the Wizards compete in the National Basketball Association as a member of the league's Eastern Conference Southeast Division. The team plays its home games at the Capital One Arena, in the Chinatown neighborhood of Washington, D. C; the franchise was established in 1961 as the Chicago Packers based in Chicago and were renamed to Chicago Zephyrs the following season. In 1963, they relocated to Baltimore and became the Baltimore Bullets, taking the name from a previous team of the same name. In 1973, the team changed its name to the Capital Bullets to reflect their move to the Washington metropolitan area, to Washington Bullets in the following season. In 1997, they rebranded themselves as the Wizards; the Wizards have appeared in four NBA Finals, won in 1978. They have had a total of 28 playoff appearances, won four conference titles, seven division titles, their best season came in 1975 with a record of 60–22.
Wes Unseld is the only player in franchise history to become the MVP, win the Finals MVP award. Four players have won the Rookie of the Year award; the team now known as the Wizards began playing as the Chicago Packers in 1961, as the first modern expansion team in NBA history, an expansion prompted by Abe Saperstein's American Basketball League. Rookie Walt Bellamy was the team's star, averaging 31.6 points per game, 19.0 rebounds per game, leading the NBA in field goal percentage. During the All-Star game, Bellamy represented the team while scoring 23 points and grabbing 17 rebounds. Bellamy was named the league Rookie of the Year, but the team finished with the NBA's worst record at 18-62; the team's original nickname was a nod to Chicago's meatpacking industry. However, it was unpopular since it was the same nickname used by the NFL's Green Bay Packers, bitter rivals of the Chicago Bears. After only one year, the organization changed its name to the Chicago Zephyrs and played its home games at the Chicago Coliseum.
Their only season as the Zephyrs boasted former Purdue star Terry Dischinger, who went on to win Rookie of the Year honors. In 1963 the franchise moved to Baltimore and became the Baltimore Bullets, taking their name from a 1940s–'50s Baltimore Bullets BAA/NBA franchise and playing home games at the Baltimore Civic Center. In their first year in Baltimore, the Bullets finished fourth in a five–team Western Division. Prior to the 1964–65 NBA season the Bullets pulled off a blockbuster trade, sending Dischinger, Rod Thorn and Don Kojis to the Detroit Pistons for Bailey Howell, Don Ohl, Bob Ferry and Wali Jones; the trade worked out well. He helped. In the 1965 NBA Playoffs, the Bullets stunned the St. Louis Hawks 3–1, advanced to the Western Conference finals. In the finals, Baltimore managed to split the first four games with the Los Angeles Lakers before losing the series 4–2. In the late 1960s, the Bullets drafted two future Hall of Fame members: Earl Monroe, in the 1967 draft, number two overall, Wes Unseld, in the 1968 draft number two overall.
The team improved from 36 wins the previous season to 57 in the 1968–69 season, Unseld received both the rookie of the year and MVP awards. The Bullets reached the playoffs with high expectations to go far, but they were eliminated by the New York Knicks in the first round; the next season the two teams met again in the first round, although this one went to seven games, the Knicks emerged victorious again. In the 1970–71 season, the 42–40 Bullets again met the 1970–71 Knicks, this time though in the Eastern Conference finals. With the Knicks team captain Willis Reed injured in the finals, the injury-free Bullets took advantage of his absence, in game seven, at New York's Madison Square Garden, the Bullets' Gus Johnson made a critical basket late in the game to lift the Bullets over the Knicks 93–91 and advance to their first NBA Finals, they were swept in four games by the powerful Milwaukee Bucks led by future Hall of Fame members Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Oscar Robertson. After the trades of Earl Monroe and Gus Johnson, the Bullets remained a playoff contender throughout the 1970s.
Following a less than spectacular 1971–72 season, Baltimore acquired Elvin Hayes from the Houston Rockets and drafted Kevin Porter in the third round, out of St. Francis in Pennsylvania. After a slow start in 1972–73, Baltimore made their charge in December, posting a 10–4 record on the way to capturing the Central Division title for the third straight year; the Bullets again faced the Knicks in the 1973 NBA Playoffs, losing for the fourth time in five series against New York. In February 1973, the team announced its pending move 30 miles southwest to the Capital Centre in Landover, a Washington, D. C. suburb, became the Capital Bullets. After that 1973–74 season, they changed their name to the Washington Bullets. During November 1973, while waiting for the completion of their new arena in Landover, the Bullets played their home games at Cole Field House on the campus of the University of Maryland in College Park; the Capital Centre opened on December 2, 1973, with the Bullets defeating the SuperSonic
NBA high school draftees
The NBA high school draftees are players who have been drafted to the National Basketball Association straight out of high school without playing basketball at the collegiate level. The process of jumping directly from high school to the professional level is known as going prep-to-pro. Since 2006, the practice of drafting high school players has been prohibited by the new collective bargaining agreement, which requires that players who entered the draft be 19 years of age and at least one year removed from high school. Contrary to popular belief, the player does not have to play at least a year in college basketball: the player can choose to instead play in another professional league like Brandon Jennings or Emmanuel Mudiay in Italy and China respectively; the NBA has long had a preference for players. However, there have been numerous notable players who attended high school in the United States and joined the NBA without playing college basketball. In the early years of the NBA draft, a player had to finish his four-year college eligibility to be eligible for selection.
Reggie Harding, who had graduated from high school but did not enroll in a college, became the first player drafted out of high school when the Detroit Pistons selected him in the fourth round of the 1962 draft. However, the NBA rules at that time prohibited a high school player to play in the league until one year after his high school class graduated. Thus, he spent a year playing in a minor basketball league before he was drafted again in the 1963 draft by the Pistons, he entered the league in the 1963–64 season and played four seasons in the NBA and American Basketball Association. In 1971, the U. S. Supreme Court decision Haywood v. National Basketball Association ruled 7–2 against the NBA's requirement that a player must wait four years after high school graduation before turning professional; this ruling allowed players to enter the NBA Draft without four years of college, provided they could give evidence of hardship to the NBA office. In 1974, the NBA's rival, the ABA, drafted high school star Moses Malone.
He was signed by the Utah Stars and became the first player to go directly from high school basketball to a professional league. He became an instant success, averaging 14 rebounds per game in his rookie season, he played in the ABA until the ABA–NBA merger in 1976. He played 19 successful seasons with 7 NBA teams, he won the NBA championship, along with the Finals Most Valuable Player Award, with the Philadelphia 76ers in 1983. His other achievements include 3 Most Valuable Player Awards, 12 consecutive All-Star Game selections, 8 All-NBA Team selections and 6 rebounding titles, he has been inducted to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and was named in the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History list announced at the league's 50th anniversary in 1996. A year two high school players, Darryl Dawkins and Bill Willoughby, applied for hardship and were declared eligible to be selected in the 1975 draft, they had applied and gave evidence of financial hardship to the league, which granted them the right to start earning a living by starting their professional careers earlier.
Dawkins was selected 5th by the Philadelphia 76ers while Willoughby was selected 19th by the Atlanta Hawks. Dawkins averaged 12 points and 6 rebounds per game. Willoughby averaged only 6 points per game. Neither player reached the level of success, expected, it is argued that they could have been better players if they had college basketball experience before entering the NBA. After Dawkins and Willoughby, no high schoolers were drafted for 14 years, though several players entered the league without playing college basketball. One player, Shawn Kemp, never played any games due to personal problems. In 1989, a year after his high school graduation, he was drafted by the Seattle SuperSonics, he was selected to 6 All-Star Games and 3 All-NBA Teams. In 1995, Kevin Garnett, USA Today's high school basketball player of the year, announced his intentions to forgo college, declared himself eligible for the 1995 NBA draft; the move was controversial. On draft day, Garnett was selected with the #5 pick in the first round by the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Garnett led the Timberwolves to eight consecutive playoff berths and was a multiple All-Star during his time with the team. In 2004, the Wolves advanced to the Western Conference Finals before losing to the Lakers. After a trade in the 2007 offseason to the Boston Celtics, he was a core player in the Celtics' first NBA title in over 20 years. In 1996, two notable players made the jump from high school to the NBA; the first was Kobe Bryant, selected by the Charlotte Hornets with the 13th pick of the NBA draft, but traded immediately to the Los Angeles Lakers. The second was Jermaine O'Neal, selected by the Trail Blazers with the 17th pick. O'Neal was traded in 2000 to the Indiana Pacers. In 1997, another All-Star caliber player, Tracy McGrady, was selected by the Toronto Raptors. In 1998, three high-schoolers were drafted with Al Ha
Joseph W. Graboski was an American professional basketball player, he spent 13 seasons in the National Basketball Association. He was the third player to enter the NBA without having played in college:, he was the second player to play in the league while still being 18 years old. A star at Tuley High School in Chicago, the 6'6" power forward had played some basketball with the Philadelphia Sphas while he was a high school junior and senior before he began his professional career with the hometown Chicago Stags, with whom he played from 1949 to 1950, he played for the Indianapolis Olympians, Philadelphia Warriors, St. Louis Hawks, Chicago Packers, he left the NBA in 1962 with 9,398 career points and 6,104 career rebounds. Career statistics and player information from Basketball-Reference.com
The Atlanta Hawks are an American professional basketball team based in Atlanta, Georgia. The Hawks compete in the National Basketball Association as a member of the league's Eastern Conference Southeast Division; the team plays its home games at State Farm Arena. The team's origins can be traced to the establishment of the Buffalo Bisons in 1946 in Buffalo, New York, a member of the National Basketball League owned by Ben Kerner and Leo Ferris. After 38 days in Buffalo, the team moved to Moline, where they were renamed the Tri-Cities Blackhawks. In 1949, they joined the NBA as part of the merger between the NBL and the Basketball Association of America, had Red Auerbach as coach. In 1951, Kerner moved the team to Milwaukee. Kerner and the team moved again in 1955 to St. Louis, where they won their only NBA Championship in 1958 and qualified to play in the NBA Finals in 1957, 1960 and 1961; the Hawks played the Boston Celtics in all four of their trips to the NBA Finals. The St. Louis Hawks moved to Atlanta in 1968, when Kerner sold the franchise to Thomas Cousins and former Georgia Governor Carl Sanders.
The Hawks own the second-longest drought of not winning an NBA championship at 60 seasons. The franchise's lone NBA championship, as well as all four NBA Finals appearances, occurred when the team was based in St. Louis. Meanwhile, they went 48 years without advancing past the second round of the playoffs in any format, until breaking through in 2015. However, the Hawks are one of only four NBA teams that have qualified to play in the NBA playoffs in 10 consecutive seasons in the 21st century, they achieved this feat between 2008 and 2017. The other teams that have made it to at least 10 consecutive playoff appearances in the 21st century are the San Antonio Spurs, Denver Nuggets, Dallas Mavericks; the origins of the Atlanta Hawks can be traced to the Buffalo Bisons franchise, founded in 1946. The Bisons were a member of the National Basketball League, played their games at the Buffalo Memorial Auditorium; the club was coached by Nat Hickey. Their first game – a 50–39 victory over the Syracuse Nationals – was played on November 8, 1946.
On the team was William "Pop" Gates, along with William "Dolly" King, was one of the first two African-American players in the NBL. The team, which needed to draw 3,600 fans per game to break struggled to draw 1,000 fans per game to the Auditorium; the franchise lasted only 38 days in Buffalo when, on December 25, 1946, Leo Ferris, the team's general manager, announced that the team would be moving to Moline, which at that time was part of an area known as the "Tri-Cities": Moline, Rock Island and Davenport, Iowa. Upon relocation to Moline, the team was renamed the Tri-Cities Blackhawks, played their home games at Wharton Field House, a 6,000-seat arena in Moline; the team featured guard/forward and coach Deanglo King, was owned by Leo Ferris and Ben Kerner. Pop Gates remained on the Blackhawks roster, finished second on the team in scoring behind future 1948 NBL MVP Don Otten. A Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame member, Gates helped to integrate the league and become the first African-American coach in a major sports league, coaching Dayton in 1948.
In 1949 the Blackhawks became one of the National Basketball Association's 17 original teams after a merger of the 12-year-old NBL and the three-year-old Basketball Association of America. They reached the playoffs in the NBA's inaugural year under the leadership of coach Red Auerbach; the following season, they drafted three-time All-American Bob Cousy, but they were unable to reach a deal and traded him to the Chicago Stags. The Blackhawks missed the playoffs. By it was obvious that the Tri-Cities area was too small to support an NBA team. After the season, the franchise relocated to Milwaukee and became the Milwaukee Hawks. In 1954, the Hawks drafted Bob Pettit, a future NBA MVP. Despite this, the Hawks were one of the league's worst teams, in 1955 the Hawks moved, this time to St. Louis, Milwaukee's rival in the beer industry, became the St. Louis Hawks. In 1956, the St. Louis Hawks drafted legendary Bill Russell in the first round, they traded Russell to the Boston Celtics for Cliff Hagan and Ed Macauley, both Hall of Fame members.
In 1957, the Hawks finished four games under.500. However, the Western Division was weak that year, they won the division title and a bye to the division finals after defeating the Minneapolis Lakers and Fort Wayne Pistons in one-game tiebreakers. They defeated the Lakers in the division finals to advance to the Finals, losing to the Boston Celtics in a double-overtime thriller in game seven. In 1958, after tallying their first winning record, they again advanced to the Finals, where they avenged their defeat against the Celtics from the previous year, winning the series 4–2 and giving the Hawks their first and only NBA Championship. Bob Pettit scored 50 points in the final game of the series; the Hawks remained one of the NBA's premier teams for the next decade. In 1960, under coach Ed Macauley, the team advanced to the Finals, but lost to the Celtics in another game seven thriller; the following year, with the acquisition of rookie Lenny Wilkens, the Hawks repeated their success, but met the Celtics in the Finals again and lost in five games.
They would remain contenders for most of the 1960s, advancing deep into the playoffs a
NBA territorial pick
A territorial pick was a type of special draft choice used in the Basketball Association of America draft in 1949 and in the National Basketball Association draft after the 1950 season, the year in which the BAA was renamed the NBA. In the draft, NBA teams took turns selecting amateur U. S. college basketball players. Territorial picks were eliminated when the draft system was revamped in 1966. In the first 20 years of the BAA/NBA, the league was still trying to gain the support of fans who lived in or near the teams' home markets. To achieve this, the league introduced the territorial pick rule to help teams acquire popular players from colleges in their area who would have strong local support. Before the draft, a team could forfeit its first-round draft pick and select any player from within a 50-mile radius of its home arena. Although the territorial picks were selected before the draft, these picks were not factored into the overall selection count of the draft. Of the 23 territorial picks, 12 players have been inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
Tom Heinsohn, Wilt Chamberlain, Oscar Robertson and Jerry Lucas are the only four territorial picks who won the Rookie of the Year Award. Chamberlain won the Most Valuable Player Award in his rookie season, he went on to win the Most Valuable Player Award three more times in his career. Oscar Robertson is the only other territorial pick; the Philadelphia Warriors had the most territorial picks, having selected six who attended a total of five colleges. The University of Cincinnati had the most players taken as a territorial pick; the 1965 NBA draft, the last draft in which the rule remained in effect, had the most territorial picks in a single draft with three. The 1953 draft had three territorial picks. No territorial pick was selected in the 1957 and 1961 drafts. KHL territorial pick NBA.com: NBA Draft History