NBA Rookie of the Year Award
The National Basketball Association's Rookie of the Year Award is an annual National Basketball Association award given to the top rookie of the regular season. Initiated following the 1952–53 NBA season, it confers the Eddie Gottlieb Trophy, named after the former Philadelphia Warriors head coach; the winner is selected by a panel of United States and Canadian sportswriters and broadcasters, each casting first and third place votes. The player with the highest point total, regardless of the number of first-place votes, wins the award; the most recent Rookie of the Year winner is Ben Simmons. Twenty-one winners were drafted first overall. There has only been one winner taken in the second round of the draft, Malcolm Brogdon, taken 36th overall by the Milwaukee Bucks in the 2016 draft. Sixteen winners have won the NBA Most Valuable Player award in their careers. Nineteen of the forty two non-active winners have been elected to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. Three seasons had joint winners—Dave Cowens and Geoff Petrie in the 1970–71 season, Grant Hill and Jason Kidd in the 1994–95 season, Elton Brand and Steve Francis in the 1999–2000 season.
Five players won the award unanimously – Ralph Sampson, David Robinson, Blake Griffin, Damian Lillard, Karl-Anthony Towns. Patrick Ewing of Jamaica, Pau Gasol of Spain, Kyrie Irving and Ben Simmons of Australia and Andrew Wiggins of Canada are the only winners not born in the United States. Three of these individuals have dual nationality by birth—Wiggins and Simmons have American fathers, both of Irving's parents are Americans. Ewing immigrated to the Boston area at age 11, Irving moved to the United States at age 2, Wiggins and Simmons moved to the U. S. while in high school. Gasol is the only winner trained outside the U. S. Prior to the 1952–53 season, the Rookie of the Year was selected by newspaper writers; the league did publish the pre-1953 winners in their 1994–95 edition of the Official NBA Guide and the 1994 Official NBA Basketball Encyclopedia, but those winners have not been listed in subsequent publications. National Basketball Association portal NBA Development League Rookie of the Year Award NBA Rookie of the Month Award General Specific
Christopher Emmanuel Paul is an American professional basketball player for the Houston Rockets of the National Basketball Association. He has won the NBA Rookie of the Year Award, an NBA All-Star Game Most Valuable Player Award, two Olympic gold medals, led the NBA in assists four times and steals six times, he has been selected to nine NBA All-Star teams, eight All-NBA teams, nine NBA All-Defensive teams. Paul was a McDonald's All-American in high school, he attended Wake Forest University for two years of college basketball, where he helped the Demon Deacons achieve their first-ever number one ranking. He was selected fourth overall in the 2005 NBA draft by the New Orleans Hornets, where he developed into one of the league's premier players, finishing second in NBA Most Valuable Player Award voting in 2008. During the 2011 off-season, Paul was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers, only for the transaction to be controversially voided by the NBA; that summer, he was dealt to the Los Angeles Clippers instead.
Behind Paul's playmaking, the Clippers developed a reputation for their fast-paced offense and spectacular alley-oop dunks, earning them the nickname "Lob City". In 2017, he was traded to the Houston Rockets, helped the team win a franchise-record 65 games in his debut season. Off the court, Paul has served as the National Basketball Players Association president since August 2013. One of the highest-paid athletes in the world, he holds endorsement deals with companies such as Nike and State Farm. Paul was born on May 6, 1985, in Winston-Salem, North Carolina to Charles Edward Paul and Robin Jones, he has an older brother named Charles "C. J." Paul. A former athlete himself, Charles Sr. taught his sons basketball and football and coached them in various youth leagues throughout their childhoods. Growing up, the Paul brothers spent their summers working at a service station owned by their grandfather Nathanial Jones, to whom Paul attributes many life lessons, describes as his "best friend". One of Paul's uncles is a police officer.
Paul attended West Forsyth High School in North Carolina. During his freshman and sophomore seasons, he played on the junior varsity team. For his junior year, he averaged 25 points, 5.3 assists, 4.4 steals per game, helping West Forsyth reach the state semifinals. Over the ensuing summer, he led the Winston-Salem-based Kappa Magic to the National U-17 AAU title, earning tournament MVP honors in the process. During his senior season, Paul received national attention for scoring 61 points in a game. Paul finished the season with averages of 30.8 points, 5.9 rebounds, 9.5 assists, 6 steals per game, leading West Forsyth to a 27–3 record and the Class 4A Eastern Regional finals. He was named a McDonald's All-American, first-team Parade All-American, North Carolina's Mr. Basketball by The Charlotte Observer; as a freshman at Wake Forest University, Paul averaged 14.8 points, 5.9 assists, 2.7 steals per game, setting school freshman records for three-point percentage, free throws, free throw percentage and steals in the process.
Behind his play, the Demon Deacons qualified for the NCAA Tournament, losing in the Sweet Sixteen to St. Joseph's. At the conclusion of the season, Paul was named ACC Rookie of the Year and Third Team All-ACC. For two weeks early in Paul's sophomore season, Wake Forest was ranked number one in the nation for the first time in school history. In the final game of the year, Paul punched NC State guard Julius Hodge in the groin and received a one-game suspension for the ACC Tournament, an incident that marred Paul's image for a short time; the Demon Deacons again qualified for the NCAA Tournament but suffered a second round upset at the hands of West Virginia. With final averages of 15.3 points, 4.5 rebounds, 6.6 assists, 2.4 steals per game, Paul was named First Team Consensus All-America, with a 3.21 grade point average, he was named to ESPN's Academic All-America Team. On April 15, 2005, he announced he would be turning professional. On March 2, 2011, Wake Forest retired his jersey. Paul was selected fourth overall in the 2005 NBA draft by the New Orleans Hornets.
Due to the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina, the Hornets played most of their games in Oklahoma City in his first two seasons with the Hornets. Paul finished the season leading all rookies in points, assists and double-doubles, became only the second rookie in NBA history to lead the league in total steals. With final averages of 16.1 points, 5.1 rebounds, 7.8 assists, 2.2 steals per game, he was named NBA Rookie of the Year, falling just one vote shy of winning the award unanimously. The only other rookie to receive a first place vote was Deron Williams, with whom Paul enjoyed a brief rivalry early in their careers. At the 2007 All-Star Weekend, Paul set new Rookie Challenge records with 9 steals. For his sophomore season, he increased his scoring and passing averages to 17.3 points and 8.9 assists per game, but played in only 64 games due to injury. Paul was selected to his first NBA All-Star Game in 2007–08, playing in front of his home fans in New Orleans. Behind his leadership, the Hornets were near the top of the Western Conference standings all year, temporarily occupying first place on March 17 following a win against the Chicago Bulls.
New Orleans finished the season with the second seed in the West. Paul led the NBA with 11.6 assists and 2.7 steals per game to go along with 21.1 points per game, finishing second in NBA Most Valuable Player Award voting and being named to his first All-NBA and All-Defensive teams. In his playoff debut, he s
National Basketball Association
The National Basketball Association is a men's professional basketball league in North America. It is considered to be the premier men's professional basketball league in the world; the NBA is an active member of USA Basketball, recognized by FIBA as the national governing body for basketball in the United States. The NBA is one of the four major professional sports leagues in the United States and Canada. NBA players are the world's best paid athletes by average annual salary per player; the league was founded in New York City on June 1946, as the Basketball Association of America. The league adopted the name National Basketball Association on August 3, 1949, after merging with the competing National Basketball League; the league's several international as well as individual team offices are directed out of its head offices located in the Olympic Tower at 645 Fifth Avenue in Midtown Manhattan. NBA Entertainment and NBA TV studios are directed out of offices located in New Jersey; the Basketball Association of America was founded in 1946 by owners of the major ice hockey arenas in the Northeastern and Midwestern United States and Canada.
On November 1, 1946, in Toronto, Canada, the Toronto Huskies hosted the New York Knickerbockers at Maple Leaf Gardens, in a game the NBA now refers to as the first game played in NBA history. The first basket was made by Ossie Schectman of the Knickerbockers. Although there had been earlier attempts at professional basketball leagues, including the American Basketball League and the NBL, the BAA was the first league to attempt to play in large arenas in major cities. During its early years, the quality of play in the BAA was not better than in competing leagues or among leading independent clubs such as the Harlem Globetrotters. For instance, the 1948 ABL finalist Baltimore Bullets moved to the BAA and won that league's 1948 title, the 1948 NBL champion Minneapolis Lakers won the 1949 BAA title. Prior to the 1948–49 season, however, NBL teams from Fort Wayne, Indianapolis and Rochester jumped to the BAA, which established the BAA as the league of choice for collegians looking to turn professional.
On August 3, 1949, the remaining NBL teams–Syracuse, Tri-Cities, Sheboygan and Waterloo–merged into the BAA. In deference to the merger and to avoid possible legal complications, the league name was changed to the present National Basketball Association though the merged league retained the BAA's governing body, including Podoloff. To this day, the NBA claims the BAA's history as its own, it now reckons the arrival of the NBL teams as an expansion, not a merger, does not recognize NBL records and statistics. The new league had seventeen franchises located in a mix of large and small cities, as well as large arenas and smaller gymnasiums and armories. In 1950, the NBA consolidated to eleven franchises, a process that continued until 1953–54, when the league reached its smallest size of eight franchises: the New York Knicks, Boston Celtics, Philadelphia Warriors, Minneapolis Lakers, Rochester Royals, Fort Wayne Pistons, Tri-Cities Blackhawks, Syracuse Nationals, all of which remain in the league today.
The process of contraction saw. The Hawks shifted from the Tri-Cities to Milwaukee in 1951, to St. Louis in 1955; the Rochester Royals moved from Rochester, New York, to Cincinnati in 1957 and the Pistons relocated from Fort Wayne, Indiana, to Detroit in 1957. Japanese-American Wataru Misaka broke the NBA color barrier in the 1947–48 season when he played for the New York Knicks, he remained the only non-white player in league history prior to the first African-American, Harold Hunter, signing with the Washington Capitols in 1950. Hunter was cut from the team during training camp, but several African-American players did play in the league that year, including Chuck Cooper with the Celtics, Nathaniel "Sweetwater" Clifton with the Knicks, Earl Lloyd with the Washington Capitols. During this period, the Minneapolis Lakers, led by center George Mikan, won five NBA Championships and established themselves as the league's first dynasty. To encourage shooting and discourage stalling, the league introduced the 24-second shot clock in 1954.
If a team does not attempt to score a field goal within 24 seconds of obtaining the ball, play is stopped and the ball given to its opponent. In 1957, rookie center Bill Russell joined the Boston Celtics, which featured guard Bob Cousy and coach Red Auerbach, went on to lead the club to eleven NBA titles in thirteen seasons. Center Wilt Chamberlain entered the league with the Warriors in 1959 and became a dominant individual star of the 1960s, setting new single game records in scoring and rebounding. Russell's rivalry with Chamberlain became one of the greatest rivalries in the history of American team sports; the 1960s were dominated by the Celtics. Led by Russell, Bob Cousy and coach Red Auerbach, Boston won eight straight championships in the NBA from 1959 to 1966; this championship streak is the longest in NBA history. They did not win the title in 1966–67, but regained it in the 1967–68 season and repeated in 1969; the domination totaled nine of the ten championship banners of the 1960s.
Through this period, the NBA continued to evolve with the shift of the Minneapolis Lakers to Los Angeles, the Philadelphia Warriors to San Francisco, the Syracuse Nationals to Philadelphia to become the Philadelphia 76ers, the St. Louis Hawks moving to Atlanta, as well as the addition of its first expansion franchises; the Chicago Packers (now Wa
San Antonio Spurs
The San Antonio Spurs are an American professional basketball team based in San Antonio, Texas. The Spurs compete in the National Basketball Association as a member of the league's Western Conference Southwest Division; the team plays its home games at the AT&T Center in San Antonio. The Spurs are one of four former American Basketball Association teams to remain intact in the NBA after the 1976 ABA–NBA merger and are the only former ABA team to have won an NBA championship; the franchise has won NBA championships in 1999, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2014. As of May 2015, the Spurs had the highest winning percentage among active NBA franchises; as of April 2019, the Spurs have won 22 division titles since joining the NBA and have only missed the playoffs four times. From 1999–2000 to 2016–17, the Spurs won 50 games each season, setting a record of 18 consecutive 50-win seasons. In the 2018–19 season, the Spurs matched an NBA record for most consecutive playoff appearances with 22; the team's recent success coincides with the tenure of current head coach Gregg Popovich, who has coached the team since 1996.
The Spurs are the city's only team in any of the four major U. S. professional sports leagues and the only major-league team in the city's history to have lasted more than five years. Spurs players are active members of the San Antonio community, many former Spurs are still active in San Antonio including David Robinson with the Carver Academy and George Gervin with the George Gervin Youth Center; the Spurs set several NBA attendance records while playing at the Alamodome including the largest crowd for an NBA Finals game in 1999, the Spurs continue to sell out the smaller AT&T Center on a regular basis. Since 2003, the team has been forced on an extended road trip for much of February since the AT&T Center hosts the San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo; this is informally known as the "Rodeo Road Trip". The Spurs have posted winning road records during this period, including an NBA-record longest single road trip winning streak; when the Spurs have won the NBA title, the team's victory parades have been boat trips on the San Antonio River Walk.
The San Antonio Spurs started out as the Dallas Chaparrals of the original version of the American Basketball Association. Coached by player/coach Cliff Hagan the Dallas Chaparrals were one of 11 teams to take the floor in the inaugural season of the upstart ABA; the Chaps' second season was a bit of a disappointment, as the team finished in 4th place with a mediocre 41–37 record. In the playoffs the Chaparrals fell to the New Orleans Buccaneers; the team suffered from general disinterest in Dallas. In fact, during the 1970–71 season, the name "Dallas" was dropped in favor of "Texas" and an attempt was made to make the team a regional one, playing games in Fort Worth, at the Tarrant County Convention Center, as well as Lubbock, at the Lubbock Municipal Coliseum, but this proved a failure and the team returned full-time to Dallas in time for the 1971–72 season, splitting their games at Moody Coliseum and Dallas Convention Center Arena. While the Chaparrals had been modestly successful on the court, they were sinking financially by their third season because the ownership group refused to spend much money on the team.
After missing the playoffs for the first time in their existence in the 1972–73 season, nearly all of the owners wanted out. A group of 36 San Antonio businessmen, led by Manager/Angelo Drossos, Chairman of the Board/John Schaefer and President/Red McCombs, worked out a "lend-lease" deal with the Dallas ownership group. Drossos and his group would lease the team for three years and move it to San Antonio, agreed to return the team to Dallas if no purchase occurred by 1975. After the deal was signed, the team was renamed the San Antonio Gunslingers. However, before they played a game the name was changed to Spurs; the team's primary colors were changed from the red and blue of the Chaparrals to the now familiar black and white motif of the Spurs. In the first game at the HemisFair Arena the Spurs lost to the San Diego Conquistadors, despite attracting a noisy crowd of 6,000 fans. A smothering defense was the team's image, as they held opponents to less than 100 points for an ABA record of 49 times.
The early Spurs were led by ABA veteran James Silas, the team would get stronger as the season went on as they twice took advantage of the Virginia Squires, acquiring Swen Nater, who would go on to win Rookie of the Year, in November, "The Iceman" George Gervin in January. The ABA tried to halt the Gervin deal, claiming it was detrimental to the league, but a judge would rule in the Spurs' favor, Gervin made his Spurs debut on February 7; the Spurs would go on to finish with a 45 -- good for 3rd place in the Western Division. In the playoffs, the Spurs would battle the Indiana Pacers to the bitter end before falling in seven games. San Antonio embraced the Spurs with open arms. Schaefer, Drossos and McCombs knew a runaway hit. After only one year, they exercised their option to tear up the lease agreement, buy the franchise outright and keep the team in San Antonio for good; the team made themselves at home at HemisFair Arena, playing to large and raucous crowds. Despite a respectable 17–10 start during the 1974–75 season, Coach Tom Nissalke was fired as owners become tired of the Spurs' slow defensive style of games.
He would be replaced by Bob Bass, who stated that the Spurs would have an new playing style: "It is my belief that you cannot throw a set offense at another professional team for 48 minutes. You've got to
The Buffalo Braves were an American professional basketball franchise based in Buffalo, New York. The Braves competed in the National Basketball Association as a member club of the league's Eastern Conference Atlantic Division from 1970 until 1978. In 1978, Braves owner John Y. Brown Jr. swapped franchises with then-Boston Celtics owner Irv Levin, who moved the team to San Diego, where it was renamed the San Diego Clippers. The franchise moved to Los Angeles in 1984, is now known as the Los Angeles Clippers; the Braves were one of three NBA expansion franchises -- 71 season. Owned by an investment firm that had few ties to Buffalo, by the end of the first season, Paul Snyder, a 33-year-old entrepreneur who had cashed in on the sale of his Freezer Queen business, had bought the franchise, they played their home games at the Buffalo Memorial Auditorium, sharing the arena with another new franchise, the National Hockey League's Buffalo Sabres, who debuted in 1970, as well local college basketball teams that had used the auditorium for decades prior.
Because the Braves only had third choice of dates at the auditorium, from 1971–75, the Braves were forced to play a total of 16 home games at Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto. The NBA had two previous teams in the Rochester Royals and the Syracuse Nationals; as of 2018, the Braves are the last New York State-based team to be based somewhere other than New York City, where the New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets play. The team's first head coach was Hall of Famer Dolph Schayes and the franchise's first star players were Bob Kauffman and Don May, who were acquired in the 1970 NBA Expansion Draft. However, in the NBA Draft of 1970, Buffalo passed on hometown hero Calvin Murphy, a 5-foot-9 point guard from Niagara University and picked Princeton graduate, John Hummer, as their first round draft pick. Murphy would be inducted into the Hall of Fame; as is typical of first-year expansion teams, the Braves finished with a dismal record, 22–60, seven games ahead of the Cleveland Cavaliers, their expansion cousins, who finished at 15–67.
Kauffman, who averaged 4.3 points per game the previous year with the Chicago Bulls, led Buffalo in scoring with 20.4 points per game and earned a spot on the 1971 NBA Eastern Conference All-Star team. The Braves repeated their 22–60 record in the 1971–72 season, but did make good acquisitions that would make the club better. Buffalo drafted center Elmore Smith from Kentucky State University and local favorite Randy Smith from Buffalo State College. Johnny McCarthy replaced Schayes one game into the season as the team's head coach; the team did worse in the 1972–73 season, as it went 21–61 under new head coach Dr. Jack Ramsay. In a showcase of the futility of the'72-'73 Braves, during the team's fifth game of the season on October 20, 1972 the team set an NBA record which still stands for most points in a single quarter with 58, still managed to lose to the Boston Celtics 126-118; the Braves' big move that season was drafting forward/center Bob McAdoo from North Carolina. The team made its first playoff appearance in 1974, in which they faced the Celtics and lost in six games.
That season, McAdoo posted averages of 30.6 points and 15.1 rebounds. That season, the Braves rookie Ernie DiGregorio won the NBA Rookie of the Year Award. In 1974–75, McAdoo was awarded the NBA Most Valuable Player Award, averaging 34.5 points, 14.1 rebounds. and 2.12 blocks per game, while shooting 51.2% from the field and 80.5% from the free-throw line. The Braves made trips to the playoffs in both 1974–75 and 1975–76, the latter of which would be their last playoff berth playing in Buffalo; the Braves by this point were a modest success, both off. So, by 1976 Snyder was facing severe pressure to sell the team and get it out of Buffalo. In a 2016 interview, Snyder laid particular blame on Father James Demske, who represented the Canisius Golden Griffins men's basketball team; this in turn angered the NBA. At the time, Snyder's more public feuds were with the Sabres, who represented Buffalo's old money circuit compared to the more nouveau riche status of Snyder; the June 15, 1976 issue of Buffalo's Courier-Express blasted the headline "Braves Go to Florida, Leaving'Hockey Town'".
Snyder had a handshake deal to sell the team for $6.1 million to hotel owner Irving Cowan, who would move the Braves to the Hollywood Sportatorium outside of Miami, Florida. However, the city of Buffalo filed a $10 million damage suit to block the move; the sale fell through and the Braves and the city signed a new 15-year Memorial Auditorium lease in July wi
2015 NBA Playoffs
The 2015 NBA playoffs were the postseason tournament of the National Basketball Association's 2014–15 season. The tournament concluded with the Western Conference champion Golden State Warriors defeating the Eastern Conference champion Cleveland Cavaliers 4 games to 2 in the NBA Finals. Andre Iguodala was named NBA Finals MVP. For the first time since 2005–06, all teams from a particular division made the playoffs; the San Antonio Spurs made their 18th straight playoff appearance, while the Atlanta Hawks and the Golden State Warriors entered the playoffs as the first seeds of their respective conferences. The Warriors and Hawks advanced to the Conference Finals for the first time since 1976 and 1970, respectively; the Cleveland Cavaliers made their first postseason appearance since 2010, the final season of LeBron James' first stint with the Cavaliers. They made their first Conference Finals appearance since 2009, where they lost 4–2 to the Orlando Magic, their first Finals appearance since 2007, when they were swept by the San Antonio Spurs.
On the other hand, James' former team, the Miami Heat, missed the playoffs after making the previous year's Finals, becoming the first team to do so since the 2005 Lakers. Miami had qualified for the playoffs for six consecutive seasons before missing this year reaching the NBA Finals four consecutive times; the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Indiana Pacers were conference finalists a year ago but failed to make the playoffs. Oklahoma City and Indiana were tied with the New Orleans Pelicans and the Brooklyn Nets with 45 and 38 wins but missed the playoffs due to tiebreakers. Despite starting their respective seasons in a rebuilding mode, both the Milwaukee Bucks and the Boston Celtics returned to the playoffs after a one-year absence. Bucks head coach Jason Kidd became the first head coach to lead two teams to the playoffs in his first two seasons, having led the Nets to the playoffs the previous season; the first round of the playoffs saw a record six teams take a 3–0 lead in their respective series, the first time it had happened since the first round expanded to a best-of-seven series in 2003.
The fifth seed defeated the fourth seed in both conferences for the third straight year. Game 7 between the Clippers and Spurs ensured a 16th straight postseason in which at least one Game 7 was played; the San Antonio Spurs became the first defending champions to be eliminated in the first round since the 2011–12 Dallas Mavericks. This was only the second time it had happened since 2000. With the Spurs being eliminated in the first round, none of the eight teams remaining at the beginning of the Conference Semifinals had won an NBA championship in the 21st century. After the first round of the playoffs, of the teams who had won an NBA championship, the Chicago Bulls had the shortest drought at 17 years, having most won an NBA championship in 1998, while the Atlanta Hawks had the longest overall drought at 57 years, having won their only previous championship in 1958 when the franchise was based in St. Louis. For the first time since 1970, the Hawks made the Conference Finals. Since 1970, they had lost all 15 Conference Semifinal series they participated in.
The Warriors made their first conference finals appearance since 1976, the Houston Rockets made their first conference finals appearance since 1997. These three were the NBA teams, waiting for the longest time for a return to the conference finals. For the second straight year, the No. 1 seed faced the No. 2 seed in the Conference Finals, for the fourth time since 2000. In the second round, all teams that held a 2–1 series lead within the first three games of their respective series had gone on to lose that series; the Rockets became only the second franchise to twice come back from 3–1 series deficits to win the series by defeating the Los Angeles Clippers in the Semifinals. They had first achieved that goal 20 years ago against the Phoenix Suns; the Boston Celtics are the only other franchise to twice make this comeback, doing it in 1968 and 1981. Overall, eleven teams have achieved the feat, with the Warriors doing it in the Conference Finals and Cavaliers doing it in the NBA Finals the year after.
For the first time in NBA playoff history, both conference finals teams, the Warriors of the West and the Cavaliers of the East, held commanding 3–0 series leads. Cleveland went on to the finals, sweeping the Atlanta Hawks 4–0 while Golden State won their series 4–1 defeating the Houston Rockets. For the first time since the inaugural Basketball Association of America season in 1946–47, two rookie coaches, David Blatt of the Cavaliers and Steve Kerr of the Warriors, met each other in the NBA finals. Within each conference, the three division winners and the five non-division winners with the most wins qualified for the playoffs; the seedings are based on each team's record. Each conference's bracket is fixed. All rounds are best-of-seven series; as stated above, all rounds, including the NBA Finals, are in a 2–2–1–1–1 format. Home court advantage in any round does not belong to the higher-seeded team, but instead to the team with the better regular season record. If two teams with the same record meet in a round, standard tiebreaker rules are used.
The rule for determining home court advantage in the NBA Finals is winning percentage head to head record, followed by record vs. opposite conference. The tiebreakers tha
1974–75 Buffalo Braves season
The 1974–75 Buffalo Braves season was the fifth season for the expansion Buffalo Braves franchise in the National Basketball Association and its Atlantic Division. It was the team's third season under head coach Jack Ramsay; the team's official home arena was Buffalo Memorial Auditorium. Despite losing three key players in Gar Heard, Jim McMillian and Ernie DiGregorio for long stretches, the Braves continued to improve; the Braves finished in 2nd place as Bob McAdoo captured the NBA MVP Award. McAdoo led the league with 34.5 points per game, while adding 14.1 rebounds per game, 4th best in the league. In the 1975 NBA Playoffs, the Braves earned the franchise's second playoff berth, this time against the Washington Bullets; the series went to seven games. However, the Braves lost game seven 115–96 on the road. After the season, the team was occupied with legal wrangling surrounding the departure of minority owner and general manager Eddie Donovan. On August 29, 1974, the Braves purchased Dale Schlueter from the Atlanta Hawks.
On September 4, 1974, Matt Guokas was traded along with a 1977 NBA Draft second round pick and a future second round draft pick to the Chicago Bulls for Bob Weiss. Bernie Harris was waived on January 20, 1975. Mike Macaluso did not return to play for the Braves and never played in the NBA again. On March 21, Braves general manager Eddie Donovan announced that he would resign effective April 1; the resignation was controversial because there were rumors that he would return to work for his prior team, New York Knicks, but there were simultaneous rumors that the Knicks had unfairly tampered with Donovan while under contract with the Braves. Upon the announced resignation, NBA Commissioner Walter Kennedy announced that the league would conduct a hearing on the matter; the transition was complicated by Donovan's 5% ownership of the Braves. Incoming commissioner, Larry O'Brien announced an amicable settlement as one of his first orders of business. Prior to the season the team lost Bob Kauffman to the New Orleans Jazz in the May 20, 1974 NBA Expansion Draft.
The following members of the 1974–75 Buffalo Braves were drafted during the 1974 NBA Draft. McMillen played for a year in Europe before joining the 1975–76 Buffalo Braves, he played for a team in Italy. OverviewAn early eleven-game winning streak helped the Braves achieve a 16–4 record to start the season and a seven-game streak took them to 31–16. Buffalo supplanted the New York Knicks as Boston's closest competitor in the Atlantic foursome with 49 wins and 33 losses. Buffalo boasted high-scoring super star Bob McAdoo, who posted a 34.5 scoring average to lead the NBA, while making more field goals than any other player. He led in minutes played, while ranking among the best rebounders and shot blockers in the league. McAdoo earned 798 free throw tries, another league high, converting 81% of his attempts; the Braves lost reigning NBA Rookie of the Year Ernie DiGregorio to a knee injury that limited him to 31 games, watched former Laker Jim McMillian battle illness that caused him to miss 20 games, lost Gar Heard for 15 games, which dropped the team from the elite and put more of the load on their star.
The Braves attendance increased by 40,000 to 467,267 in their 41 home games, but the team fell to 5th of 18 teams. The team defense improved sufficiently to create an average 2.2-point scoring margin after a slight average deficit the year before. McMillian ranked tenth in the league in field goal percentage. Heard ranked 9th in blocks per game. Jack Marin, who played in 81 games, ranked seventh in free throw percentage. Randy Smith, who played in all 82 regular-season games for the third consecutive season, finished fourth in assists per game. McAdoo, who played all 82 games, led the NBA in minutes played, field goals, rebounds and points per game. Meanwhile, he ranked sixth in blocks per game, second in total free throws, fifth in field goal percentage; this performance earned him first team All-NBA honors. As he had the season before, DiGregorio had a tremendous opening night with 33 points; the Braves defeated the defending champion Boston Celtics 126–119, giving them their first win in nine games against Boston as a visitor.
The Celtics had eliminated the Braves from the 1975 NBA Playoffs. DiGregorio was sidelined after six games due to knee surgery. After a 4–3 start, the Braves won eleven in a row starting with a November 3, 1974, victory over the Los Angeles Lakers at the Los Angeles Forum and culminating with a November 23 victory over the Phoenix Suns at home. In order to win the eighth game of the streak, the Braves had to overcome a seventeen-point deficit to earn a 111–106 victory against the Golden State Warriors. After losing to the Chicago Bulls on November 24, their 15–4 record was the best in the NBA. During December, the Braves dealt with injuries to McMillan, who required an emergency appendectomy, DiGregorio. After their great start, the Braves compiled a 6–7 month of December. On December 19, despite 49 points by McAdoo, the Braves lost to the Cleveland Cavaliers. On December 28, the NBA's smallest player, Calvin Murphy scored a career-high 45 points to lead the Houston Rockets to a 125–117 victory over Buffalo.
By January, Heard was suffering from a knee injury. As a result, in some games, the Braves only played seven players. In a January 3 game against the Detroit Pistons, Dale Schlueter was involved in two altercations that resulted in bench-clearing brawls. In January 1975, the Braves recorded a seven-game winning streak starting with a January 10 win over the Cavaliers and ending with a January 24 victory over the New York Knicks. In the fifth game of the streak, McAdoo outscored Pete Maravich 43–40 at New Orleans. Followi