Pro Basketball History 1974-76 Net Points and The Players



Bored Historian
Aug 26, 2011

1973-74 NBA
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Mil 2976 (40.3)
Bob McAdoo, Buffalo 2764 (41.7)
Bob Lanier, Detroit 2485 (39.1)
Elvin Hayes, Washington 2359 (31.4)
Dave Cowens, Boston 2155 (30.9)
Rudy Tomjanovich, Houston 2102 (31.3)
Spencer Haywood, Seattle 2070 (32.7)
Rick Barry, Golden State 1980 (32.6)
Sam Lacey, Kansas City-Omaha 1952 (30.2)
Walt Frazier, New York 1882 (27.1)

1973-74 ABA
Julius Erving, New York 2405 (34.0)
Artis Gilmore, Kentucky 2356 (32.3)
George McGinnis, Indiana 1892 (27.8)
Dan Issel, Kentucky 1812 (26.0)
Caldwell Jones, San Diego 1689 (27.7)
Willie Wise, Utah 1615 (23.5)
Swen Nater, San Antonio 1469 (29.7)
Jim Eakins, Virginia 1437 (26.0)
Jimmy Jones, Utah 1421 (21.6)
Bill Paultz, New York 1386 (25.6)

1974-75 NBA
Bob McAdoo, Buffalo 2955 (40.1)
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Mil 2324 (40.6)
Bob Lanier, Pistons 2306 (37.1)
Rick Barry, Golden State 2203 (32.7)
Elvin Hayes, Washington 2150 (29.8)
Sidney Wicks, Portland 1970 (29.9)
Sam Lacey, KC-Omaha 1966 (27.9)
Tiny Archibald, KC-Omaha 1887 (27.9)
Walt Frazier, Knicks 1825 (27.3)
Dave Cowens, Celtics 1817 (33.1)

1974-75 ABA
Julius Erving, New York 2491 (35.1)
Artis Gilmore, Kentucky 2462 (33.8)
George McGinnis, Indiana 2242 (33.7)
Marvin Barnes, St. Louis 1970 (30.7)
Moses Malone, Utah 1793 (26.8)
Swen Nater, San Antonio 1776 (31.4)
George Gervin, San Antonio 1645 (25.4)
Bobby Jones, Dallas 1634 (29.0)
Tom Owens, Memphis 1616 (29.3)
Larry Kenon, New York 1578 (23.9)

1975-76 NBA
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, L A 3233 (45.9)
Bob McAdoo, Buffalo 2503 (36.1)
Dave Cowens, Boston 2124 (32.9)
George McGinnis, Philadelphia 1928 (31.4)
Alvin Adams, Phoenix 1853 (33.5)
Wes Unseld, Washington 1800 (29.6)
Rick Barry, Golden State 1766 (27.2)
Randy Smith, Buffalo 1765 (26.8)
Tiny Archibald, Kansas City 1745 (26.3)
Sam Lacey, Kansas City 1738 (27.1)

1975-76 ABA
Julius Erving, New York 2593 (38.4)
Artis Gilmore, Kentucky 2337 (34.1)
Dan Issel, Denver 1928 (32.4)
David Thompson, Denver 1797 (27.8)
Billy Paultz, San Antonio 1779 (28.9)
Bobby Jones, Denver 1765 (29.8)
James Silas, San Antonio 1700 (26.2)
Billy Knight, Indiana 1667 (28.8)
Don Buse, Indiana 1458 (22.1)
Larry Kenon, San Antonio 1530 (25.2)

TOP TEN FOR 1973-76 (10 points for 1st, 9 for 2nd, etc.)
Julius Erving 30
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar 29
Bob McAdoo 28
Artis Gilmore 27
George McGinnis 23
Bob Lanier 16
Dave Cowens 15
Dan Issel 15
Rick Barry 14
Elvin Hayes 13

Comment: It was Kareem in the NBA and Dr. J in the ABA but Bob McAdoo was a prolific scorer and Artis Gilmore an under-rated center. George McGinnis was a top player in the ABA and then joined DR. J. on the Sixers after the ABA collapsed.

Wilt Chamberlain 126
Dolph Schayes 93
Bill Russell 86
Bob Pettit 81
Oscar Robertson 76
George Mikan 72
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar 69
Bobby McDermott 65
Neil Johnston 61
Leroy Edwards 58

Comment: Kareem now makes the list and good o’l Benny Borgmann, the top player of the 1920’s who later was manager of the Syracuse Chiefs and head coach of the Syracuse Nationals, finally drops off.


BOB MCADOO was a phenomon in the mid-70’s. For pure scoring, there’s bene no one like him among the big men in the league since the prime of Wilt Chamberlain. He led the league in scoring three years in a row with 30.6, 34.5 and 31.1. He was a strong rebounder as well, as many as 15.1 per game. And he wasn’t that big – 6-9, 210. He was a “stretch 4” at best, (coach Jack Ramsey actually started him at small forward), but the Braves had no center so bob took on the league’s top centers but went around or over them to score and rebound better than anybody else at the time. The Braves had winning seasons and made the playoffs each of those years. Then they traded him and went 30-52. Later the team moved to LA and became the Clippers.

Sports Illustrated called McAdoo "the quickest tall man, finest shooter and most astounding outside scoring machine ever to play basketball." Bill Russell: "He's the greatest shooter of all time, period. Forget that bit about the 'greatest shooting big man." Ramsey said McAdoo, ”could become the greatest big man to play the game”, McAdoo (never noted for his modesty) retorted, "I think I'm the greatest already." “Extremely sensitive to criticism, especially about his perceived lack of defensive skills, McAdoo's withdrawn manner won him few friends in the media or in Buffalo. He complained of getting insufficient national attention in a wintry town where, he once ruefully noted, small children played hockey, not basketball, in the streets.” He was traded because Buffalo could not meet his salary demands. With the Knicks, he clashed with Spencer Haywood. He then got traded to the Celtics.

The deal was made not by Red Auerbach but by John Y. Brown, the former Kentucky Colonels owner who had taken a $3 million payout to fold the Colonels rather than pay that amount to buy into the NBA. He then used that money to buy the braves but had a deal with the owner, Paul Snyder that, if he sold a current player’s contract for cash, Snyder would get that money and the purchase price would be reduced by that amount. It was at that point that Brown trade McAdoo for players and cash. Brown subsequently traded teams with Boston owner Ira Lewin and reacquired McAdoo, it was said, because his wife, Phyllis George, had expressed an admiration for him. His presence there was resented and he was soon traded to the Pistons and then Nets. He had the reputation of a selfish player, to the extent that scoring points for your team could be regarded as selfish. He also began suffering a string of injuries that limited his playing time and his effectiveness.

He got traded to the Lakers for a draft pick and surprised everyone by accepting a sixth man role, in which he and the Lakers prospered. They won two championships in his four seasons there. (That’s something the somewhat similar Carmelo Anthony needs to take a look at.) "Every place I went, I was supposed to be the franchise-saver," McAdoo recalled of his unhappy wanderings in The Dallas Morning News in 1984. "An awful lot of pressure went with that. I was supposed to do all the scoring and all the rebounding. I was tired of losing and tired of being traded." (

He finished his NBA career with the Sixers in 1986 and then moved to Europe and became one of the best players there, leading Tracer Milano to two Italian and European titles before finally retiring in 1990.

GEORGE MCGINNIS was an exact contemporary of Bob McAdoo and was similar in some ways. He was an inch shorter at 6-8 and more powerfully built at 235. He played his best years in the ABA, (as did so many ABA stars). He was high scoring, averaging as high as 29.8 ppg and a strong rebounder (as high as 15.0). He averaged 25.2 points and 12.9 rebounds in the ABA, 17.2 and 9.8 in the NBA. This You-Tube poster says he was the LeBron of his time:

McGinnis Was LeBron in 1976!
He knew how to use his body: Willie Wise of the Utah Stars told Sports Illustrated this about McGinnis: "He's so strong you'd swear he weighed 300 pounds and he may be quicker than Julius Erving. When you play against him, it's a meeting of the body rather than a game of the mind. The only way to stop him is to take a gun and shoot yourself and hope he feels sorry for you." His nicknames were “the Baby Bull” and “Mount George”.

SI began that article with this description of McGinnis: “Once there was something sublime about George McGinnis, an almost mythic combination of quickness and strength that made him all but unstoppable on a basketball court. McGinnis' body appeared to be hewn out of stone, and he possessed a first step that was full of thunder. "When I came into the ABA," McGinnis says, "I was like a god. I felt there was no one who was ever going to stop me, that I was going to be a dominant force every time I took the court. That's how supreme I felt and that's how supreme I played."

He had magnificent gifts, but there was also something about McGinnis that seemed too good to be true: "He would make moves that you'd swear were physically impossible," says Phil Jasner of the Philadelphia Daily News, who covered McGinnis' first season in Philadelphia. "We would watch him do unbelievable things, then we'd look at each other and say, 'Don't write it down, it never happened.' " As long as people believed in him, McGinnis could do almost anything but, as time went by, people stopped believing in him and began believing in his potential. And that was impossible to live up to.”

He wasn’t MacAdoo as a jump shooter. ”McGinnis fired his jump shot from his right hand only, holding his left hand out to the side. "In high school and college I could jump over guys," McGinnis told Sports Illustrated in 1982. “Then in the pros, I began to hesitate ... I think all players have a real fear of having their shots blocked." Sports Illustrated described it as “a sort of one-hand push or shot put move that made purists cringe.” One of those purists called it a "trashy jumper" — Larry Brown, McGinnis’ coach with the Denver Nuggets in 1978.” (USA Today)

McGinnis jumped from the ABA a year early and got the Sixers into the playoffs but performed inconsistently in a loss to Buffalo, (and McAdoo). The next year Philadelphia acquired Julius Erving and immediately were expected to be the best team in the NBA. And they made it to the finals, winning the first two games against Portland but them dropped four games in a row. McGinnis was playing hurt. “McGinnis played most of the championship series with a severe groin pull, for which he claims to have had cortisone and xylocaine shots that numbed his left leg from hip to knee. He couldn't jump normally and his act didn't come together until the sixth game, in Portland. After averaging just 13.4 points during the 76ers' first 18 playoff games, he finally struck for 28 in Game 6, only to miss a shot at the end that would have tied the score and could have resulted in a seventh game in Philadelphia. "I played poorly the whole series," he says, "but I still don't think I was the reason we lost." Some of his teammates hadn't been so charitable, teasing him for his ineptitude and taunting him in front of the press as the team practiced. McGinnis' free-throw shooting, never exceptional, became an embarrassment, and then the rest of his game fell apart. "Portland gave him the outside shot and he couldn't hit it," Williams says. "Not one. You saw a great player who simply couldn't do it anymore. At that point the coaches were ready to pull the plug." (SI)

McGinnis had gotten along with Dr. J and even deferred to him on the court, perhaps too much. Billy Cunningham: “"Doc and George didn't complement each other well. They both tried so hard to play together that at times they hurt the team. They ended up sacrificing a lot of things that made them the great players they were." George was traded to Denver, where he had to adjust to playing with Dan Issel and David Thompson, as well as Charley Scott, who they obtained in another trade. He also had to deal with Larry Brown, who loved practice as much as George hated it. “McGinnis tore ligaments in his left ankle near the end of that first Denver season and missed the playoffs. The leg was put in a cast, and the cast wasn't removed until late summer. He reported to camp in September at 260 pounds, 25 over his playing weight.”

Brown eventually resigned and was replaced by Donnie Walsh, who said of McGinnis: “"George lost his confidence after that," Walsh says. "He wasn't the same. When everyone looked to George as the man here, he was sensational. But after it got confusing to him, he seemed to lose his edge. George always kept the game in its proper perspective, and I'm not sure that's a good thing for a great player. They have to have such enormous egos to do what they do that they think the game, and their part in it, is the most important thing in the world. George used to think that in 10 years we'd all be the answer to a trivia question. Well, that's not a bad attitude for most people, but an athlete has to believe what he's doing is important. You have to be a little boy to play this game well, and George's problem has always been that he's a man. Maybe too much of one for his own good. You can only tell someone as sensitive as George that it's his fault for so long before he begins to believe it." (SI)

Here is the full SI article: Oh, What Might Have Been

His career didn’t have a successful second or third chapter, as McAdoo’s did. Denver traded him back to the Pacers, where his performance declined. They had traded Alex English for him and English went on to be a big star in Denver. George had to wait 35 years to be inducted into the Hall of Fame, long after his fellow ABA stars had made it. McGinnis said he didn’t even realize he was still under consideration.

George McGinnis Career Retrospective

In 1972 the NBA and ABC decided to have a one-on-one tournament between the game’s top players. It was done something like the old “Home Run Derby” show in baseball: filmed in the offseason but shown in segments at half-time of televised games, with the championship being shown at halftime of the fifth and final game of the championship series. The championship wasn’t won by Earl Monroe or Nate Archibald or Pete Maravich or any of the players famous for their ankle-breaking moves. The key skills were the ability to shoot from outside, back down a player in the paint, hit free throws and get rebounds. It was won by 6-11 270 Detroit Pistons center BOB LANIER.

Bob Lanier vs Jojo White

Here is a forum discussion with details: • View topic - Vitalis One-on-One Tournament

Bob labored in the NBA as one of its best centers for 15 years, all for the Pistons and the Bucks. Eight of those teams had winning records, One of them reached 60 wins), but he never played on a championship team or even in the finals. He’s had a notable but frustrating college career as well. He was the greatest player St. Bonaventure ever produced, leading his team to an undefeated regular season in 1967-68 and to the Final Four in 1970. Unfortunately, he didn’t get to play in that Final Four, having injured a knee in the final minutes of the eastern Regional Final vs. Villanova. He would have gone again Artis Gilmore’s Jacksonville team. I always wondered how Lanier and Gilmore did against each other in the pros. I would like to have seen that combination in the 1970 Final Four game, which the Bonnies lost without him.

I used Basketball’s game logs to figure that out. With the chaotic NBA schedules, their teams only played 20 times in the 8 years they were both in the NBA. Bob missed three of those games, presumably due to injury. Gilmore missed none, so there were 17 confrontations. Full stats are not available for all those games but I have the points. Bob scored 289 points in those games, an average of 17.0. Artis scored 311, (18.3). For the six games for which complete stats are available, (from late in their careers), Bob had 44 rebounds (7.3) and Artis had 65 (10.8). Bob had 7 blocks and Artis 9 blocks. So Artis seems to have gotten the better of Bob but Bob’s team won 13 of the 17 games, so he went home happy.

Bob averaged 20.1 points and 10 rebounds a game during his career with highs of 25.7/14.9. His #16 jersey was retired by both of the teams he played for: the Pistons and the Bucks. From Wikipedia: “At the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts, visitors are able to compare the size of their foot to that of Lanier's. The largest shoe ever created by shoe company Allen Edmonds was a size 22 for Lanier…According to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Lanier would smoke cigarettes during halftime breaks. Abdul-Jabbar would try to take advantage of this by forcing Lanier to run more during the second half. In the movie Airplane!, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar also references Lanier when he says to little Bobby: "Tell your old man to drag Walton and Lanier up and down the court for 48 minutes."


For a single year after Bill Russell retired, the Celtics center was one Henry Finkel, a 7 footer from Dayton. Johnny most dubbed him “High Henry”. He also had a reputation as a genuinely nice guy a “gentle giant”. Unfortunately, that was a description of his play as well as his personality. He averaged 9.7 pints and 7.7 rebounds per game. Then DAVE COWENS showed up and it was “Goodbye Henry”.

Cowens wasn’t 7 feet tall. He was listed as 6-9 but probably closer to 6-8. Tommy Heinsohn: “Cowens was exactly what we needed, the key missing part. The first time I saw Dave in training camp, he was a 6-9 Havlicek and he’s never stopped running. All I had to do was wind him up.” Mal Graham, a black man who scouted Dave: He’s the best jumping while man I ever saw.” Red Auerbach: “Cowens scared me the first time I scouted him. He was so good I kept hoping he’d made a mistake. There were some scouts from other teams there and I figured if they saw the same potential that I did, we were dead.” But their 34-48 record with Finkel in the paint enabled them to draft 4th. Also Cowens team had been probation and couldn’t play in the post season or on TV. Detroit chose Bob Lanier. San Diego picked Rudy Tomjanovich and Atlanta took Pete Maravich so the Celtics were able to get Cowens.

It remained to be seen if Cowens was big enough to play center in the NBA. He started at forward and “overpowered” Dave DeBusschere with 16 points and 17 rebounds in his first game, (per “The Picture History of the Boston Celtics”). Heinsohn soon shifted him to center. “I was totally fascinated by Cowens. Russell revolutionized the game during my day and now I could see that David was going to do the same thing in his day. He was going to prove that you didn’t have to be a big stud to win….there are two factors in playing center: size and quickness. Dave was going to prove that quickness would be just as important as size. But to do that he had to play the game with greater intensity than any other center. He had to make every game a test of stamina. Other centers were forced to play his style and they just couldn’t do it. They stayed with him in the first quarter. In the second quarter they fell a step behind. By the third quarter it was obvious they couldn’t take the pace. And by the final period they were completely unable to play even in their own style.”

Dave ran opposing centers off the court for 10 year, averaging 18.2 points and 14.0 rebounds. Wikipedia: “As a testament to his all-around ability, Cowens is one of only five players (Scottie Pippen, Kevin Garnett, LeBron James, and Giannis Antetokounmpo are the others) to lead his team in all five major statistical categories for a season: points, rebounds, assists, blocks, and steals. He accomplished the feat in the 1977–78 season.” Dave averaged 18.6p/14.0r/4.6a/1.3s/0.9b that year. He was the center on the Celtics team that their best regular season record ever: 68-14, better than any of the Bill Russell or Larry Bird teams or of the “triumvirate” team of 2007-08. And he was the center for two NBA champions. He played until the first Larry Bird team, (1979-80) and then retired. After two years off, he was coaxed to come back to play for former teammate Don Nelson’s Milwaukee Bucks, where he played as a power forward alongside Bob Lanier, who had been the #1 draft pick back in 1970. Dave played 25 minutes a game for his old teammate, averaging 8.1 points and 6.9 rebounds, and then retired for good. You can’t run forever.

Dave in action:

Dave Cowens (26/19/4) 1976 NBA Finals Game 5 Highlights

An interview with Dave:

Legends With Leyden: Former Celtic Dave Cowens
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