Media Darlings, television ruled the mid 1970s. There was
no question what most teams wanted to do offensively in
this time-frame – Pass the ball to the hot scorers and let the
guy do the shooting!
The dogfight in the Pacific Division between the Los Angeles
Lakers and the Golden State Warriors caught the attention of
west coast fans. The Lakers led by high-scoring All Star guard
Gail Goodrich, 25.3 ppg average 4th best in the NBA, finished
the regular season with a 47-35 record, just 3-games up on the
Warriors, paced by Rick Barry, 25.1 ppg 5th best.
To be sure, basketball was and is still a team-game. Lakers
7 ft center Elmore Smith led the NBA in blocked shots with
4.85 per game in 1973-74 and veteran forward Harold Happy
Hairston, 14.5 ppg and 13.5 rebounds per game, helped lead
by example the younger players on the squad. The LA Lakers
acquired veteran Connie Hawkins in a trade right after the
season opened. Hawkins, who was in his 7th pro season,
averaged 12.8 ppg, well below his career average of 21.2 ppg.
October 28 1973 Elmore Smith of the Los Angeles Lakers
hauls in a still standing record of 17 rebounds while teammate
and future Hall of Fame guard Gail Goodrich scores 49 points
as the Lakers defeat Portland 111-98.
Spencer Haywood, Seattle SuperSonics was chosen for his
third consecutive All Star game. The 6 ft 8, 225 pound Spencer
Haywood averaged 23.5 ppg and 13.4 rp in 1973-74. Teammate
Dick Snyder, an 8-year veteran when 1973 rolled in, still
had plenty of leadership left. Snyder scored 1,338 points,
averaging 18.1 per game. Seattle finished the season at 36-46,
a full 11 games out of 1st. The also rans in 1974 were the
Phoenix Suns 30-52 w/l and the Portland Trail Blazers 27-55.
Portland had Geoff Petrie, 24.3 ppg, 1,771 points.
In the Midwest Division the Milwaukee Bucks and future
Hall of Fame center Kareem Abdul Jabbar won early and often
In the season and posted the best record in the entire NBA,
59-23. Abdul-Jabbar average a steaming 27.0 ppg, pulled in
14.5 rpg and was chosen the NBA 1974 MVP. The Chicago
Bulls finish in 2nd with a solid 54-28 record. Bulls hustling
guards pair of guards ‘Storming Norm’ Van Lier, averages 6.9
assists per game and 2.02 steals and Jerry Sloan is 4th best in
NBA with 2.36 steals per game. Clifford Ray, Bulls center,
averages 12.2 rpg.
Detroit Piston head coach Ray Scott gets
selected as 1974 NBA Coach of the Year. Ray Scott’s Pistons
climb from last season’s 40-42 w/l to 52-30, 2 games back
of Chicago. Bob Lanier leads Detroit in most statistics,
including 13.3 rpg, 22.5 ppg, making 748 FG in 1,483 attempts,
a solid .504 pct, and blocks 3.05 shots per game. Teammate
Dave Bing was chosen 2nd team All-Star.
KC/Omaha Kings fall flat and end season at 33-49 w/l.
In the Eastern Conference Atlanta Division it was all Boston
Celtics, 56-26, seven full games ahead of their rivals, the New
York Knickerbockers. The Celtics had John Havlicek, 22.6 ppg,
and 5.9 assists pg, and Don Nelson 14.0 ppg, and center Dave
Cowens, a resounding 15.7 rebounds per game. Surprisingly
the NY Knicks went 49-33 for the season, despite injuries to
Willis Reed and Earl ‘the Pearl’ Monroe. Their main-man
was All Star Walt Frazier, 1,643 points, 20.5 ppg, 6.9 asists pg,
and 6.7 rpg – doesn’t get much better than that!
The Buffalo Braves followed New York in the standings, 42-40
Record. The Braves were paced by hot-shooting Bob
McAdooooooo as the announcer would say. McAdoo led the
NBA in scoring with a torrid 30.6 points per game, 2,261 points.
Randy Smith also helped the Buffalo Braves cause with his
aggressive defensive play and 13.5 ppg average. Rookie Guard
Ernie DiGregorio set a record with 25 assists for Buffalo on New
Years Day – January 1 1974.
The Philadelphia Warriors produced the worst record in the
NBA, a crummy 25-57 mark. The Warriors only bright
spot was Steve Mix, who was playing semi-pro basketball
some place in the Midwest. Steve Mix scored 14.9 ppg, and
a surprising 10.5 rpg, and after this first season in Philly –
Steve Mix played 8 more seasons there, 9 in all!
In the Central Division the Capital Bullets led by All Star
Elvin Hayes and Kevin Porter clouted its divisional foes,
finishing a full 12 games ahead of the Atlanta Hawks.
The Bullets went 47-35 while the Hawks were 35-47. Archie
Clark and veteran Wes Unseld were injured a lot but still
managed to help the Bullets despite losing serious time..
The Houston Rockets could do no better than 32-50 w/l. Hot
shooting Rudy Tomjanovich averaged 24.5 ppg for Houston
and teammate Guard Calvin Murphy, had 7.4 assists per game,
2nd best in the NBA. The Cleveland Cavaliers ended at 29-53
In the 1974 NBA Championship Finals the Boston Celtics
defeat the Milwaukee Bucks and captured its first title in
6 years. By basketballhistorian.com
1973-1974 NBA Scoring Leaders
Bob McAdoo, 6 ft 10 inch center of the Buffalo Braves,
led the NBA in scoring, with a robust 2,261 points,
averaging 30.6 points per game. Bob McAdoo also led
the NBA in field goal percentage, sinking 901 of 1,647
1974 NBA Scoring Leaders
Bob McAdoo, Buffalo Braves 2261 points, 30.6 ppg…
Pete Maravich, Atlanta Hawks 2,107 points, 27.7 ppg…
Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Milw Bucks 2,191 points, 27.0 ppg…
Gail Goodrich, Los Angeles Lakers 2,076 points, 25.3 ppg…
Rick Barry, Golden State Warriors 2,009 points, 25.1 ppg…
Rudy Tomjanovich, Houston Rockets 1,961 pts, 24.5 ppg…
Geoff Petrie, Portland Trail Blazers 1,771 points, 24.3 ppg…
Spencer Haywood, Seattle SuperSonics 1,761 pts, 23.5 ppg…
John Havlicek, Boston Celtics 1,716 points, 22.6 ppg…
Bob Lanier, Detroit Pistons 1,822 points, 22.5 ppg.