Amusing, Amazing, Addictive, Audacious: The NBA DRAFT
draft is all the rage. Prospects are dissected, measured and
weighed, interviewed and analyzed, compared to heroes of yesteryear.
There is the pre-draft camp, the endless talk show hustle as well as
fantasy drafts. Preceded by hype, hope and hoopla, the NBA Draft
will finally arrive (this time out of Brooklyn) with a cast of
hundreds of personalities, nationally televised hour after hour. And
then there is the endless post-draft commentary.
Once upon a
time things were quite different in a simpler world and a smaller
NBA. The first draft in 1947 saw first-round selections made by
Pittsburgh, Boston, Providence, New York, Philadelphia, St. Louis,
Chicago, Washington and Baltimore. No name from that first-round
faraway time (aside from Knicks draftee Walt Dropo, who went on to a
distinguished Major League baseball career) had any kind of real
from that primitive time are so shrouded in a time warp that a
couple of the players drafted in '47 like Bob Alemeida and George
Petrovick have a question mark next to their name signifying a lack
of information as to the college they played for.
non-first-round players went on to make a name for themselves in pro
ball like Andy Phillip out of Illinois, Jim Pollard from Stanford,
Bob Kurland of Oklahoma A&M, and Red Rocha who had played at Oregon
to NBA history is Tony Lavelli of Yale, taken by Boston in the 1949
Draft. He went on to play the accordion for the Celtics at half
time, sometimes. But contrary to rumors, his musical skill was not
one of the reasons for Boston drafting him.
Draft went 10 rounds for some teams and 12 for others, as a few
teams lost interest. Territorial picks were sometimes much fought
over and debated. The exclusive right to draft a player who came
from a team's geographical region gave Philadelphia the legendary
Paul Arizin in 1950.
A couple of
others who went on to fame and glory were picked in that draft: Bud
Grant (NFL) by Minneapolis and Bob Cousy by Tri-Cities.
The 1951 NBA
Draft lasted 12 rounds, but most teams stopped picking by then. The
First Round went this way:
(Baltimore) Gene Melchiorre, Bradley
Mel Hutchins, Brigham Young
(Indianapolis) Marcus Freiberger, Oklahoma
4 (Ft Wayne)
Zeke Sinicola, Niagara
John McConathy, NW Louisiana
Knicks) Ed Smith, Harvard
Ernie Barrett, Kansas State
(Rochester) Sam Ranzino, North Carolina State
(Philadelphia) Don Sunderlage, Illinois
(Minneapolis) Whitey Skoog, Minnesota*
of Skoog was a Territorial one.
In the sixth
round, the New York Knicks plucked Al McGuire from St. John's. The
last player picked was John Burke of Springfield, Massachusetts by
Baltimore in the 12th round. By 1966, the territorial (having first
rights to a player in your geographical region) selections were
eliminated. A year later, the New York Knicks used their fifth pick
to get Walt Frazier and their 17th to obtain Phil Jackson (yes that
ensuing years, all types of marquee players and also-rans have made
their way onto NBA rosters through the draft. In my opinion, the
1970 and 1981 NBA Drafts rank among the all-time best yielding
bumper crops of players.
The 1970 NBA
Draft yielded such greats as Dave Cowens by Boston (4th); Pete
Maravich by Atlanta (3rd); Bob Lanier by Detroit (1st); Calvin
Murphy by San Diego (18th); and Geoff Petrie by Portland (8th).
draft included such gems as Isiah Thomas by Detroit (2nd); Mark
Aguirre by Dallas (1st); Buck Williams by New Jersey (3rd); Tom
Chambers by San Diego (8th); Rolando Blackman by Dallas (9th); Danny
Ainge by Boston (31st); Kelly Tripuka by Detroit (12th); Orlando
Wooldridge by Chicago (6th); and Eddie Johnson by Kansas City
what the NBA Draft 2013 has in store. Stay tuned.