Taken with 11th pick of the 1982 NBA Draft, by the Portland Trail Blazers, Fat Lever made a fairly solid start to his NBA career averaging 7.8 points and 5.3 assists a game in his Rookie season. His career would take a massive turn though, when he was traded to the Denver Nuggets in 1984.
In Denver, Lever would cement himself as one of the Nuggets greatest all time players. Lever would earn himself the nickname from his teammates as the ‘Triple Double Waiting To Happen’ and he sure lived up to that nickname, in fact he exceeded the nickname by earning himself 43 career triple doubles. He had many great years playing for the Nuggets but his stretch from 1986-1990 was his most impressive. The stats in those years were the following:
1987 he averaged 18.9 points, 8.9 rebounds, 8.0 assists and 2.5 steals.
1988 he averaged 18.9 points, 8.1 rebounds, 7.8 assists and 2.7 steals.
1989 he averaged 19.8 points, 9.3 rebounds, 7.9 assists and 2.7 steals.
1990 he averaged 18.3 points, 9.3 rebounds, 6.5 assists and 2.1 steals.
That will go down as some of the greatest stats any point guard has put up over a stretch of 4 seasons. Fat Lever was a true icon of the game and in many ways is underrated for what he did in his time in the NBA.
Taken with the 10th pick of the 1987 NBA Draft, by the Chicago Bulls; Horace Grant was a workhorse from the moment he entered the NBA. His Rookie year saw him average 7.7 points and 5.5 rebounds a game.
One thing was very clear about the way Horace Grant played and that was his tenacity. Known for his iconic look of wearing the goggles! Grant would become a pivotal player for the Chicago Bulls and would become the grunt man who would help Jordan, Pippen & Co win 3-straight titles from 91-93. Horace Grant would have some sensational years during the 3-peat, however his best year statistically wise came the year after Jordan retired for the first time. Grant put up numbers of 15.1 points and 11 rebounds which earn him his only All-Star selection in 1994.
The next phase in Horace Grant’s career came in when he signed with the Orlando Magic for the 1995 season. The young Magic team that had Shaquille O’Neal and Penny Hardaway made it all the way to the NBA finals, but were swept by the Houston Rockets. Grant did more of the same with his time in Orlando and by that I mean continuing to be a beast that rebounded just about anything that came his way. Grant spent some time in Seattle before heading to the LA Lakers in 2001. Here he would win his 4th ring to cap off what was a tremendous career. Horace Grant is a true icon of the game.
George Gervin was drafted with the 40th pick of the 1974 NBA Draft, by the Phoenix Suns. The career he forged however was with the San Antonio Spurs. Gervin was a scoring machine averaging 25.1 points per game across his career.
Given the nickname ‘The Iceman’ Gervin would appear in 9 straight NBA All-Star games which is a testament to his domination and popularity across his career. To add to his resume, Gervin also featured in 3 x ABA All-Star games before he crossed over to the NBA. Gervin’s best scoring season would come in 1980 when he averaged an amazing 33.1 points per game.
Not only is George Gervin is one of the all time great Spurs, but he is also one of the all time greats to play the game of basketball. His number #44 has been retired by the Spurs and he will forever be etched in their history.
Taken with the 20th pick of the 1975 NBA Draft, by the Golden State Warriors, Gus Williams would become a prolific scorer in the NBA over his short career. Given the nickname ‘The Wizard’ Gus had an offensive arsenal ahead of his time. However his first two seasons in the league didn’t exactly set the world on fire averaging 11.7 and 9.3 points a game for the Warriors.
Subsequently he was let go by the Warriors and given a lifeline by the Seattle Supersonics who signed him in 1977 as a veteran free agent. Here he would shine putting up sensational numbers across 6 seasons with the Sonics. In just his second season at the Sonics he would win an NBA championship in 1978 -79 helping his team by scoring a staggering playoff average of 26.7 points a game. His career best year came in 1982, when he averaged 23.4 points, 6.9 assists and 2.2 steals a game across the whole season.This would see him become an All-Star for the first time. Gus would again be an All-Star the very next season capping off a remarkable few years in Seattle. ‘The Wizard’ had mesmerised the Sonics faithful, but ultimately all good things come to and end and he was traded to the Bullets and then Hawks before his career ended in 1987.
Gus Williams was a true icon of the game!
Taken with the 3rd pick of the 2000 NBA Draft by the Los Angeles Clippers, Darius Miles came into the league with big expectations. His Rookie year saw him average 9.4 points and 5.9 rebounds a game, which wasn’t bad for only playing 26 minutes a game. His progression at the Clippers however didn’t really eventuate as the next season his numbers remained about the same averaging 9.5 points per game.
He was traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2003 before again being traded to the Portland Trailblazers during the following season. His best basketball would come at the Blazers, which was evident when Miles had a break out game in 2005, where he dropped 47 points against the Denver Nuggets. Miles averaged a career high 14 points per game in 2006, until his career would take an unfortunate turn when he seriously injured his knee that same season.
Miles career would never recover from that moment, he missed 2 full years due to micro-fracture surgery on his right knee. He did attempt a comeback in 2008 for the Memphis Grizzlies, however due to the significance of the knee injury he couldn’t recapture his best basketball. Darius Miles had all the potential when he entered the NBA, and sometimes it just doesn’t work out for all players. He still had some solid numbers, and was just starting to turn the corner until those injuries took their toll.
Miles wore the numbers #21, #23, and #3 during his NBA career.
Taken with the 24th pick on the 1993 NBA Draft, The Houston Rockets had found a hidden gem by the name of Sam Cassell. He would end up having a career that would span over 15 years! Cassell’s Rookie year saw him average 6.7 points and 2.9 assists, but more importantly the Rockets would win the NBA Championship. He would go back to back the very next season, not a bad start at all to what would be a great career in the NBA.
After 3 years at the Rockets, Cassell would find himself at 3 teams over the next few seasons. He was traded to Phoenix, Dallas and New Jersey. None of that would distract Cassell from putting up great numbers. His best amongst that period was when he averaged 19.6 points and 8 assists a game for the Nets in 1998.
Cassell would find his most constant tenure at an NBA team, when he played for the Milwaukee Bucks from 1999-2003. He would become a great fit alongside Glenn Robinson and a young Ray Allen. Twice he would average 19.7 points a game in that era with the Bucks. His next destination was the Minnesota Timberwolves where Cassell would become an All-Star for the first time averaging 19.8 points and 7.3 assists in his first year at the Timberwolves in 2004. Cassell would also spend time at the Clippers and the Celtics before his career would end. Fittingly he would win his 3rd NBA ring playing for the Celtics in 2008. Sam Cassell should be remembered as a fantastic player in the NBA, with career averages of 15.7 points and 6 assists he is a true icon for the game of basketball.
Sam Cassell wore the numbers #10, #19, #20 and #28 across his career.
Taken with the 5th pick of the 1988 NBA Draft, by the Golden State Warriors, Mitch Richmond had an incredibly consistent NBA career. With a sensational Rookie season, Richmond averaged 23.1 points, 6.2 rebounds and 4.4 assists which would earn him Rookie Of The Year honours. Most players would kill to put up those kind of numbers at least once in their career, yet alone their first season in the NBA.
His next two seasons in Golden State, Richmond continued to be a solid performer averaging over 22 points a game. Richmond was a part of the trio dubbed ‘RUN TMC’ along side Chris Mullin and Tim Hardaway who brought flat out excitement to the Bay Area over the course of their 3 years together. In somewhat of a shock move Richmond was traded to the Sacramento Kings in 1991 after just 3 seasons at the Warriors, it would be a great move for the Kings who had just landed a legitimate superstar.
Richmond spent 7 seasons at the Kings, incredibly averaging over 20 points a game each of them. He would become a 6 x All-Star while playing in Sacramento and is arguably one of their all time greatest players. His best season scoring wise came in 1997, when he averaged 25.9 points a game. Richmond averaged over 20 points a game in his in his first 10 seasons in the NBA, a feat that not many can say they have achieved. Richmond was traded to Washington in 1998, he would spend 3 seasons there before playing his final year in the NBA for the Los Angeles Lakers. As a veteran, fittingly he would win a title there in his last season. Mitch Richmond is a true icon of the game and one of the most constant scorers you’d ever hope to see.
Richmond wore the numbers #23, #22 and #9 over his NBA career.
Richmond was inducted into the Hall Of Fame in 2014.