Luc Longley

Taken with the 7th pick of the 1991 NBA Draft, by the Minnesota Timberwolves, Luc Longley stood at 7 foot 2 from the shores of Australia. His Rookie season saw him average 4.3 points and 3.9 rebounds a game. His first 3 seasons in the league were a little underwhelming whilst playing for the Timberwolves, however in a trade to the Chicago Bulls in 1994 would change his career for ever.

Australia’s most famous big man is largely considered to be Andrew Bogut, who was a number 1 Draft Pick. Longley however, was a pioneer for Australian basketball and a massive part of the Bulls second 3-peat. Longley was the pivotal big man that Jordan and his Bulls required averaging 9.1 points, 5.1 rebounds and 1.4 blocks a game for the Bulls 95-96 Championship season. The next Championship year 96-97, he almost put up identical numbers. His best season would come when the Bulls completed the 3-peat in 97-98, when he averaged an impressive 11.4 points, 5.9 rebounds and 1.1 blocks a game.

luc-bulls

Before Longley’s career finished he spend some time with the Phoenix Suns and New York Nicks, but ultimately nothing could top winning a 3-peat of Championships and playing along side the great Michael Jordan. Longley was a great story for Australian basketball and a durable big man of the NBA.

Fun Facts

Longley wore the number #13 his whole career in the NBA.

Longley is a member of the Australian Basketball Hall Of Fame.

Advertisements

Baron Davis

Taken with the 3rd pick of the 1999 NBA Draft, by the Charlotte Hornets, Baron Davis’s Rookie year was a bit of a learning curve. He played all 82 games but just saw a total of 18.6 minutes a game coming off the bench. He averaged 5.9 points and 3.8 assists a game. His second season however, Davis would start all 82 games putting up numbers of 13.8 points, 7.3 assists and 5 rebounds. From that moment on Baron Davis would become an excitement machine that had the NBA a buzz with his sensational style of basketball.

In just his 3rd season, Davis would become an All-Star for the Hornets, putting up sensational numbers of 18.1 points, 8.5 assists and 4.3 rebounds. He also participated in the 2001 Slam Dunk Contest that year. As a player Davis had great ball control and a strong core that allowed him to finish strong at the rim. He had a reasonable 3-point stroke as well shooting 32% across his career.  Davis’s best scoring year for the Hornets came in 2004, where he put up 22.9 points a game, becoming an All-Star once again.

During the 2004/05 season Davis was traded to the Golden State Warriors, this move would help build the nucleus for one of the most exciting Warriors teams to watch. In particular the team dubbed ‘We Believe’ in 2007, I remember being one of the most exciting brands of basketball I’ve seen from an offensive standpoint. Davis was the general of that team which knocked off the number 1 seeded Mavericks in the Playoffs first round. Davis averaged 20.1 points and 8.1 assists that season, and threw down one of the most iconic dunks in NBA history.

goldenstatewarriorsvdallasmavericksgame1awwefeheo8l

Watch Davis’s dunk on Kirilenko here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8w_1ZEk4mds

That Golden State team came and went, which saw Davis traded to the Clippers for the 2008/09 NBA season. Things in Los Angeles, just didn’t seem to click for Davis, he still put up some solid numbers and had some more flashy highlights to add to his reel, however the chemistry of the Clippers team just wasn’t there. He was then traded to Cleveland followed by New York over the course of the 2011/2012 seasons. Tragically Davis suffered a horrific knee injury whilst playing for the Knicks, which effectively ended his career at NBA level. Davis was a pleasure to watch on the basketball court and a true icon to the game.

Fun Facts

Davis led the league in steals twice in 2004 and 2007.

Davis wore the numbers #1, #5 and #85 during his career.

Walt Williams

With the nickname ‘The Wizard’ you have to be able to do some extraordinary things on the basketball court, and Walt Williams could do just that. Taken with the 7th pick of the 1992 NBA Draft, by the Sacramento Kings, Williams was league ready and it showed in his Rookie season where he averaged 17 points in just over 28 minutes a game. Standing at 6 foot 8, Williams could stretch the defence with his 3-point shooting prowess and length. Known for his iconic look of the long white socks up to his knees, Williams began to make a name for himself at the Kings.

walt

In his 3rd season, he was given a starting role and flourished averaging 16.4 points per game. Williams had some nice years with the Kings, however such is the nature of the NBA, he was traded to Miami during the 95-96 season, before again being traded to Toronto the very next year. There he would again put up similar stats to his earlier years scoring 16.4 points per game, then injuries hit derailing his time in Toronto.

Williams would spend time at Portland, Houston and Dallas before his career finished in 2003. Williams hit a total of 976, 3-pointers during is career at almost 38%. Walt ‘The Wizard’ Williams had a more than serviceable career in the NBA, particularly in his early years when he had some good seasons with the Kings, he also made some headlines during his career, perhaps his biggest was when he punched Shawn Bradley!

Fun Facts

Williams wore the numbers #42 and #43 during his NBA career.

Williams participated in the 1997, 3-Point shootout at the All-Star Weekend.

Glenn Robinson

One of the most consistent performers in the Milwaukee Buck’s history; Glenn Robinson was drafted with the 1st pick of the 1994 NBA Draft. His Rookie season did not disappoint with Glenn ‘Big Dog’ Robinson averaging 21.9 points, 6.4 rebounds and 2.5 assists a game.

Robinson could just about do it all on the offensive end, with an arsenal of old school mixed with the new moves. He was so offensively gifted that he averaged over 20 points a game for the Bucks in 7 of the 8 seasons he spent at a franchise. Robinson’s best scoring season came in 1998, when he averaged 23.4 points a game. Robinson’s best years in Milwaukee however, came when he teamed up with a young Ray Allen and Sam Cassell to form the Milwaukee ‘Big 3’. They made it to the Eastern conference finals in 2001, and Robinson would become a 2 x All-Star during that stretch. Robinson perhaps went under the radar a little during his NBA career, purely because he wasn’t a flashy player, he simply went out on the court and got the job done.

d60876c176871012a54f159b2a730010

His time at Milwaukee came to an end in 2002, when he was traded to the Atlanta Hawks. He once again put up numbers of 20 + points pre game, and was then traded the following season to the 76ers, before again finding himself traded to the Spurs in his final season in the NBA. Fittingly he earned himself a Championship Ring as the Spurs would become the 2005 NBA Champions. Glenn Robinson had an extremely good career in the NBA, and will go down as one of the Bucks all time greats. All you have to do is look at his career stat line to know that ‘Big Dog’ was an icon of the game.

Fun Facts

Robinson wore the numbers #13, #31 and #3 during his career.

Stacey Augmon

Taken with the 9th pick of the 1991 NBA Draft by the Atlanta Hawks, Stacey Augmon, had a very nice Rookie season, playing all 82 games averaging 13.3 points and 5.1 rebounds a game, which earned him first team All-Rookie honours. He was given the nickname ‘Plastic Man’ due to his athletic ability to stretch and dunk on people. I remember the ‘Plastic Man’ featuring regularly in the ‘Top 10, NBA Court-side Countdown’ of the early 90s.

Have a look at the ‘Plastic Man’s’ highlights below:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=advAxdbCdRU

hwk_augmon_classic4

In his second year, Augmon lifted his scoring averages to 14 points per game, and provided a march needed spark and assistance to the Dominique led Atlanta Hawks. His career best year occurred in 1994, with a stat line of 14.8 points, 4.8 rebounds and 1.8 steals. Augmon provided plenty at athletic highlights during his time in Atlanta, however his time there would come to an end after 5 seasons, when he was traded to the Detroit Pistons at the beginning of the 1996-97 season, and he was again traded mid-season to Portland.

From that moment on, Augmon would never see anywhere near the minutes he got in Atlanta which directly resulted in his numbers dropping significantly. To give you an idea he went from averaging 12.7 points per game in his last season with Atlanta to 4.7 points at his new destination. His stats would never recover from that moment on as Augmon was resigned to playing minimal minutes for the rest of his career. He spent some time playing for the Hornets and then the Magic before he retired in 2006. With all that being said, Augmon still had a good 5 seasons at Atlanta, providing many highlights for Hawks fans and early 90s NBA fans alike.

Fun Facts

Augmon wore the number #2 throughout his whole NBA career.

Augmon was a participant in the 1992 Slam Dunk Contest.

Ben Wallace

It’s rare that undrafted players forge successful careers in the NBA, but a man by the name of Ben Wallace went beyond that. He is a potential future Hall Of Famer and one of the greatest defensive players the game has ever seen. It didn’t exactly go to plan at first though and here’s why. Signed as a free agent by the Washington Bullets in 1996, Wallace’s first season saw him only manage 34 games with averages of 1.1 points, 1.7 rebounds and 0.3 blocks per game. The next two seasons at Washington, Wallace started to show some promise particularly on the defensive end with rebounding averages of 4.8, 8.3 rebounds a game with limited minutes. He was traded to Orlando the for the 1999-2000 season and put up similar numbers.

Wallace’s career would change dramatically when he was traded to the Detroit Pistons for the 2000-2001 NBA season, he immediately made an impact in with his first year at the Pistons with averages of 6.4 points, 13.2 rebounds and 2.3 blocks. The Piston’s faithful began to love ‘Big Ben’ and what would transpire over the next  6 seasons, was the 2nd coming of Dennis Rodman! Wallace would become a defensive machine putting up crazy rebounding numbers, with his career high coming in 2003, when he averaged an amazing 15.4 rebounds and 3.2 blocks a game. This would earn him his first All-Star appearance. Wallace had four straight All-Star appearances, but no doubt the best moment of his career at the Pistons came in 2003-2004 season with the Pistons becoming NBA Champions, and Wallace certainly brought back memories of the ‘Bad Boys’ with his tenacious never say die style of play.

ben-wallace

Wallace was traded to Chicago in 2008 and then to Cleveland in 2009, by this stage with an ageing body, Wallace’s numbers were well down on his glory years, but fittingly he would be traded back to the Pistons where would finish his career at a franchise that will remember him as one of the all time great defensive specialists, he retired in 2012.

Fun Facts

Ben Wallace’s #3 Jersey has been retired by the Detroit Pistons.

Ben Wallace was a 4 x Defensive Player Of The Year.

LaPhonso Ellis

Drafted with the 5th pick of the 1992 NBA Draft, by the Denver Nuggets. LaPhonso Ellis had a solid Rookie season averaging 14.7 points and 9.1 rebounds per game, which earned him a spot on the 1992–93 All-Rookie first team. His stocks would rise as in his second season he put up impressive numbers of 15.4 points and 8.6 rebounds. It appeared that the Nuggets had found a player who they could build a team around for the future.

Cruelly in his 3rd season Ellis was struck down with injury and only managed 6 games. He would play a total of 6 seasons at the Denver Nuggets, with his most impressive season coming in 96-97 averaging 21.9 points and 7 rebounds a game. Ellis certainly made some shock waves at Denver, forming a good combination with Dikembe Mutombo, that helped the Nuggets experience some playoff success.

lellis

Ellis would be traded to the Atlanta Hawks for the 1999 NBA season. His first year there his stats dropped considerably, scoring 10.2 points and 5.5 rebounds a game. Unfortunately Ellis could never rediscover the form that had him touted as an exciting prospect in his early years at the Denver Nuggets. His last few seasons saw him play for the Timberwolves and Heat before he retired in 2003. Ellis finished with career stats of 11.9 points and 6.5 rebounds a game. The career of LaPhonso Ellis certainly had some great early years in Denver, I remember his hype as he entered the league, he even found himself on the classic arcade game ‘NBA Jam’ as a player option along side Mutombo. Ultimately perhaps injuries contributed to his career falling away, but either way Ellis had some good solid years in the NBA.

laphonsonbajam

Fun Facts:

Ellis wore the numbers #20 and #3 during his career.