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!
We are going back to the glory days of the Knicks. Walt ‘Clyde’ Frazier was taken with the 5th pick of the 1967 NBA Draft, by the New York Knicks. In his Rookie season Frazier averaged 9.0 points per game and 4 assists. With more minutes in his second season, Frazier started to flourish lifting his averages to 17.5 points, 7.9 assists and 6.2 rebounds a game. Frazier had arrived!
The 1969-70 season would see the Knicks win the NBA Championship. Widely regarded as one of the NBA’s greatest ever teams assembled, Frazier at Point-Guard was the general of the team and would become an instant superstar/rockstar of the league. That famous season, he averaged 20.9 points, 8.2 assists and 6 rebounds a game. ‘The Garden’ was jam-packed to watch the Knicks every game, as groupies and fans would swamp Walt ‘Clyde’ Frazier, to see the latest fashion he would wear to each game.
Known as one of the most stylish players on and off the court, Frazier continued to become one of the leagues best Point-Guards, and it was in 1971 that the Knicks would acquire via trade, Earl ‘The Pearl’ Monroe. Frazier and Monroe would form one of the greatest ever backcourts, simply dismantling teams with their high basketball IQs and brilliant ball handling skills. The Knicks would again become the NBA Champions of the 1972-73 season, and once again Walt Frazier would have a sensational season averaging 21.1 points, 5.9 assists and 7.3 rebounds a game.
Frazier was a 7x All-Star, and one of the greatest ever Knicks. Surprisingly to Frazier, he was traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers in 1977, a move that Frazier did not approve of. Frazier would play 3 years at the Cavs before retiring in 1980. He finished with career numbers of 18.9 points, 6.1 assists and 5.9 rebounds. Walt ‘Clyde’ Fazier will be remembered as one of the true greats to ever play the game.
Watch highlights of Frazier here:
Frazier scores 36 points
The Knicks retired Frazier’s number #10 Jersey in 1979.
Frazier is still a commentator to this day for the MSG network.
When is comes to NBA villains, I don’t think they come any bigger than Bill Laimbeer. He was passionately disliked by not only NBA fans, but NBA players a like. There was however one place that Laimbeer was loved, and that was the city of Detroit. Laimbeer was drafted with the 65th pick of the 1979 draft, by the Cleveland Cavaliers. His rookie season produced 11.6 points-per game and 10.1 rebounds. His second season would see those numbers increase, and he caught the eye of another NBA team in the league.
The Detroit Pistons were looking for some more grunt and physicality, and that is exactly what they saw in the raw Laimbeer. They managed to acquire him in a trade at the end of the 1982 season. Laimbeer would make an immediate impact becoming an All-Star in his first season at the Pistons. He worked perfectly with the teams new point guard, a man by the name of Isiah Thomas. Laimbeer was a competitive beast, and would lead the league in rebounds in 1986. He appeared in the total of 4 All-Star games and consistently put of double-doubles for the Pistons.
Two things you can’t deny about Bill Laimbeer, was his toughness and durability. An example of this was the fact that he played in 10 straight seasons for the Pistons, where he only missed a total of 3 regular season games. Statistically Laimbeer’s best season came during the 1985-86 season where he averaged 16.6 points per game and 13.1 rebounds. Laimbeer also started to become a 3-point threat as his career progressed, which was impressive for a man who stood at 6-11 and weighed 111 kg. His career 3-point percentage was 32%. His field goal percentage was an impressive 49%.
Click on the link for highlights:
Bill Laimbeer highlights
One thing that Bill Laimbeer developed across his NBA career was the reputation for being a thug. Players and fans alike would consider him a dirty player, who was ruining the game of basketball. Did that bother Laimbeer? No! He embraced the role of the villain, along with his teammates which brought on the inception of the name ‘Bad Boys’. Bill Laimbeer would show no mercy on the basketball court. You would have to earn every point when you lined up against the Detroit Pistons. This style would help see the Pistons win back to back NBA championships in 1989 and 1990. They remain in infamy as the ‘Bad Boy’s’ and Laimbeer was a huge part of their legacy. Love him or hate him, Bill Laimbeer was an icon of the game. Loved by his fans and teammates, and loathed by the rest. As a basketball player, Laimbeer’s stats stack up as a very solid NBA player, who was rebounding machine and a constant double-double performer.
Bill Laimbeer was a 4 x All-Star.
Bill Laimbeer currently coaches the New York Liberty in the WNBA.