1969–70 Phoenix Suns season

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1969–70 Phoenix Suns season
Head coach Johnny "Red" Kerr,
Jerry Colangelo
General manager Jerry Colangelo
Owner(s) Richard Bloch
Arena Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum
Results
Record 39–43 (.476)
Place Division: 3rd (Western)
Playoff finish Lost in Semifinals to Los Angeles (3–4)

Stats @ Basketball-Reference.com
Radio KTAR
< 1968–69 1970–71 >

The 1969–70 Phoenix Suns season was the second season of the Phoenix Suns in the National Basketball Association (NBA). It was the first season, however, for eventual Hall of Famer Connie Hawkins, who was a star in the ABA before switching to the NBA to join the Suns. Head coach Johnny "Red" Kerr was replaced by general manager Jerry Colangelo after the Suns started 15–23. All home games were played at Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum.

Hawkins led the Suns in scoring with 24.6 points per game, which was also sixth in the league. He teamed with Dick Van Arsdale's 21.3 points to create the highest-scoring season for a Suns duo until the 1977–78 Suns season, when Paul Westphal and Walter Davis combined for 49.4 points.

After a 16–66 finish in 1968–69, Hawkins and the Suns made a 23-game improvement to 39–43, making their first playoff appearance in only their second season. Facing off against Wilt Chamberlain, Jerry West, Elgin Baylor and the Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Division Semifinals, the Suns took an improbable 3–1 lead, before falling to the Lakers in seven games.

Offseason[edit]

NBA Draft[edit]

Main article: 1969 NBA Draft
Round Pick Player Position Nationality College
1 2 Neal Walk Center  United States Florida
2 24 Gene Williams Forward  United States Kansas State
3 30 Floyd Kerr Guard  United States Colorado State
3 33 Lamar Green Forward  United States Morehead State
3 39 Lloyd Kerr Guard  United States Colorado State
4 41 Dennis Stewart Forward  United States Michigan
5 58 Rich Jones Forward  United States Memphis
6 72 Dan Sadlier Forward  United States Dayton
7 86 Bill Sweek Guard  United States UCLA
8 100 Bob Edwards Center  United States Arizona State
9 14 Steve Jennings Guard  United States USC
10 128 Rich Abrahamson Guard  United States Oregon
11 142 Fred Lind Forward  United States Duke
12 156 Bob Miller Forward  United States Toledo
13 169 Andy White Guard  United States UTEP
14 180 Marv Schmidt Guard  United States Western New Mexico
15 189 Bob Beamon  United States UTEP
16 195 Wayne Huckel Guard  United States Davidson
17 201 Howie Dickenman Center  United States Central Connecticut
18 207 Al Nuness Guard  United States Minnesota
19 212 Solomon Davis Forward  United States Kentucky State
20 216 Jim Plump Forward  United States Northern Arizona

Prior to the inception of the NBA Draft Lottery, the first pick in the draft was decided by a coin flip between the teams with the worst record in the league's two divisions. The NBA's two expansion teams from 1968, the Suns (16–66) and the Milwaukee Bucks (27–55), finished last in the Western Division and Eastern Division, respectively. Prior to the flip, Suns general manager Jerry Colangelo chose "heads", losing the first pick to the Bucks when the coin landed "tails".[1] The Bucks would select prized UCLA center Lew Alcindor (later Kareem Abdul-Jabbar) with the first pick. Alcindor, in three years at UCLA, led the Bruins to three national championships and an 88–2 record. Considered by many to be the greatest college basketball player of all-time,[2][3][4] Abdul-Jabbar would lead the Bucks to a championship in just his second season, and would eventually win six Most Valuable Player awards, six NBA Championships, and retire as the NBA's all-time leading scorer.

The Suns would use the second pick to select center Neal Walk from Florida. Walk averaged 25.2 points and 18.4 rebounds per game in his final two seasons with the Gators.[5] Walk would play five seasons with the Suns before being traded to the New Orleans Jazz in 1974. While overshadowed by Abdul-Jabbar, Walk was productive for the Suns, averaging a double-double in two consecutive seasons (20.2 points and 12.4 rebounds in 1972–73 and 16.8 points and 10.2 rebounds in 1973–74).[6] The only other draft pick who played for the franchise was Lamar Green, who, like Walk, would play five seasons with the Suns before being drafted by the Jazz in the 1974 Expansion Draft. "Leapin' Lamar" was known for his vertical leap and rebounding ability,[7] averaging a career high 9.3 rebounds per game in 1972–73 while playing 25.6 minutes a game.[8] In the fifteenth round, the Suns selected Bob Beamon, a famous track and field athlete who broke Jesse Owens' 25-year world record in the long jump at the 1968 Summer Olympics.[9]

Free agency[edit]

Despite losing the number one draft pick to the Bucks, the Suns would win another significant coin flip. The Suns bested the Seattle SuperSonics for the rights to ABA star Connie Hawkins. In his freshmen year with Iowa, Hawkins was implicated, without evidence, in a point shaving scandal, which led to his expulsion from the university. While eligible, Hawkins went undrafted in the 1964, 1965 and 1966 NBA drafts, before being officially barred from the league.[10] Hawkins would star in the upstart American Basketball League (ABL), winning the Most Valuable Player Award in the ABL's inaugural 1961–62 season.[11] Hawkins would then spend four years with the Harlem Globetrotters, before joining the Pittsburgh Pipers of the upstart American Basketball Association (ABA) in 1967. Hawkins led the league in scoring, while leading the Pipers to the first ABA championship, and receiving the ABA's first Most Valuable Player Award in 1968.[12] In 1966, Hawkins' attorneys filed a $6 million anti-trust lawsuit against the NBA. In 1969, a Time Magazine article absolved Hawkins from involvement in the point shaving scandal, leading the NBA to pay a $1.3 million settlement and allow Hawkins into the league.[13] "The Hawk" would become the Suns first star, making the All-NBA First Team in 1970, and appearing in four consecutive All-Star Games. On November 19, 1976, Hawkins became the first player in Suns franchise history to have his number retired.[14] On September 11, 1969, the Suns waived swingman Bob Warlick. Warlick would sign as a free agent with the Los Angeles Stars of the ABA.[15] On October 1, 1969, Dave "Big Daddy D" Lattin was waived. Lattin would later sign with the Pittsburgh Condors of the ABA.[16]

Trades[edit]

On May 8, 1969, the Suns traded Gary Gregor to the Atlanta Hawks for Paul Silas. Gregor, the Suns first draft pick, was named to the All-Rookie Team in 1969 after averaging 11.1 points and 8.9 rebounds per game.[17] Silas would join Connie Hawkins and Jim Fox to form a formidable starting frontcourt that would combine to average over 50 points and 29 rebounds a game. As a Sun, Silas would become an All-Star, and be selected to two All-Defensive teams.[18] The Suns also traded the rights to expansion draft picks Bill Melchionni and Bumper Tormohlen for a 1970 second-round draft pick (Joe DePre) and a 1970 third-round draft pick (Vann Williford). Neither pick would play for the franchise.[19]

Roster[edit]

Phoenix Suns roster
Players Coaches
Pos. # Nat. Name Height Weight DOB (Y-M-D) From
F 44 United States Chambers, Jerry 6 ft 5 in (1.96 m) 185 lb (84 kg) 1943-07-18 Utah
C 31 United States Fox, Jim 6 ft 10 in (2.08 m) 230 lb (104 kg) 1943-04-07 South Carolina
G 25 United States Goodrich, Gail 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m) 170 lb (77 kg) 1943-04-23 UCLA
F 16 United States Green, Lamar 6 ft 7 in (2.01 m) 210 lb (95 kg) 1947-03-22 Morehead State
G 23 United States Harris, Art 6 ft 4 in (1.93 m) 185 lb (84 kg) 1947-01-13 Stanford
F 42 United States Hawkins, Connie 6 ft 8 in (2.03 m) 210 lb (95 kg) 1942-07-17 Iowa
F 11 United States Johnson, Neil 6 ft 7 in (2.01 m) 220 lb (100 kg) 1943-04-17 Creighton
G/F 40 United States McKenzie, Stan 6 ft 5 in (1.96 m) 195 lb (88 kg) 1944-10-06 NYU
F 29 United States Silas, Paul 6 ft 7 in (2.01 m) 220 lb (100 kg) 1943-07-12 Creighton
G/F 5 United States Van Arsdale, Dick 6 ft 5 in (1.96 m) 210 lb (95 kg) 1943-02-22 Indiana
C 41 United States Walk, Neal 6 ft 10 in (2.08 m) 220 lb (100 kg) 1948-07-29 Florida
Head coach


Athletic trainer(s)

Legend
  • (C) Team captain
  • (DP) Unsigned draft pick
  • (FA) Free agent
  • (S) Suspended
  • Injured Injured

Depth chart[edit]

Pos. Starter Bench Reserve Inactive
C Jim Fox Neal Walk
PF Connie Hawkins Lamar Green Neil Johnson
SF Paul Silas Jerry Chambers
SG Dick Van Arsdale Stan McKenzie
PG Gail Goodrich Art Harris

Regular season[edit]

Standings[edit]

Western Division W L PCT GB Home Road Neutral Div
x-Atlanta Hawks 48 34 .585 25–13 18–16 5–5 24–16
x-Los Angeles Lakers 46 36 .561 2 27–14 17–21 2–1 24–16
x-Chicago Bulls 39 43 .476 9 23–10 9–25 7–8 22–18
x-Phoenix Suns 39 43 .476 9 22–15 12–25 5–3 24–16
Seattle SuperSonics 36 46 .439 12 22–14 10–26 4–6 14–26
San Francisco Warriors 30 52 .366 18 16–20 14–26 0–6 15–25
San Diego Rockets 27 55 .329 21 21–17 4–33 2–5 17–23


Game log[edit]

1969–70 game log

Total: 39–43 (Home: 25–16; Road: 14–27)

1969–70 season schedule

Team-by-team results[edit]

Opponent Home Road Total All-time record Suns leading scorer Opp. leading scorer
Atlanta Hawks 3–0 1–2 4–2 4–8 (.333%) Connie Hawkins (25.8) Joe Caldwell (24.0)
Baltimore Bullets 2–1 1–2 3–3 3–9 (.250%) Dick Van Arsdale (22.7) Earl Monroe (20.2)
Boston Celtics 2–1 2–1 4–2 4–8 (.333%) Dick Van Arsdale (25.5) John Havlicek (24.8)
Chicago Bulls 2–2 0–3 2–5 4–9 (.308%) Dick Van Arsdale (25.4) Bob Love (27.1)
Cincinnati Royals 2–1 1–2 3–3 5–7 (.417%) Connie Hawkins (26.5) Oscar Robertson (24.7)
Detroit Pistons 2–1 1–2 3–3 5–7 (.417%) Dick Van Arsdale (23.0) Dave Bing (22.2)
Los Angeles Lakers 3–0 1–3 4–3 4–9 (.308%) Connie Hawkins (22.4) Elgin Baylor (29.0)
Milwaukee Bucks 0–3 0–3 0–6 2–12 (.143%) Connie Hawkins (26.5) Lew Alcindor (25.8)
New York Knicks 0–3 0–3 0–6 1–11 (.083%) Connie Hawkins (28.0) Willis Reed (27.3)
Philadelphia 76ers 1–2 1–2 2–4 3–9 (.250%) Dick Van Arsdale (21.5) Billy Cunningham (25.8)
San Diego Rockets 4–0 3–0 7–0 8–7 (.533%) Connie Hawkins (25.7) Elvin Hayes (28.7)
San Francisco Warriors 2–1 1–2 3–3 5–7 (.417%) Connie Hawkins (24.5) Jerry Lucas (19.5)
Seattle SuperSonics 2–1 2–2 4–3 7–6 (.538%) Connie Hawkins (29.9) Bob Rule (24.3)

Playoffs[edit]

Game log[edit]

1970 playoff game log
1970 playoff schedule

Awards and honors[edit]

All-Star[edit]

  • Connie Hawkins was voted as a starter for the Western Conference in the All-Star Game. Hawkins led all Western Conference forwards in voting. It was his first All-Star selection in the NBA.
  • Dick Van Arsdale was selected as a reserve for the Western Conference in the All-Star Game. It was his second consecutive All-Star selection.

Season[edit]

Player Statistics[edit]

Legend
  GP Games played   GS Games started
 MPG  Minutes per game  FG%  Field-goal percentage
 FT%  Free-throw percentage  RPG  Rebounds per game
 APG  Assists per game  PPG  Points per game

Season[edit]

Player GP MPG FG% FT% RPG APG PPG
Jerry Chambers 79 14.4 .430 .728 2.8 0.7 8.3
Jim Fox 81 25.2 .524 .770 7.0 1.1 12.9
Gail Goodrich 81 39.9 .454 .808^ 4.2 7.5 20.0
Lamar Green 58 12.1 .432 .586 4.8 0.3 4.2
Art Harris* 76 18.1 .395 .656 1.9 2.8 7.8
Connie Hawkins 81 40.9 .490 .779 10.4 4.8 24.6
Neil Johnson 28 4.9 .333 .667 1.7 0.4 1.7
Stan McKenzie 58 9.1 .393 .795 1.6 0.9 3.8
Paul Silas 78 36.4 .464 .607 11.7 2.7 12.8
Dick Snyder* 6 24.5 .489 .875^ 2.5 1.5 8.5
Dick Van Arsdale 77 38.5 .508 .798 3.4 4.4 21.3
Neal Walk 82 17.0 .470 .640 5.5 1.0 8.2

* - Stats with the Suns.
^ - Minimum 70 games played.

Playoffs[edit]

Player GP GS MPG FG% FT% RPG APG PPG
Jerry Chambers 7 0 10.4 .378 .625 2.4 1.0 4.7
Jim Fox 6 6 29.0 .362 .708 10.7 1.3 11.2
Gail Goodrich 7 7 37.9 .475 .857 4.6 5.4 20.3
Lamar Green 6 0 11.5 .286 .400 3.8 0.8 3.0
Art Harris 7 0 12.7 .357 .000 1.9 1.7 4.3
Connie Hawkins 7 7 46.9 .413 .818 13.9 5.9 25.4
Neil Johnson 2 0 3.5 .333 . 2.0 0.0 1.0
Stan McKenzie 7 0 10.1 .276 .800 1.3 0.4 2.9
Paul Silas 7 7 40.9 .422 .656 15.9 4.3 16.1
Dick Van Arsdale 7 7 36.4 .430 .879 2.6 4.1 16.4
Neal Walk 5 1 12.6 .395 .750 7.0 0.4 8.0

Transactions[edit]

Trades[edit]

May 8, 1969
To Atlanta Hawks---- To Phoenix Suns----
September 13, 1969
To Philadelphia 76ers---- To Phoenix Suns----
September 20, 1969
To Atlanta Hawks---- To Phoenix Suns----
October 26, 1969
To Seattle SuperSonics---- To Phoenix Suns----

Free agents[edit]