1971–72 Phoenix Suns season

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1971–72 Phoenix Suns season
Head coach Cotton Fitzsimmons
General manager Jerry Colangelo
Owner(s) Richard Bloch
Arena Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum
Results
Record 49–33 (.598)
Place Division: 3rd (Midwest)
Conference: 5th (Western)
Playoff finish Did not qualify

Stats @ Basketball-Reference.com
Radio KTAR
< 1970–71 1972–73 >

The 1971–72 Phoenix Suns season was the fourth season for the Phoenix Suns of the National Basketball Association. With a 49–33 record, the Suns hold the NBA record as the team with the best winning percentage to not make the playoffs. The team broke the record they set the previous year with a 48–34 finish. Head coach Cotton Fitzsimmons led the Suns in their debut season as members of the Pacific division. All home games were played at Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum.

Paul Silas again led the team in rebounds, averaging 11.9 per game, while also leading the Suns in assists with a 4.3 average. Connie Hawkins's 21 points a game led the club, while Dick Van Arsdale was second with his 19.7 average. Silas averaged 17.5 for the season, while both Clem Haskins and Neal Walk averaged 15.7.

Draft picks[edit]

Main article: 1971 NBA Draft
Round Pick Player Position Nationality College
1 14 John Roche Guard  United States South Carolina
3 48 Dennis "Mo" Layton Guard  United States USC
4 65 Walt Szczerbiak Forward  United States George Washington
5 82 Ken Gardner Forward  United States Utah
5 84 Bob Kissane Center  United States Holy Cross
6 99 William Graham Forward  United States Kentucky State
7 116 Ralph Brateris Forward  United States Trenton State
8 133 Vernell Ellzy Forward  United States Florida State
9 149 Mike Johnson Guard  United States Kansas State
10 165 Tom Newell Guard  United States Hawaii
11 179 Paul Leitz Forward  United States Western Carolina
12 192 Floyd Mason Forward  United States Alcorn A&M
13 204 Ron Dorsey Guard  United States Tennessee State
14 213 Ken Booker Guard  United States UCLA
15 222 Curtis Carter Forward  United States Bishop

Roster[edit]

Phoenix Suns roster
Players Coaches
Pos. # Nat. Name Height Weight DOB (Y-M-D) From
C 31 United States Counts, Mel 7 ft 0 in (2.13 m) 230 lb (104 kg) 1941-10-16 Oregon State
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
G 11 United States Haskins, Clem 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m) 195 lb (88 kg) 1943-07-11 Western Kentucky
F/C 42 United States Hawkins, Connie 6 ft 8 in (2.03 m) 210 lb (95 kg) 1942-07-17 Iowa
G 1 United States Layton, Dennis 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m) 180 lb (82 kg) 1948-12-24 Southern California
F/C 34 United States Moore, Otto 6 ft 11 in (2.11 m) 205 lb (93 kg) 1946-08-27 Texas-Pan Am
G 33 United States Scott, Charlie 6 ft 5 in (1.96 m) 175 lb (79 kg) 1948-12-15 North Carolina
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
G 10 United States Webb, Jeff 6 ft 4 in (1.93 m) 170 lb (77 kg) 1948-07-06 Kansas State
G/F 25 United States Wetzel, John Injured 6 ft 5 in (1.96 m) 190 lb (86 kg) 1944-10-22 Virginia Tech
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 Neal Walk Mel Counts
PF Connie Hawkins Otto Moore
SF Paul Silas Lamar Green John Wetzel Injured
SG Dick Van Arsdale Charlie Scott
PG Clem Haskins Mo Layton Art Harris

Regular season[edit]

Standings[edit]

Midwest Division W L PCT GB Home Road Neutral Div
y-Milwaukee Bucks 63 19 .768 31–5 27–12 5–2 13–5
x-Chicago Bulls 57 25 .695 6 29–12 26–12 2–1 12–6
Phoenix Suns 49 33 .598 14 30–11 19–20 0–2 7–11
Detroit Pistons 26 56 .317 37 16–25 9–30 1–1 4–14
# Western Conference
Team W L PCT
1 z-Los Angeles Lakers 69 13 .841
2 y-Milwaukee Bucks 63 19 .768
3 x-Chicago Bulls 57 25 .695
4 x-Golden State Warriors 51 31 .622
5 Phoenix Suns 49 33 .598
6 Seattle SuperSonics 47 35 .573
7 Houston Rockets 34 48 .415
8 Detroit Pistons 26 56 .317
9 Portland Trail Blazers 18 64 .220


Game log[edit]

1971–72 game log
Total: 49–33 (Home: 30–11; Road: 19–22)
1971–72 season schedule

Team-by-team results[edit]

Opponent Home Road Total All-time record Suns leading scorer Opp. leading scorer
Atlanta Hawks 2–1 0–2 2–3 10–12 (.455%) Connie Hawkins (21.2) Lou Hudson (26.8)
Baltimore Bullets 1–2 0–2 1–4 6–16 (.273%) Dick Van Arsdale (23.6) Archie Clark (24.6)
Boston Celtics 3–0 0–2 3–2 10–12 (.455%) Connie Hawkins (28.2) John Havlicek (27.2)
Buffalo Braves 2–0 2–0 4–0 7–1 (.875%) Connie Hawkins (20.3) Walt Hazzard (19.3)
Chicago Bulls 0–3 1–2 1–5 8–17 (.320%) Paul Silas (19.8) Bob Love (26.7)
Cincinnati Royals 2–0 1–2 3–2 12–10 (.545%) Dick Van Arsdale (23.6) Tom Van Arsdale (23.4)
Cleveland Cavaliers 2–0 2–0 4–0 8–0 (1.000%) Dick Van Arsdale (21.0) John Johnson (17.3)
Detroit Pistons 2–1 2–1 4–2 13–11 (.542%) Connie Hawkins (20.3) Bob Lanier (25.7)
Golden State Warriors 2–0 1–2 3–2 11–11 (.500%) Clem Haskins (18.6) Nate Thurmond (23.6)
Houston Rockets 1–1 2–0 3–1 13–12 (.520%) Dick Van Arsdale (19.8) Elvin Hayes (24.0)
Los Angeles Lakers 2–1 0–3 2–4 10–15 (.400%) Dick Van Arsdale (21.2) Gail Goodrich (28.3)
Milwaukee Bucks 1–2 1–2 2–4 6–20 (.231%) Connie Hawkins (28.2) Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (37.8)
New York Knicks 2–0 2–1 4–1 6–16 (.273%) Connie Hawkins (24.6) Walt Frazier (23.4)
Philadelphia 76ers 3–0 1–1 4–1 9–13 (.409%) Connie Hawkins (22.0) Bob Rule (21.7)
Portland Trail Blazers 3–0 3–0 6–0 10–0 (1.000%) Connie Hawkins (22.2) Sidney Wicks (25.8)
Seattle SuperSonics 2–0 1–2 3–2 13–10 (.565%) Connie Hawkins (23.4) Spencer Haywood (29.8)

Awards and honors[edit]

All-Star[edit]

  • Connie Hawkins was selected as a reserve for the Western Conference in the All-Star Game. It was his third consecutive All-Star selection.
  • Paul Silas was selected as a reserve for the Western Conference in the All-Star Game. It was his first All-Star selection.

Season[edit]

Player statistics[edit]

Legend
  GP Games played  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
Mel Counts 76 11.9 .427 .721 3.4 1.3 5.2
Lamar Green 67 14.8 .446 .733 5.2 0.7 5.0
Art Harris 21 6.9 .329 .429 0.6 0.9 2.6
Clem Haskins 79 31.1 .483 .853^ 3.4 3.7 15.7
Connie Hawkins 76 36.8 .459 .807 8.3 3.9 21.0
Mo Layton 80 23.1 .424 .739 2.1 3.1 9.1
Otto Moore 81 20.0 .436 .603 6.7 1.1 7.6
Charlie Scott* 6 29.5 .425 .810 3.8 4.3 18.8
Paul Silas 80 38.5 .470 .773 11.9 4.3 17.5
Fred Taylor* 13 5.3 .222 .308 1.3 0.5 1.2
Dick Van Arsdale 82 37.8 .463 .845^ 4.1 3.6 19.7
Neal Walk 81 26.4 .479 .744 8.2 1.9 15.7
Jeff Webb* 27 4.8 .477 .500 0.6 0.6 2.5
John Wetzel 51 8.2 .378 .800 1.3 1.1 1.7

* - Stats with the Suns.
^ - Minimum 350 free throw attempts.

Transactions[edit]

Trades[edit]

April 2, 1971
To Detroit Pistons---- To Phoenix Suns----
August 13, 1971
To Cleveland Cavaliers---- To Phoenix Suns----
December 27, 1971
To Cincinnati Royals---- To Phoenix Suns----
March 14, 1971
To Boston Celtics----
  • Future considerations
  • Cash considerations
    (United States Paul Silas was sent to Boston in September to complete trade)
To Phoenix Suns----

Free agents[edit]