1968–69 Phoenix Suns season

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1968–69 Phoenix Suns season
Head coach Johnny "Red" Kerr
General manager Jerry Colangelo
Owner(s) Richard Bloch
Arena Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum
Results
Record 16–66 (.195)
Place Division: 7th (Western)
Playoff finish Did not qualify

Stats @ Basketball-Reference.com
Radio KTAR
1969–70 >

The 1968–69 Phoenix Suns season was the inaugural season for the Phoenix Suns of the National Basketball Association. Head coach Red Kerr led the franchise to its first win in their debut game, over the Seattle SuperSonics. The Suns lost more games in their initial season than in any year since, and did not have a winning record against any other team. They played all their home games in the Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum.

Dick Van Arsdale was the franchise's first All-Star selection when he was selected to play in the 1969 All-Star Game. He was the team's second leading scorer at 21 points per game, behind eventual Hall of Fame member Gail Goodrich, who averaged 23.8, the seventh-highest in the league for the season. Goodrich was selected to replace an injured Jerry West in the All-Star Game.

Offseason[edit]

NBA Expansion Draft[edit]

Player Position Nationality Former team
John Barnhill Guard  United States San Diego Rockets
Em Bryant Guard  United States New York Knicks
Gail Goodrich Guard  United States Los Angeles Lakers
Dennis Hamilton Forward  United States Los Angeles Lakers
Neil Johnson Forward  United States New York Knicks
Dave Lattin Forward  United States San Francisco Warriors
Paul Long Guard  United States Detroit Pistons
Stan McKenzie Forward  United States Baltimore Bullets
McCoy McLemore Forward  United States Chicago Bulls
Bill Melchionni Guard  United States Philadelphia 76ers
Dave Schellhase Guard  United States Chicago Bulls
Dick Snyder Guard  United States Atlanta Hawks
Craig Spitzer Center  United States Chicago Bulls
Bumper Tormohlen Center  United States Atlanta Hawks
Dick Van Arsdale Forward  United States New York Knicks
Roland West Guard  United States Baltimore Bullets
John Wetzel Forward  United States Los Angeles Lakers
George Wilson Center  United States Seattle SuperSonics

The Suns participated in the NBA's fourth expansion draft along with the Milwaukee Bucks, the other expansion team that joined the league in 1968. Each of the league's other 12 teams protected seven of their top players, with the remaining unprotected players available in the draft. The two expansion teams selected three players from each team, totaling 18 selections each.

The Suns received the first, fourth and fifth picks, while the Bucks, which had not yet chosen their team name, received the second and third picks. The Suns' first selection was swingman Dick Van Arsdale of the New York Knicks. The Bucks then selected center Wayne Embry of the Boston Celtics, and power forward Fred Hetzel of the San Francisco Warriors. The Suns rounded out the top five by picking point guard Gail Goodrich of the Los Angeles Lakers and shooting guard Dick Snyder of the Atlanta Hawks.[1]

NBA Draft[edit]

Round Pick Player Position Nationality College
1 8 Gary Gregor Forward  United States South Carolina
2 22 Dick Cunningham Center  United States Murray State
3 36 Art Beatty Center  United States American
4 49 Rich Jones Forward  United States Memphis
5 64 Harry Hollines Guard  United States Denver
6 77 Rod Knowles Center  United States Davidson
7 92 Charles Parks Forward  United States Idaho State
8 105 Brian Clare Center  United States Denver
9 120 Mervin Jackson Guard  United States Utah
10 133 Lee Davis Center  United States North Carolina Central
11 147 Ron Boone Guard  United States Idaho State
12 160 Bill Davis Forward  United States Arizona
13 171 Pat Hobart Forward  United States California State

Roster[edit]

Phoenix Suns roster
Players Coaches
Pos. # Nat. Name Height Weight DOB (Y-M-D) From
F/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/C 44 United States Gregor, Gary 6 ft 7 in (2.01 m) 225 lb (102 kg) 1945–08–13 South Carolina
F/C 11 United States Johnson, Neil 6 ft 7 in (2.01 m) 220 lb (100 kg) 1943–04–17 Creighton
F/C 43 United States Lattin, Dave 6 ft 6 in (1.98 m) 225 lb (102 kg) 1943–12–23 Texas–El Paso
G/F 40 United States McKenzie, Stan 6 ft 5 in (1.96 m) 195 lb (88 kg) 1944–10–06 NYU
G/F 10 United States Snyder, Dick 6 ft 5 in (1.96 m) 207 lb (94 kg) 1944–02–01 Davidson
G/F 5 United States Van Arsdale, Dick 6 ft 5 in (1.96 m) 210 lb (95 kg) 1943–02–22 Indiana
G/F 23 United States Warlick, Bob 6 ft 5 in (1.96 m) 200 lb (91 kg) 1941–03–20 Pepperdine
Head coach

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

Regular season[edit]

Standings[edit]

Western Division W L PCT GB Home Road Neutral Div
x-Los Angeles Lakers 55 27 .671 32–9 21–18 2–0 30–10
x-Atlanta Hawks 48 34 .585 7 28–12 18–21 2–1 26–14
x-San Francisco Warriors 41 41 .500 14 22–19 18–21 1–1 20–20
x- San Diego Rockets 37 45 .451 18 25–16 8–25 4–4 20–20
Chicago Bulls 33 49 .402 22 19–21 12–25 2–3 19–21
Seattle SuperSonics 30 52 .366 25 18–18 6–29 6–5 15–23
Phoenix Suns 16 66 .195 39 11–26 4–28 1–12 8–30


Record vs. opponents[edit]

1968–69 NBA records
Team ATL BAL BOS CHI CIN DET LAL MIL NYK PHI PHO SDR SFW SEA
Atlanta 2–4 3–3 6–1 4–2 6–0 3–4 4–2 2–4 1–5 6–0 3–4 4–3 4–2
Baltimore 4–2 5–2 6–0 4–3 7–0 3–3 5–1 3–4 2–4 6–0 5–1 3–3 4–2
Boston 3–3 2–5 4–2 5–2 5–1 2–4 5–1 1–6 5–2 6–0 4–2 3–3 3–3
Chicago 1–6 0–6 2–4 1–5 3–3 3–4 5–1 2–4 1–5 4–2 3–3 4–3 4–3
Cincinnati 2–4 3–4 2–5 5–1 3–4 2–4 5–1 4–2 3–4 4–2 2–4 3–3 3–3
Detroit 0–6 0–7 1–5 3–3 4–3 3–3 2–4 3–4 3–4 4–2 3–3 2–4 4–2
Los Angeles 4–3 3–3 4–2 4–3 4–2 3–3 5–1 5–1 1–5 6–0 7–0 4–3 5–1
Milwaukee 2–4 1–5 1–5 1–5 1–5 4–2 1–5 0–6 0–6 6–2 4–2 3–3 3–5
New York 4–2 4–3 6–1 4–2 2–4 4–3 1–5 6–0 4–3 5–1 3–3 5–1 6–0
Philadelphia 5–1 4–2 2–5 5–1 4–3 4–3 5–1 6–0 3–4 5–1 4–2 2–4 6–0
Phoenix 0–6 0–6 0–6 2–4 2–4 2–4 0–6 2–6 1–5 1–5 1–7 2–4 3–3
San Diego 4–3 1–5 2–4 3–3 4–2 3–3 0–7 2–4 3–3 2–4 7–1 3–3 3–3
San Francisco 3–4 3–3 3–3 3–4 3–3 4–2 3–4 3–3 1–5 4–2 4–2 3–3 4–3
Seattle 2–4 2–4 3–3 3–4 3–3 2–4 1–5 5–3 0–6 0–6 3–3 3–3 3–4

Game log[edit]

1968–69 game log
Total: 16–66 (Home: 12–29; Road: 4–37)
1968–69 season schedule

Team-by-team results[edit]

Opponent Home Road Total All-time record Suns leading scorer Opp. leading scorer
Atlanta Hawks 0–3 0–3 0–6 0–6 (.000%) Bob Warlick (16.4) Zelmo Beaty (24.8)
Baltimore Bullets 0–3 0–3 0–6 0–6 (.000%) Dick Van Arsdale (31.0) Earl Monroe (26.8)
Boston Celtics 0–3 0–3 0–6 0–6 (.000%) Dick Van Arsdale (18.2) Bailey Howell (21.7)
Chicago Bulls 2–1 0–3 2–4 2–4 (.333%) Gail Goodrich (26.7) Bob Boozer (25.8)
Cincinnati Royals 1–2 1–2 2–4 2–4 (.333%) Gail Goodrich (28.0) Oscar Robertson (25.2)
Detroit Pistons 1–2 1–2 2–4 2–4 (.333%) Gail Goodrich (22.7) Dave DeBusschere (23.5)
Los Angeles Lakers 0–3 0–3 0–6 0–6 (.000%) Dick Van Arsdale (26.7) Wilt Chamberlain (31.2)
Milwaukee Bucks 2–2 0–4 2–6 2–6 (.250%) Dick Van Arsdale (23.9) Len Chappell (22.6)
New York Knicks 1–2 0–3 1–5 1–5 (.167%) Gail Goodrich (21.0) Willis Reed (27.3)
Philadelphia 76ers 1–2 0–3 1–5 1–5 (.167%) Dick Van Arsdale (20.2) Billy Cunningham (26.3)
San Diego Rockets 1–3 0–4 1–7 1–7 (.125%) Gail Goodrich (30.5) Elvin Hayes (31.6)
San Francisco Warriors 1–2 1–2 2–4 2–4 (.333%) Gail Goodrich (29.0) Nate Thurmond (24.8)
Seattle SuperSonics 2–1 1–2 3–3 3–3 (.500%) Gail Goodrich (23.8) Bob Rule (26.7)

Awards and honors[edit]

All-Star[edit]

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
Ed Biedenbach 7 2.6 .000 .667 0.3 0.4 0.6
Jim Fox* 51 38.8 .470 .734 13.3 2.8 13.8
Gail Goodrich 81 40.0 .411 .747 5.4 6.4 23.8
Gary Gregor 80 27.3 .415 .649 8.9 1.2 11.1
Neil Johnson 80 16.5 .481^ .621 5.0 1.7 5.8
Rod Knowles* 8 5.0 .286 .333 1.1 0.0 1.1
Dave Lattin 68 14.5 .410 .634 4.8 0.7 6.0
Stan McKenzie 80 19.6 .427 .763+ 3.1 1.5 9.3
McCoy McLemore* 31 22.9 .385 .773+ 5.4 1.6 11.8
Dick Snyder 81 26.0 .472^ .725 4.0 2.6 12.1
Dick Van Arsdale 80 42.4 .442 .705 6.9 4.8 21.0
Bob Warlick* 63 15.5 .423 .606 2.4 2.1 8.0
George Wilson* 41 31.6 .397 .616 12.3 1.9 11.6

* – Stats with the Suns.
^ – Minimum 230 field goals.
+ – Minimum 230 free throws.

Transactions[edit]

Trades[edit]

August 27, 1968
To Boston Celtics
United States Em Bryant
To Phoenix Suns
1969 second-round draft pick (United States Gene Williams)
September 11, 1968
To Atlanta Hawks
United States Dennis Hamilton
To Phoenix Suns
1969 third-round draft pick (United States Lloyd Kerr)
September 12, 1968
To Milwaukee Bucks
United States Dick Cunningham
To Phoenix Suns
1973 second-round draft pick (United States Gary Melchionni)
Cash considerations
December 17, 1968
To Detroit Pistons
United States McCoy McLemore
To Phoenix Suns
United States Jim Fox
1969 third-round draft pick (United States Lamar Green)
January 20, 1969
To Philadelphia 76ers
United States George Wilson
To Phoenix Suns
United States Jerry Chambers

Free agents[edit]