|Born||November 30, 1950|
Torrance, California, U.S.
|Died||January 2, 2021 (aged 70)|
Scottsdale, Arizona, U.S.
|Listed height||6 ft 4 in (1.93 m)|
|Listed weight||195 lb (88 kg)|
|High school||Aviation (Redondo Beach, California)|
|NBA draft||1972: 1st round, 10th overall pick|
|Selected by the Boston Celtics|
|Position||Shooting guard / point guard|
|1982–1983||New York Knicks|
|1985–1986||Southwestern Baptist Bible|
|1988–1992||Phoenix Suns (assistant)|
|2007–2008||Dallas Mavericks (assistant)|
|2014–2016||Brooklyn Nets (assistant)|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Career playing statistics|
|Points||12,809 (15.6 ppg)|
|Assists||3,591 (4.4 apg)|
|Steals||1,022 (1.3 spg)|
|Stats at NBA.com|
|Stats at Basketball-Reference.com|
|Career coaching record|
|Basketball Hall of Fame as player|
|College Basketball Hall of Fame|
Inducted in 2018
Westphal played in the National Basketball Association (NBA) from 1972 to 1984. Playing the guard position, he won an NBA championship with the Boston Celtics in 1974. Westphal played in the NBA Finals again in 1976 as a member of the Phoenix Suns. His NBA career also included stints with the Seattle SuperSonics and the New York Knicks. In addition to being a five-time All-Star selection, Westphal earned three All-NBA First Team selections and one Second Team honor.
After his playing career ended, Westphal coached for Southwestern Baptist Bible College (now Arizona Christian University), Grand Canyon University, and Pepperdine University, and served also as head coach of the Phoenix Suns, Seattle SuperSonics, and Sacramento Kings in the NBA. Westphal coached the Suns to the NBA Finals in 1993.
In 2019, Westphal was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
Born in Torrance, California, Westphal went to Aviation High School in Redondo Beach from 1966 to 1969. He attended the University of Southern California in Los Angeles and played college basketball for the Trojans at guard.
USC had a 24–2 (.923) record in 1971, setting a Trojans record for winning percentage. In that era, the Pac-8 Conference sent only one team (champion UCLA) to the 25-team NCAA tournament and none to the 16-team National Invitation Tournament (NIT).
Boston Celtics (1972–1975)
The Boston Celtics selected Westphal tenth overall in the 1972 NBA draft. After three seasons in Boston, including a championship in 1974, the Celtics traded Westphal and two second round draft picks to the Phoenix Suns for Charlie Scott.
Phoenix Suns (1975–1980)
In his first season with in Phoenix, Westphal helped the Suns reach their first NBA Finals, against the Celtics. In Game 5 of that series, often called "the greatest game ever played" in NBA history, he made several critical plays that pushed the game into triple overtime before Boston prevailed. Notably, Westphal exploited a loophole within NBA rules that effectively allowed the Suns to cede a point to get the ball at half-court with two seconds remaining at the end of the second overtime; the Suns tied the game thanks to the loophole.
Westphal was sixth in the NBA in scoring average for the 1977–78 season at 25.2 points per game, and was also the first NBA All-Star Weekend H-O-R-S-E Competition champion. The following season, he was seventh in scoring average with 24.0 points per game.
Seattle Supersonics (1980–1981)
After the 1979–80 season in early June, the Suns traded Westphal to the Seattle SuperSonics for Dennis Johnson, He played 36 games in the 1980–81 season, limited by a stress fracture in his right foot. He was a free agent after the season, but Seattle held the right of first refusal. He was unable to come to terms with the Sonics.
New York Knicks (1982–1983)
After missing most of the 1981–82 season, Westphal signed with the New York Knicks in late February 1982 after Seattle declined to match the offer. He was named the NBA Comeback Player of the Year in 1982–83, when he averaged 10 points and 5.5 assists and helped the Knicks qualify for the playoffs.
Return to Phoenix (1983–1984)
In his NBA career, Westphal scored a total of 12,809 points for an average of 15.6 points per game, with 3,591 assists for an average of 4.4 assists per game. He also had 1,580 rebounds, for an average of 1.9 per game. Westphal was a five-time All-Star, a three-time All-NBA first team selection, and a one-time second team All-NBA selection. He is Phoenix's fifth all-time leading scorer (9,564), averaging 20.6 points in six seasons (1975–80, 1983–84). His No. 44 was retired by the Suns, and he is a member of their Ring of Honor. Westphal was also inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame as a player on September 6, 2019.
Westphal's coaching career started in 1985 at Southwestern Baptist Bible College (now Arizona Christian University), located in Phoenix. After compiling a 21–9 record in his lone season there, he moved on to Grand Canyon College, also in Phoenix, and after two seasons led them to the NAIA national title in 1988.
In 1988, after three years in the college ranks, Westphal became an assistant coach with the Phoenix Suns under head coach Cotton Fitzsimmons, and in 1992, he succeeded Fitzsimmons as head coach of the Suns. With players such as Kevin Johnson, Dan Majerle, rookie Richard Dumas, Charles Barkley, and Danny Ainge, the Suns made it to the NBA Finals in Westphal's first season as a coach, but lost to the Chicago Bulls in six games. While the Suns made the playoffs during each of Westphal's seasons as coach, they did not return to the Finals, and Westphal was let go during the 1995–96 season. He served as an assistant coach for a high school team in Arizona for two years before he returned to the NBA as a coach with the SuperSonics for the 1998–99 season. He coached in Seattle until he was fired 15 games into the 2000–01 season.
Westphal returned to the college ranks in April 2001 at Pepperdine University. In his first season, Westphal led the Waves to a 22–9 record and tied the nationally ranked Gonzaga Bulldogs for the WCC title. The team received an at-large berth to the NCAA tournament, but lost 83–74 to Wake Forest in the first round, played at ARCO Arena in Sacramento. This was the only postseason berth during the rest of Westphal's five-year tenure and he finished with an overall record of 74–72. After a 7–20 season in 2005–06, Westphal was fired on March 15, 2006.
On June 28, 2007, the Dallas Mavericks announced they had hired Westphal as an assistant coach under head coach Avery Johnson. When Johnson was replaced by Rick Carlisle, Westphal left coaching to become executive vice-president of basketball operations (under Donnie Nelson) for the Mavericks in October 2008. On June 10, 2009, Westphal was named head coach of the Sacramento Kings. Westphal was fired from the Kings on January 5, 2012.
For the 2014–15 season, Westphal was hired by the Brooklyn Nets as an assistant to new head coach Lionel Hollins. Hollins had previously served as Westphal's assistant coach in Phoenix. When the Nets fired Hollins in January 2016, Westphal left the team.
Westphal also worked as a studio analyst for Fox Sports Net West/Prime Ticket for Los Angeles Clippers and Los Angeles Lakers games, first joining them during the Clippers' run in the 2006 NBA Playoffs.
Head coaching record
|Regular season||G||Games coached||W||Games won||L||Games lost||W–L %||Win–loss %|
|Playoffs||PG||Playoff games||PW||Playoff wins||PL||Playoff losses||PW–L %||Playoff win–loss %|
|Phoenix||1992–93||82||62||20||.756||1st in Pacific||24||13||11||.542||Lost in NBA Finals|
|Phoenix||1993–94||82||56||26||.683||2nd in Pacific||10||6||4||.600||Lost in Conference semifinals|
|Phoenix||1994–95||82||59||23||.720||1st in Pacific||10||6||4||.600||Lost in Conference semifinals|
|Seattle||1998–99||50||25||25||.500||5th in Pacific||—||—||—||—||Missed playoffs|
|Seattle||1999–2000||82||45||37||.549||4th in Pacific||5||2||3||.400||Lost in first round|
|Sacramento||2009–10||82||25||57||.305||5th in Pacific||—||—||—||—||Missed playoffs|
|Sacramento||2010–11||82||24||58||.293||5th in Pacific||—||—||—||—||Missed playoffs|
|Southwestern Baptist Bible Eagles (National Little College Athletic Association) (1985–1986)|
|1985–86||Southwestern Baptist Bible||21–9||NLCAA Tournament|
|Southwestern Baptist Bible:||21–9 (.700)|
|Grand Canyon Antelopes (NAIA independent) (1986–1988)|
|1987–88||Grand Canyon||37–6||NAIA Champions|
|Grand Canyon:||63–18 (.778)|
|Pepperdine Waves (West Coast Conference) (2001–2006)|
|2001–02||Pepperdine||21–9||13–1||T–1st||NCAA Division I Round of 64|
|Pepperdine:||75–71 (.514)||38–32 (.543)|
Postseason invitational champion
- Jackson, Wilton (January 2, 2021). "Phoenix Suns Legend, NBA Hall of Famer Paul Westphal Dies at 70". Sports Illustrated.
- "The Call Of Coaching – Ever Since Grade School, Paul Westphal Has Been A Student Of The Game". The Seattle Times. February 4, 1999. Retrieved January 2, 2020.
- "Paul Westphal, USC All-American And Basketball Hall of Fame Guard, Dies at 70". USC Athletics. June 29, 2023.
- Carry, Peter (May 20, 1974). "A matter of Celtic pride". Sports Illustrated. p. 22.
- "24 May 1975, 69 - Chicago Tribune at Newspapers.com". Newspapers.com.
- "C's deal Westphal for Charley Scott". The Telegraph. (Nashua, New Hampshire). UPI. May 24, 1975. p. 17.
- "Greatest Game Ever". Phoenix Suns.
- "Greatest Game Ever Played | Celtics.com – The official website of the Boston Celtics". Nba.com. June 4, 1976. Retrieved August 8, 2012.
- Black, Martin. "The Phoenix Suns: The Unluckiest Franchise In Professional Sports". Bleacher Report.
- "Paul Westphal, member of Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, dies at age 70". ESPN.com. January 2, 2021. Retrieved January 3, 2021.
- Harris, Beth (January 2, 2021). "Paul Westphal, Hall of Famer and NBA champion, dies at 70". Associated Press. Retrieved January 2, 2021.
- McDermott, Barry (June 7, 1976). "Suns worship back in fashion". Sports Illustrated. p. 20.
- McDermott, Barry (June 14, 1976). "Call them champs again". Sports Illustrated. p. 20.
- Archived at Ghostarchive and the Wayback Machine: "The infinite timeout loophole that almost broke the 1976 NBA Finals | Weird Rules". YouTube.
- "1977–78 NBA Leaders". Basketball-Reference.com.
- "Report: NBA and ESPN planning a televised H-O-R-S-E competition". RSN. April 4, 2020.
- "1978–79 NBA Leaders". Basketball-Reference.com.
- "Westphal excited about Sonics". The Telegraph. (Nashua, New Hampshire). UPI. June 4, 1980. p. 25.
- Sachare, Alex (June 4, 1980). "Dennis, Westphal swapped". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). Associated Press. p. C1.
- "All-Star Swap: Westy for DJ". Phoenix Suns.
- Johnson, Roy S. (October 20, 1980). "NBA Preview: Pacific Division". Sports Illustrated. p. 50.
- "Knicks Pursuing Westphal". The New York Times. February 19, 1982. Retrieved April 12, 2022.
- "Paul answers Knick knock". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). Associated Press. February 24, 1982. p. 35.
- "24 Feb 1982, 19 - The Press Democrat at Newspapers.com". Newspapers.com.
- "12 Mar 1982, Page 24 - The Burlington Free Press at Newspapers.com". Newspapers.com.
- "Nelson is coach of year". Leader-Telegram. AP. June 16, 1983. p. 1B. Retrieved April 11, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
- "Moves: Basketball". Spokesman-Review. (Spokesman-Review). September 14, 1983. p. C3.
- "14 Sep 1983, Page 25 - Arizona Republic at Newspapers.com". Newspapers.com.
- "13 Oct 1984, Page 105 - Arizona Republic at Newspapers.com". Newspapers.com.
- "Suns Ring of Honor member Paul Westphal named to Hall of Fame". Arizona Sports. April 6, 2019.
- "Suns Legend Paul Westphal Inducted into Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame". Phoenix Suns.
- "Paul Westphal, the former head coach of the Phoenix Suns and the Seattle SuperSonics, will be introduced tomorrow afternoon as the new head basketball coach at Pepperdine – West Coast Conference Official Athletics Site". Archived from the original on July 22, 2018. Retrieved December 7, 2018.
- "WESTPHAL RISES : There's Heir of Change on Phoenix's Coaching Horizon". Los Angeles Times. May 25, 1989.
- "Sacramento Kings News Headlines". Sacramento Kings.
- "Suns Road to 1993 NBA Finals: Westy's Guarantee". Phoenix Suns.
- "17 Jan 1996, Page 27 - Arizona Republic at Newspapers.com". Newspapers.com.
- "THE NBA: That's all for Westphal". products.kitsapsun.com.
- "Westphal dismissed as Pepperdine coach". ESPN.com. March 16, 2006.
- "Former NBA coach Westphal joins Mavericks staff". Plainview Herald. June 28, 2007.
- "Mavs hire Westphal as VP of basketball operations". ESPN.com. October 7, 2008.
- Feigen, Jonathan (June 10, 2009). "Sacramento to hire Westphal". SFGATE.
- "NBA's slow-starting Kings fire coach Westphal". ESPN.com. January 5, 2012.
- "Brooklyn Nets announce coaching staff". Brooklyn Nets. July 30, 2014. Retrieved December 13, 2014.
- "11 Jan 2016, S4 - The Record at Newspapers.com". Newspapers.com.
- Woike, Dan (January 2, 2021). "Paul Westphal, Basketball Hall of Famer from L.A., dies at 70". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved January 2, 2021.
- "The Call Of Coaching – Ever Since Grade School, Paul Westphal Has Been A Student Of The Game | The Seattle Times". archive.seattletimes.com. February 4, 1999.
- "Former NBA star Paul Westphal discusses his connection to Israel". Jewish Insider. February 21, 2020.
- "In The News — Paul Westphal". June 30, 2014.
- "Hall of Famer Paul Westphal has brain cancer". ESPN.com. August 9, 2020.
- "2011–12 Pepperdine men's basketball records book, page 7" (PDF).
- "Paul Westphal". GCULopes.com. Grand Canyon University. Retrieved January 15, 2021.