Walter Davis (basketball)

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Walter Davis
Personal information
Born (1954-09-09) September 9, 1954 (age 64)
Pineville, North Carolina
NationalityAmerican
Listed height6 ft 6 in (1.98 m)
Listed weight193 lb (88 kg)
Career information
High schoolSouth Mecklenburg
(Charlotte, North Carolina)
CollegeNorth Carolina (1973–1977)
NBA draft1977 / Round: 1 / Pick: 5th overall
Selected by the Phoenix Suns
Playing career1977–1992
PositionShooting guard / Small forward
Number6
Career history
19771988Phoenix Suns
19881991Denver Nuggets
1991Portland Trail Blazers
1991–1992Denver Nuggets
Career highlights and awards
Career NBA statistics
Points19,521 (18.9 ppg)
Assists3,878 (3.8 apg)
Steals1,280 (1.2 spg)
Stats at Basketball-Reference.com

Walter Pearl Davis (born September 9, 1954) is a retired American basketball player. A 6'6" forward/guard, Davis spent 15 years in the National Basketball Association, spending the bulk of those years with the Phoenix Suns.

High school and college career[edit]

Born in Pineville, North Carolina, Davis was the youngest of 13 children born between 1937 and 1954. His high school teams at South Mecklenburg High School in Charlotte won three state titles and lost only four games.

As a standout college player at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, he was selected to play on the USA men's basketball team coached by UNC's Dean Smith that won the gold medal at the 1976 Summer Olympics. In his freshman year, Davis hit a buzzer-beating jump shot against Duke at the end of regulation to send the game into overtime. At Chapel Hill, Davis was called "Sweet D" because of his seemingly effortless, smooth style of play and because of his strong defensive play.

NBA career[edit]

The Suns selected Davis with the fifth pick of the 1977 NBA draft. He made an immediate impact, playing in 81 games and averaging 24.2 points per game in his first season, which would also be his career-high. He won the 1978 Rookie of the Year Award, and earned second team All-NBA honors. Over his first ten seasons, Davis averaged over 20 points per game six times, and earned trips to six All-Star Games.

Over his career, Davis averaged 18.9 points, 3.8 assists and 3.0 rebounds per game. Davis was affectionately known as "The Greyhound" for his speedy style and sleek physical appearance. Suns broadcaster Al McCoy created many alternate nicknames for him, including "The Candyman", and "The Man with the Velvet Touch." Davis is the Suns' all-time leading scorer with 15,666 points.

Davis's later years with the Suns were marred by recurring back problems and an ugly drug scandal. In 1987, he was called on to testify on illegal drug use by other Suns players in exchange for immunity from prosecution. (He had twice entered rehab clinics to deal with cocaine addiction.)[1]

Davis's decline mirrored the short decline of the Suns franchise, and at the expiration of his contract in 1988 at age 33, the team did not seriously attempt to re-sign him, offering a 1-year contract at half his previous salary.

Davis signed a two-year, $1.35 million deal with the Denver Nuggets as an unrestricted free agent. He ended up playing for two years beyond this contract, and was included in a three-team trade in early 1991 that sent him to the Portland Trail Blazers for half a season. Davis finished 479 points shy of 20,000 points in a career.[2] In the summer of 1991, he returned to Denver to close out his playing career.

After basketball[edit]

Davis later served as a broadcaster for the Nuggets, and has served as a scout for the Washington Wizards. As time passed, Davis and the Suns repaired their relationship. In 1994, his number 6 was retired by the Suns, and in 2004 he was enshrined in the team's Ring of Honor.[3]

He is the uncle of UNC-CH assistant coach Hubert Davis, who also played for UNC-CH and in the NBA.

NBA career statistics[edit]

Legend
  GP Games played   GS  Games started  MPG  Minutes per game
 FG%  Field goal percentage  3P%  3-point field goal percentage  FT%  Free throw percentage
 RPG  Rebounds per game  APG  Assists per game  SPG  Steals per game
 BPG  Blocks per game  PPG  Points per game  Bold  Career high

Regular season[edit]

Year Team GP GS MPG FG% 3P% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG PPG
1977–78 Phoenix 81 32.0 .526 .830 6.0 3.4 1.4 0.2 24.2
1978–79 Phoenix 79 30.8 .561 .831 4.7 4.3 1.9 0.3 23.6
1979–80 Phoenix 75 30.8 .563 .000 .819 3.6 4.5 1.5 0.3 21.5
1980–81 Phoenix 78 28.0 .539 .412 .836 2.6 3.9 1.2 0.2 18.0
1981–82 Phoenix 55 12 21.5 .523 .188 .820 1.9 2.9 0.8 0.1 14.4
1982–83 Phoenix 80 79 31.1 .516 .304 .818 2.5 5.0 1.5 0.2 19.0
1983–84 Phoenix 78 70 32.6 .512 .230 .863 2.6 5.5 1.4 0.2 20.0
1984–85 Phoenix 23 9 24.8 .450 .300 .877 1.5 4.3 0.8 0.0 15.0
1985–86 Phoenix 70 62 32.0 .485 .237 .843 2.9 5.2 1.4 0.0 21.8
1986–87 Phoenix 79 79 33.5 .514 .259 .862 3.1 4.6 1.2 0.1 23.6
1987–88 Phoenix 68 48 28.7 .473 .375 .887 2.3 4.1 1.3 0.0 17.9
1988–89 Denver 81 0 22.9 .498 .290 .879 1.9 2.3 0.9 0.1 15.6
1989–90 Denver 69 0 23.7 .481 .130 .912 2.6 2.2 0.9 0.1 17.5
1990–91 Denver 39 13 26.8 .474 .303 .915 3.2 2.2 1.6 0.1 18.7
1990–91 Portland 32 1 13.7 .446 .333 .913 1.8 1.3 0.6 0.0 6.1
1991–92 Denver 46 0 16.1 .459 .313 .872 1.5 1.5 0.6 0.0 9.9
Career 1,033 373 27.9 .511 .272 .851 3.0 3.8 1.2 0.1 18.9
All-Star 6 1 18.2 .455 1.000 1.000 3.3 2.5 1.2 0.0 9.8

Playoffs[edit]

Year Team GP GS MPG FG% 3P% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG PPG
1978 Phoenix 2 33.0 .475 .750 8.5 4.0 1.5 0.0 25.0
1979 Phoenix 15 32.7 .520 .813 4.6 5.3 1.7 0.3 22.1
1980 Phoenix 8 30.6 .504 .000 .737 2.9 4.4 0.5 0.1 20.8
1981 Phoenix 7 28.4 .481 .000 .588 2.7 3.1 1.0 0.1 16.0
1982 Phoenix 7 24.7 .448 .333 .917 3.1 4.3 0.7 0.1 18.1
1983 Phoenix 3 37.7 .435 .500 .810 5.0 4.3 2.0 1.7 26.0
1984 Phoenix 17 36.6 .535 .273 .897 2.7 6.4 1.7 0.2 24.9
1989 Denver 3 0 31.3 .517 .000 1.000 1.7 1.3 1.0 0.0 25.7
1990 Denver 3 0 23.3 .400 .000 1.000 3.0 2.0 0.3 0.0 14.0
1991 Portland 13 0 8.5 .396 .000 .833 1.2 0.5 0.3 0.0 3.3
Career 78 ? 28.0 .496 .192 .830 3.1 4.0 1.1 0.2 18.6

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Baker, Chris (April 21, 1987). "The NBA : Davis, Suns Will Have Tough Time Recovering". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 22, 2011.
  2. ^ "Davis Joins Nuggets". Associated Press. July 7, 1988.
  3. ^ "SUNS: Ring of Honor". Suns.com. August 26, 2007. Retrieved October 22, 2011.

External links[edit]