Thursday, August 16, 2007

Will the Celtics Win the Championship? A Historical Perspective

In the August 13, 2007 edition of Sports Illustrated, David Sabino examined the arrival of Kevin Garnett and what it meant to the Boston Celtics’ chances of winning a championship. Sabino looked at the history of teams with three 20 point per game scorers:

Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, and Kevin Garnett of the new-look Celtics each has a career scoring average of more than 20 points. In NBA history 16 teams have had three players average more than 20 points in the same season. Fifteen of those teams reached the postseason, but not one won a championship. Here is how each of those high-octane triumvirates fared. (The players are listed by scoring average that season.)

Lost in NBA Finals
Bob Pettit, Cliff Hagen, Clyde Lovellette; 1959-60; Hawks
Bob Pettit, Cliff Hagen, Clyde Lovellette; 1960-61; Hawks
Jerry West, Elgin Baylor, Wilt Chamberlain; 1068-69; Lakers

Lost in Conference Finals
Sam Jones, John Havlicek, Bailey Howell; 1966-67; Celtics
Dale Ellis, Tom Chambers, Xavier McDaniel; 1986-87; SuperSonics
Tom Chambers, Eddie Johnson, Kevin Johnson; 1988-89; Suns

Advanced to Second Round of Playoffs
Alex English, Kiki Vandeweghe, Dan Issel; 1982-83; Nuggets
Chris Mullin, Mitch Richmond, Tim Hardaway; 1990-91; Warriors

Lost in First Round of Playoffs
Jeff Mullins, Nate Thurmond, Rudy LaRusso; 1968-69; Warriors
Chet Walker, Bob Love, Clem Haskins; 1969-70; Bulls
Connie Hawkins, Dick Van Arsdale, Gail Goodrich; 1969-70; Suns
Jeff Mullins, Cazzie Russell, Nate Thurmond; 1971-72; Warriors
Alex English, Dan Issel, Kiki Vandeweghe; 1981-82; Nuggets
Moses Malone, Julius Erving, Andrew Toney; 1983-84; 76ers
Dale Ellis, Xavier McDaniel, Tom Chambers; 1987-88; SuperSonics

Failed to Reach Playoffs
David Thompson, Alex English, Dan Issel; 1980-81; Nuggets

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