October 17th In NBA History 1970: Pete Maravich Makes NBA Debut
It was a humble beginning for "Pistol", scoring just seven points in his first NBA game.
HoopsVibe Very Quick Call: But he would ultimately average 23.2 ppg in his rookie season.
Maravich’s rookie season was good enough to get him selected to the NBA All-Rookie team, which justified his $1.9 million dollar contract, one of the largest in the NBA.
But his best season, came six years later, when he would lead the league in scoring, averaging 31.1 ppg. In addition to the scoring, he averaged 5.4 assists, 5.1 rebounds and 1.4 steals per game while shooting 83% from the free throw line. In that same year he lead the league in minutes, and had one of the most productive individual seasons in NBA history.
Known as a scorer, Maravich was equally adept at passing, averaging 5.4 assists per game in his career. But perhaps his greatest contribution came in the realm of imagination, making passes and scoring baskets in ways people had never seen, never even conceived to that point. Maravich saw the game in a completely different way than anyone else ever had and because of it, the overall game, and league, evolved.
During Maravich’s 10 year career, the three pointer was only instituted in three of them, his final three years in the league. In those three years, he shot 66% from deep, connecting on 10 of 15 career attempts. His career 24.2 ppg average would’ve been at least a couple points higher had he played a little later, but either way his scoring prowess was only one part of an overall game that was skilled in all facets.
But numbers alone don’t do him justice. His contributions to the game in terms of ball handling and court awareness rival what legendary Bob Cousy did for his era.
Maravich died at the age of 40 playing pick-up basketball in a gym at a church. He literally dedicated his life to basketball.
RIP "Pistol" Pete Maravich.
Image Credit: You Tube