1968 NBA Draft: Seattle Supersonics Pick Review

Continuing on part three of this journey. We look over the 1968 Seattle SuperSonics Draft Class.

April 3, 1968 was the date for the 22nd annual NBA draft. Fourteen franchises took part in the marathon, 21 round draft where 214 players were selected. 214 is not a typo either, people. Still haven't seen a good reason why the NBA had to outdo Major League Baseball in rounds and players selected.

Hall of Famers; Elvin Hayes and Wes Unseld were the first two players selected in the draft. Hayes went to the San Diego Rockets and Unseld to Baltimore Bullets. They would eventually combine forces to win a championship in 1978 (over the Sonics).

Future Sonic, Don Smith (now known as Zaid Abdul-Aziz) was drafted fifth by the Cincinnati Royals. 1991 NBA Coach of the Year, Don Chaney, was drafted 12th overall by the Boston Celtics and future Trailblazers, Rockets, Kings and Timberwolves coach, Rick Adelman, was drafted 79th by the Rockets.

Name: Bob Kauffman
School:
Guilford College
Pick:
First round, 3rd overall

Breakdown: Kauffman came from small Guilford College in Greensboro, North Carolina. He opened the briefest of pro basketball pipelines for the school; M.L. Carr (1973), Greg Jackson (1974) and World B. Free (1976) followed him over the next few years into the NBA.

Kauffman served primarily at the center position for the Sonics, often as the backup to Bob Rule.

Season

G

MP

FG

FGA

FG%

FT

FTA

FT%

TRB

AST

PF

PPG

1968-69

82

20.2

2.7

6.0

.442

2.5

3.5

.702

5.9

1.0

3.1

7.8

Projecting Kauffman's numbers into starters minutes (36 minute average), he could have potentially been a 14 point, 11 rebound type player for the Sonics.

Before the start of the 1969-70 season the Sonics traded Kauffman and a 3rd round pick in 1971 (which ended up being Clifford Ray) to the Chicago Bulls for the duo of Bob Boozer and Barry Clemens.

Kauffman would eventually turn into a three time All-Star with the Buffalo Braves, made two playoff appearances; in 1970 with the Bulls and 1974 with the Braves.

Grade: C-

Name: Art Harris
School:
Stanford University
Pick:
Second round, 16th overall

Breakdown: Harris was a 6'4" guard from Watts, CA. Not only was he drafted by the Sonics in the '68 draft, but he was also selected by the Oakland Oaks in the 1969 ABA draft.

Season

G

MP

FG

FGA

FG%

FT

FTA

FT%

TRB

AST

PF

PPG

1968-69

80

32.0

5.2

13.2

.395

2.0

3.1

.641

3.8

3.2

4.1

12.4

1969-70

5

35.6

5.6

14.6

.384

0.8

1.8

.444

3.8

4.0

2.2

12.0

Sonics Career

85

33.8

5.4

13.9

.388

1.4

2.5

.560

3.8

3.6

3.2

12.2

Harris started most games for the Sonics as the off guard and earned himself All-Rookie First Team honors.

Five games into the '69-70 Harris was traded to the Phoenix Suns for Dick Snyder. With the Suns he only averaged 7.5 PPG while logging in just under 17 minutes a game. After the 1972 season the Suns waived Harris and he never played in the league again.

Grade: C

Name: Al Hairston
School:
Bowling Green University
Pick:
Fifth round, 52nd overall

Breakdown: Al Hairston isn't known in Seattle for his stellar on the court play for the Sonics, as you can definitely tell from his stats below.

Season

G

MP

FG

FGA

FG%

FT

FTA

FT%

TRB

AST

PF

PPG

1968-69

39

7.0

1.0

2.9

.333

0.2

0.4

.571

0.9

1.0

0.9

2.2

1969-70

3

6.7

1.0

2.7

.375

0.3

0.3

1.000

1.7

2.0

1.0

2.3

Sonics Career

42

6.8

1.0

2.8

.336

0.2

0.4

.600

1.0

1.0

0.9

2.2

Hairston retired after the 1970 season and began to coaching. He became the head coach of Seattle's Garfield High School boys basketball team. Hairston won state titles with GHS in 1980, 1983, 1986, 1987 and 1991, plus second place finishes in 1989 and 1990. He was also an assistant coach under Bob Bender when UW had the Sweet Sixteen run in March of 1998.

Grade: D- for what he did for the Sonics, A++ for how much he's meant to the local youth basketball program in the city.

Name: Joe Kennedy
School:
Duke University
Pick:
Tenth round, 122nd overall

Breakdown: Kennedy isn't exactly that memorable and he didn't exactly do a whole lot for the Sonics. I tried to find a good story about the guy and what he's doing now, but there are way too many Joe Kennedy's in the world. He was picked up from the Sonics by the Blazers in the 1970 expansion draft. He didn't play a single game for them, instead he signed with the Pittsburgh Condors for a season and didn't set the world on fire there either.

Season

G

MP

FG

FGA

FG%

FT

FTA

FT%

TRB

AST

PF

PPG

1968-69

72

17.2

2.4

6.1

.395

1.4

1.7

.790

3.3

0.8

2.2

6.2

1969-70

14

5.9

0.2

2.4

.088

0.1

0.1

1.000

1.4

0.5

0.5

0.6

Sonics Career

86

15.4

2.1

5.5

.373

1.2

1.5

.794

3.0

0.8

1.9

5.3

He also went to Duke.

Grade: F

Name: Jim Marsh
School:
University of Southern California
Pick:
Eleventh round, 136th overall

Breakdown: Marsh never played a minute for the Sonics. He played a season in Portland (1971-72) and was waived by the Blazers just before the start of the next season. Marsh would eventually become the color commentator for the Sonics, a position he held for 12 years. Currently he lives in Kirkland and is an AAU coach.

Grade: F

Name: Bud Ogden
School:
Santa Clara University
Pick:
Thirteenth round, 162nd overall

Breakdown: Ogden was another draftee that didn't ever put on the green and gold. The Sonics drafted him as a junior, but decided to go back to Santa Clara and play his senior season. He was drafted by the Philadelphia 76ers where he ended up being a career backup to Billy Cunningham.

You can't blame the Sonics for taking a long shot at the 162nd overall pick.

Grade: F

This Sonics' draft class did not have a lot of staying power. A combined 295 games were played between this six draft picks. None of their jerseys are retired up in the rafters and more often than not you won't hear their names mentioned as all time greats for the franchise.

With that, I have to give this class an F.

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