1970 NBA Draft: Seattle Supersonics Pick Review

The 1970 NBA Draft is one of the best of all time. How did the Sonics fare?

On March 23rd, 1970 the 24th annual NBA Draft was held. This draft spanned 19 rounds and which resulted in 239 players being selected. This will also go down as one of the most loaded drafts in the history of the NBA. Six players from this draft were future hall of famers (Bob Lanier, Pete Maravich, Dave Cowens, Calvin Murphy, Nate Archibald and Dan Issel), three were named to the 50 Greatest of All Time and numerous All-NBA and All-Star selections.

The Portland Trailblazers, Buffalo Braves and Cleveland Cavaliers were new expansion franchises and would be selecting for the first time in their team's history.

The Sonics had the sixth overall selection for their first pick in the draft. Seven of the first ten drafted made the All-Star team and three of the ten were Hall of Famers.

Let's see how the Sonics did.

Name: Jim Ard
School:
University of Cincinnati
Pick:
First round, 6th overall

Breakdown: Ard never played for the Sonics. He was also drafted by the New York Nets of the ABA and elected to play under the brighter lights in New York City.

Grade: F

Name: Jake Ford
School:
Maryland State University (now U of Maryland Eastern Shore)
Pick:
Second round, 20th overall

Breakdown: The Sonics received this pick from the Detroit Pistons in November of 1969 in exchange for Erwin Mueller.

Season

G

MP

FG

FGA

FG%

FT

FTA

FT%

TRB

AST

PF

PPG

1970-71

5

13.6

1.8

5.0

.360

3.2

4.4

.727

1.8

1.8

2.2

6.8

1971-72

26

7.0

1.3

2.5

.500

1.0

1.3

.788

0.4

1.0

0.8

3.5

Sonics Career

31

10.3

1.4

2.9

.462

1.4

1.8

.764

0.6

1.1

1.0

4.1

Ford didn't exactly set the world on fire. He only appeared in 31 games over his two year career. He had a career high 17 points on March 3, 1971 against the Phoenix Suns. He only scored in double figures once more, his last game in the NBA against the Lakers on March 26, 1972, he had ten points.

Grade: F

Name: Pete Cross
School:
University of San Francisco
Pick:
Second round, 23rd overall

Breakdown: Cross was a 6'9" center from the USF. USF also produced Bill Cartwright, KC Jones and the legendary, Bill Russell.

Season

G

MP

FG

FGA

FG%

FT

FTA

FT%

TRB

AST

PF

PPG

1970-71

79

27.8

3.1

7.0

.442

1.8

2.6

.690

12.0

1.4

2.7

8.0

1971-72

74

19.2

2.1

4.8

.428

1.4

1.9

.736

6.9

0.9

1.8

5.5

1972-73

26

5.1

0.2

0.8

.286

0.3

0.7

.444

2.2

1.0

0.9

0.7

Sonics Career

179

20.7

2.2

5.1

.431

1.4

2.0

.695

8.3

1.0

2.1

5.8

Cross still holds Sonics rookie record for rebounds per game at 12.0, a record that hasn't really been threatened in the 36 years in which it has stood.

Cross was in one of the more intriguing incidents. Five days before the 1972-73 season was traded to the Kansas City-Omaha Kings along with Don Kojis in exchange for Jim Fox and Dick Gibbs.

Cross played three games for the Kings before he was placed on waivers. The Sonics picked him back up. He played 26 more games with the Sonics before retiring at the end of the season.

Grade: D

Name: Gar Heard
School:
University of Oklahoma
Pick:
Third round, 40th overall

Breakdown: Heard was a quick 6'6" small forward from the University of Oklahoma where he averaged 21.8 points and 12.5 rebounds for the Sooners. He spent just over two seasons with the Sonics and you could almost argue he was the best pick of the draft for them.

Season

G

MP

FG

FGA

FG%

FT

FTA

FT%

TRB

AST

PF

PPG

1970-71

65

15.8

2.3

6.1

.381

1.3

1.9

.656

5.0

0.7

1.9

5.9

1971-72

58

25.8

3.3

8.2

.401

1.4

2.2

.617

7.6

0.9

2.2

7.9

1972-73

3

5.7

1.3

3.0

.444

0.3

0.3

1.000

2.0

0.7

1.3

3.0

Sonics Career

126

20.5

2.8

7.1

.392

1.3

2.1

.636

6.3

0.8

2.0

6.9

Heard's Sonics tenure ended when he was traded to the Chicago Bulls for Kenny McIntosh just three games into the 1972-73 campaign.

Heard played 10 years in the league and retired after the 1981 season. He eventually went into coaching. His first head coaching gig via the interim basis in the 1992-93 season for the Dallas Mavericks. The Mavericks fired Richie Adubato after a 2-27 start. Heard got the Mavericks to double digit wins by going 9-44 over the final 53 games.

His second stint in coaching came in the 1999-00 season. He was named head coach of the Washington Wizards, he went 14-30 before being fired and replaced by Darrell Walker.

Grade: D-

Overall this was once again a terrible draft for the Sonics. Passed over All-Star and Hall of Famers for guys that didn't even suit up for us. When your first two selections (both top 20 picks) played a combined 31 games for you... You get an F.

Hopefully the 1971 draft is better. Has to be, right?

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