1971 NBA Draft: Supersonics Pick Review

The 1971 draft was special for the Seattle Supersonics in spite of only getting 2 of their 3 picks on the team at any point. The reason for that can be summed up in just one word - "Downtown".

Name: Fred Brown

School: University of Iowa
Pick: First round, 6th overall

Breakdown: Brown completed his senior season at Iowa with a 27.6 points per game average which led to his being drafted by both the NBA as well as the Kentucky Colonels of the ABA.

Brown ranks as one of the most important if not the most important pick in the history of the Supersonics. Brown played 13 seasons in the NBA. Brown first made the NBA All-Start team in 1976 and went on to score 14,018 points in his career.

Season


G


MP


FG


FGA


FG%


FT


FTA


FT%


TRB


AST


PF


PPG


1971-72

33

10.9

1.8

5.5

.328

0.7

0.9

.759

1.1

1.8

1.3

4.2

1972-73

79

29.4

6.0

13.1

.455

1.5

1.9

.818

4.0

5.5

2.9

13.5

1973-74

82

30.5

7.0

15.0

.471

2.4

2.8

.863

4.9

5.0

3.4

16.5

1974-75

81

33.0

9.1

19.0

.480

2.8

3.4

.831

4.2

3.5

2.8

21.0

1975-76

76

33.1

9.8

20.0

.488

3.6

4.1

.869

4.2

2.7

2.4

23.1

1976-77

72

29.1

7.4

15.5

.479

2.3

2.6

.884

3.2

2.4

1.0

17.2

1977-78

72

27.3

7.1

14.5

.488

2.4

2.7

.898

2.6

3.3

2.0

16.6

1978-79

77

25.5

5.8

12.4

.469

2.4

2.7

.888

2.2

3.4

1.8

14.0

1979-80

80

21.3

5.1

10.5

.479

1.4

1.7

.837

1.9

2.2

1.5

12.0

1980-81

78

25.5

6.5

13.3

.488

2.2

2.7

.832

2.2

3.0

1.8

15.5

1981-82

82

21.8

4.8

10.5

.455

1.4

1.6

.860

1.7

2.9

1.4

11.2

1982-83

80

17.9

4.6

8.9

.520

0.7

0.9

.806

1.2

3.0

1.2

10.2

1983-84

71

15.9

3.6

7.1

.510

1.1

1.2

.895

0.9

2.7

1.2

8.5

Career

963

25.9

6.2

13.1

.478

2.0

2.3

.858

2.7

3.3

2.0

14.6

Playoffs

83

22.9

6.0

13.0

.461

2.2

2.7

.819

2.4

2.3

1.7

14.4

Brown's NBA career had a bit of a slow start for his rookie season with just over 4 points per game and only 33 games played. This was largely due to being behind two experienced guards on the depth chart - Lenny Wilkens and Dick Snyder. 1972 brought the trade of Wilkens to Cleveland which opened up some room for Fred to get some additional playing time which led to his scoring average rosing to 13.5 and 16.5 points per game in the next two seasons. Snyder was traded to Cleveland in 1974 and Freddie saw another bump in his production moving him up to 21.0 points per game in the 1974-75 season and he finished fifth in the league in steals per game. 1975-76 brought Brown to his first All-Star appearance, and he also finishing fifth in the NBA in both scoring average and free throw percentage.

Brown would go on to captain the 1978-79 Sonics team as they won the NBA championship. Brown was regularly among the top players in FT shooting percentage, and for the 1979-80 (first year of the 3pt. shot) Brown led the NBA in three-point shooting percentage.

When he retired in 1984 Brown was the SuperSonics' all-time leader in:

Games played (963)
Points scored (14,018)
Field goals (6,006)
Free throws (1,896)
Fred Brown still holds the Sonics's all-time high for points in a regular season game with 58, points in a playoff game with 45 (tied by Ray Allen), and steals in a game with 10 (tied with Gus Williams).

Brown's #32 SuperSonics jersey was retired November 6, 1986 in honor of his career with the SuperSonics.

Grade: A+


Name: Jim McDaniels

School: Western Kentucky University
Pick: Second round, 23rd overall

Breakdown: McDaniels was a 6'11" power forward/center who came out of college with some questions about his past that eventually led to his college having to vacate a 3rd place finish in the 1971 NCAA Basketball Tournament. McDaniels was drafted by both the Sonics and the ABA's Utah Stars, but began his professional career with the Carolina Cougars of the ABA who offered him a contract of $1.35 million that was to be paid over 25 years. McDaniels averaged 26.8 points and 14 rebounds in 58 games with the Cougars during the 1971-72 season and appeared in the 1972 ABA All-Star Game. Disagreements with the team over his desire to be paid over 15 years rather than 25 caused McDaniels to leave the Cougars for the Supersonics.

Season


G


MP


FG


FGA


FG%


FT


FTA


FT%


TRB


AST


PF


PPG


1971-72

12

19.6

4.3

10.3

.415

0.9

1.5

.611

6.8

0.8

4.3

9.4

1972-73

68

16.1

2.3

5.7

.399

1.0

1.5

.700

5.1

1.1

2.1

5.6

1973-74

27

16.3

2.3

6.4

.364

0.9

1.6

.535

4.7

0.9

1.8

5.5

Sonics Career

107

16.1

2.3

5.9

.388

1.0

1.5

.650

5.0

1.1

2.0

5.5


McDaniels was waived by general manager Bill Russell 27 games into the 1973-74 season. For the following four seasons he bounced from the Los Angeles Lakers and Buffalo Braves of the NBA, to the Kentucky colonels of the ABA, and eventually to playing in Italy for a brief period. McDaniels retired from basketball in 1978.

Grade: D


Name: Charlie Lowery
School: University of Puget Sound
Pick: Eighth round, 125th overall

Breakdown: Never came to terms on a contract with the Sonics. He signed with the Bucks on November 16th, 1971. He appeared in 20 games for the Bucks, scoring a total of 45 points.

Grade: F

Credit to Kevin Nesgoda for co-authoring this piece. His idea for the series, all the stat work was his, I just filled in some details.

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