Wednesday, June 5, 2019
After three-straight NBA Championships, the reign of the Minneapolis Lakers came to an end in the 1954-55 season, as the Syracuse Nationals battled out to win their first (and as it would turn out, only while in Syracuse) NBA Championship. Lead by Dolph Schayes and Paul Seymour, the Nats managed to take out the Fort Wayne Pistons in an NBA finals that stretched to seven games. The Pistons had managed to lose the first to games of the series in Syracuse before winning the next three at home to put that Nats on the ropes. Syracuse would return home for game 6 and win that and the deciding game to claim the NBA crown.
The Baltimore Bullets, struggling financially year after year, folded after a 3-11 start. Their players were distributed to the remaining NBA teams and all stats and results involving the Bullets were stricken from the record. The Baltimore Bullets are, at the time of this blog, the last NBA team to fold. The NBA would continue on as an 8-team league until 1961 when the Chicago Packers joined.
The 1954-55 season would also mark the retirement of George Mikan. Well, at least for the year. The legendary player, at the time likely the greatest to take the court, retired to work for the Lakers on an executive level, but would return for one more season in 1956 before retiring for good.
The 1954 NBA Draft was finally a more stream-lined draft with no regional picks like in years prior. The selection order now totally dictated by the records of the previous years, 100 players were selected over 13 round, with 27 of the players selected eventually seeing action in NBA games. Frank Selvy, a guard and forward out of Furman University, was selected first overall by the Bullets. Je would play nine season for 5 different franchises, twice being named to the All-Star game. The most prominent of the players drafted was the second overall pick, Bob Pettit of LSU. Taken by the Milwaukee Hawks, Pettit would play 11 seasons, mainly as a power forward, being named to the All-Star team every season he was active. He was named the Rookie of the Year, and would retire with an average of 25.5 points per game and was the first NBA player to reach 20,000 career points.
New York Knicks
Fort Wayne Pistons
* Folded before end of season