1969–70 NBA season
The 1969–70 NBA Season was the 24th season of the National Basketball Association. The season ended with the New York Knicks winning the NBA Championship, beating the Los Angeles Lakers 4 games to 3 in the NBA Finals.
|1969–70 NBA season|
|League||National Basketball Association|
|Duration||October 14, 1969 – March 22, 1970|
March 25–April 20, 1970 (Playoffs)
April 24–May 8, 1970 (Finals)
|Number of games||82|
|Number of teams||14|
|Top draft pick||Lew Alcindor[a]|
|Picked by||Milwaukee Bucks|
|Top seed||New York Knicks|
|Season MVP||Willis Reed (New York)|
|Top scorer||Jerry West (L.A. Lakers)|
|Eastern champions||New York Knicks|
|Eastern runners-up||Milwaukee Bucks|
|Western champions||Los Angeles Lakers|
|Western runners-up||Atlanta Hawks|
|Champions||New York Knicks|
|Runners-up||Los Angeles Lakers|
|Finals MVP||Willis Reed (New York)|
The 1969–70 season saw the NBA into a new decade as well as a new era. The retirement of Bill Russell from the Boston Celtics at the end of the 1968–69 season effectively signaled the end of the Celtics dynasty that had dominated the NBA for the past decade.
The New York Knicks were the top club in the league. They had a solid team of players led by star center Willis Reed and rising star guard Walt Frazier. Dave DeBusschere, who had been acquired from the Detroit Pistons the previous year, combined with Frazier and Reed to anchor the league's best defense. Coach Red Holzman led the club to wins in 60 of its 82 regular season games to pace the league.
In just their second season in the league, the Milwaukee Bucks totaled 56 wins helped by rookie superstar Lew Alcindor. Alcindor averaged 29 points per game on 52% shooting. He was also third in rebounds, seventh in shooting accuracy, and second in minutes played. Coach Larry Costello's team also had a strong backcourt of Jon McGlocklin and Flynn Robinson, and two ex-Cincinnati Royals, but Alcindor's arrival on the team nearly doubled their win total from the previous season, earning him rookie of the year honors.
The Baltimore Bullets also reached the 50-win plateau. Coach Gene Shue led a squad looking to improve after their early playoff exit the previous year. Guards Earl Monroe and Kevin Loughery were the team's main scoring threats, while center Wes Unseld and forward Gus Johnson excelled at rebounding, giving the Bullets more field goals than any other NBA team that year.
The Atlanta Hawks won the NBA's West Division title with 48 wins. Under coach Richie Guerin, they fielded a solid starting five, led again by scorer Lou Hudson. An early-season trade with Detroit netted star center Walt Bellamy.
|x-New York Knicks||60||22||.732||–|
|x-Los Angeles Lakers||46||36||.561||2|
|San Francisco Warriors||30||52||.366||18|
|San Diego Rockets||27||55||.329||21|
x – clinched playoff spot
In the division finals the Lakers swept the Hawks and the Knicks defeated the Bucks. In the finals the Knicks beat the Lakers 4–3.
|Points per game||Jerry West||Los Angeles Lakers||31.2|
|Rebounds per game||Elvin Hayes||San Diego Rockets||16.9|
|Assists per game||Lenny Wilkens||Seattle SuperSonics||9.1|
|FG%||Johnny Green||Cincinnati Royals||.559|
|FT%||Flynn Robinson||Milwaukee Bucks||.898|
- Most Valuable Player: Willis Reed, New York Knicks
- Rookie of the Year: Lew Alcindor, Milwaukee Bucks
- Coach of the Year: Red Holzman, New York Knicks
- All-NBA First Team:
- All-NBA Second Team:
- All-NBA Rookie Team:
- NBA All-Defensive Teams:
- First Team:
- Second Team:
Source: History section at NBA.com
- Changed his name to Kareem Abdul Jabbar before the 1971–72 season.
- "Basketball Star Lew Alcindor Changes Name to Kareem Jabbar". The Morning Record. September 17, 1971. p. 14. Retrieved July 16, 2016.
- "Division Standings". 1969-70 NBA Season Summary. Basketball Reference. Retrieved 24 August 2018.
- "NBA 1970 Playoffs Information: Playoff Brackets". Landlfbasketball.com. Retrieved 18 October 2020.
- Sports Illustrated (Oct. 27, 1969) - Season preview
- Sports Illustrated (Dec. 8, 1969) "Knicks Blitz the NBA"
- Sports Illustrated (March 9, 1970) "Lew Turns Small Change To Big Bucks"
- Sports Illustrated (April 27, 1970) "The Knicks Outplay the Bucks"
- Sports Illustrated (May 11, 1970) "East is Knicks But West is West"
- Sports Illustrated (May 18, 1970) "After 24 Years the Knicks on Top"