1971–72 Phoenix Suns season

The 1971–72 Phoenix Suns season was the fourth season for the Phoenix Suns of the National Basketball Association. With a 49–33 record, the Suns hold the NBA record as the team with the best winning percentage to not make the playoffs. The team broke the record they set the previous year with a 48–34 finish. Head coach Cotton Fitzsimmons led the Suns in their debut season as members of the Pacific division. All home games were played at Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum.

1971–72 Phoenix Suns season
Head coachCotton Fitzsimmons
General managerJerry Colangelo
OwnersRichard Bloch
ArenaArizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum
Results
Record49–33 (.598)
PlaceDivision: 3rd (Midwest)
Conference: 5th (Western)
Playoff finishDid not qualify

Stats @ Basketball-Reference.com
Local media
TelevisionKTAR-TV
RadioKTAR
< 1970–71 1972–73 >

Paul Silas again led the team in rebounds, averaging 11.9 per game, while also leading the Suns in assists with a 4.3 average. Connie Hawkins's 21 points a game led the club, while Dick Van Arsdale was second with his 19.7 average. Silas averaged 17.5 for the season, while both Clem Haskins and Neal Walk averaged 15.7.

Draft picksEdit

Round Pick Player Position Nationality College
1 14 John Roche Guard   United States South Carolina
3 48 Dennis "Mo" Layton Guard   United States USC
4 65 Walt Szczerbiak Forward   United States George Washington
5 82 Ken Gardner Forward   United States Utah
5 84 Bob Kissane Center   United States Holy Cross
6 99 William Graham Forward   United States Kentucky State
7 116 Ralph Brateris Forward   United States Trenton State
8 133 Vernell Ellzy Forward   United States Florida State
9 149 Mike Johnson Guard   United States Kansas State
10 165 Tom Newell Guard   United States Hawaii
11 179 Paul Leitz Forward   United States Western Carolina
12 192 Floyd Mason Forward   United States Alcorn A&M
13 204 Ron Dorsey Guard   United States Tennessee State
14 213 Ken Booker Guard   United States UCLA
15 222 Curtis Carter Forward   United States Bishop

RosterEdit

Phoenix Suns roster
Players Coaches
Pos. # Nat. Name Height Weight DOB (Y-M-D) From
C 31   Counts, Mel 7 ft 0 in (2.13 m) 230 lb (104 kg) 1941-10-16 Oregon State
F 16   Green, Lamar 6 ft 7 in (2.01 m) 210 lb (95 kg) 1947-03-22 Morehead State
G 23   Harris, Art 6 ft 4 in (1.93 m) 185 lb (84 kg) 1947-01-13 Stanford
G 11   Haskins, Clem 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m) 195 lb (88 kg) 1943-07-11 Western Kentucky
F/C 42   Hawkins, Connie 6 ft 8 in (2.03 m) 210 lb (95 kg) 1942-07-17 Iowa
G 1   Layton, Dennis 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m) 180 lb (82 kg) 1948-12-24 Southern California
F/C 34   Moore, Otto 6 ft 11 in (2.11 m) 205 lb (93 kg) 1946-08-27 Texas-Pan Am
G 33   Scott, Charlie 6 ft 5 in (1.96 m) 175 lb (79 kg) 1948-12-15 North Carolina
F 29   Silas, Paul 6 ft 7 in (2.01 m) 220 lb (100 kg) 1943-07-12 Creighton
G/F 5   Van Arsdale, Dick 6 ft 5 in (1.96 m) 210 lb (95 kg) 1943-02-22 Indiana
C 41   Walk, Neal 6 ft 10 in (2.08 m) 220 lb (100 kg) 1948-07-29 Florida
G 10   Webb, Jeff 6 ft 4 in (1.93 m) 170 lb (77 kg) 1948-07-06 Kansas State
G/F 25   Wetzel, John   6 ft 5 in (1.96 m) 190 lb (86 kg) 1944-10-22 Virginia Tech
Head coach

Legend
  • (C) Team captain
  • (DP) Unsigned draft pick
  • (FA) Free agent
  • (S) Suspended
  •   Injured

Regular seasonEdit

StandingsEdit

Midwest Division W L PCT GB Home Road Neutral Div
y-Milwaukee Bucks 63 19 .768 31–5 27–12 5–2 13–5
x-Chicago Bulls 57 25 .695 6 29–12 26–12 2–1 12–6
Phoenix Suns 49 33 .598 14 30–11 19–20 0–2 7–11
Detroit Pistons 26 56 .317 37 16–25 9–30 1–1 4–14
# Western Conference
Team W L PCT
1 z-Los Angeles Lakers 69 13 .841
2 y-Milwaukee Bucks 63 19 .768
3 x-Chicago Bulls 57 25 .695
4 x-Golden State Warriors 51 31 .622
5 Phoenix Suns 49 33 .598
6 Seattle SuperSonics 47 35 .573
7 Houston Rockets 34 48 .415
8 Detroit Pistons 26 56 .317
9 Portland Trail Blazers 18 64 .220


Record vs. opponentsEdit

1971–72 NBA records
Team ATL BAL BOS BUF CHI CIN CLE DET GSW HOU LAL MIL NYK PHI PHO POR SEA
Atlanta 2–4 0–4 4–2 0–5 3–3 4–2 3–2 3–2 1–4 0–5 2–3 3–1 3–3 3–2 4–0 1–4
Baltimore 4–2 2–2 3–3 1–4 4–2 1–5 3–2 1–4 3–2 1–4 0–5 2–4 4–0 4–1 3–1 2–3
Boston 4–0 2–2 6–0 3–2 4–2 5–1 5–0 2–3 5–0 1–4 2–3 3–3 6–0 2–3 4–0 2–3
Buffalo 2–4 3–3 0–6 1–3 3–3 4–2 2–4 1–3 0–4 0–4 0–4 1–5 3–3 0–4 2–4 0–4
Chicago 5–0 4–1 2–3 3–1 3–1 4–0 5–1 3–3 5–1 1–3 2–4 3–2 4–1 5–1 6–0 2–3
Cincinnati 3–3 2–4 2–4 3–3 1–3 6–2 2–3 2–3 0–4 1–4 0–5 2–2 2–2 2–3 2–2 0–5
Cleveland 2–4 5–1 1–5 2–4 0–4 2–6 1–3 0–4 2–2 1–3 0–4 1–5 2–4 0–4 4–2 0–4
Detroit 2–3 2–3 0–5 4–2 1–5 3–2 3–1 0–5 3–3 1–4 1–5 1–4 1–4 2–4 2–2 0–4
Golden State 2–3 4–1 3–2 3–1 3–3 3–2 4–0 5–0 5–1 1–5 2–2 2–3 4–1 2–3 4–2 4–2
Houston 4–1 2–3 0–5 4–0 1–5 4–0 2–2 3–3 1–5 1–5 0–5 0–5 4–1 1–3 4–2 3–3
Los Angeles 5–0 4–1 4–1 4–0 3–1 4–1 3–1 4–1 5–1 5–1 4–1 4–1 5–0 4–2 6–0 5–1
Milwaukee 3–2 5–0 3–2 4–0 4–2 5–0 4–0 5–1 2–2 5–0 1–4 2–3 4–1 4–2 6–0 6–0
New York 1–3 4–2 3–3 5–1 2–3 2–2 5–1 4–1 3–2 5–0 1–4 3–2 3–3 1–4 3–1 3–2
Philadelphia 3–3 0–4 0–6 3–3 1–4 2–2 4–2 4–1 1–4 1–4 0–5 1–4 3–3 1–4 2–2 4–1
Phoenix 2–3 1–4 3–2 4–0 1–5 3–2 4–0 4–2 3–2 3–1 2–4 2–4 4–1 4–1 6–0 3–2
Portland 0–4 1–3 0–4 4–2 0–6 2–2 2–4 2–2 2–4 2–4 0–6 0–6 1–3 2–2 0–6 0–6
Seattle 4–1 3–2 3–2 4–0 3–2 5–0 4–0 4–0 2–4 3–3 1–5 0–6 2–3 1–4 2–3 6–0

Game logEdit

1971–72 game log
Total: 49–33 (Home: 30–11; Road: 19–22)
1971–72 schedule

Team-by-team resultsEdit

Opponent Home Road Total All-time record Suns leading scorer Opp. leading scorer
Atlanta Hawks 2–1 0–2 2–3 10–12 (.455%) Connie Hawkins (21.2) Lou Hudson (26.8)
Baltimore Bullets 1–2 0–2 1–4 6–16 (.273%) Dick Van Arsdale (23.6) Archie Clark (24.6)
Boston Celtics 3–0 0–2 3–2 10–12 (.455%) Connie Hawkins (28.2) John Havlicek (27.2)
Buffalo Braves 2–0 2–0 4–0 7–1 (.875%) Connie Hawkins (20.3) Walt Hazzard (19.3)
Chicago Bulls 0–3 1–2 1–5 8–17 (.320%) Paul Silas (19.8) Bob Love (26.7)
Cincinnati Royals 2–0 1–2 3–2 12–10 (.545%) Dick Van Arsdale (23.6) Tom Van Arsdale (23.4)
Cleveland Cavaliers 2–0 2–0 4–0 8–0 (1.000%) Dick Van Arsdale (21.0) John Johnson (17.3)
Detroit Pistons 2–1 2–1 4–2 13–11 (.542%) Connie Hawkins (20.3) Bob Lanier (25.7)
Golden State Warriors 2–0 1–2 3–2 11–11 (.500%) Clem Haskins (18.6) Nate Thurmond (23.6)
Houston Rockets 1–1 2–0 3–1 13–12 (.520%) Dick Van Arsdale (19.8) Elvin Hayes (24.0)
Los Angeles Lakers 2–1 0–3 2–4 10–15 (.400%) Dick Van Arsdale (21.2) Gail Goodrich (28.3)
Milwaukee Bucks 1–2 1–2 2–4 6–20 (.231%) Connie Hawkins (28.2) Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (37.8)
New York Knicks 2–0 2–1 4–1 6–16 (.273%) Connie Hawkins (24.6) Walt Frazier (23.4)
Philadelphia 76ers 3–0 1–1 4–1 9–13 (.409%) Connie Hawkins (22.0) Bob Rule (21.7)
Portland Trail Blazers 3–0 3–0 6–0 10–0 (1.000%) Connie Hawkins (22.2) Sidney Wicks (25.8)
Seattle SuperSonics 2–0 1–2 3–2 13–10 (.565%) Connie Hawkins (23.4) Spencer Haywood (29.8)

Awards and honorsEdit

All-StarEdit

  • Connie Hawkins was selected as a reserve for the Western Conference in the All-Star Game. It was his third consecutive All-Star selection.
  • Paul Silas was selected as a reserve for the Western Conference in the All-Star Game. It was his first All-Star selection.

SeasonEdit

Player statisticsEdit

Legend
  GP Games played  MPG  Minutes per game
 FG%  Field-goal percentage  FT%  Free-throw percentage
 RPG  Rebounds per game  APG  Assists per game
 PPG  Points per game

SeasonEdit

Player GP MPG FG% FT% RPG APG PPG
Mel Counts 76 11.9 .427 .721 3.4 1.3 5.2
Lamar Green 67 14.8 .446 .733 5.2 0.7 5.0
Art Harris 21 6.9 .329 .429 0.6 0.9 2.6
Clem Haskins 79 31.1 .483 .853^ 3.4 3.7 15.7
Connie Hawkins 76 36.8 .459 .807 8.3 3.9 21.0
Mo Layton 80 23.1 .424 .739 2.1 3.1 9.1
Otto Moore 81 20.0 .436 .603 6.7 1.1 7.6
Charlie Scott* 6 29.5 .425 .810 3.8 4.3 18.8
Paul Silas 80 38.5 .470 .773 11.9 4.3 17.5
Fred Taylor* 13 5.3 .222 .308 1.3 0.5 1.2
Dick Van Arsdale 82 37.8 .463 .845^ 4.1 3.6 19.7
Neal Walk 81 26.4 .479 .744 8.2 1.9 15.7
Jeff Webb* 27 4.8 .477 .500 0.6 0.6 2.5
John Wetzel 51 8.2 .378 .800 1.3 1.1 1.7

* – Stats with the Suns.
^ – Minimum 350 free throw attempts.

TransactionsEdit

TradesEdit

April 2, 1971
To Detroit Pistons---- To Phoenix Suns----
August 13, 1971
To Cleveland Cavaliers---- To Phoenix Suns----
December 27, 1971
To Cincinnati Royals---- To Phoenix Suns----
March 14, 1971
To Boston Celtics----
  • Future considerations
  • Cash considerations
    (  Paul Silas was sent to Boston in September to complete trade)
To Phoenix Suns----

Free agentsEdit