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Old 05-03-2019, 01:31 PM   #16
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Default 1957-58


NBA Finals: St. Louis Hawks defeat Boston Celtics in six games
MVP: Bill Russell, Boston Celtics
Finals MVP: not awarded
Rookie of the Year: Woody Sauldsberry, Philadelphia Warriors

Top Players
1. Bob Pettit - St. Louis Hawks
2. Bill Russell - Boston Celtics
3. Dolph Schayes - Syracuse Nationals
4. George Yardley - Detroit Pistons
5. Cliff Hagan - St. Louis Hawks
6. Maurice Stokes - Cincinnati Royals
7. Paul Arizin - Philadelphia Warriors
8. Neil Johnston - Philadelphia Warriors
9. Clyde Lovellette - Cincinnati Royals
10. Bob Cousy - Boston Celtics
11. Bill Sharman - Boston Celtics
12. Frank Ramsey - Boston Celtics
13. Jack Twyman - Cincinnati Royals
14. Kenny Sears - New York Knickerbockers
15. Vern Mikkelsen - Minneapolis Lakers
16. Larry Foust - Minneapolis Lakers
17. Tom Gola - Philadelphia Warriors
18. Red Kerr - Syracuse Nationals
19. Larry Costello - Syracuse Nationals
20. Tom Heinsohn - Boston Celtics


The NBA’s talent pool was rapidly expanding in the late 1950’s and a number of college stars were starting to bolsters the sports popularity as well. The small towns of the NBL were finding it harder and harder to compete financially with the larger markets from the BAA, even with quality teams on the court. The Rochester Royals succumbed to that pressure and moved to Cincinnati prior to the 1957-58 season the Ft. Wayne Pistons would do the same, bound for Detroit. That left just Syracuse and Minneapolis in the original cities among the old NBL franchises, both would relocate within five years. Along with the financial benefits of the bigger cities, there was also the issue of territorial draft picks. Prior to the 1957-58 season, the biggest name to be claimed by teritorial selection was Tom Heinsohn in 1956. But over the next seven seasons, a number of future Hall of Famers and Stars would be nabbed by their hometown teams. Wilt Chamberlain, Oscar Robertson, Dave Debusschere, Walt Hazzard, Jerry Lucas, Bill Bradley and Gail Goodrich among them. The rule was changed in 1865, but unquestionably it’s existence had a bearing on the Royals choice to move to Ohio as the Buckeye state had the territorial rights to both Robertson and Lucas, two of the most celebrated high school stars of that era.

Meanwhile the Celtics and Hawks continued to be the league’s premier teams, closely followed by the Nationals and Warriors. In 1958, the Hawks would join the other three as the last four NBA Champions. The Finals rematch between Boston and St. Louis turned in the Hawks favor when Bill Russell turned his ankle in game three. Russell played hurt, but was limited in terms of minutes and impact and the Hawks duo of Bob Pettit and Cliff Hagan were spectacular all postseason. Pettit poured in 50 in the clinching game six, a game that still stands as one of the all-time greatest performances. But it was Hagan who really elevated his game in the postseason. A key piece in the trade that sent Russell’s draft rights to the Celtics, Hagan had been essential to the Hawks second half surge in 1957 and was the teams top scorer in the 1958 postseason averaging 28 points per game on above 50% shooting and adding 10.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists. Though just 6’4”, he was a center, in college at Kentucky, started his NBA career at guard and took off when he was moved to forward. A master of the running hook shot, Hagan had an outstanding ten year professional career and is still one of the more underrated players historically.

Tragedy struck as well in 1957-58 as Maurice Stokes, the Royals do-it-all point forwards’ career came to an end before the end of his third season when he was paralyzed after a hard feel left him bleeding internally and the lack of immediate care led to encephalitis setting in. Stokes had averaged 17 points, 18 rebounds and over 6 assists during the season and the Royals were bound for the playoffs for the first time in his career. The idea of him teaming up with Oscar Robertson was tantalizing but never realized. His teammate Jack Twyman would become his unofficial caretaker for the rest of Maurice’s life. Their story, while tragic, remains one of the most touching and beautiful in NBA history.

Last edited by G.O.A.T : 05-03-2019 at 01:56 PM.
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