This had bothered me for a while as all I knew about Gus Williams initially could be found on his profile at basketballreference.com. Statistically I knew that Williams had absolutely no case over Magic given that all he did was basically take more shots than Magic, and that's it. Magic was better everywhere else and basically average a triple double that season.
Magic- 18.6ppg 9.6rpg 9.5apg 2.7spg
(led league) 53.7fg% 76.0ft%
3.1rpg 6.9ppg 2.2spg 48.6fg% 73.4ft%
Leader in bold
Anyways, I did some research on Williams that season to see if there were some intangibles about him or other things that might have strengthened his case in the eyes of voters over Magic as an all NBA 1st team player. Here are some things that I uncovered:
Williams had missed the entire '81 season as he was holding out for a better contract. The Sonics finished 34-48 which was last in their division without him. With him in '82 they finished 52-30 which was second in the entire conference (behind the Lakers.) He missed only two games in '82. One of those games was against the Cavs who were the worst team in the league, and the Sonics struggled to beat them, winning only by 2 points. Starting center, Jack Sikma said, "We really weren't able to open it up tonight without Gus."
Sonics struggle without Williams
Frankly every article that I read basically considered Williams the undisputed leader of the Sonics and credited him with leading them to victory including this victory over the Lakers
Next I observed that Williams was extremely clutch that season. He had several huge second halves and fourth quarters. Also he had various game winning shots.
Gus Williams Game Winner
Another Williams game winner
Williams game winning free throw
'82 was his first all star season and he led the All Star game in points and assists
. He did miss the game winning 3 pointer though.
Finally, Williams finished 5th in the MVP voting that season ahead of Magic and other legends such as Gervin and Kareem also.
Having said all of this, what I've come away with was that he was a good/ great player that season, but I still don't quite see how he would have been chosen over Magic for the 1st team. I'm wondering did Magic getting Coach Westhead fired that year taint him in the eyes of the voters.
Can anyone eslse shed any more light on this? Do you actually feel that Gus Williams was more deserving of the 1st team over Magic?