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Old 09-04-2011, 12:06 AM   #1
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Default 1982 All NBA 1st Team Gus Williams over Magic?

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%
Williams- 23.4ppg 3.1rpg 6.9ppg 2.2spg 48.6fg% 73.4ft%
Leader in bold.

http://www.basketball-reference.com/...nsma02&y2=1982


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?
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Old 09-04-2011, 12:13 AM   #2
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Default Re: 1982 All NBA 1st Team Gus Williams over Magic?

IMO, Magic had a LEGITIMATE claim to the MVP award that season. However, the turmoil that caused Westhead's firing no doubt was a factor. Of course, Magic went on to win the Finals MVP anyway.
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Old 09-04-2011, 12:27 AM   #3
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Default Re: 1982 All NBA 1st Team Gus Williams over Magic?

Great thread with some interesting information. I appreciate the research and you coming up with a genuinely interesting thread.

I knew Gus was a very good guard and am somewhat familiar with his game and what he was doing around the time from watching some games(most notably the '80 WCF) and was aware that he averaged 30.8 ppg to eliminate the Lakers in the '79 playoffs.

But I've seen more '82 Magic games, and it doesn't really surprise me. Magic was obviously a very good player, but his main impact at the time was in the open court and his half court game in the early 80's doesn't impress me as much due to him not being a great scorer yet, imo and because they had another guard in Norm Nixon to handle some of the playmaking(and who could score due to his quickness and pull up jumper). The rebounding is impressive though, and obviously, he entered the league with phenomenal passing ability and as a mismatch in the open court because even since then, we haven't seen too many 6'8" guards.

Magic was an impact player as a rookie, but he got a lot better as his career went on. I think that he really became a guy who had a solid case for MVP when he was the Lakers one real playmaker in the starting lineup(though Cooper did a good job in this role as well), added the post game and hit outside shots with consistency.

I'm not sure who was the better choice to be honest, I'll have to look into how Gus played in that '82 season a little more.

Also noteworthy is that Robert Parish made the all-nba second team instead of Kareem, finished 4th in MVP voting(behind only Moses, Bird and Dr. J) and got 4 first place votes(more than anyone other than Malone and Bird). Gus Williams finished 5th and had 2 first place votes himself.
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Old 09-04-2011, 12:29 AM   #4
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Default Re: 1982 All NBA 1st Team Gus Williams over Magic?

Thanks for the post on Gus. I cannot provide any further information on the matter. I'm actually quite unfamiliar with Gus. I didn't really even begin thinking about him until I heard Allen Iverson compared to him in this clip: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ANXSGFoa7cY

Any sense to such a comparison (coming from Pistons color commentator Greg Kelser, who played in Williams' era)?
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Old 09-04-2011, 12:56 AM   #5
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Default Re: 1982 All NBA 1st Team Gus Williams over Magic?

Gus Williams also finished higher in MVP voting to Magic that season.

I think this should be why did George Gervin beat out Magic that season.

Gus Williams (5th in MVP voting)
George Gervin - 32/5/2.5 (6th in MVP voting) Spurs 48-34

Sidney Moncrief - 20/7/5 (7th in MVP voting) Bucks 55-27
Magic Johnson (8th in MVP voting) Lakers 57-25


Seems about right. So actually Moncrief would have been voted in before Magic that season also (goin by these calculations.)
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Old 09-04-2011, 01:44 AM   #6
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Default Re: 1982 All NBA 1st Team Gus Williams over Magic?

Quote:
Originally Posted by L.Kizzle
Gus Williams also finished higher in MVP voting to Magic that season.

I think this should be why did George Gervin beat out Magic that season.

Gus Williams (5th in MVP voting)
George Gervin - 32/5/2.5 (6th in MVP voting) Spurs 48-34

Sidney Moncrief - 20/7/5 (7th in MVP voting) Bucks 55-27
Magic Johnson (8th in MVP voting) Lakers 57-25


Seems about right. So actually Moncrief would have been voted in before Magic that season also (goin by these calculations.)

Interesting point. I hadn't considered Gervin's and Moncrief's case.
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Old 09-04-2011, 02:07 AM   #7
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Default Re: 1982 All NBA 1st Team Gus Williams over Magic?

Something important to remember is that Gus also had a ring and had averaged 28 ppg in the NBA Finals at that point. Also, DJ was gone the year prior and people didn't expect Seattle to bounce back. Additionally, Magic and Kareem probably both hurt each others cause in the MVP voting that year. The Lakers were coming off a playoff disaster in 1981 and had a so-so regular season based on the level of talent on the roster. The Celtics and 76ers both won more games in what was considered the superior conference and as mentioned, Magic had ruffled some feathers with his tantrum and power play in LA.

I think people were saying "prove it" to EJ at that point. In the 1982 playoffs, that's what he did. 17-11-9-3 is a pretty amazing postseason. He shot better from the field than any other Laker starter and took and made the most free throws on the team while shooting the best percentage. The Lakers lost just two games en route to the title. After that, the likes of Gervin, Moncrief and Gus Williams would never be mentioned in the same breath again and Magic had a lock on the all-NBA 1st team until he retired.
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Old 09-04-2011, 06:33 AM   #8
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Default Re: 1982 All NBA 1st Team Gus Williams over Magic?

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Old 09-04-2011, 08:57 AM   #9
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Default Re: 1982 All NBA 1st Team Gus Williams over Magic?

Good old Jelip! :) I was thinking about this a couple of times, good thing you brought it up. I say & feel pretty much what GOAT said, great post GOAT!

This is a very usual problem in the NBA, where you cant see the reason to why Player A ended up over Player B. There are many players i felt this way for, that got the incorrect treatment in the 1st team honors.

As you may know the voting is conducted by a panel of sportswriters and broadcasters, some players prominence has always been somewhat existant in the result of their votes.

Technically speaking Gus had no bussines being over Magic that year, but by prevalence & acclaim he sure barelly had bussines over the fairly knew Magic Johnson who i guess had to "prove" himself more.

Prevelance & Acclaim sure is more or less important in some of those sportswriters / broadcasters voting, if a Rookie SG came in today averaging 37-5-5 and have more team wins than Kobe that season aswell, Kobe would probably still end up on the 1st team that season anyways.

Last edited by sh0wtime : 09-04-2011 at 09:00 AM.
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Old 09-06-2011, 01:06 PM   #10
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Default Re: 1982 All NBA 1st Team Gus Williams over Magic?

Someone once said Isiah Thomas was the same as Gus Williams as well.
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