1980-81 Philadelphia 76ers Games Played/Started & Transact's

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1980-81 Philadelphia 76ers Games Played/Started & Transact's

Postby MCT » Mon Dec 30, 2013 10:31 pm

This is the third of a planned series of threads analyzing games played, games started and transactions for the 1980-81 season. Before reading any further, see the introductory thread below:

viewtopic.php?f=5&t=4961

PHILADELPHIA 76ERS – PART I

SEASON OVERVIEW

The 76ers had a 62-20 record. They finished the season tied with the Celtics for the best record in the Atlantic Division, but the Celtics were considered the division champion under tiebreaker rules. The Celtics and 76ers were tied for the best record in the conference, two games better than the Central Division champion Bucks, but the two division champions were guaranteed the top two playoff seeds. As a result, the 76ers were relegated to the #3 seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs.

In the First Round, the 76ers defeated the Pacers 2-0, and in the Conference Semifinals, they defeated the Bucks 4-3. They then lost to the Celtics 4-3 in the Conference Finals. The 76ers played a total of 16 playoff games.

The 76ers used 13 different players for the season, two above the minimum.

ROSTER AND TRANSACTIONS

OPENING NIGHT ROSTER

Maurice Cheeks
Doug Collins
Earl Cureton
Monti Davis
Darryl Dawkins
Julius Erving
Lionel Hollins
Bobby Jones
Caldwell Jones
Steve Mix
Clint Richardson
*Andrew Toney

*placed on injured list 10/9/80

IN-SEASON TRANSACTIONS

10/21/80 – Activated Andrew Toney from the injured list; waived Monti Davis.

11/21/80 – Placed Doug Collins on the injured list; signed Ollie Johnson as a Veteran Free Agent; sent cash to the Bulls as compensation for Johnson.

Note: the 76ers finished the season with 12 players on their roster, including one on the injured list (Doug Collins). Collins remained inactive for the playoffs.

NOTES/DISCREPANCIES

My source for Collins being placed on the injured list on 11/21/80 is pst.com; I didn’t find this in any other source. But it’s clear that Collins must have been placed on the injured list on or shortly before this date, in order to make room to sign Johnson. Collins hadn’t played for a couple of weeks before this – according to newspaper articles in the Google News Archive, the 76ers announced on 11/7/80 that Collins was out indefinitely with an injury – and he did not appear in any further games.

I don’t have any explicit documentation of what date the 76ers sent cash to the Bulls as compensation for Johnson, but in the absence of evidence to the contrary, I am assuming that it happened at the same time Johnson signed with the 76ers. Johnson has to have been a fairly minor free agent and I don’t see why working out compensation for him would have needed to be a protracted process. (pst.com has it on the same date, but I’m not sure if Frank found a source explicitly stating that, or if he’s simply making the same assumption that I am.)

GAMES STARTED INFO

MEDIA GUIDE

The 2012-13 76ers Media Guide has regular season games started stats going back to the 1970-71 season. These appear in the player register section of the Guide (there is no year-by-year listing; you have to look up each player individually). For 1980-81, the Guide shows the following:

Erving 82
Cheeks 81
C. Jones 81
Dawkins 76
Toney 57
Hollins 13
Collins 12
Cureton 6
Mix 1
Richardson 1

TSN BOX SCORES

All but four of the TSN box scores for the 1980-81 76ers appear to list the players in “starters first” F-F-C-G-G order. The four exceptions were games on 11/12/80, 12/28/80, 2/27/81, and 3/22/81.

--Regular starting center Darryl Dawkins did not play on 11/12/80. The first four players listed look the other four usual starters, with Dawkins’ slot skipped over. The fifth player listed is Steve Mix.

--In the 12/28/80 box score, the usual starters appear in the first, second, third, fifth and sixth slots. The fourth player listed is Bobby Jones. Taken at face value, this would suggest that Jones started at guard. Ignore Jones, and the first five players listed (other than Jones) are the regular starters, in the correct order.

--I went back and forth over whether to treat the 2/27/81 game as a game in which the players do not appear to be listed in “starters first” order, or a discrepancy. Bobby Jones is listed in the third position, suggesting he started at center, but all of the other starters are in their usual slots. I decided to categorize that as not being in “starters first” order because 1) The 76ers Media Guide indicates that Jones did not start any games; 2) There is no obvious reason why the 76ers would have needed to start Jones at center (regular starter Dawkins played in this game, and the 76ers Media Guide indicates that Dawkins started every game he played in); and 3) While it’s not impossible that Jones occasionally played some center, b-r.com does not list it as a regular position for him.

--The game on 3/22/81 followed a stretch of three games in which Dawkins had not played. The first four players listed look the other four usual starters, with Dawkins’ slot skipped over. The fifth player listed is Dawkins.

At four of the five positions, the 76ers had a consistent starter throughout the season (Dawkins at center, Julius Erving and Caldwell Jones at forward, Maurice Cheeks at one guard slot). Three different players spent time as the regular starter at the fifth position (Doug Collins, Andrew Toney and Lionel Hollins), but at any point in time there was typically a clear starter for the moment. If we assume that any usual starter who played in the games on the above dates started those games, the games started totals for all players are consistent with those in the 76ers Media Guide, except for the discrepancy noted below.

The only gap in the above is that Dawkins did not play on 11/12/80, so we can’t assume that he started that game. When Dawkins didn’t start, his usual fill-in was Earl Cureton. Sometimes Cureton would start at center, other times he would start at forward, with Caldwell Jones shifting to center. The 76ers Media Guide indicates that Cureton started six games, however, and the TSN box scores already have him starting six other games. Meanwhile, the fifth player listed in the 11/12 box score is Steve Mix. The 76ers Media Guide indicates that Mix started one game, and the TSN boxes do not show Mix as the starter for any other game. If we assume that Mix started at forward on 11/12/80 (with Caldwell Jones shifting to center), the games started totals for all players involved are in agreement with those in the 76ers Media Guide.

NOTES/DISCREPANCIES

After making the above assumptions, there is one discrepancy between the 76ers Media Guide and the TSN boxes, involving one game and two players. The Media Guide indicates that Maurice Cheeks started 81 games, and Lionel Hollins 13. The TSN boxes suggest that Cheeks started 80 games, and Hollins 14. The source of the discrepancy is a game on 10/31/80. One would have expected Cheeks to start this game, but the TSN box score shows Hollins in a starter’s slot, with Cheeks coming off the bench.

In this series of articles, I am assuming that the games started numbers in team media guides are correct, and I have used the numbers from the 76ers Media Guide in Part II below. In this case, the Media Guide numbers intuitively make more sense to me anyway; there’s no obvious reason why Hollins would have started that game in place of Cheeks.

PLAYOFFS

The 76ers Media Guide’s handling of playoff games started is odd. The player register section has no data prior to 1980-81. For 1980-81, it lists games started info for only three players, all of whom it shows starting every game (Erving, Hawkins and Hollins).

The TSN box scores show the same five players who started towards the end of the regular season starting every game in the playoffs, with one exception (Toney is shown starting one game in place of Hollins). Lacking good info to double-check against, I have gone with what the TSN boxes show. One would expect that the five players who started towards the end of the regular season would continue to start in the playoffs, and aside from the one exception involving one game, that’s what the TSN box scores show.
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Re: 1980-81 Philadelphia 76ers Games Played/Started & Transa

Postby MCT » Mon Dec 30, 2013 10:44 pm

PHILADELPHIA 76ERS – PART II

PLAYER INFORMATION

Players are listed based on a snapshot as of late February, although the 76ers’ roster was the same from 11/21/80 to the end of the season, and this analysis would be more-or-less the same at any point between 11/21/80 and early March (when a change was made in one of the starters).

JULIUS ERVING

History: Began pro career in ABA, 1971. Acquired in trade with Nets, October 1976.

Games Played (Regular Season 82 G, 35.0 MPG; Playoffs 16 G, 37.0 MPG): Erving appeared in every game the 76ers played.

Games Started (Regular Season: 82; Playoffs: 16): Erving started every game the 76ers played.

b-r.com position info: Position in old b-r.com header is listed as Forward-Guard. Primary position is shown as SF for all seasons of career. My recollection is that Erving played some guard towards the end of his career, but at this point I’d think he was a full-time forward.

DARRYL DAWKINS

History: 1st round pick of 76ers in 1975.

Games Played (Regular Season 76 G, 27.5 MPG; Playoffs 16 G, 26.3 MPG): The six games in which Dawkins did not appear were three consecutive games from 11/12/80 through 11/15/80, and three consecutive games from 3/17/81 through 3/20/81.

Games Started (Regular Season: 76; Playoffs: 16): Dawkins started every game he played in.

b-r.com position info: Position in old b-r.com header is listed as Center. Primary position is shown as C for all seasons of career.

CALDWELL JONES

History: Began pro career in ABA, 1973. Signed by 76ers to future services contract, February 1975, to take effect for 1977-78 season (the 76ers owned Jones’ NBA rights because they had selected him in the 2nd round of the 1973 NBA Draft); assigned to 76ers at time of NBA-ABA merger, August 1976.

Games Played (Regular Season 81 G, 32.6 MPG; Playoffs 16 G, 36.3 MPG): The only game in which Jones did not appear was on 12/19/80.

Games Started (Regular Season: 81; Playoffs: 16): Jones started every game he played in. Jones usually started at forward, but based on the TSN box scores and the assumptions made earlier, he appears to have started three games at center, on 11/12/80, 11/13/80, and 3/17/81. All three are games in which Dawkins did not play.

b-r.com position info: Position in old b-r.com header is listed as Center-Forward. Primary position is shown as C for most seasons of career, including this one (three of his last four seasons, later in the ‘80s, are shown as PF). Even though Jones clearly started at power forward, I agree with b-r.com's assessment that his primary position was center. It appears to me that he would typically shift to center during games, and almost certainly played more minutes at center than he did at forward.

MAURICE CHEEKS

History: 2nd round pick of 76ers in 1978.

Games Played (Regular Season 81 G, 29.8 MPG; Playoffs 16 G, 32.1 MPG): The only game in which Cheeks did not appear was on 1/10/81.

Games Started (Regular Season: 81; Playoffs: 16): As discussed earlier, there is a one-game discrepancy in Cheeks’ regular season games started. The 76ers Media Guide indicates that he started all 81 games he appeared in, but the TSN box scores suggest that he started only 80 games. The discrepancy involves a game on 10/31/80. It seems pretty clear that Cheeks started every other game he played in.

b-r.com position info: Position in old b-r.com header is listed as Guard. Primary position is shown as PG for all seasons of career.

ANDREW TONEY

History: 1st round pick of 76ers in 1980.

Games Played (Regular Season 75 G, 23.6 MPG; Playoffs 16 G, 22.3 MPG): The seven games in which Toney did not appear were the first seven games of the season. He was on the injured list from 10/9/80 (the day before the start of the regular season) to 10/21/80 (following the 76ers’ fifth game of the season). Once he made his debut on 10/28/80, Toney played in every remaining game.

Games Started (Regular Season: 57; Playoffs: 1): Toney started 57 consecutive games from 11/7/80 (replacing the injured Collins for the 13th game of the season) to 3/4/81 (after which he was replaced as starter by Hollins, with 13 games left in the regular season). Hollins remained the starter for the playoffs, but if the TSN box scores can be trusted, Toney started one playoff game in place of Hollins, on 4/26/81. This was Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals against Boston.

b-r.com position info: Position in old b-r.com header is listed as Guard. Primary position is shown as SG for all seasons of career.

BOBBY JONES

History: Began pro career in ABA, 1974. Acquired in trade with Nuggets, August 1978.

Games Played (Regular Season 81 G, 25.3 MPG; Playoffs 16 G, 27.7 MPG): The only game in which Jones did not appear was on 12/19/80. Note that this was also the only game that Caldwell Jones did not appear in. The 76ers had two players named Jones, both of whom only missed one game, and each missed the same game.

Games Started (Regular Season: 0; Playoffs: 0): Jones did not start any games.

b-r.com position info: Position in old b-r.com header is listed as Forward. Primary position is shown as PF for all seasons of career.

LIONEL HOLLINS

History: 1st round pick of Blazers in 1975. Acquired in trade with Blazers, February 1980.

Games Played (Regular Season 82 G, 26.3 MPG; Playoffs 16 G, 30.6 MPG): Hollins appeared in every game the 76ers played.

Games Started (Regular Season: 13; Playoffs: 15): As discussed earlier, there is a one-game discrepancy in Hollins’ regular season games started. The 76ers Media Guide indicates that he started 13 games, but the TSN box scores suggest that he started 14 games. The discrepancy involves a game early in the season. That game aside, Hollins came off the bench until 3/6/81, when he moved into the starting lineup with 13 games left in the regular season, replacing Toney. Hollins started all 13 remaining regular season games. Hollins remained the regular starter for the playoffs, although if the TSN box scores can be trusted, there was one playoff game Toney started instead of Hollins (4/26/81, Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals against Boston).

b-r.com position info: Position in old b-r.com header is listed as Guard. Primary position is shown as PG for all seasons of career except for the portion of the 1979-80 season he spent with Philadelphia, which is shown as SG.

STEVE MIX

History: 5th round pick of Pistons in 1969. Signed as a free agent, August 1973.

Games Played (Regular Season 72 G, 18.4 MPG; Playoffs 16 G, 12.9 MPG): The ten games in which Mix did not appear were on 12/17/80, seven consecutive games from 1/16/81 through 1/28/81 (the last seven games before the All-Star break), 2/8/81, and 3/25/81.

Games Started (Regular Season: 1; Playoffs: 0): The one game that Mix started was on 11/12/80. Regular starter Darryl Dawkins did not play in this game; Caldwell Jones shifted to center, and Mix took Jones’ place at forward.

b-r.com position info: Position in old b-r.com header is listed as Forward. Primary position is shown as SF for most seasons of career, including 1980-81. Two seasons earlier in Mix’s career (1973-74 and 1974-75) are shown as PF.

CLINT RICHARDSON

History: 2nd round pick of 76ers in 1979.

Games Played (Regular Season 77 G, 17.1 MPG; Playoffs 13 G, 13.9 MPG): The five regular season games in which Richardson did not appear were four consecutive games from 10/29/80 through 11/5/80, and one additional game on 3/17/81. The three playoff games in which Richardson did not appear were on 4/10/81 (Game 5 of the Milwaukee series), 4/26/81 (Game 4 of the Boston series) and 5/3/81 (Game 7 of the Boston series).

Games Started (Regular Season: 1; Playoffs: 0): The one game that Richardson started was on 1/10/81. Regular starter Maurice Cheeks did not play in this game.

b-r.com position info: Position in old b-r.com header is listed as Guard. Primary position is shown as SG for all seasons of career.

EARL CURETON

History: 3rd round pick of 76ers in 1979, as a junior eligible; returned to college for 1979-80 season, but signed with 76ers in May 1980 rather than re-enter that year’s draft.

Games Played (Regular Season 52 G, 10.2 MPG; Playoffs 9 G, 4.0 MPG): I’m not going to list out exactly which games Cureton appeared in and which he didn’t, but his appearances in the TSN box scores do add up to his official games played total. Cureton appeared in just 5 of the 76ers’ first 12 games; then played in 31 of the next 39 (a stretch ending a week before the All-Star break); then just 4 of the next 17, then 12 of the remaining 14.

Cureton appeared in 9 out of 16 playoff games. The games he played in were Games 1 & 2 of the Indiana series; Games 1, 4, 5, 6 & 7 of the Milwaukee series; and Games 2 & 3 of the Boston series.

Games Started (Regular Season: 6; Playoffs: 0): The six games that Cureton started were two consecutive games on 11/13/80 & 11/15/80, 12/19/80, and three consecutive games on 3/17/81 through 3/20/81. All were games in which Dawkins did not play, except for the game on 12/19/80, when Caldwell Jones did not play. Dawkins also missed the game immediately before the first two that Cureton started (11/12/80), but Cureton did not start that game. Mix started instead.

If the TSN boxes can be trusted, Cureton started four of these games at F (11/13/80, 12/19/80, 3/17/81 and 3/20/81) and two at C (11/15/80 and 3/18/81). Note that, in all of these games except the one in which Caldwell Jones did not play (12/19/80), Cureton started alongside Jones. Which of the two was listed at center and which was listed at power forward may have been just a matter of semantics. Dawkins played in the game on 12/19/80 but Jones did not, so it makes sense that Cureton started at PF (not C) in that game.

b-r.com position info: Position in old b-r.com header is listed as Forward-Center. Primary position switches back and forth between C and PF, with C somewhat predominant in the early part of his career and PF somewhat predominant in the later part. 1980-81 is shown as C.

OLLIE JOHNSON

History: 2nd round pick of Blazers in 1972. Signed as Veteran Free Agent, November 1980 (compensation owed to Bulls).

Johnson was the only player on the 76ers’ end-of-season roster who did not begin the season with the team. He was signed on 11/21/80 to fill the roster spot vacated by the injured Doug Collins. Johnson had played for the Bulls the previous season. At the end of the 1979-80 season, he became a Veteran Free Agent, and remained unsigned into the early part of the 1980-81 season, until finding a place with the 76ers. The 76ers sent cash to the Bulls as compensation for Johnson.

Games Played (Regular Season 40 G, 9.3 MPG; Playoffs 8 G, 2.8 MPG): I’m not going to list out exactly which games Johnson appeared in and which he didn’t, but his appearances in the TSN box scores do add up to his official games played total. Johnson seemed to play somewhat more frequently as the season went on. The 76ers played approximately 62 regular-season games with Johnson on the roster. He played in just 12 of the first 27, but in 28 of the remaining 35.

Johnson appeared in 8 out of 16 playoff games. The games he played in were Games 1 & 2 of the Indiana series; Games 2, 4, 5 & 6 of the Milwaukee series; and Games 2 & 3 of the Boston series.

Games Started (Regular Season: 0; Playoffs: 0): Johnson did not start any games.

b-r.com position info: Position in old b-r.com header is listed as Forward. Primary position is shown as SF for all seasons of career.

INJURED LIST:

DOUG COLLINS

History: 1st round pick of 76ers in 1973.

Games Played (Regular Season 12 G, 27.4 MPG): The 12 games Collins played in were the first 12 games of the season. His last appearance was on 11/5/80. According to newspaper articles in the Google News Archive, the 76ers announced on 11/7/80 that Collins was out indefinitely with a recurrence of a stress fracture in his right foot. According to pst.com, Collins was formally placed on the injured list on 11/21/80, when the 76ers signed Ollie Johnson to fill his roster spot. He apparently stayed on the IL for the remainder of the regular season, and remained inactive for the playoffs.

Games Started (Regular Season: 12): Collins started all 12 games he appeared in before getting injured.

b-r.com position info: Position in old b-r.com header is listed as Guard-Forward. Primary position is shown as SG for all seasons of career. Does anyone have any information about Collins playing forward? Would it have been only earlier in his career?

NO LONGER WITH TEAM:

MONTI DAVIS

History: 1st round pick of 76ers in 1980.

Davis started the season on the 76ers’ active roster, but was waived on 10/21/80, following the fifth game of the season. He was waived when Andrew Toney, who had started the season on the injured list, was activated. Later in the season, Davis was picked up by the Mavericks on a 10-day contract, and he appeared in one additional game with them. Those two games – one with Philadelphia, one with Dallas – were the only NBA games Davis would ever play in.

Games Played (Regular Season 1 G, 2.0 MPG): The one game that Davis played in was on 10/18/80. That was the fifth and final game for which he was on the 76ers’ active roster.

Games Started (Regular Season: 0): Davis did not start any games.

b-r.com position info: Position in old b-r.com header is listed as Forward. Primary position is shown as PF; this is the only season that Davis played in the NBA.
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Re: 1980-81 Philadelphia 76ers Games Played/Started & Transa

Postby MCT » Mon Dec 30, 2013 10:53 pm

PHILADELPHIA 76ERS – PART III

PLAYERS BY POSITION

STARTERS

The 76ers had a stable starting lineup throughout the season at four of the five positions: Dawkins at center; Caldwell Jones and Erving at forward; and Cheeks at one guard spot. The other guard spot passed from Collins (lost for the season in November due to injury) to Toney (the starter for most of the season) to Hollins (the starter for the last four weeks of the regular season, and the playoffs). In the “snapshot” list above, I have placed Toney as the starter, because he was the starter at the time of the snapshot. Across the entire season, Toney also started more games at guard than Hollins or Collins, by a wide margin. Based on that, I think it would be reasonable to list him as the starter for the season as a whole, as well. Hollins was the one starting at crunch time, however. For the season as a whole, Hollins also played more minutes than Toney did.

For the forwards, it seems pretty clear that Caldwell Jones was the PF and Erving the SF (while b-r.com has Erving at SF, they actually list Caldwell Jones at C; more on this in a minute). In the backcourt, b-r.com lists Cheeks as a PG, and Toney as an SG. That assessment seems pretty clear-cut, but note that Hollins is listed as a PG. So during the portion of the season when Cheeks and Hollins were both starting, the 76ers seem to have been starting two natural PGs. Hollins presumably filled the SG role in that lineup. In the playoffs, Cheeks averaged 7.3 apg to Hollins’ 4.1 apg.

At 35.0 mpg, Erving led the team in minutes played. The only other starter to average over 30 mpg was Caldwell Jones.

RESERVES

The most heavily used reserves were Bobby Jones and Lionel Hollins. Both played significantly more minutes than any of the other reserves, at 25.3 mpg and 26.3 mpg, respectively. Jones, a power forward, was frequently thought of as the 76ers’ sixth man in this era. When Jones entered the game, starting power forward Caldwell Jones would apparently often shift to center, where he was the de facto primary backup. Jones almost certainly played more minutes at C than he did at PF, and b-r.com lists his primary position as C. In the backcourt, the Sixers had sort of a three-guard rotation between Cheeks, Toney and Hollins, each of whom played between 23.6 and 29.8 mpg. Hollins’ primary position is listed as PG but he must have played significant minutes alongside Cheeks, in which case Hollins likely took on the SG role. For the season as a whole, Hollins played more minutes than Toney did, even though Toney started for most of the season. It’s possible that Hollins was seeing more playing time than Toney even during the period when Hollins was coming off the bench.

Next come Mix (small forward) and Richardson (shooting guard), who played 18.4 and 17.1 mpg, respectively. Mix and Richardson were everyday players who saw significant playing time, but clearly less than Bobby Jones and Hollins. Both would also see significant drops in mpg for the playoffs, while every player above them either increased or dropped only slightly.

The last players on the bench were Cureton (center-power forward) and Johnson (small forward). Neither were really everyday players, and neither averaged more than 10.2 mpg. Both played even more sparingly in the playoffs. Note that both of these guys were frontcourt players. After Collins went down, the 76ers carried only four guards on their roster for the remainder of the season. Beyond that three-man rotation discussed earlier, Richardson was the only backcourt player off the bench. I don’t even really see a player who was primarily a forward picking up a few minutes at guard. If you add up the minutes for the four players whose primary position was guard, it comes out to 37 minutes more than were available at guard for the regular season, and 4 minutes more than were available at guard for the playoffs.

POSITION NOTES

Caldwell Jones and Earl Cureton: C versus PF

I’m finding that a lot of teams have players listed by b-r.com as playing both center and (power) forward, and it isn’t always obvious who played how many minutes where. The 76ers had two such players: Caldwell Jones and Earl Cureton. An added twist is that even though Jones was the regular starter at power forward, b-r.com shows his primary position as center. Looking at the minutes played by others on the 76ers’ roster, I think b-r.com’s assessment of Jones’ primary position is correct. It appears to me that Jones would start at forward, but would often shift to center during games, and almost certainly logged more minutes at center than he did at forward. He was simultaneously the starter at power forward, and the primary backup at center.

In the regular season, Dawkins played 2088 minutes. Assuming that Dawkins played center exclusively (I think it is likely that he did, or nearly so), that leaves 1883 minutes at center for Jones and Cureton. Adding up the minutes for everyone else on the team leaves 1284 minutes at forward for Jones and Cureton. Even if Cureton played all 528 of his minutes at center, Jones would have still ended up playing slightly more than half of his minutes at center. To the extent that Cureton (or Dawkins, for that matter) played any minutes at forward, that would tip Jones’ balance even more towards center. The situation in the playoffs was similar. There were 347 minutes available at center, and 269 available at forward. Jones played 580 minutes, Cureton just 36. Even if Cureton played all of his minutes at center, more than half of Jones’ minutes would have been at center.

This makes perfect sense when you consider that Jones’ backup at power forward, Bobby Jones, played heavy minutes off the bench. There weren’t enough minutes available at forward for Caldwell Jones, Bobby Jones and Julius Erving, as well as Steve Mix and Ollie Johnson, to have played all of their minutes there. One of those players has to have moved to another position for a significant portion of their playing time. It seems likely that no non-guard was getting much playing time in the backcourt (as noted earlier, players whose primary position was guard actually played slightly more minutes than were available at guard in both the regular season and the playoffs), so someone must have been moving to center. The only three players on the 76ers’ roster listed by b-r.com as playing center were Dawkins, Caldwell Jones and Cureton. Cureton didn’t play on an everyday basis, and didn’t usually see heavy minutes even when he did play. Dawkins obviously wasn’t playing complete games, so someone must have been covering those minutes at center. The explanation for all of this seems to be that when Bobby Jones came into games, Caldwell Jones would typically shift to center, and Dawkins would go to the bench.

It occurs to me that whether we label Jones as a center or a forward in any given circumstance may be just a matter of semantics. Did he just play his game, and his teammates adapted around him? Do we call him a forward when paired with Dawkins, and a center when paired with Bobby Jones, but it didn’t really make much of a difference from his point of view?

One question that is still unanswered is how much Cureton played center versus forward. It’s hard to tell, especially as Cureton was one of the last players on the bench and didn’t play a whole lot of minutes. He started some games at both positions, so my guess is that he played some of both, but it’s hard to say which he played more of. b-r.com has his primary position listed as center, and that seems like a reasonable approach to me.

Erving at SG?

b-r.com shows Erving’s primary position as SF for every season of his major league career, but the header lists his position as “Forward-Guard”. My recollection is that Erving played some guard towards the end of his career, but at this point I’d think he was a full-time forward. Was Erving seeing any time at guard at this point in his career, or did that not come until later?

Collins at SF?

b-r.com shows Collins’ primary position as SG for every season of his NBA career, but the header lists his position as “Guard-Forward”. Does anyone have any information about Collins playing forward? Would it have been only earlier in his career? Collins played so little this season that this wouldn’t have had much of an impact on the season as a whole, anyway.

TRIVIA

Oldest Player: Steve Mix, born 12/30/47 (age 32 at start of season, turned 33 in December).

Played in ABA: Julius Erving, Caldwell Jones, Bobby Jones, Steve Mix.

Longest continuous service with team: Steve Mix, with the team since the 1973-74 season.

Highest original draft position*: #1 overall – Doug Collins.

Lowest original draft position*: 5th round, #61 overall - Steve Mix.

Youngest Player: Monti Davis, who was with the team only briefly at the start of the season, was the youngest player to suit up for the 76ers this year (born 7/26/58; age 22). Once Davis was gone, the youngest player on the team was Andrew Toney (born 11/23/57; age 22 at the start of the season, turned 23 in November).

*Which player was chosen with the highest/lowest selection, by round and/or overall pick, with no regard to whether any players may have been drafted under circumstances not reflecting their “true” value (e.g., player was a junior eligible who had not committed to turn pro right away; player was already under contract to ABA, or thought to be likely to sign with ABA).
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Re: 1980-81 Philadelphia 76ers Games Played/Started & Transa

Postby meej » Sun Jan 05, 2014 10:04 pm

The Sixers tried a big lineup with Julius Erving as guard and Bobby Jones, Caldwell Jones and Darryl Dawkins during the 1980 NBA Finals.

It was implemented only for a few minutes, I don't think they used Erving as guard regularly at that stage.
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Re: 1980-81 Philadelphia 76ers Games Played/Started & Transa

Postby MCT » Mon Jul 10, 2017 5:00 pm

A while back, Mike G. posted some material in the Spurs thread, with position information for 1980-81 sourced from Neft & Cohen’s NBA Encyclopedia. I recently posted about this in the introductory thread to this series, noting that I planned to post and comment on this data on a team-by-team basis. See the eighth post in the introductory thread for more information.

Here’s what Neft & Cohen have for the 76ers:

Mike Goodman wrote:
Code: Select all
tm     player         pos   Min     PO   Min
Phl   Julius Erving    F   2874      F   592
Phl   Caldwell Jones  Cf   2639     Cf   580
Phl   Maurice Cheeks   G   2415      G   513
Phl   Lionel Hollins   G   2154      G   490
Phl   Darryl Dawkins   c   2088      c   421
Phl   Bobby Jones      F   2046      F   443
Phl   Andrew Toney     g   1768      g   356
Phl   Steve Mix        f   1327      f   206
Phl   Clint Richardson g   1313      g   181
Phl   Earl Cureton     f    528      f    36
Phl   Ollie Johnson    f    372      f    22
Phl   Doug Collins     g    329         


MCT wrote:I’m finding that a lot of teams have players listed by b-r.com as playing both center and (power) forward, and it isn’t always obvious who played how many minutes where. The 76ers had two such players: Caldwell Jones and Earl Cureton. An added twist is that even though Jones was the regular starter at power forward, b-r.com shows his primary position as center. Looking at the minutes played by others on the 76ers’ roster, I think b-r.com’s assessment of Jones’ primary position is correct. It appears to me that Jones would start at forward, but would often shift to center during games, and almost certainly logged more minutes at center than he did at forward. He was simultaneously the starter at power forward, and the primary backup at center.

In the regular season, Dawkins played 2088 minutes. Assuming that Dawkins played center exclusively (I think it is likely that he did, or nearly so), that leaves 1883 minutes at center for Jones and Cureton. Adding up the minutes for everyone else on the team leaves 1284 minutes at forward for Jones and Cureton. Even if Cureton played all 528 of his minutes at center, Jones would have still ended up playing slightly more than half of his minutes at center. To the extent that Cureton (or Dawkins, for that matter) played any minutes at forward, that would tip Jones’ balance even more towards center. The situation in the playoffs was similar. There were 347 minutes available at center, and 269 available at forward. Jones played 580 minutes, Cureton just 36. Even if Cureton played all of his minutes at center, more than half of Jones’ minutes would have been at center.

This makes perfect sense when you consider that Jones’ backup at power forward, Bobby Jones, played heavy minutes off the bench. There weren’t enough minutes available at forward for Caldwell Jones, Bobby Jones and Julius Erving, as well as Steve Mix and Ollie Johnson, to have played all of their minutes there. One of those players has to have moved to another position for a significant portion of their playing time. It seems likely that no non-guard was getting much playing time in the backcourt (as noted earlier, players whose primary position was guard actually played slightly more minutes than were available at guard in both the regular season and the playoffs), so someone must have been moving to center. The only three players on the 76ers’ roster listed by b-r.com as playing center were Dawkins, Caldwell Jones and Cureton. Cureton didn’t play on an everyday basis, and didn’t usually see heavy minutes even when he did play. Dawkins obviously wasn’t playing complete games, so someone must have been covering those minutes at center. The explanation for all of this seems to be that when Bobby Jones came into games, Caldwell Jones would typically shift to center, and Dawkins would go to the bench.

It occurs to me that whether we label Jones as a center or a forward in any given circumstance may be just a matter of semantics. Did he just play his game, and his teammates adapted around him? Do we call him a forward when paired with Dawkins, and a center when paired with Bobby Jones, but it didn’t really make much of a difference from his point of view?

Putting aside the issue of where he was starting, Neft & Cohen seem to agree with my take on Caldwell Jones’ positions played; they have him as “Cf”.

MCT wrote: One question that is still unanswered is how much Cureton played center versus forward. It’s hard to tell, especially as Cureton was one of the last players on the bench and didn’t play a whole lot of minutes. He started some games at both positions, so my guess is that he played some of both, but it’s hard to say which he played more of. b-r.com has his primary position listed as center, and that seems like a reasonable approach to me.

It doesn’t seem like a reasonable approach to Neft & Cohen, as they have Cureton as “f”. Given that the TSN box scores show Cureton starting some games at center, however, I have to think that Cureton played at least some center, if only as a secondary position. Although that leads us down the path of “If you are supposedly in the game playing center, but Caldwell Jones is also in the game, are you really playing center?”

Whether Cureton played center as a secondary position or didn't really play significant minutes there at all, note that Neft & Cohen’s conclusion contradicts b-r.com’s identification of Cureton's primary position. b-r.com has it as center, Neft & Cohen have it as forward.

MCT wrote:b-r.com shows Erving’s primary position as SF for every season of his major league career, but the header lists his position as “Forward-Guard”. My recollection is that Erving played some guard towards the end of his career, but at this point I’d think he was a full-time forward. Was Erving seeing any time at guard at this point in his career, or did that not come until later?....b-r.com shows Collins’ primary position as SG for every season of his NBA career, but the header lists his position as “Guard-Forward”. Does anyone have any information about Collins playing forward? Would it have been only earlier in his career? Collins played so little this season that this wouldn’t have had much of an impact on the season as a whole, anyway.

Neft & Cohen have Erving as exclusively a forward, and Collins as exclusively a guard.
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