1980-81 Indiana Pacers Games Played/Started & Transactions

The merger, Kareem, Walton, Dr. J, Magic and Bird

Moderator: Brett

1980-81 Indiana Pacers Games Played/Started & Transactions

Postby MCT » Mon Jan 20, 2014 5:45 pm

This is the sixth 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

INDIANA PACERS – PART I

SEASON OVERVIEW

The Pacers had a 44-38 record. They finished third in the Central Division, and were the #6 seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs (the last team to qualify). In the First Round, the Pacers lost to the 76ers 2-0 in a best-of-three “miniseries”. They therefore played a total of 2 playoff games.

The Pacers used 14 different players for the season, three above the minimum.

ROSTER AND TRANSACTIONS

OPENING NIGHT ROSTER

Mike Bantom
Dudley Bradley
Johnny Davis
James Edwards
Clemon Johnson
George Johnson
Billy Knight
George McGinnis
Kenny Natt
Louis Orr
Jerry Sichting

IN-SEASON TRANSACTIONS

In the list below, anything which is underlined is the subject of discrepancies or guesswork, or is the result of further research beyond my usual sources.

11/10/80 – Placed George McGinnis on the injured list.

11/11/80 – Signed Dick Miller as a free agent.

11/22/80 – Activated George McGinnis from the injured list; waived Dick Miller.

11/25/80 – Traded two 2nd round picks (1981 and 1982) and other considerations to the Suns for Don Buse; placed Buse on the injured list (?).

11/29/80 – Activated Don Buse from the injured list; waived Kenny Natt.

12/26/80 – Placed George Johnson on the injured list; signed Tom Abernethy as a free agent.

2/22/81 – Activated George Johnson from the injured list; placed Tom Abernethy on the injured list.

3/13/81 – Placed George Johnson on the injured list; activated Tom Abernethy from the injured list.

3/29/81 -- Activated George Johnson from the injured list; placed Tom Abernethy (?) on the injured list.

Note: the Pacers finished the season with 12 players on their roster. One player appears to have been on the injured list, probably Tom Abernethy (see above and below). Abernethy was inactive for the playoffs.

NOTES/DISCREPANCIES

11/10/80 & 11/11/80:

My source for McGinnis being placed on the injured list on 11/10/80 is the Globe (i.e., it was reported in the transaction column in the 11/11/80 paper). I didn’t find this reported in any other source. It makes sense against the backdrop of other known information, though. McGinnis didn’t play in eight consecutive games starting on 11/8/80, and numerous sources report that the Pacers signed Dick Miller the next day, 11/11/80, presumably to fill McGinnis’ roster spot. This includes the Globe, which reported Miller’s signing in the transaction column in the following day’s paper (i.e., 11/12/80).

11/22/80:

The Globe never reported on McGinnis being activated from the IL, or what roster move was made to make room for him. I don’t have anything about McGinnis being activated from any other source, either. But McGinnis returned to action on 11/22/80, so he must have been activated on or shortly before that date. By all appearances, the player removed to make room for him was Dick Miller. Miller did not appear in any further games after 11/19/80, and it’s apparent he was no longer on the active roster by the time McGinnis returned on 11/22/80 (there was one game in between that neither Miller nor McGinnis played in, on 11/21/80). The Pacers used ten players on 11/22/80, and all eleven in their next game on 11/26/80; the 11th player who did not play on 11/22/80 has to have been Kenny Natt, since he played in the games immediately before and after this one.

The problem with this is that numerous sources show Miller being waived on 11/24/80, including the NBA Register, pst.com, the Pacers Media Guide, and b-r.com. It’s very possible that the NBA Register was where this originally came from, however, and all of the others used the Register as their ultimate source. Based on the box scores, I’m having a hard time seeing how Miller could have been on the Pacers’ roster after 11/22. It is possible he was placed on the IL after the game on 11/19, then waived on 11/24 without having been activated again?

To me, the most logical explanation is that the “24” in the NBA Register is a typo which should be “22” (or conceivably even “21” or “20”), and that’s how I’ve written it up on the list above. In my experience, these types of minor typos are surprisingly common in the Register. Exactly what happened here could stand to be nailed down better, though.

11/25/80:

On 11/25/80, the Pacers acquired Don Buse from the Suns, in a trade in which the Suns acquired two future 2nd round picks. That much seems clear, but there are a couple of uncertainties.

The write-up of this trade in the transaction column in the next day’s Globe states that the Suns received “draft picks and an undisclosed amount of money” in exchange for Buse. Using the severely limited search functionality that is currently available for the Google News Archive, I couldn’t find anything corroborating the idea that the Suns received some cash in the deal. I did however find an AP wire service story in the Reading (Pa.) Eagle from the day after the trade (11/26/80) with a detailed description of it. According to that article, the Suns got the Pacers’ 2nd round pick in 1981; a 2nd round pick in 1982 which the Pacers had previously acquired from the Bucks; and the right to swap 1st round picks with the Pacers in 1983, but with the Pacers’ pick Top-12 protected. Assuming this is correct, the Pacers’ 1983 1st round pick ended up being #2 overall, so the swap wouldn’t have been exercised. The Draft Pick Transactions tracker on pst.com agrees with the identity of the two 2nd round picks involved in this trade, although it’s interesting to see that the 1982 pick was specified to be Milwaukee’s at the time of the trade, even though the Pacers appear to have still had their own 1982 2nd round pick at that point in time. Maybe the reasoning was that the Milwaukee pick would likely be lower, or the Pacers saw as it as a surplus pick since it wasn’t their own. On the list above, I’ve shown the Suns getting the two 2nd round picks and “other considerations”.

A second question with regard to the Buse deal is where he initially went when the Pacers acquired him. Buse doesn’t seem to have gone directly onto the active roster. The Globe reported the Pacers making a roster move on 11/29 “to make room on [the] roster for veteran Don Buse, acquired from Phoenix last week” (this presumably happened on 11/29, because it was reported in the 11/30/80 paper). The Google News Archive contains a similar blurb on the same date in the Wilmington (N.C.) Star-News. The TSN box scores are consistent with this, showing Buse making his post-trade debut on 11/29 after having not played in two previous games since the trade on 11/26 and 11/27. Buse couldn’t possibly have been on the active roster at the time of the 11/26 game, because the Pacers used their full 11-man roster in that game.

So where was Buse between 11/25 and 11/29? My best guess is that he was on the injured list. Up to the time of the trade, he had been on the IL all season with the Suns (this is explicitly stated in the Reading Eagle AP story), and NBA teams at this time appear to have been allowed to immediately place a player newly acquired in a trade on the IL. This assumes that the five-game limit didn’t start over again when the Pacers put him on their IL, and could still be counted back to when the Suns initially put Buse on the IL on 10/8/80. The Pacers only kept Buse on the IL for two games after they acquired him.

Another possibility is that the Pacers simply didn’t need to put Buse on the active roster right away. At this time, it appears that teams may not have needed to immediately clear a roster spot upon acquiring a player in a trade, although they couldn’t put the new player on the active roster or use him in a game until they did. I’d be surprised if the rules allowed a team to go four days and play two games before adding a newly acquired player to their roster, though. The Reading Eagle AP story notes that Buse still had to take a physical exam, and “if Pacers doctors nix the deal, it’s off”. There was another NBA trade this season that was rescinded a week after it happened, after the player in question (John Shumate) had already appeared in two games for his new team. Is it possible that the rules around this sort of thing were just much looser back then than they are today, and the Pacers could more-or-less take as much time as they wanted?

On the list above, I’ve shown Buse going on the IL, as it seems like the most logical explanation, but that’s really no more than an educated guess.

11/29/80:

I had mentioned a moment ago that the Globe shows Buse being added to the active roster on 11/29/80, information which is corroborated by another paper in the Google News Archive. Both of those sources show the Pacers making room for Buse by waiving Kenny Natt. This is consistent with the TSN box scores, which show Natt making his last appearance for the Pacers on 11/26/80. The problem with this is that numerous sources show Natt being waived on 12/11/80, including the NBA Register, pst.com, the Pacers Media Guide, and b-r.com. As with the earlier transaction involving Dick Miller, it’s very possible that the NBA Register was the origin of the 12/11 date, and all of the others used the Register as their ultimate source.

On the list above, I’ve shown Natt being waived on 11/29. This date is reported in contemporary media sources; it’s consistent with the TSN box scores; and it makes more sense when you consider that the contract-guarantee deadline was on December 2. Based on the box scores, Natt was certainly never on the active roster after 11/29, and if the Pacers had no roster spot available for him at that point, it would make more sense to waive him on or before 12/2 than after. Given that 12/11 isn’t a logical typo for 11/29, though, I’m really curious as to where that 12/11 date came from; maybe there’s something I’m missing here. (Is it possible Natt’s waiving on 11/29 was rescinded, or he was re-signed again after 11/29, placed on the IL, then waived again on 12/11 without having been activated? But why would any of that have happened?)

12/26/80, 2/22/81, 3/13/81 & 3/29/81:

On 12/26/80, the Pacers signed Tom Abernethy as a free agent. No source that I’ve seen explains how the Pacers cleared a roster spot to make room for Abernethy, but by all appearances, George Johnson was placed on the injured list. After appearing in 33 of the Pacers’ first 34 games, Johnson dropped out from the lineup after 12/19/80, and did not re-appear for more than three months. The Google News Archive has an AP wire service story from the 12/20/80 Lawrence (Kans.) Journal-World which indicates that Johnson had suffered a knee injury in a game the previous night, although the article gives no indication of how long Johnson was expected to be out. Johnson must have been placed on the IL on or shortly before 12/26/80, to make room for Abernethy.

Johnson returned to action on 2/22/81. While I have no documentation of a roster move made around this time, Johnson must have been activated from the IL on or shortly before that date. Starting on 2/22, he played in the next nine games, through 3/12/81. The only player on the Pacers’ roster who did not play in any of these games was Tom Abernethy, so it appears that he was placed on the IL to make room for Johnson on the active roster.

Johnson and Abernethy reversed roles on 3/13/81. On that date, Abernethy began a stretch where he played in eight games in a row, through 3/27 (the second-to-last game of the regular season). While I have no documentation of a roster move made around this time, Abernethy must have been activated from the IL on 3/12 or 3/13 (after the game on 3/12, or before the game on 3/13). The only player on the Pacers’ roster who did not play in any of these games was George Johnson*, so it appears that he was placed on the IL to make room for Abernethy on the active roster. (*Note: this assumes that the player identified as “G. Johnson” in the 3/15 TSN box score is actually Clemon Johnson, which I believe to be the case; see the discussion at the end of Part II below.)

Johnson returned to the lineup for the Pacers’ final regular season game on 3/29/81. While I have no documentation of a roster move made around this time, Johnson must have been activated from the IL sometime between the game on 3/27 and the game on 3/29. Someone must have been placed on the IL to make room. There were two players who do not appear in the TSN box score of the 3/29 game: Tom Abernethy and Jerry Sichting. The player placed on the IL could have been either one. On the list above, I’m taking a guess that it was Abernethy. Abernethy and Johnson played the same position, and had obviously been rotated around each other on and off the IL up to this point, so Abernethy would make sense. Abernethy was also definitely the one left off the playoff roster (we know who was on the playoff roster and who wasn’t, because the Pacers used 11 different players in the playoffs), and it makes sense that the roster would have been the same for the final regular-season game. But I don’t really have any hard evidence this was the case, and my belief that Abernethy was the one put on the IL is really no more than an educated guess.

GAMES STARTED INFO

MEDIA GUIDE

The 2009-10 Pacers Media Guide has regular season games started stats going back to the 1971-72 season, when the team was in the ABA (for some reason, regular season games started stats are also shown for 1968-69, but not for any other season prior to 1971-72). For 1980-81, the Media Guide shows the following:

Edwards 80
Bantom 74
Davis 73
Knight 70
McGinnis 56
Bradley 24
G. Johnson 19
Orr 7
Buse 4
C. Johnson 2
Sichting 1

TSN BOX SCORES

All but two of the TSN box scores for the 1980-81 Pacers appear to list the players in “starters first” F-F-C-G-G order. The two exceptions were games on 11/18/80 and 3/8/81.

--In the 11/18/80 box score, I see no obvious explanation for the order the Pacers players are listed in.

--In the 3/8/81 box score, the first four names look like they could be in “starters first” order (Orr, Bantom, Edwards, Davis), but the fifth makes no sense at all (McGinnis at what would be a G slot).

James Edwards, Mike Bantom, Johnny Davis and Billy Knight consistently started throughout most of the season. There seems no reason to think that Edwards, Bantom and Knight didn’t start both of the above games, and if we assume that they did, the games started totals for all three players are in agreement with those in the Pacers Media Guide.

The same logic would apply to Davis for the 3/8/81 game, but the 11/18/80 game is less clear, because Davis hadn’t started the last three games before that. Davis had missed the first two games, then came off the bench in the third, as Bradley started in his place. Davis returned to the starting lineup for the game that followed on 11/19/80. Was the 11/18/80 game like the previous game, where Bradley started and Davis came off the bench, or was it like the next game, back to normal with Davis starting? As it turns out, not taking into account either the 11/18/80 game or the 3/8/81 game, Davis’ and Bradley’s games started totals from the TSN box scores are both one game short of the totals in the Pacers Media Guide. So between 11/18/80 and 3/8/81, each must have started exactly one game. Of the two games, it seems far more likely that Davis started on 3/8/81 than on 11/18/80, and far more likely that Bradley started on 11/18/80 than on 3/8/81. If we assume that each player started the more likely game for them, the games started totals for both players are in agreement with those in the Pacers Media Guide.

The forward slot opposite Bantom is trickier, as it changed hands a few times during the season. The 11/18/80 game fell during a period when opening night starter George McGinnis was on the injured list and George Johnson was typically starting. If we assume that Johnson started this game, the TSN box scores result in a games started total for him that is consistent with the Pacers Media Guide. I say “is consistent” rather than “in agreement” because there is actually still a one-game discrepancy remaining involving Johnson and McGinnis, with Johnson one game over in the TSN boxes compared to the Pacers Media Guide and McGinnis one game short. As McGinnis didn’t even play in the 11/18/80 game, however, he couldn’t have started that game. So assuming that Johnson did isn’t the source of the discrepancy.

For quite some time prior to the 3/8/81 game, McGinnis had been starting. The TSN boxes show Orr starting the next six games, however, replacing McGinnis in the lineup for the first one. These were the only games all season that the TSN boxes show Orr starting. The Pacers Media Guide indicates that Orr made seven starts, so we seem to be missing one of his starts. If we assume that Orr started on 3/8/81, his games started total is in agreement with the Pacers Media Guide. Assuming that McGinnis started this game would resolve the discrepancy over his games started, but it would create one for Orr, leaving him one game short. Since the six games that followed are the only games all season Orr is known to have started, I think it is more reasonable to assume that Orr started this game. Also, to the extent that there is any significance to the first four players listed in the box score looking like they could be the starters, Orr is the first player listed, which would be a starting forward slot.

NOTES/DISCREPANCIES

After making the above assumptions, there is one discrepancy between the Pacers Media Guide and the TSN boxes, involving one game and two players. The Media Guide indicates that George McGinnis started 56 games, and George Johnson 19. The TSN boxes suggest that McGinnis started 55 games, and Johnson 20.

With some of the discrepancies we’ve looked at with previous teams, there was one box score that seemed like the obvious source, showing a player starting who you wouldn’t have expected to be the starter based on typical usage around the time of the game in question. The McGinnis/Johnson situation is less clear-cut, as the starting role changed hands a few times. If we wanted to identify one game as the best place to look, though, it would be the game on 12/13/80. The box score for that game shows Johnson as the starter.

Due to an injury to McGinnis, Johnson had moved into the starting lineup on 11/8/80, and then started 17 consecutive games, through 12/10/80. According to the TSN box scores, McGinnis then returned to the starting lineup for one game (12/11/80), then turned things back over to Johnson for one game (12/13/80), before McGinnis took back over for 38 consecutive games (through 3/6/81). Against that backdrop, it’s a little odd that McGinnis didn’t start on 12/13/80, though one can certainly imagine a reasonable explanation. If McGinnis did in fact start that game rather than Johnson, that would leave each player with games started totals that match those in the Pacers Media Guide.

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 Pacers Media Guide in Part II below.

PLAYOFFS

The 2009-10 Pacers Media Guide has playoffs games started stats going back to the 1967-68 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 Media Guide shows the following:

Edwards 2
Bantom 2
Davis 2
Knight 2
G. Johnson 1
C. Johnson 1

The TSN box scores are in agreement with these totals.
Last edited by MCT on Thu Jul 20, 2017 5:52 pm, edited 6 times in total.
MCT
 
Posts: 925
Joined: Fri May 11, 2007 5:41 pm

Re: 1980-81 Indiana Pacers Games Played/Started & Transactio

Postby MCT » Mon Jan 20, 2014 5:48 pm

INDIANA PACERS – PART II

PLAYER INFORMATION

Players are listed based on a snapshot as of late February. This reflects the Pacers’ typical lineup during the second half of the season in periods when George Johnson was on the active roster and Tom Abernethy on the injured list.

JOHNNY DAVIS

History: 2nd round pick of Blazers in 1976. Acquired in trade with Blazers, June 1978.

Games Played (Regular Season 76 G, 33.4 MPG; Playoffs 2 G, 37.0 MPG): The six games in which Davis did not appear were four consecutive games from 11/10/80 through 11/14/80, and two consecutive games on 1/10/81 & 1/14/81.

Games Started (Regular Season: 73; Playoffs: 2): The three games Davis played in but did not start were the game immediately following the four-game stretch in November in which he did not play (11/19/80), and the two games immediately following the two-game stretch in January in which he did not play (1/16/81 & 1/18/81).

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

MIKE BANTOM

History: 1st round pick of Suns in 1973. Acquired in trade with Braves, September 1977.

Games Played (Regular Season 76 G, 31.3 MPG; Playoffs 2 G, 25.5 MPG): The six games in which Bantom did not appear were six consecutive games from 3/12/81 through 3/20/81.

Games Started (Regular Season: 74; Playoffs: 2): The two games Bantom played in but did not start were two consecutive games on 3/22/81 & 3/26/81. These were the two games immediately following the six-game stretch in which he did not play.

b-r.com position info: Position in old b-r.com header is listed as Forward-Center. Primary position is shown as SF for most seasons of career, including 1980-81, but there are a few years shown as PF (1973-74, the portion of the 1976-77 season spent with Seattle, 1978-79).

BILLY KNIGHT

History: Began pro career in ABA, 1974. Acquired in trade with Celtics, January 1979.

Games Played (Regular Season 82 G, 29.1 MPG; Playoffs 2 G, 35.5 MPG): Knight appeared in every game the Pacers played.

Games Started (Regular Season: 70; Playoffs: 2): The 12 regular season games Knight did not start were on 10/18/80, three consecutive games from 11/4/80 through 11/10/80, 12/2/80, two consecutive games on 12/6/80 & 12/10/80, 12/20/80, two consecutive games on 12/27/80 & 12/30/80, 1/18/81, and 1/28/81. The last of these games was the final game before the All-Star break. Knight started every game played after the All-Star break, including both of the Pacers’ playoff games. All of the above games were started by Bradley in place of Knight. In most cases, there is no obvious reason why; either Knight was battling nagging injuries in the early to middle parts of the season which led the coaching staff to sometimes use him off the bench, or there was some indecision over which of the two to start.

Knight made the vast majority of his starts at guard – 62 out of 70 – but also started eight games at forward. His eight starts at forward were on 10/25/80, two consecutive games on 11/1/80 & 11/2/80, and five consecutive games from 3/20/81 through 3/29/81 (the last five games of the regular season). Even though Knight started the last several games of the regular season at forward, he switched back to starting at guard for the playoffs. Most of the games Knight started at forward were games in which regular starting forwards George McGinnis or Mike Bantom didn’t play, or games immediately following games in which they didn’t play.

b-r.com position info: Position in old b-r.com header is listed as Guard-Forward. Primary position is shown as SF for most seasons of career, but there are a few years shown as SG, including 1980-81 (1982-83 and the portion of the 1984-85 season spent with Kansas City are also shown as SG; note that even though Knight’s position in the header is listed as “Guard-Forward”, his primary position for the vast majority of his individual seasons is shown as SF). I can’t speak for the rest of Knight’s career, but I agree with b-r.com’s assessment that his primary position in 1980-81 was SG, though he likely saw some playing time at small forward as well.

JAMES EDWARDS

History: 3rd round pick of Lakers in 1977. Acquired in trade with Lakers, December 1977.

Games Played (Regular Season 81 G, 29.3 MPG; Playoffs 2 G, 28.0 MPG): The only game in which Edwards did not appear was on 12/30/80.

Games Started (Regular Season: 80; Playoffs: 2): The only game Edwards played in but did not start was on 12/2/80.

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

GEORGE McGINNIS

History: Began pro career in ABA, 1971. Acquired in trade with Nuggets, February 1980.

Games Played (Regular Season 69 G, 26.7 MPG; Playoffs 2 G, 19.5 MPG): 12 of the 13 games in which McGinnis did not appear were during a 14-game stretch from 10/25/80 through 11/21/80 (the only games McGinnis played in during that stretch were two consecutive games on 11/2/80 & 11/4/80). For a period of about ten to twelve days starting on 11/10/80, McGinnis was on the injured list, and the Pacers signed another player to temporarily fill his roster spot (Dick Miller). The remaining game in which McGinnis did not play was on 3/27/81, which was the second-to-last game of the regular season.

Games Started (Regular Season: 56; Playoffs: 0): As discussed earlier, there is a one-game discrepancy in McGinnis’ regular season games started between the Pacers Media Guide and the TSN box scores. The Media Guide states that McGinnis started 56 games, while the TSN box scores indicate that he started 55. The 55 games McGinnis is shown as starting in the TSN box scores were the first seven games of the season (through 10/24/80), after which the stretch where McGinnis missed 12 out of 14 games began; one game on 11/4/80 (the second of the two games McGinnis played in during the 14-game stretch; after returning to action following this stretch, McGinnis came off the bench for about his first three weeks back); and 47 out of the 50 games between 12/11/80 and 3/26/81 (the only games McGinnis is not shown as starting in this stretch were on 12/13/80 and two consecutive games on 3/8/81 & 3/10/81). That 50-game stretch ended with the Pacers’ third-to-last game of the regular season. McGinnis did not play in the second-to-last game of the regular season, then played but came off the bench in the final game of the regular season and in both of the Pacers’ playoff games.

b-r.com position info: Position in old b-r.com header is listed as Forward-Center. Primary position is shown as PF for all seasons of career (including 1980-81) except 1971-72, which is shown as SF.

LOUIS ORR

History: 2nd round pick of Pacers in 1980.

Games Played (Regular Season 82 G, 21.8 MPG; Playoffs 2 G, 28.0 MPG): Orr appeared in every game the Pacers played.

Games Started (Regular Season: 7; Playoffs: 0): The seven games Orr started were seven consecutive games from 3/8/81 through 3/18/81. For the first two games in this stretch, Orr displaced McGinnis from the starting lineup, for reasons that aren’t clear. The five remaining games were the first five games of the six-game stretch where Bantom didn’t play. Bantom missed one additional game, then played but came off the bench for two games after that, but Knight started those games at forward rather than Orr.

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 (including 1980-81) except 1984-85, which is shown as PF.

GEORGE JOHNSON

History: 1st round pick of Bucks in 1978. Acquired in trade with Bucks, September 1980.

Games Played (Regular Season 43 G, 21.6 MPG; Playoffs 2 G, 11.5 MPG): The 43 regular season games Johnson played in were 33 of the first 34 games (all except 11/1/80), a stretch concluding with the game on 12/19/80; nine consecutive games from 2/22/81 through 3/12/81; and the final game of the regular season on 3/29/81. Johnson did not play in any games from 12/20/80 through 2/20/81, and again from 3/13/81 through 3/27/81. For most of the two timeframes where Johnson was not active, he seems to have been on the injured list, although I do not have any documentation of this. The Pacers’ signing of Tom Abernethy on 12/26/80 appears to have been to fill Johnson’s roster spot while he was out, and Johnson and Abernethy seem to have traded places on the IL a few times during the later part of the season.

The above analysis is based on my conclusions as to which players in the Pacers’ box scores are Clemon Johnson and which are George Johnson, as explained at the end of Part II below. My conclusions match what is shown in b-r.com’s game logs.

Games Started (Regular Season: 19; Playoffs: 1): As discussed earlier, there is a one-game discrepancy in Johnson’s regular season games started between the Pacers Media Guide and the TSN box scores. The Media Guide states that Johnson started 19 games, while the TSN box scores indicate that he started 20. The 20 regular season games Johnson is shown as starting based on the TSN box scores were two consecutive games on 10/29/80 & 10/31/80, 17 consecutive games from 11/8/80 through 12/10/80, and one additional game on 12/13/80 (there was one game in between the game on 12/10/80 and the game on 12/13/80). All of these games were during a period when McGinnis was out with an injury, or in the first few weeks after he had returned. In the playoffs, Johnson started Game 1 of the Philadelphia series (McGinnis, who had been the normal starter for most of the regular season, did not start either playoff game).

b-r.com position info: Position in old b-r.com header is listed as Forward-Center. Primary position is shown as PF for first four seasons of career, including 1980-81, then SF for next three seasons; his final 2-game appearance in 1985-86 is shown as PF.

DUDLEY BRADLEY

History: 1st round pick of Pacers in 1979.

Games Played (Regular Season 82 G, 22.8 MPG; Playoffs 2 G, 9.5 MPG): Bradley is credited with appearing in all 82 regular season games, but I only noted him in 81 TSN box scores. b-r.com’s game log feature also shows Bradley in only 81 box scores. The box score that he is missing from is 3/13/81. It is possible that Bradley played in that game but was omitted because he did not compile any stats that would have been shown in the box score. (If Bradley really did play in all 82 regular season games, he obviously has to have played in that game).

Games Started (Regular Season: 24; Playoffs: 0): The 24 games Bradley started were on 10/18/80, 10/25/80, nine consecutive games from 11/1/80 through 11/19/80, 12/2/80, two consecutive games on 12/6/80 & 12/10/80, 12/20/80, two consecutive games on 12/27/80 & 12/30/80, 1/18/81, 1/28/81, and five consecutive games from 3/20/81 through 3/29/81 (the last five games of the regular season). Half of these were games in which regular starter Johnny Davis didn’t play, or games immediately following games in which Davis didn’t play, or games where regular starter Billy Knight had been shifted to forward. The other half were games in which Bradley started in place of Knight, usually for no obvious reason. Either Knight was battling nagging injuries in the early to middle parts of the season which led the coaching staff to sometimes start Bradley and use Knight off the bench, or there was some indecision over which of the two to start.

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.

CLEMON JOHNSON

History: 2nd round pick of Blazers in 1978. Acquired in trade with Blazers, October 1979.

Games Played (Regular Season 81 G, 20.3 MPG; Playoffs 2 G, 27.5 MPG): The only game in which Johnson did not appear was on 1/16/81.

The above is based on my conclusions as to which players in the Pacers’ box scores are Clemon Johnson and which are George Johnson, as explained at the end of Part II below. My conclusions match what is shown in b-r.com’s game logs.

Games Started (Regular Season: 2; Playoffs: 1): The two regular season games Johnson started were both at center, and were the two games Edwards did not start (12/2/80 and 12/30/80). In the playoffs, Johnson started Game 2 of the Philadelphia series at power forward (McGinnis, who had been the normal starter for most of the regular season, did not start either playoff game).

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

DON BUSE

History: Began pro career in ABA, 1972. Acquired in trade with Suns, November 1980.

Buse started the season with the Suns, then was traded to the Pacers on 11/25/80. He was on the injured list for the entire portion of the season he was with the Suns, and did not appear in any regular season games for them. All of his 1980-81 regular season games played were with the Pacers.

Games Played (Regular Season 58 G, 18.9 MPG; Playoffs 2 G, 17.5 MPG): Buse is credited with appearing in 58 regular season games, but I only noted him in 57 TSN box scores. b-r.com’s game log feature also shows Buse in only 57 box scores. It is possible that Buse was omitted from one box score in which he did not compile any stats that would have been shown in the box score.

As discussed earlier, Buse apparently was not added to the Pacers’ active roster until 11/29/80, and made his post-trade debut on the same day. At that point the Pacers had 58 games remaining in the regular season, and Buse appears in every box score but one, which is 3/12/81. This game would seem to be the missing box score.

Games Started (Regular Season: 4; Playoffs: 0): The four games Buse started were four consecutive games from 1/10/81 through 1/18/81. Regular starter Johnny Davis did not play in the first two games, then came off the bench in the last two.

b-r.com position info: Position in old b-r.com header is listed as Guard. Primary position is shown as PG for most seasons of career, but is SG for two seasons, including 1980-81 (the other is 1973-74).

JERRY SICHTING

History: 4th round pick of Warriors in 1979. Signed as a free agent, October 1980. (Note: Sichting had been cut by the Warriors in training camp in 1979, so even though he had come out of college a year earlier, he had no regular-season NBA experience prior to this season.)

Games Played (Regular Season 47 G, 9.6 MPG; Playoffs 1 G, 1.0 MPG): Sichting is credited with appearing in 47 regular season games, but I only noted him in 46 TSN box scores. b-r.com’s game log feature also shows Sichting in only 46 box scores. It is possible that Sichting was omitted from one box score in which he did not compile any stats that would have been shown in the box score. Those box scores that Sichting does appear in suggest that he played most frequently in the early part of the season, and less and less as the season wore on. Sichting appears in 26 of the first 29 box scores (as of 12/6/80, the only box scores Sichting hadn’t appeared in were 10/18/80, 11/18/80, and 12/5/80), then 14 of the next 30, then just 6 of the last 21. In the playoffs, Sichting saw one minute of action in Game 2 of the series against Philadelphia. He was the only player on the Pacers’ 11-man playoff roster who didn’t appear in both playoff games.

Games Started (Regular Season: 1; Playoffs: 0): The one game that Sichting started was on 11/10/80. Regular starter Johnny Davis 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 PG for all seasons of career.

INJURED LIST:

TOM ABERNETHY

History: 3rd round pick of Lakers in 1976. Signed as a free agent, December 1980.

Abernethy started the season with the Warriors, but was waived on 12/12/80. He then signed with the Pacers on 12/26/80. The Pacers appear to have signed Abernethy due to an injury to George Johnson, and he and Johnson seem to have traded places on the IL a few times during the later part of the season.

Games Played (Regular Season 29 G, 8.9 MPG): Abernethy did not play in the Pacers’ game on the day he was signed, but made his debut with the team the following day on 12/27/80. Abernethy seems to have been on the active roster from the time he was signed through the game on 2/20/81, and again for the games from 3/13/81 through 3/27/81. During the first stretch, counting from the game where he made his debut, Abernethy played in 21 out of 27 games; the six games in which he did not appear were three consecutive games from 1/8/81 through 1/14/81, two consecutive games on 2/3/81 & 2/4/81 (the first two games after the All-Star break), and one additional game on 2/15/81. During the second stretch, Abernethy played in eight consecutive games from 3/13/81 through 3/27/81. Including the 10 games he had played for the Warriors earlier in the season, Abernethy appeared in 39 NBA regular-season games this year.

During the period between 2/20/81 and 3/13/81 when Abernethy did not appear in any games, he appears to have been on the injured list, although I do not have any documentation of this. I also believe that Abernethy was likely placed on the injured list for the Pacers’ final game of the season on 3/29/81, although I don’t know that for certain (someone certainly was, so that another player could be activated); either way, Abernethy did not play in that game. Abernethy was inactive for the playoffs.

Games Started (Regular Season: 0): Abernethy 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 three of his NBA seasons, SF for two (including 1980-81).

NO LONGER WITH TEAM:

KENNY NATT

History: 2nd round pick of Pacers in 1980.

Natt started the season with the Pacers, but lost his roster spot to make room when Don Buse was acquired. As discussed earlier, there is a discrepancy as to exactly what date Natt was waived, but he was certainly never on the active roster after Buse was added to it on 11/29/80.

Games Played (Regular Season 19 G, 7.8 MPG): The Pacers played 24 games with Natt on their active roster, the last on 11/27/80. (Buse played in the game on 11/29/80, and the Pacers used their full 11-man roster in that game, so it’s clear that the roster move swapping Buse for Natt was made before the game on that date.) Natt played in 19 of these games. The five games in which he did not appear were two consecutive games on 10/10/80 & 10/11/80 (the first two games of the regular season), 11/18/80, 11/22/80, and 11/27/80. Natt’s last appearance with the Pacers was on 11/26/80.

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

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.

DICK MILLER

History: 2nd round pick of Pacers in 1980 (waived in training camp and did not start 1980-81 season with team). Signed as a free agent, November 1980.

After being cut in training camp, Miller was briefly brought back early in the season to fill in while George McGinnis went on the injured list, then waived when McGinnis returned. Miller was signed on 11/11/80. As discussed earlier, there is a discrepancy as to exactly what date Miller was waived, but he made his last appearance with the Pacers on 11/19/80, and was certainly off the active roster by the time McGinnis returned to the lineup on 11/22/80. Miller was with the Jazz for a while in December on two 10-day contracts, and appeared in three additional games with them. The eight games Miller played in this season – five with the Pacers, three with the Jazz – were the only NBA games he would ever appear in.

Games Played (Regular Season 5 G, 6.8 MPG): The five games Miller played in were five consecutive games from 11/11/80 through 11/19/80. He may have still been on the Pacers’ active roster for their next game on 11/21/80, but if he was, he didn’t play.

Games Started (Regular Season: 0): Miller 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; this is the only season that Miller played in the NBA.

CLEMON & GEORGE JOHNSON’S GAMES PLAYED

The Pacers had two players on their roster this season named Johnson. Clemon Johnson played in 81 regular season games and both playoff games, while George Johnson played in 43 regular season games and both playoff games. Most of the TSN box scores identify them as “C. Johnson” and “G. Johnson”, but there are some irregularities. The number of instances of a player named Johnson in the box scores adds up to the total combined number of games Clemon and George played in, so there aren’t any missing instances of a player appearing in a box score. It’s just a matter of figuring out which instances are which player. After going through the box scores, this is what I came up with:

33 of the first 34 games of the season (through 12/19/80) have two players named Johnson in the box score; the remaining game has only one. Most of these box scores identify Clemon as “C. Johnson” and George as “G. Johnson”. The 11/2/80 box score has two players identified as just “Johnson”, with no first initial; one of them must be Clemon and one of them must be George, so both played in that game. The 12/10/80 box score has a “C. Johnson” and a “J. Johnson”; the latter is presumably George with the first initial a typo. The 11/1/80 box score is the one with only one Johnson, which is “C. Johnson”. Clemon played in this game (he played in all 34 games in this stretch) while George did not (this was the only game out of the 34 he didn’t play in).

All of the box scores from 12/20/80 through 1/20/81 have only one Johnson except 1/16/81, which has none. Most have “C. Johnson”, but several have just “Johnson”. None have “G. Johnson”. I am fairly certain that the Johnson who played in all of these games was Clemon, even the box scores with no initial. George appears to have been out with an injury during this timeframe (and on the injured list rather than the active roster for much of it); if Clemon played in 81 games, there can’t be any more than one game that he didn’t appear in (which would seem to be the 1/16/81 game with no Johnsons in the box score at all); and George’s games played total already reaches 43 without counting these games, so there’s no particular reason to think any of them were him.

All of the box scores from 2/22/81 through 3/12/81 have both a “C. Johnson” and a “G. Johnson”. Clemon and George both played in all of these games.

All of the box scores from 3/13/81 through 3/27/81 have only one Johnson, which is “C. Johnson”, with one exception. The exception is 3/15/81, which has only “G. Johnson”. Taken at face value, Clemon played in all of these games except 3/15/81, and George played only on 3/15/81. (As I’ll get to in a minute, I think there is reason not to take the identity of the Johnson in the 3/15/81 box score at face value.)

The last game of the regular season (3/29/81) and both playoff games have both a “C. Johnson” and a “G. Johnson”. Clemon and George both played in all of these games.

If you add up everything discussed above, you’ll come up with 80 games played for Clemon and 44 for George. But Clemon actually played in 81 games, and George 43. So it looks like we’re crediting George with one game that was actually Clemon. The only games that we haven’t yet credited Clemon with are 1/16/81 (no Johnsons in the box score) and 3/15/81 (only one Johnson is the box score, identified as “G. Johnson”). I think it is extremely likely that the Johnson who played on 3/15/81 was actually Clemon, and the “G.” in the box score is a typo. By all appearances, George was on the injured list during the period from 3/13/81 to 3/27/81. And there was only one game Clemon didn’t play in, but we already have a box score with no Johnsons in it at all on 1/16/81. Assigning this game to Clemon rather than George results in both players’ games played totals squaring up with the box scores.

After going through the above exercise, I checked b-r.com’s game logs, and they have reached exactly the same conclusions as to which Johnson played in which games (not sure if this reflects b-r.com’s own work, or if it was part of what they received from Dick Pfander).
Last edited by MCT on Thu Jul 20, 2017 6:01 pm, edited 2 times in total.
MCT
 
Posts: 925
Joined: Fri May 11, 2007 5:41 pm

Re: 1980-81 Indiana Pacers Games Played/Started & Transactio

Postby MCT » Mon Jan 20, 2014 5:50 pm

INDIANA PACERS – PART III

PLAYERS BY POSITION

STARTERS

The Pacers’ usual starting lineup throughout most of the season was Edwards at center, McGinnis and Bantom at forward, and Davis and Knight at guard. McGinnis missed some time early in the season due to injury, and did not immediately return to the starting lineup when he came back. He also appears to have been benched at the very end of the season (he did not start either playoff game), whether due to injury or otherwise. McGinnis still started far more games and played more minutes than any of his replacements, and he was the clear starter during our snapshot period. Knight was shifted to forward for several games, and came off the bench in a dozen more, somewhat limiting the number of starts he made at guard. But like McGinnis, he started far more games and played more minutes than anyone we might use as an alternative, and was the clear starter during our snapshot period. Bradley and George Johnson managed to accumulate a significant number of starts in place of McGinnis and Knight, though.

b-r.com lists McGinnis as the PF, Bantom as the SF, Davis as the PG, and Knight as the SG. I agree with all of these assessments.

Looking at the Pacers’ roster, I’m struck that this was a team with an ensemble cast, and really no big stars. Reflecting that, every regular starter except McGinnis averaged between 29.1 and 33.4 mpg – decent minutes for a starter, but not especially heavy. McGinnis averaged slightly less, 26.7, perhaps reflecting his struggles with injuries.

RESERVES

Continuing the ensemble cast theme, the Pacers had five reserves, one for each position, who averaged between 18.9 and 22.8 mpg, with no one player standing out in a sixth man role. The five are Clemon Johnson at center, George Johnson and Louis Orr at forward, and Dudley Bradley and Don Buse at guard. At forward, Johnson is shown as a PF and Orr as an SF. At guard, Bradley and Buse are both shown as SGs. Buse was listed as a PG for most other seasons of his career, and is probably best thought of as the backup PG; I’m not certain why b-r.com shows him as an SG for this one particular season. Starting SG Knight also likely swung to SF for several minutes a game, and even started several games there.

For most of the season, the last player on the bench was Jerry Sichting. Sichting only played in 47 games, averaging 9.6 mpg. Listed as a PG, he apparently picked up whatever minutes were left at guard.

The Pacers only took the floor for two playoff games, so their playoff stats are a small sample, but there are several surprising mpg differences when comparing players’ regular season and playoff mpgs. Bradley dropped from 22.8 to 9.5, George Johnson dropped from 21.6 to 11.5 (it’s possible that Johnson simply wasn’t playing as many minutes at the end of the season due to injuries), and McGinnis dropped from 26.7 to 19.5 (note that McGinnis came off the bench in the playoffs). On the other hand, Clemon Johnson went from 20.3 to 27.5 (the increased minutes likely coming by using him more at power forward), and Orr went from 21.8 to 28.0. Orr actually saw more minutes in the playoffs than any other forward, and the third most on the team, even though he was playing off the bench.

POSITION NOTES

Center-Forwards

Both of the Pacers’ centers, James Edwards and Clemon Johnson, are listed as “Center-Forward” in their b-r.com headers. During the regular season, the pair played 72 more minutes than was available at center, suggesting that one or both played a little bit at power forward, but not much; 72 minutes is less than a minute per game. In the Pacers’ two playoff games, the pair exceeded the available minutes at center by 15, or 7.5 mpg. Regular starter McGinnis went to the bench for the playoffs, and Johnson started one of the two games at power forward, so these likely represent minutes Johnson picked up at PF.

Three players on the Pacers’ roster are listed as “Forward-Center” in their b-r.com headers: George Johnson, George McGinnis and Mike Bantom. I don’t see why the Pacers would have had any pressing need to use these guys at center, but would be interested in any insight anyone might have. I suspect that McGinnis and Bantom may have played some center earlier in their careers, but were full-time forwards by this point.

Guard-Forwards

Billy Knight is listed as a “Guard-Forward” in his b-r.com header. If you add up all of the minutes played for all of the Pacers players whose primary position was in the frontcourt, and do the same for all the players whose primary position was in the backcourt, and compare the totals, you’ll find that the backcourt players played 590 minutes more than was available at guard (7.2 mpg), while the frontcourt players are short an equivalent number. The bulk of these minutes were likely played by Knight at SF, where he started several games. b-r.com also lists SF as Knight’s primary position for most seasons of his career other than this one. Dudley Bradley’s b-r.com header also identifies him as a “Guard-Forward”, and it’s possible that he played a little at SF as well.

TRIVIA

Oldest Player: Don Buse, born 8/10/50 (age 30 throughout the season). George McGinnis is two days younger than Buse, and was the oldest Pacer before Buse was acquired.

Played in ABA: Billy Knight, George McGinnis, Don Buse.

Longest continuous service with team: Mike Bantom was acquired during the 1977 offseason, and had played for the team since the start of the 1977-78 season. James Edwards had also played for the Pacers in 1977-78, but wasn’t acquired until that season was in progress. Knight, McGinnis and Buse had all played for the Pacers when they were in the ABA (the three had been teammates on the Pacers during the 1974-75 season), but none had been with the team continuously since the ABA days. All three had left and then later returned.

Highest original draft position*: #8 overall – Mike Bantom. That seems like a fairly low “highest pick” to me, perhaps reflecting the ensemble cast/no stars nature of the team. The Pacers had only three players on their roster who had been NBA 1st round picks (Bantom, George Johnson and Dudley Bradley), which also seems low. To be fair, McGinnis probably would have been a 1st round pick as well had he not signed early with the ABA.

Lowest original draft position*: 4th round, #82 overall - Jerry Sichting.

Youngest Player: Kenny Natt (born 10/5/58; age 22). Once Natt was gone, the youngest player on the team was Louis Orr (born 5/7/58; also age 22).

*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).
Last edited by MCT on Mon Jun 22, 2015 9:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.
MCT
 
Posts: 925
Joined: Fri May 11, 2007 5:41 pm

Re: 1980-81 Indiana Pacers Games Played/Started & Transactio

Postby MCT » Wed Sep 03, 2014 8:06 pm

MCT wrote:11/22/80:

The Globe never reported on McGinnis being activated from the IL, or what roster move was made to make room for him. I don’t have anything about McGinnis being activated from any other source, either. But McGinnis returned to action on 11/22/80, so he must have been activated on or shortly before that date. By all appearances, the player removed to make room for him was Dick Miller. Miller did not appear in any further games after 11/19/80, and it’s apparent he was no longer on the active roster by the time McGinnis returned on 11/22/80 (there was one game in between that neither Miller nor McGinnis played in, on 11/21/80). The Pacers used ten players on 11/22/80, and all eleven in their next game on 11/26/80; the 11th player who did not play on 11/22/80 has to have been Kenny Natt, since he played in the games immediately before and after this one.

The problem with this is that numerous sources show Miller being waived on 11/24/80, including the NBA Register, pst.com, the Pacers Media Guide, and b-r.com. It’s very possible that the NBA Register was where this originally came from, however, and all of the others used the Register as their ultimate source. Based on the box scores, I’m having a hard time seeing how Miller could have been on the Pacers’ roster after 11/22. It is possible he was placed on the IL after the game on 11/19, then waived on 11/24 without having been activated again?

To me, the most logical explanation is that the “24” in the NBA Register is a typo which should be “22” (or conceivably even “21” or “20”), and that’s how I’ve written it up on the list above. In my experience, these types of minor typos are surprisingly common in the Register. Exactly what happened here could stand to be nailed down better, though.

Having recently figured out a way to search the Google News Archive a bit more comprehensively, I found an AP wire service story in the 11/23/80 Newburgh (N.Y.) Daily News, which addresses some of this.

The article states that "Veteran forward George McGinnis was reactivated Saturday night by the Indiana Pacers after missing eight National Basketball Association games because of an injured right knee....He was in uniform for Saturday night's game with the Houston Rockets". The Saturday being referred to here is 11/22/80. This seems to confirm that McGinnis was activated from the IL on that date.

The article also states that "McGinnis filled a roster spot which became vacant when rookie Dick Miller was placed on waivers". While the article is a bit vague as to exactly what date Miller was waived, this confirms that Miller was waived no later than the time McGinnis was activated, and supports my contention that the 11/24 date in the NBA Register must be a typo.
MCT
 
Posts: 925
Joined: Fri May 11, 2007 5:41 pm

Re: 1980-81 Indiana Pacers Games Played/Started & Transactio

Postby MCT » Tue Sep 16, 2014 6:34 pm

MCT wrote:11/25/80:

On 11/25/80, the Pacers acquired Don Buse from the Suns, in a trade in which the Suns acquired two future 2nd round picks. That much seems clear, but there are a couple of uncertainties.

The write-up of this trade in the transaction column in the next day’s Globe states that the Suns received “draft picks and an undisclosed amount of money” in exchange for Buse. Using the severely limited search functionality that is currently available for the Google News Archive, I couldn’t find anything corroborating the idea that the Suns received some cash in the deal. I did however find an AP wire service story in the Reading (Pa.) Eagle from the day after the trade (11/26/80) with a detailed description of it. According to that article, the Suns got the Pacers’ 2nd round pick in 1981; a 2nd round pick in 1982 which the Pacers had previously acquired from the Bucks; and the right to swap 1st round picks with the Pacers in 1983, but with the Pacers’ pick Top-12 protected. Assuming this is correct, the Pacers’ 1983 1st round pick ended up being #2 overall, so the swap wouldn’t have been exercised. The Draft Pick Transactions tracker on pst.com agrees with the identity of the two 2nd round picks involved in this trade, although it’s interesting to see that the 1982 pick was specified to be Milwaukee’s at the time of the trade, even though the Pacers appear to have still had their own 1982 2nd round pick at that point in time. Maybe the reasoning was that the Milwaukee pick would likely be lower, or the Pacers saw as it as a surplus pick since it wasn’t their own. On the list above, I’ve shown the Suns getting the two 2nd round picks and “other considerations”.

Notes from a more comprehensive Google News search:

--In addition to the Reading Eagle article referenced above, I found two versions of a different AP wire service story, in the 11/27/80 Prescott (Ariz.) Courier and the Kingman (Ariz.) Daily Miner, with the same explanation of the picks involved, including the conditional swap of 1st round picks.

--I had previously noted that the Globe mentioned cash being included in the trade, but I had not been able to find any other source to back this up. I now have a few more. The transaction column in the 11/26/80 Ocala (Fla.) Star-Banner states that the Suns received "two draft picks and cash". In addition, the AP story that ran in the 11/26/80 Prescott Courier and Kingman Daily Miner includes a garbled line of text (garbled in exactly the same way in both papers) which sounds like it's trying to say that an undisclosed amount of cash was included in trade, but is missing some words: "The Pacers tentatively agreed to exchange a series of draft picks and an undisclosed amount of the 30-year old Buse -- providing he can pass a physical...." In addition, while it wasn't the result of a Google News search, I discovered that the Suns Media Guide also mentions cash as being included in the trade. It states that the trade was for "two 2nd rd. picks ('81 & '82) and cash".

--The only sources I've found that explicitly mention the swap of 1983 1st round picks are the two AP stories. I had earlier suggested that the swap didn't ultimately happen because the Pacers' pick was within its protection. It may be even simpler than that. Even though the Suns Media Guide doesn't mention the swap in its write-up of the Buse trade, it states that the Suns "relinquished rights to '83 switch of 1st rd. picks" in the June 1981 trade that sent Dudley Bradley from Indiana to Phoenix.

At this point, based on all the available information, it looks like trade was for two 2nd round picks (1981 and 1982), the right to swap 1st round picks in 1983 (with the Pacers' pick Top-12 protected), and cash. The Suns later relinquished the right to make the pick swap as part of the June 1981 trade involving Dudley Bradley.

MCT wrote:A second question with regard to the Buse deal is where he initially went when the Pacers acquired him. Buse doesn’t seem to have gone directly onto the active roster. The Globe reported the Pacers making a roster move on 11/29 “to make room on [the] roster for veteran Don Buse, acquired from Phoenix last week” (this presumably happened on 11/29, because it was reported in the 11/30/80 paper). The Google News Archive contains a similar blurb on the same date in the Wilmington (N.C.) Star-News. The TSN box scores are consistent with this, showing Buse making his post-trade debut on 11/29 after having not played in two previous games since the trade on 11/26 and 11/27. Buse couldn’t possibly have been on the active roster at the time of the 11/26 game, because the Pacers used their full 11-man roster in that game.

So where was Buse between 11/25 and 11/29? My best guess is that he was on the injured list. Up to the time of the trade, he had been on the IL all season with the Suns (this is explicitly stated in the Reading Eagle AP story), and NBA teams at this time appear to have been allowed to immediately place a player newly acquired in a trade on the IL. This assumes that the five-game limit didn’t start over again when the Pacers put him on their IL, and could still be counted back to when the Suns initially put Buse on the IL on 10/8/80. The Pacers only kept Buse on the IL for two games after they acquired him.

Another possibility is that the Pacers simply didn’t need to put Buse on the active roster right away. At this time, it appears that teams may not have needed to immediately clear a roster spot upon acquiring a player in a trade, although they couldn’t put the new player on the active roster or use him in a game until they did. I’d be surprised if the rules allowed a team to go four days and play two games before adding a newly acquired player to their roster, though. The Reading Eagle AP story notes that Buse still had to take a physical exam, and “if Pacers doctors nix the deal, it’s off”. There was another NBA trade this season that was rescinded a week after it happened, after the player in question (John Shumate) had already appeared in two games for his new team. Is it possible that the rules around this sort of thing were just much looser back then than they are today, and the Pacers could more-or-less take as much time as they wanted?

On the list above, I’ve shown Buse going on the IL, as it seems like the most logical explanation, but that’s really no more than an educated guess.


My more comprehensive Google News search hasn't completely nailed this down, but I have found the following:

--The AP story in the 11/26/80 Prescott Courier and Kingman Daily Miner states that the Pacers had "tentatively agreed" to the trade, provided that Buse passes a physical "within 48 hours of his arrival in Indiana". A discussion of the specific terms of the trade is qualified with, "Should [Buse] pass the examination...." According to the article, Buse had injured his right knee in a "jogging mishap" before training camp, then later developed swelling in his left knee.

--While it doesn't give a timeframe, a short blurb in the trade on the 11/26/80 Lakeland (Fla.) Ledger states "the trade hinges on a physical examination for the 6-foot-4 Buse, who has not played a game this season because of a knee injury".

--A short blurb in the 11/29/80 Eugene (Ore.) Record-Guard reports that Buse "has passed his physical examination and declared himself ready to play for the Indiana Pacers, to whom he was traded by Phoenix".

--Another short blurb, in the 12/1/80 Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, states that Buse, "sidelined since the start of the season with a knee injury, passed his physical and joined the Indiana Pacers over the weekend. Buse was acquired from Phoenix earlier last week."

Buse's status between 11/25 and 11/29 still isn't entirely clear to me. It is clear, however, that he wasn't added to the active roster until 11/29, and that he hadn't passed a physical until that time (or very shortly before). In my original post I had noted the rules around this sort of thing seem to have been much looser in 1980 than they are today, and raised the possibility that the Pacers may have been under no particular time constraint to have Buse report and take a physical. Under this theory, Buse wasn't necessarily in a specific place on the Pacers' roster for those four days, but was essentially in limbo until he took and passed a physical. Some of the new articles I've found are certainly consistent with that view. They describe the trade as contingent on the results of Buse's physical, suggesting that the Pacers could have still backed out of the trade if Buse didn't pass his physical. They also stated that Buse had 48 hours to take the physical once he arrived in Indiana. Given travel time, we could easily be talking about a 3-day lag. It doesn't appear that Buse took a physical until 11/28 at the earliest (the first mention of it I've found is a newspaper is in a 11/29 edition); maybe at that point, the rule kicked in that the Pacers needed to clear a roster spot before their next game, which was on 11/29.
MCT
 
Posts: 925
Joined: Fri May 11, 2007 5:41 pm

Re: 1980-81 Indiana Pacers Games Played/Started & Transactio

Postby MCT » Thu Sep 18, 2014 5:16 pm

MCT wrote:11/25/80:

On 11/25/80, the Pacers acquired Don Buse from the Suns, in a trade in which the Suns acquired two future 2nd round picks. That much seems clear, but there are a couple of uncertainties.

..........

A second question with regard to the Buse deal is where he initially went when the Pacers acquired him. Buse doesn’t seem to have gone directly onto the active roster. The Globe reported the Pacers making a roster move on 11/29 “to make room on [the] roster for veteran Don Buse, acquired from Phoenix last week” (this presumably happened on 11/29, because it was reported in the 11/30/80 paper). The Google News Archive contains a similar blurb on the same date in the Wilmington (N.C.) Star-News.

..........

11/29/80:

I had mentioned a moment ago that the Globe shows Buse being added to the active roster on 11/29/80, information which is corroborated by another paper in the Google News Archive. Both of those sources show the Pacers making room for Buse by waiving Kenny Natt. This is consistent with the TSN box scores, which show Natt making his last appearance for the Pacers on 11/26/80. The problem with this is that numerous sources show Natt being waived on 12/11/80, including the NBA Register, pst.com, the Pacers Media Guide, and b-r.com. As with the earlier transaction involving Dick Miller, it’s very possible that the NBA Register was the origin of the 12/11 date, and all of the others used the Register as their ultimate source.

On the list above, I’ve shown Natt being waived on 11/29. This date is reported in contemporary media sources; it’s consistent with the TSN box scores; and it makes more sense when you consider that the contract-guarantee deadline was on December 2. Based on the box scores, Natt was certainly never on the active roster after 11/29, and if the Pacers had no roster spot available for him at that point, it would make more sense to waive him on or before 12/2 than after. Given that 12/11 isn’t a logical typo for 11/29, though, I’m really curious as to where that 12/11 date came from; maybe there’s something I’m missing here. (Is it possible Natt’s waiving on 11/29 was rescinded, or he was re-signed again after 11/29, placed on the IL, then waived again on 12/11 without having been activated? But why would any of that have happened?)

With a more comprehensive search of the Google News Archive, I have found one additional paper in the Google News Archive reporting that Natt was waived on 11/29/80, In addition to the Globe and the Wilmington Star-News. Natt's waiving was included in the transaction column in the 11/29 Bryan (Oh.) Times (the column only mentioned Natt being waived; there was no mention of Buse being activated). While this ran the day before the other two papers, this may have been an afternoon paper. By contrast, I still cannot find any articles reporting Natt being waived on or around 12/11, or being with the Pacers anytime between 11/29 and 12/11.

MCT wrote:12/26/80, 2/22/81, 3/13/81 & 3/29/81:

On 12/26/80, the Pacers signed Tom Abernethy as a free agent. No source that I’ve seen explains how the Pacers cleared a roster spot to make room for Abernethy, but by all appearances, George Johnson was placed on the injured list. After appearing in 33 of the Pacers’ first 34 games, Johnson dropped out from the lineup after 12/19/80, and did not re-appear for more than three months. The Google News Archive has an AP wire service story from the 12/20/80 Lawrence (Kans.) Journal-World which indicates that Johnson had suffered a knee injury in a game the previous night, although the article gives no indication of how long Johnson was expected to be out. Johnson must have been placed on the IL on or shortly before 12/26/80, to make room for Abernethy.

A more comprehensive Google News Search turned up a bit more on Johnson's injury. The 12/20/80 Eugene (Ore.) Register-Guard ran a slightly longer version of the AP story that was in the Lawrence Journal-World, adding the more ominous detail that Johnson had "possible torn ligaments in his left knee". Three papers from 12/21/80 have another AP story indicating that Johnson was in a walking cast and would miss four to six weeks, although he would not need surgery.

I couldn't find anything documenting Johnson's apparent moves on and off the injured list. An AP recap of the previous night's Pacers-Bullets game in the 3/13/81 Spokane (Wash.) Spokesman-Review notes that Johnson sat out the second half after injuring his ankle. This may explain why Johnson wouldn't play in any of the Pacer's next eight games after that, and why he appears to have been put on the Il in between the game on 3/12 and the Pacers' next game on 3/13. But the article doesn't actually say that Johnson was being placed on the IL.

While it would appear to have nothing to do with Johnson coming on or off the IL, I did come across this interesting line in the 2/28/81 Milwaukee Sentinel's recap of the previous night's Pacers-Mavericks game: "Indiana was called for an unusual technical foul in the second quarter when George Johnson became sick to his stomach while on the court. Johnson left the floor while the game was in progress, and the Pacers were given a technical for playing with only four men". The article doesn't say whether the Mavericks made the free throw, but it had no impact on the outcome of the game either way, as the Pacers won by seven points.
MCT
 
Posts: 925
Joined: Fri May 11, 2007 5:41 pm

Re: 1980-81 Indiana Pacers Games Played/Started & Transactio

Postby MCT » Thu Jul 20, 2017 6:09 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 Pacers:

Mike Goodman wrote:
Code: Select all
tm     player         pos   Min     PO   Min
Ind   Johnny Davis     G   2536      G   74
Ind   Billy Knight    Gf   2385     Gf   71
Ind   Mike Bantom      F   2375      F   51
Ind   James Edwards    C   2375      C   56
Ind   Dudley Bradley   g   1867      g   19
Ind   George McGinnis  F   1845      f   39
Ind   Louis Orr        f   1787      F   56
Ind   Clemon Johnson  cf   1643     cf   55
Ind   Don Buse         g   1095      g   35
Ind   George Johnson  cf    930      f   23
Ind   Jerry Sichting   g    450         
Ind   Tom Abernathy    f    259         
Ind   Kenny Natt       g    149


MCT wrote:Billy Knight is listed as a “Guard-Forward” in his b-r.com header. If you add up all of the minutes played for all of the Pacers players whose primary position was in the frontcourt, and do the same for all the players whose primary position was in the backcourt, and compare the totals, you’ll find that the backcourt players played 590 minutes more than was available at guard (7.2 mpg), while the frontcourt players are short an equivalent number. The bulk of these minutes were likely played by Knight at SF, where he started several games. b-r.com also lists SF as Knight’s primary position for most seasons of his career other than this one.

Neft & Cohen seem to agree with my take on Knight’s positions played; they have him as “Gf”.

MCT wrote:Dudley Bradley’s b-r.com header also identifies him as a “Guard-Forward”, and it’s possible that he played a little at SF as well.

Neft & Cohen have Bradley as exclusively a guard.

MCT wrote:Both of the Pacers’ centers, James Edwards and Clemon Johnson, are listed as “Center-Forward” in their b-r.com headers. During the regular season, the pair played 72 more minutes than was available at center, suggesting that one or both played a little bit at power forward, but not much; 72 minutes is less than a minute per game. In the Pacers’ two playoff games, the pair exceeded the available minutes at center by 15, or 7.5 mpg. Regular starter McGinnis went to the bench for the playoffs, and Johnson started one of the two games at power forward, so these likely represent minutes Johnson picked up at PF.

Neft & Cohen have Clemon Johnson as “cf” for both the regular season and the playoffs. They don’t think Edwards factored into the equation at forward, as they have him as exclusively a center.

But if there were only about 72 minutes available at forward during the regular season, how did Clemon Johnson play significant enough minutes there to justify listing it as a secondary position?

MCT wrote:Three players on the Pacers’ roster are listed as “Forward-Center” in their b-r.com headers: George Johnson, George McGinnis and Mike Bantom. I don’t see why the Pacers would have had any pressing need to use these guys at center, but would be interested in any insight anyone might have.

Here’s a possible answer to the question we asked a moment ago: Neft & Cohen have George Johnson as “cf” during the regular season. Note that they don’t just have him playing significant minutes at center as a secondary position. They actually have center as his primary position, with forward secondary.

During the regular season, George Johnson played 930 minutes. It’s plausible that he played more than half of those minutes at center, making center his primary position. And that would have certainly opened up enough minutes at forward for Clemon Johnson to have seen significant playing time there as a secondary position.

On the other hand, I don’t see b-r.com’s position designation for these two players as a foregone conclusion. As alluded to in my earlier analysis, there is room at center for Clemon Johnson to have played all but a very small portion of his minutes there, and room at forward for George Johnson to have played all of his minutes there. Going strictly off of minutes played statistics, there is no “need” for George to have played center at all. For things to have been the way Neft & Cohen have them, George and Clemon must have been used at both positions somewhat interchangeably.

Neft & Cohen’s claim that center was George Johnson’s primary position contradicts b-r.com, which has his primary position as PF. In fact, not only does b-r.com not show C as George Johnson’s primary position for this season, they don’t show it as his primary position for any season.

If you’re inclined to give some weight to Neft & Cohen, but not necessarily buy in totally to their take, there’s also room for an intermediate viewpoint that has George playing significant minutes at center (thus opening up space for Clemon to play significant minutes at forward), but not so many that center was his primary position.

One thing to keep in mind is that George Johnson appears to have missed nearly half of the season due to injury. If Neft & Cohen are correct about his and Clemon Johnson’s positions, Clemon must have played center more heavily when George was out, and less so when George was in the lineup. Absent Neft & Cohen’s input I'd probably think the opposite.

Neft & Cohen have George Johnson as just “f” during the Pacers’ brief playoff appearance (implying that he did not play significant minutes at center during the postseason). While this is plausible, I’m uncertain why they think his playoff usage was different from his regular season usage. Clemon Johnson’s playoff minutes per game were much higher than the regular season (27.5 versus 20.3) while George Johnson’s were much lower (11.5 versus 21.6). I guess one way to interpret that is, with Clemon playing so many minutes, he and starter James Edwards would have occupied all the available minutes at center, and there wouldn’t have been any room for George to play there. That may be how Neft & Cohen are looking at it.

But if Neft & Cohen are correct about George’s positions during the regular season, I don’t think his drop in minutes for the playoffs necessarily leads to the conclusion that he cut back on playing center. He could just as easily have cut back on playing forward. (As noted earlier, Neft & Cohen’s conclusion that center was George’s primary position during the regular season doesn’t seem to be rooted in minutes played numbers in the first place. Based on the available minutes, it’s not necessary that George played any center at all). In addition, Clemon started one playoff game at forward, and George McGinnis’ minutes were also down for the playoffs (19.5 versus 26.7). Clemon Johnson’s minutes increase would seem to be at least partially at McGinnis’ expense. I had assumed that George Johnson’s decreased playoff minutes were simply due to his injury; at the start of the playoffs, he had only recently returned from his latest stint on the IL. Maybe that resulted in his playing less at center, maybe it didn’t.

Ultimately, I can’t definitively say that Neft & Cohen are right or wrong, but they have certainly added a different viewpoint to this part of the discussion.

MCT wrote:I suspect that McGinnis and Bantom may have played some center earlier in their careers, but were full-time forwards by this point.

Neft & Cohen have McGinnis and Bantom as exclusively forwards.
MCT
 
Posts: 925
Joined: Fri May 11, 2007 5:41 pm


Return to NBA in the 1970s and 1980s

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests

cron