1980-81 Atlanta Hawks Games Played/Started & Transactions

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

Moderator: Brett

1980-81 Atlanta Hawks Games Played/Started & Transactions

Postby MCT » Tue Feb 18, 2014 7:53 pm

This is the eighth 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

ATLANTA HAWKS – PART I

SEASON OVERVIEW

The Hawks had a 31-51 record. They finished fourth out of six teams in the Central Division, and eighth out of eleven teams in the Eastern Conference overall. The Hawks did not qualify for the playoffs.

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

ROSTER AND TRANSACTIONS

OPENING NIGHT ROSTER

*Tom Burleson
Don Collins
Charlie Criss
John Drew
Steve Hawes
Armond Hill
Eddie Johnson
Jim McElroy
Tom McMillen
Sam Pellom
*Wayne “Tree” Rollins
Dan Roundfield
Craig Shelton

*placed on injured list 10/9/80

Note: during the 1980 offseason, the Hawks had signed Tom Burleson, formerly of the Kings, as a Veteran Free Agent. As of the start of the 1980-81 regular season, compensation for Burleson had not yet been settled.

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.

10/24/80 – Activated Wayne Rollins from the injured list; placed Steve Hawes on the injured list.

11/1/80 – Activated Steve Hawes from the injured list; placed Craig Shelton on the injured list.

11/3/80 – Sent a 1981 2nd round pick and cash to the Kings as compensation for the earlier signing of Tom Burleson as a Veteran Free Agent.

11/7/80 – Activated Tom Burleson from the injured list; placed Wayne Rollins on the injured list.

11/18/80 – Activated Wayne Rollins from the injured list; placed Jim McElroy on the injured list.

11/22/80 – Activated Craig Shelton from the injured list; placed Tom Burleson on the injured list.

12/2/80 – Traded Armond Hill to the Sonics for two 2nd round picks (1983 and 1984) and cash; activated Jim McElroy from the injured list.

1/9/81 – Activated Tom Burleson from the injured list; placed Wayne Rollins on the injured list.

1/17/81 – Traded Don Collins to the Bullets for Wes Matthews.

1/23/81 – Activated Wayne Rollins from the injured list; placed Tom Burleson on the injured list.

2/3/81 – Placed Jim McElroy on the injured list; signed Art Collins to a 10-day contract.

2/13/81 – Signed Art Collins to a second 10-day contract.

2/18/81 – Activated Tom Burleson from the injured list; placed Wayne Rollins on the injured list.

2/23/81 – Signed Art Collins for the remainder of the season.

3/7/81 – Activated Jim McElroy from the injured list; placed Charlie Criss on the injured list.

NOTES/DISCREPANCIES

Injured list transactions:

10/9/80 - The Hawks started the season with Burleson and Rollins on IL. This was reported in the 10/10/80 Globe.

10/24/80 - Rollins active; Hawes on IL. This was reported in the 10/25/80 Globe.

11/1/80 - Hawes active; Shelton on IL. This was reported in the 11/2/80 Globe.

11/7/80 - Burleson active; Rollins on IL. This was reported in the 11/8/80 Globe. pst.com also has these moves, likely sourced from a newspaper other than the Globe.

11/18/80 - Rollins active; McElroy on IL. I don’t have any documentation of this transaction, but this move must have happened on or shortly before this date. After having been on the IL since 11/7, Rollins returned to action on 11/18. The Hawks used their full 11-man roster in that game, and the only player missing who had been active immediately before this is McElroy (he did not play again until 12/2). McElroy must have been placed on the IL to make room on the active roster for Rollins.

11/22/80 - Shelton active; Burleson on IL. I don’t have any documentation of this transaction, but this move must have happened on or shortly before this date. After having been on the IL since 11/1, Shelton returned to action on 11/22. The Hawks used their full 11-man roster in that game, and the only player missing who had been active immediately before this is Burleson (he did not play again until 1/9). Burleson must have been placed on the IL to make room on the active roster for Shelton.

12/2/80 – McElroy active, filling the roster spot opened by trading Hill to the Sonics. I don’t have any documentation from my usual sources of McElroy being activated on this date (the transaction column in the 12/3 Globe didn’t mention it), but while looking for information on the Hill trade in the Google News Archive, I found several newspapers reporting in their 12/3 editions that McElroy was activated at the same time as the Hill trade. At this point the Hawks dropped from carrying two players on IL, which they had been doing since the start of the season, to carrying just one (at the moment, Burleson).

1/9/81 – Burleson active; Rollins on IL. This was reported in the 1/10/81 Globe.

1/23/81 – Rollins active; Burleson on IL. I don’t have any documentation of this transaction, but this move must have happened on or shortly before this date. After having been on the IL since 1/9, Rollins returned to action on 1/23. The only player who had been active immediately before this who was absent from all of the next several games is Burleson (he played in the game immediately preceding the game on 1/23, but did not play again after that until 2/18). Burleson must have been placed on the IL to make room on the active roster for Rollins.

2/3/81 – McElroy on IL; Art Collins signed to fill spot on active roster. This was reported in the 2/4/81 Globe. pst.com also has these moves, likely sourced from a newspaper other than the Globe, although the date McElroy was placed on IL is shown as 2/6/81 (which was the date of the Hawks’ next game after 2/3). The “6” has to be a typo; while looking for information on Art Collins in the Google News Archive, I found two other newspapers reporting in their 2/4 editions that McElroy was placed on the IL at the same time Collins was signed – the Boca Raton (Fla.) News and the Hendersonville (N.C.) Times-News. In any event, McElroy didn’t play on 2/3, and it would be difficult to construct a scenario in which McElroy and Collins could have both been on the active roster at the time of the game on 2/3. At this point the Hawks went back to carrying two players on the IL, which would be the case for the remainder of the season.

2/18/81 – Burleson active; Rollins on IL. I don’t have any documentation of this transaction, but this move must have happened on or shortly before this date. After having been absent from the box scores since 1/21, Burleson returned to action on 2/18. The only player who had been active immediately before this who was absent from all of the next several games is Rollins (he appeared in no further games this season after 2/17). Rollins must have been placed on the IL to make room on the active roster for Burleson.

3/7/81 – McElroy active; Criss on IL. I don’t have any documentation of this transaction, but this move must have happened on or shortly before this date. After having been on the IL since 2/3, McElroy returned to action on 3/7. The only player who had been active immediately before this who was absent from all of the next several games is Criss (he appeared in no further games this season after 3/6). Criss must have been placed on the IL to make room on the active roster for McElroy.

While the Hawks appear to have had additional players out at various times after 3/7 – at one point, they went four consecutive games using only eight players – I assume that they kept the two players who were already on the IL there (Rollins and Criss). Note that John Drew did not play in any games after 3/7, but since he did play in the game on 3/7, alongside McElroy, he couldn’t have been the player placed on the IL on 3/7 to make room for McElroy.

Burleson compensation:

According to the transaction column in the following day’s Globe, the compensation award for Burleson was made by the Commissioner’s office – the two teams apparently couldn’t reach an agreement between themselves – and the amount of cash involved was $50,000. A number of newspaper reports in the Google News Archive, as well as the Kings Media Guide, state the same. pst.com also agrees that the amount of cash was $50,000 (likely sourced from a newspaper).

b-r.com’s write-up of this transaction differs materially from other sources in two ways, not mentioning that cash was included, and showing the date as 7/8/80 (which is the date Burleson originally signed with the Hawks). Based on other sources, it seems pretty clear that omitting the cash is an oversight, and that an incorrect assumption was made that compensation changed hands on the same date as the signing.

Armond Hill trade:

It is well documented that the Hawks received two 2nd round picks and cash from the Sonics in exchange for Hill. This is how the trade is reported in the NBA Register, in the Hawks Media Guide, in an old Sonics Media Guide that I found posted online (the 2002-03 edition), in the transactions column in the following day’s Globe, and in several other newspapers in the Google News Archive. b-r.com, however, mentions the picks but not the cash. In my experience it is fairly common for descriptions of trades to omit “minor” elements of the trade, and b-r.com seems to do this more than most (see also the Tom Burleson compensation transaction discussed above). I suspect that is what is happening here.

Art Collins:

When Collins signed with the Hawks on 2/3/81, the Globe and pst.com indicate that he was initially signed to a 10-day contract. I found two newspapers in the Google News Archive reporting the same – the Boca Raton (Fla.) News and the Hendersonville (N.C.) Times-News. I have not found any source indicating what happened after that 10-day contract expired, but it’s obvious that Collins remained with the Hawks more-or-less continuously through the end of the season.

The 1981-82 NBA Register simply shows Collins signing outright with the Hawks on 2/3/81, with no mention of it being a 10-day deal or of any subsequent 10-day/remainder-of-season contracts. As we’ve discussed in previous installments in this series, the Register typically wrote things up that way whenever a player who initially joined a team on a 10-day deal stuck around for longer than that, and shouldn’t be read as inconsistent with what the Globe and pst.com show. b-r.com shows the same thing as the Register; it likely used the Register as its source.

Lacking any better information, I have taken an educated guess that Collins signed a second 10-day contract ten days after his initial signing, then signed for the remainder of the season ten days after that.

GAMES STARTED INFO

MEDIA GUIDE

As far as I can see, the 2010-11 Hawks Media Guide has no historical games started information whatsoever. So for the 1980-81 Hawks, we will need to rely solely on the TSN box scores, as we did for the Bullets. Unlike the Bullets, where the TSN box scores appeared to have more-or-less complete coverage of who started which games, we will be left with a few gaps and inconsistencies when it comes to the Hawks.

TSN BOX SCORES

All but three of the TSN box scores for the 1980-81 Hawks appear to list the players in “starters first” F-F-C-G-G order. The three exceptions were games on 11/5/80, 12/3/80, and 3/13/81.

--The 11/5/80 game was the first of five consecutive games in which regular starting forward Dan Roundfield did not play. The first four players listed in the box score look like the expected starters with Roundfield missing.

--Regular starting forward John Drew did not play in the 12/3/80 game. The first four players listed in the box score look like the expected starters with Drew missing.

--In the 3/13/81 box score, the first five players listed look like the expected starters, but with a couple out of order (Johnson is shown in the C slot, Hawes in a G slot).

I am assuming that all of the expected starters referred to above did in fact start each of the above games. These players would have been my best guesses as to who started these games even if the box scores gave no clue as to who the starters may have been. In the 11/5/80 game, they are Drew, Hawes, Hill and Johnson; in the 12/3/80 game, Roundfield, Rollins, Criss and Johnson; and in the 3/13/81 game, McMillen, Roundfield, Hawes, Johnson and Matthews. All of these players started the games before and/or after the game in question, and it makes sense that they would have started these games taking into account the personnel who were available. What’s left unanswered is who started in place of Roundfield in the 11/5 game, and who started in place of Drew in the 12/3 game. Unfortunately, I’m having a hard time making even an educated guess as to who the missing starters in those two games could have been.

For the 11/5 game, it’s not even clear if the missing starter was at center or forward, as Steve Hawes split his time between both positions. For the previous few games before 11/5, Hawes had been starting at center in place of the injured Tree Rollins. For the next few games after 11/5, Hawes switched to forward to cover for Roundfield, with Tom Burleson staring at center. So was the game on 11/5 more like the games that preceded it, with Hawes at center and the missing starter presumably filling in at forward, or was it more like the games that followed it, with Hawes at forward and our mystery man at center (perhaps Burleson)? The answer is apparently “neither”. Neither Rollins nor Roundfield played in the game on 11/5, and Hawes can’t have simultaneously covered for both. In addition, Burleson couldn’t have started the 11/5 game at center, because he didn’t play in that game (Burleson was on the IL at the time of the 11/5 game). Besides Hawes, there were three players who played center or forward who appear in the 11/5 box score: Sam Pellom, Don Collins, and Tom McMillen. One of them is presumably our missing starter.

In the 12/3 game, it seems pretty clear that the missing starter was at forward, but it isn’t any easier to determine who that player was. Five players who played forward appear in the 12/3 box score: Don Collins, Steve Hawes, Sam Pellom, Craig Shelton and Tom McMillen. There are a few possibilities, but no one player stands out as the single most likely candidate. Hawes had filled in at forward off-and-on up to their point in the season, most recently two games earlier, but always as a sub for Roundfield, not Drew. Shelton had started one game in place of Drew four games before this, but doesn’t otherwise appear in a starter’s slot in any of the TSN boxes until very late in the season. Collins is shown starting in place of Drew in a couple of games later in the month, but all starts he had made up to this point were at guard. Collins was also the fifth player listed in the box score, but it’s not clear if there’s any significance to that.

In the interests of picking someone, I’ve made the following assumptions for these two games:

11/5 – I am assuming that Hawes started at forward and Pellom started at center. Pellom had started several games at center shortly before this while Hawes was out with an injury, so this would make a certain amount of sense. Neither Collins nor McMillen made any starts at forward or center around this period of the season.

12/3 – I am assuming that Shelton started at forward in place of Drew, just as he had four games earlier.

With no media guide numbers to square against, though, these are really just guesses. There are a few other anomalies in the TSN boxes that I wish I had a media guide to square up with. Why would Drew have come off the bench on 12/13/80, 2/12/81 and 2/13/81? Why would Johnson have come off the bench on 12/16/80? Why would Collins have started at guard instead of Criss on 12/19/80? It’s certainly not impossible that they did (one could imagine multiple scenarios that would make perfect sense), but it would be nice to have something to check this against. More than any other team we’ve looked at so far, I have to concede that the games started numbers for the Hawks are just approximates. I have a high level of confidence that Hawes started about 52 games, but a much lower level of confidence that it was precisely 52. It could have easily been a few more or a few less.

NOTES/DISCREPANCIES

From the TSN box scores, after making the assumptions discussed above, I am getting the following games started totals for the season:

Johnson 74
Drew 64
Roundfield 57
Hawes 52
Matthews 31
Rollins 31
D. Collins 21
Criss 21
Pellom 20
Hill 18
McMillen 12
Burleson 4
Shelton 4
McElroy 1
Last edited by MCT on Thu Jul 27, 2017 8:37 pm, edited 9 times in total.
MCT
 
Posts: 915
Joined: Fri May 11, 2007 5:41 pm

Re: 1980-81 Atlanta Hawks Games Played/Started & Transaction

Postby MCT » Tue Feb 18, 2014 8:01 pm

ATLANTA HAWKS – PART II

PLAYER INFORMATION

I’m going to do something a little bit different for the Hawks than I’ve done for previous teams. For the teams we’ve looked at so far, I’ve been using late February as the point for our “snapshot”. Most of the teams we’ve looked at have had a fairly stable roster for much of the season, and the roster as it stood in late February – after the trade deadline had passed – has presented a sensible way to look at the team. With the Hawks, that’s less true. The Hawks were moving players on and off the injured list all season. In late February, the Hawks had two players on the injured list: Wayne ‘Tree’ Rollins and Jim McElroy. The players who had replaced them on the active roster were Tom Burleson and Art Collins. Burleson had been on the injured list for most of the season until mid-February, while Collins had just been signed to a 10-day contract at the start of the month (McElroy would be activated again in early March; aside from February, he was on the active roster almost all of the season). As a result, the roster as it stood in late February was a patchwork that doesn’t really present a “typical” Hawks roster.

Instead of using late February, I’m going to use the roster as it stood at the end of January (the roster continued to look like this into the first few days of February, but due to the All-Star break, no games were played in February with this exact combination of players). This version of the roster had Rollins and McElroy active, and Burleson on the IL; Art Collins had not yet been signed.

EDDIE JOHNSON

History: 3rd round pick of Hawks in 1977.

Games Played (Regular Season 75 G, 35.9 MPG): The seven games in which Johnson did not appear were four consecutive games from 12/5/80 through 12/10/80, 1/3/81, and two consecutive games on 1/16/81 & 1/18/81.

Games Started (Regular Season: 74): If the TSN box scores can be trusted, there was one game Johnson played in but did not start, which was on 12/16/80. This was the second game following the stretch of four games when Johnson didn’t play, although the TSN boxes indicate that Johnson had started the game before this one.

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.

JOHN DREW

History: 2nd round pick of Hawks in 1974.

Games Played (Regular Season 67 G, 31.0 MPG): Drew appeared in 67 of the Hawks’ first 70 games (through 3/7/81). The three games in that period in which he did not appear were on 11/26/80, 12/3/80, and 12/20/80. After 3/7/81, Drew did not appear in any further games, missing the last 12 games of the season. I assume that Drew was injured, but as discussed earlier, I don’t think he was ever formally placed on the IL. The Hawks already had two players on the IL prior to 3/7, neither of whom appeared in any games after that date, and they appear to have simply played out the string shorthanded as they lost additional players.

Games Started (Regular Season: 64): If the TSN box scores can be trusted, there were three games Drew played in but did not start. These were on 12/13/80, and two consecutive games on 2/12/81 & 2/13/81. It is not obvious to me why Drew wouldn’t have started those games, but we don’t have another source to check this against.

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 (including 1980-81) except his rookie year of 1974-75, which is shown as PF.

DAN ROUNDFIELD

History: Began pro career in ABA, 1975. Signed as Veteran Free Agent, June 1978 (compensation owed to Pacers).

Games Played (Regular Season 63 G, 33.8 MPG): The nineteen games in which Roundfield did not appear were five consecutive games from 11/5/80 through 11/13/80, 11/29/80, 1/14/81, six consecutive games from 1/21/80 through 2/3/81 (the last five games before the All-Star break, plus the first game after it), and six consecutive games from 3/14/81 through 3/24/81.

I would guess that Roundfield was struggling with injuries, but he was never on the IL. On two of the three occasions when he missed enough time to have been on the IL, the Hawks already had two players on the IL. During the period when Roundfield was out of the lineup in March, the Hawks already had three other players absent (Rollins, Criss, Drew) and had been playing a man short even before Roundfield went out. During the entire period when he was out, they played at least two men short.

Games Started (Regular Season: 57): The six games Roundfield played in but did not start were four consecutive games from 2/6/81 through 2/12/81, and two consecutive games on 3/26/81 & 3/27/81. All of these were following stretches of games in which Roundfield had not played. The game on 3/27 was the second-to-last game of the season; Roundfield returned to the starting lineup for the last game on 3/29.

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.

WES MATTHEWS

History: 1st round pick of Bullets in 1980. Acquired in trade with Bullets, January 1981.

Matthews started the season with the Bullets, but was traded to the Hawks on 1/17/81 for Don Collins.

Games Played (Regular Season 34 G, 32.5 MPG): When Matthews was acquired, the Hawks had 35 games remaining. Matthews played in 34 of these games. The only game in which he did not appear was on 1/29/81. This was his sixth game on the Hawks’ roster, and the last game before the All-Star break. Matthews had played in 45 games for the Bullets prior to the trade, giving him a total of 79 games played for the year.

Games Started (Regular Season: 31): Matthews came off the bench in his first three games for the Hawks, then moved into the starting lineup on 1/24/81. At that point, the Hawks had 32 games remaining. Matthews started all of them except for the game he did not play in on 1/29/81.

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.

WAYNE “TREE” ROLLINS

History: 1st round pick of Hawks in 1977.

Games Played (Regular Season 40 G, 26.1 MPG): Heading into the season, I’d think that Rollins was expected to be the Hawks’ regular starting center. He was on and off the injured list all season, however, only playing in 40 games. The games he played in were five consecutive games from 10/24/80 through 10/31/80, 24 of the 25 games from 11/18/80 through 1/8/81 (the only game during that stretch in which Rollins did not play was on 12/27/80), and eleven consecutive games from 1/23/81 through 2/15/81. Rollins did not play in any further games after 2/15/81.

Rollins did not play in the first five games of the season, eight consecutive games from 11/1/80 through 11/15/80, one game on 12/27/80, six consecutive games from 1/9/81 through 1/21/81, and the last 22 games of the season. He is known or believed to have been on the injured list from 10/9/80 (the day before the start of the regular season) through 10/24/80, 11/7/80 through the game on 11/15/80, 1/9/81 though the game on 1/21/81, and the game on 2/18/81 through the end of the season. Rollins’ time on the IL accounts for almost all of the games he didn’t play in; there were only a handful of games for which he was on the active roster but didn’t play.

Games Started (Regular Season: 31): Rollins started 23 of the 24 games he played in the 25-game stretch from 11/18/81 through 1/8/81 (he didn’t play on 12/27/80, and played but didn’t start on 1/3/81), and eight consecutive games from 1/24/81 through 2/12/81 (part of the eleven consecutive games Rollins played from 1/23 through 2/15; he started all but the first and last two games of that stretch). Note that Rollins did not start any games during the period in October when he was active.

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.

STEVE HAWES

History: 2nd round pick of Cavaliers in 1972. Acquired in trade with Blazers, August 1976.

Games Played (Regular Season 74 G, 31.2 MPG): The eight games in which Hawes did not appear were eight consecutive games from 10/17/80 through 10/31/80. Hawes was on the injured list from 10/24/80 through 11/1/80, covering the last five games of that eight-game stretch.

Games Started (Regular Season: 52): Heading into the season, I’d think that Hawes was expected to come off the bench. Due to injuries, however, Hawes ended up fourth on the team in games started. His starts were split between center and forward, however, and he wasn’t really the dominant starter at any one position. Based on the TSN box scores and the assumptions discussed earlier, Hawes started 31 games at center and 21 games at forward. Hawes started two consecutive games on 10/11/80 & 10/14/80; eight consecutive games from 11/1/80 through 11/15/80; single games on 11/26/80, 12/27/80, and 1/3/81; and the last 39 games of the season, starting on 1/9/81. Full details from the TSN box scores, with the assumptions discussed earlier:

--Hawes started the first two games of the season (10/11/80 & 10/14/80) at center, in place of the injured Wayne Rollins.

--Hawes did not play in the next eight games. While he was out, Rollins returned, but never worked his way back into the starting lineup. By the time Hawes came back, Rollins was out again.

--For his first two games back (11/1/80 & 11/4/80), Hawes started at center in place of Rollins again.

--For the next six games (11/5/80 through 11/13/80), Hawes started at forward, in place of Dan Roundfield, who did not play in any of these games. Tom Burleson, who was activated from the IL, started at center for most of these games.

--For the next game after that (11/15/80), Roundfield returned, and Hawes shifted back to center, apparently being considered a better option there than Burleson.

--Rollins then returned, and played in 24 of the next 25 games (11/18/80 through 1/8/81). During this period, Hawes mostly came off the bench. He did start on 11/26/80 at forward (John Drew did not play), on 12/27/80 at center (Rollins did not play), and on 1/3/81 at center (Rollins played but came off the bench).

--Rollins then went back on the IL, and Hawes started the next seven games at center (1/9/81 through 1/23/81; Rollins was activated and played in the last game in this stretch, but came off the bench). Hawes would start every game somewhere from 1/9/81 through the end of the season.

--Hawes then shifted to start the next nine games at forward (1/24/81 through 2/13/81). This appears to have initially been done because Roundfield was out, and Rollins was now available to start at center. Roundfield returned after several games, but came off the bench in his first few games back. Meanwhile, towards the end of this stretch, Drew and Rollins each came off the bench for a couple of games as well, resulting in a pretty ragged starting frontcourt lineup.

--With Roundfield and Drew now both back in the starting lineup, but Rollins apparently battling injuries again, Hawes shifted back to start the next seventeen games at center (2/15/81 through 3/18/81). The game on 2/15 was the last game Rollins played in all season.

--Towards the end of the season, Drew and Roundfield both missed a number of games, resulting in reserves Sam Pellom and Tom McMillen starting at forward. Hawes and Pellom switched places for the final six games of the season, with Hawes moving to forward (3/20/81 through 3/29/81).

b-r.com position info: Position in old b-r.com header is listed as Center-Forward. Primary position is shown as PF for six of ten NBA seasons, with 1980-81 one of the three years that is shown as C (the other two are 1974-75 and 1975-76, Hawes’ first two years in the NBA. Note that even though Hawes’ position in the header is listed as “Center-Forward”, his primary position for the vast majority of his individual seasons is shown as PF). I can’t speak for how Hawes was used in other seasons, but I think b-r.com’s assessment that Hawes’ primary position this year was C is correct. Hawes almost certainly saw significant time at both C and PF, but with Rollins’ absences from the lineup he probably got more playing time at C.

CHARLIE CRISS

History: Eligible for 1970 NBA Draft but was not selected. Signed as a free agent, July 1977.

Games Played (Regular Season 66 G, 25.9 MPG): Criss appeared in 66 of the Hawks’ first 69 games (through 3/6/81). The three games in that period in which he did not appear were two consecutive games on 11/13/80 & 11/15/80, and one additional game on 2/24/81. After 3/6/81, Criss did not appear in any further games, missing the last 13 games of the season. As discussed earlier, I believe that Criss was placed on the injured list in between the game on 3/6/81 and the Hawks’ next game (which was on 3/7/81) – although I do not have any documentation of this – and remained on the IL for the rest of the season.

Games Started (Regular Season: 21): According to the TSN box scores, Criss started 16 of the 17 games from 12/2/80 through 1/3/81 (all except 12/19/80), four consecutive games from 1/16/81 through 1/23/81, and one additional game on 1/29/81. Most of these starts came in the period after the Hawks benched/ultimately traded Armond Hill, but before Wes Matthews was acquired/installed as a starter. Criss started most of the games in between those two developments, but Don Collins also started at times instead. Criss started alongside Collins only once, on 1/16/81, a game in which Eddie Johnson did not play (that was Collins’ last game with the Hawks before being traded). Criss started on 1/29/81 because Matthews did not play (the last game Criss started this season, this was the last game before the All-Star break).

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.

TOM McMILLEN

History: 1st round pick of Braves in 1974. Acquired in trade with Knicks, November 1977.

Games Played (Regular Season 79 G, 19.8 MPG): The three games in which McMillen did not appear were two consecutive games on 2/7/81 & 2/10/81, and one additional game on 3/27/81 (the second-to-last game of the season). McMillen led the Hawks in games played; no player appeared in all 82 games.

Games Started (Regular Season: 12): According to the TSN box scores, McMillen started two consecutive games on 2/12/81 & 2/13/81, and ten consecutive games from 3/10/81 through 3/26/81. All were at forward except the game on 2/13/81, which was at center. All of these were games in which at least one frontcourt regular was absent from the starting lineup. Drew did not start on 2/12 & 2/13, and Rollins also did not start the latter game (though both played in both of these games). The games from 3/10 – 3/26 were all games in which Drew and Rollins, and in some cases Roundfield, 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 C for all seasons of career. Note that even though McMillen’s position in the header is listed as “Forward-Center”, his primary position for each individual season of his career is shown as C.

SAM PELLOM

History: Eligible for 1978 NBA Draft but was not selected. Signed as a free agent, November 1979.

Games Played (Regular Season 77 G, 19.1 MPG): The five games in which Pellom did not appear were on 12/20/80, 1/6/81, 2/12/81, 2/18/81, and 2/22/81 (there was one game in between the last two games on this list, in which Pellom did play).

Games Started (Regular Season: 20): According to the TSN boxes, with the assumptions discussed earlier, Pellom started eight consecutive games from 10/17/80 through 10/31/80, single games on 11/5/80 and 1/14/81, two consecutive games on 1/21/81 & 1/23/81, and eight consecutive games from 3/17/81 through 3/29/81 (the last eight games of the season). Fourteen of these starts – the first nine and the last six – were at center, with the remaining five at forward.

The games from 10/17 – 10/31 were all starts at center; both Rollins and Hawes were absent from these games. We are assuming that Pellom also started at center on 11/5; Rollins was out again, and Hawes is assumed to have started at forward to cover for Roundfield. The games on 1/14, 1/21 and 1/23 were at forward, and were all games Roundfield didn’t play in, at a time when Hawes was covering center while Rollins was on the IL. Roundfield missed additional games after 1/23, but Rollins was activated from the IL and Hawes was shifted to forward. The first few games in the eight-game stretch at the end of the season (3/17 & 3/18) were at forward, at a time when both Drew and Roundfield were absent from the lineup, as was Rollins, with Hawes once again covering at center. For the final six games of the season, starting on 3/20, Hawes and Pellom switched positions, with Hawes moving to forward and Pellom moving to center.

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.

JIM McELROY

History: 3rd round pick of Jazz in 1975. Acquired in trade with Pistons, January 1980.

Games Played (Regular Season 54 G, 12.6 MPG): The 28 games in which McElroy did not appear were two consecutive games on 10/11/80 & 10/14/80 (the first two games of the season), 11/8/80, six consecutive games from 11/18/80 through 11/29/80, 12/27/80, sixteen consecutive games from 2/3/81 (first game after the All-Star break) through 3/6/81, 3/14/81, and 3/26/81. McElroy is known or believed to have been on the injured list during both of the extended periods of games he missed (11/18/80 – 11/29/80, and 2/3/81 – 3/6/81).

Games Started (Regular Season: 1): The one game that McElroy started was on 1/18/81. Regular starter Eddie Johnson did not play in this game, and it was also the first game after Don Collins was traded; Collins had started the previous several games at guard.

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.

CRAIG SHELTON

History: 2nd round pick of Hawks in 1980.

Games Played (Regular Season 55 G, 10.7 MPG): The 27 games in which Shelton did not play were 14 out of 15 games from 10/24/80 through 11/18/80 (the one game in this stretch in which he did play was on 10/31/80; Shelton was on the injured list from 11/1/80 through the game on 11/18/80), 11/28/80, six consecutive games from 12/10/80 through 12/20/80, 12/27/80, 1/2/81, 1/9/81, and three consecutive games from 3/17/81 through 3/20/81. Although Shelton only played in 55 games, most of the games he was absent from were in the early part of the season. From late December onward, Shelton was more-or-less an everyday player. The trade of Don Collins in January may have opened up more playing time for Shelton, as it left him as the only backup SF on the roster.

The three games that Shelton missed in March were likely due to injury, or some other reason that made it impossible for Shelton to play, because the Hawks were playing severely shorthanded at that point in the season. It seems extremely likely they would have used him in those games if he was available to play. Before that three-game stretch, Rollins, Criss, Drew and Roundfield were already out, and the Hawks had been playing two men short (two players on the IL, two on the active roster but not playing, leaving nine men). During the three games when Shelton was absent, they appear to have been playing three men short, using only eight players in each of those games.

Games Started (Regular Season: 4): According to the TSN boxes, with the assumptions discussed earlier, Shelton started on 11/26/80 (regular starter John Drew did not play), 12/3/80 (Drew did not play), 3/14/81 (regular starter Dan Roundfield did not play), and 3/27/81 (Drew had been out for several games; Roundfield had recently returned from a stretch of games he had missed, played but came off the bench; one of the players who had been starting at forward in their absence, Tom McMillen, also did not play).

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:

TOM BURLESON

History: 1st round pick of Sonics in 1974. Signed as Veteran Free Agent, July 1980 (compensation owed to Kings).

Games Played (Regular Season 31 G, 11.7 MPG): Burleson spent much of the season on the injured list. Most of the games he played in came during the last month and a half of the season. The 31 games Burleson played in were six consecutive games from 11/7/81 through 11/18/81, six consecutive games from 1/9/81 through 1/21/81, and 19 of the last 22 games of the season (starting on 2/18/81; the three games in this stretch in which Burleson did not appear were two consecutive games on 3/6/81 & 3/7/81, and one additional game on 3/26/81).

Burleson is known or believed to have been on the injured list from 10/9/80 (the day before the start of the regular season) through 11/7/80, from the game on 11/22/80 through 1/9/81, and from the game on 1/23/81 through the game on 2/15/81. Burleson and Rollins were on the injured list almost totally opposite each other. There was only one game all season for which both were on the active roster (11/18/80), but only five games for which both were on the injured list (the first five games of the season). The other 76 games featured one or the other on the active roster, but not both.

Games Started (Regular Season: 4): Burleson started four consecutive games from 11/7/80 through 11/13/80. Neither Rollins nor Roundfield played in these games; Steve Hawes, who had earlier been covering at center for Rollins, had been shifted to forward to cover for Roundfield, and Burleson started at center. When Roundfield returned to the lineup, Hawes moved back to center, and Burleson went to the bench.

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.

NOT YET SIGNED:

ART COLLINS

History: 6th round pick of Celtics in 1976. Signed as a free agent (initially to a 10-day contract), February 1981. (Note: Collins had no regular-season NBA experience prior to the Hawks signing him.)

Collins did not start the season with the Hawks. He had been with the team in the preseason, but was waived in training camp and did not start the 1980-81 season on an NBA roster. He was signed to a 10-day contract on 2/3/81, filling the roster spot vacated when Jim McElroy was placed on the injured list on the same day. As discussed earlier, there is a gap in Collins’ transaction chronology following the expiration of his initial 10-day contract, but it’s clear that he stayed with the Hawks more-or-less continuously for the remainder of the season. At all times after Collins was signed, the Hawks carried two players on the IL. McElroy returned in early March, but the Hawks kept Collins, instead moving another player onto the IL.

Games Played (Regular Season 29 G, 13.6 MPG): Collins made his debut with the Hawks on 2/3/81, the same day he was signed. At that point, there were 29 games left in the season, and Collins played in all of them. Art Collins was one of two players with the surname Collins to see action for the Hawks this year. The other, Don Collins, was traded a couple of weeks before Art Collins was signed, so the two were never on the team at the same time.

Games Started (Regular Season: 0): Collins did not start any games. Of the 15 players who saw action for the Hawks this year, Art Collins was the only one who did not start any games, based on the TSN box scores.

b-r.com position info: Position in old b-r.com header is listed as Guard. Primary position is shown as SG; this is the only season that Collins played in the NBA.

NO LONGER WITH TEAM:

ARMOND HILL

History: 1st round pick of Hawks in 1976.

Hill started the season with the Hawks, but was traded to the Sonics on 12/2/80 for two 2nd round picks and cash. His roster spot was filled by activating Jim McElroy from the IL. The trade allowed the Hawks to (temporarily, as it turned out) drop down from carrying two players on the IL to carrying just one.

Games Played (Regular Season 24 G, 26.0 MPG): Hill played in the first 24 games of the season for the Hawks. His last appearance was on 11/29/80. The Hawks’ next game was on the day Hill was traded, 12/2/80. It’s apparent the trade happened before the game on that date, as Hill did not play, and the Hawks used their entire 11-man roster in that game, including McElroy. After the trade, Hill played in an additional 51 games for the Sonics, giving him a total of 75 games played for the year.

Games Started (Regular Season: 18): Hill started the first 18 games of the season, through 11/18/80. He came off the bench in his last six games with the Hawks prior to being traded.

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.

DON COLLINS

History: 1st round pick of Hawks in 1980.

Collins started the season with the Hawks, but was traded to the Bullets on 1/17/81 for Wes Matthews.

Games Played (Regular Season 47 G, 25.2 MPG): Collins played in the first 47 games of the season for the Hawks. His last appearance was on 1/16/81, the day before he was traded. After the trade, Collins played in an additional 34 games for the Bullets, giving him a total of 81 games played for the year.

Games Started (Regular Season: 21): According to the TSN box scores, Collins started six consecutive games from 11/18/80 through 11/29/80, eight of the nine games the Hawks played from 12/5/80 through 12/20/80 (all except 12/18/80), and seven consecutive games from 1/3/81 through 1/16/81. Most of these starts were at guard, but two (12/13/80 and 12/20/80) were at forward.

The six starts from 11/18 – 11/29 were as a replacement for Armond Hill after Hill had been benched, but Charlie Criss took over that role after 11/29. The first four starts in the stretch beginning on 12/5 (12/5 – 12/10) were in place of regular starter Eddie Johnson, who did not play in those four games. For the next game on 12/13, Collins is shown as starting at forward in place of John Drew, then back to guard in place of Johnson on 12/16. After one game off the bench (12/18), Collins is shown starting at guard in place of Criss on 12/19, then at forward in place of Drew on 12/20. Note that Drew played on 12/13, Johnson played on 12/16, and Criss played on 12/19, so it isn’t entirely clear why Collins would have started these games in their place (Drew didn’t play in the game on 12/20). On 1/3, Collins displaced Criss from the starting lineup, and Collins continued to start at guard until he was traded on 1/17.

b-r.com position info: Position in old b-r.com header is listed as Forward-Guard. Primary position switches back and forth between SF and SG. 1980-81 is shown as SF. While it may be true that Collins’ primary position for the season as a whole was SF, I think he may have actually played more heavily at SG in his time with the Hawks. I think he saw significant minutes at both positions, though; note that he started games at both guard and forward.
Last edited by MCT on Thu Jul 27, 2017 8:58 pm, edited 6 times in total.
MCT
 
Posts: 915
Joined: Fri May 11, 2007 5:41 pm

Re: 1980-81 Atlanta Hawks Games Played/Started & Transaction

Postby MCT » Tue Feb 18, 2014 8:19 pm

ATLANTA HAWKS – PART III

PLAYERS BY POSITION

STARTERS

Due to injuries, the Hawks’ starting lineup was often a jumble. Let’s look at things position by position.

Center – heading into the season, I’m guessing that Rollins was expected to be the starter. He only played in 40 games, however, starting just 31. I’ve deliberately picked a time when he was starting to use for our snapshot, so he’s listed as the starter there. For the season as a whole, it might make more sense to think of Hawes as the starting center, though. Based on the TSN box scores, Hawes started as many games at center as Rollins did, and Hawes played far more minutes for the season as a whole.

Forward – the two regular starters were Roundfield and Drew. b-r.com lists Roundfield as the PF and Drew as the SF, and I agree with that assessment. These two started far more games than any other players at forward, so I don’t think there’s much dispute about listing them as the starters, but both do appear to have missed a significant number of games due to injury, and several other players made smaller numbers of starts at forward, including Hawes.

Guard – Johnson was the consistent starter at one slot throughout the season. The other slot passed from Hill (eventually traded to the Sonics) to Criss (Don Collins for a few shot stretches) to Matthews (acquired in a trade with the Bullets). b-r. com lists Johnson as an SG and Hill/Criss/Matthews as PGs, and I agree with those assessments. Note that there were a few short stretches where Johnson and Collins started together, even though both seem to be SGs. I’m guessing that Johnson played the PG role in that lineup, as based on his stats he looks like a combo guard who was capable of playing some PG (he had 407 assists this season, and had another season where he was well over 500).

All of the players listed as the starters in our snapshot averaged over 30 mpg except for Rollins (26.1), whose injuries undoubtedly contributed to his relatively light minutes. His replacement, Hawes, averaged 31.2 mpg, however. Eddie Johnson led the team at 35.9 mpg.

RESERVES

Of the players classified as reserves at the time of our snapshot, the two who played the heaviest minutes were Hawes (31.2) and Criss (25.9). Those mpg minutes may be a bit misleading, though, as both started at times, Hawes in particular. They were probably the first two reserves on the depth chart even when the team was at full strength, though. Hawes was a C-PF, Criss was a PG.

Next come McMillen (19.8) and Pellom (19.1). Both were big men who played some combination of PF and C; it’s hard to tell exactly how much they played where. Three of our first four reserves are big men, but with all the time Rollins and Burleson missed, the minutes were there. I have to think Pellom wouldn’t have played this much had it not been for the injuries. In fact, if Burleson had been healthy at the start of the season, I have to wonder if Pellom would have even made the roster at all. But he ended up playing in 77 games, second on the team.

The last two players on our snapshot roster were McElroy (12.6) and Shelton (10.7). McElroy is another PG. For most of the season, the Hawks seem to have had two backup PGs and no backup SG. Some of the PGs were presumably combo guard types who could be put on the floor with another PG is an SG-like role. Art Collins, who signed in early February, was an SG; the lack of other SGs on the roster may explain how a player initially picked up on a 10-day contract ended up appearing in every game from the point he was first signed, averaging 13.6 ppg. For the entire time Collins was on the Hawks’ roster, one of the backup PGs appears to have been out with an injury (first McElroy, then Criss), giving the team a more balanced backcourt bench. Shelton was an SF. He played sparingly in the early part of the season, whether due to injury or otherwise, but became more-or-less an everyday player by late December. After the trade of Don Collins in January, he was the only backup SF on the roster.

POSITION NOTES

Don Collins/John Drew: F vs. G

If you add up the minutes of all the Hawks’ players whose primary position was guard (Johnson, Criss, Matthews, McElroy, Hill and Art Collins), there are 767 minutes left over. These minutes would seem to have been played by Don Collins. Since Collins played 1184 minutes with the Hawks, that leaves him with 417 minutes at forward. This split – 767 at guard, 417 at forward – seems like it could be a reasonable approximation of how much Collins played at each position. Note that he started games at both positions, but more at guard.

It surprises me that the Hawks wouldn’t have used Collins more at SF, though, especially as he seems to have played more there after being traded to the Bullets. Starter Drew didn’t play especially heavy minutes, and Craig Shelton (who didn’t play much at all in the early stages of the season) was the only other backup SF. Drew, Shelton and Collins (assuming he only played 417 minutes at F) combined played more than 900 minutes fewer than was available at one forward slot.

No one else really looks like a particularly good candidate to have picked up minutes at SG to free Collins up to play at SF, though. I notice that Drew’s header lists him as a “Forward-Guard”. Does anyone have any information about Drew playing guard? Even if he did, that would have just swapped minutes around between SF and SG, still leaving a shortage at SF.

Center-Forwards

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 Hawks had at least three such players: Hawes, McMillen and Pellom.

The only two players on the Hawks’ roster who are listed as centers both in their old b-r.com headers and as their primary position for each season of their career are Rollins and Burleson, both of whom missed a lot of time due to injury. They leave 2579 minutes at center. If you add up the minutes of all the Hawks’ players whose primary position was forward (Roundfield, Drew, and Shelton, plus the 417 minutes Collins seems to have played there), that leaves 2766 minutes at forward. So the number of minutes available at each position is pretty similar, though slightly more at forward. With three different players and so many minutes involved, it’s impossible to work out precisely who played how much where. I’m guessing that all three of these guys played significant minutes at both C and PF.

McMillen is an odd case because the old b-r.com header lists him as a “Forward-Center”, but his primary position is shown as C for every season of his career. He started a dozen games, all but one of them at forward. I have to think that McMillen played more PF than his season-by-season listing implies, but it’s really hard to tell how much he played where this season. If C was his primary position, why didn’t the Hawks start him there more? Like Mitch Kupchak with the Bullets, was he effective in a role off the bench that the coaching staff just didn’t want to disturb? If McMillen was the backup C, what was the strategy in signing Burleson as a free agent during the 1980 offseason? Did the Hawks think they needed a third center for whatever reason, or was the idea to leave McMillen free to play some minutes at PF?

Since Hawes filled in a lot for Rollins, I think he probably played more heavily at C than PF. Pellom’s header lists him as a “Forward-Center”, but he started more games at center than at forward. Note that he seems to have been deliberately flipped with Hawes towards the end of the season, moving Pellom to center. Hard to tell where he played more.

One more point about the Cs and PFs: The Hawks’ forward corps seems to have been stacked somewhat heavily with PFs. As noted earlier, the forwards on the team whose primary position was SF (Drew, Shelton, Don Collins) played more than 900 minutes fewer than was available at one forward slot – nearly 11 mpg. The Hawks were presumably playing two PFs for those minutes. Some of this may have been due to odd lineups being used in times of injuries.

Roundfield at C?

b-r.com shows Roundfield’s primary position as PF for every season of his NBA career, but the header lists his position as “Forward-Center”. Does anyone have any information about Roundfield playing center? I guess I could see any PF playing C for at least short stretches, but Roundfield was 6’8”, a bit undersized to be playing extensively at C. I don’t see why the Hawks would have had any pressing need to use him at C this season.

TRIVIA

Oldest Player: Charlie Criss, born 11/6/48 (turned 32 early in the season).

Played in ABA: Dan Roundfield.

Longest continuous service with team: John Drew, with the Hawks since the 1974-75 season.

Highest original draft position*: #3 overall – Tom Burleson.

Lowest original draft position*: Charlie Criss and Sam Pellom were not drafted at all, two of only a handful of players in the NBA this year who could make that claim; back when the NBA Draft used to run 10 rounds or more, very few undrafted players ever made it to the NBA. Among players who were actually drafted, the lowest picked in terms of both round and overall pick position was Art Collins (6th round, #103 overall).

Youngest Player: Wes Matthews, born 8/24/59 (age 21 throughout the season). Matthews was a first-year professional who had left college to turn pro after his junior year. Before Matthews was acquired, Don Collins (born 8/28/58, age 22) was the youngest player on the team.

*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 9:16 pm, edited 3 times in total.
MCT
 
Posts: 915
Joined: Fri May 11, 2007 5:41 pm

Re: 1980-81 Atlanta Hawks Games Played/Started & Transaction

Postby meej » Thu Feb 20, 2014 10:46 am

Art Collins played in the Netherlands before signing with the Hawks. In December 1978 he played against a Spanish club in the European Cup (national league winners' competition), and they were very close to defeating Joventut. Collins played small forward, although he also defended opposing guards, and he scored 30 and 22 points in each of those two games.
meej
 
Posts: 616
Joined: Mon Oct 26, 2009 1:39 pm

Re: 1980-81 Atlanta Hawks Games Played/Started & Transaction

Postby MCT » Fri Feb 21, 2014 5:03 pm

Art Collins was originally drafted by the Celtics in 1976. The 1981-82 NBA Register states that he was waived by the Celtics on 9/9/1976. Since the Celtics didn’t start the 1976-77 regular season until October 21, I’d guess that he was probably cut in some kind of preliminary rookie/free agent camp, and never made it to the full training camp; not surprising for a 6th round pick. According to both the Register and Wikipedia, Collins then played in the Netherlands during the 1976-77, 1977-78 and 1978-79 seasons.

In 1979, according to the Register, Collins returned to the U.S. and signed with the Nets, but was cut in training camp. The Register shows that he appeared in 16 games with the Utica Olympics of the CBA during the 1979-80 season.

In 1980, Collins signed with the Hawks. He was waived on 10/8/80. That was only a few days before the regular season started, so it looks like he one of the Hawks’ last cuts. Neither the Register nor Wikipedia indicate what Collins was doing between the point the Hawks cut him in October and re-signed him in February.

Collins played college basketball at Biscayne College, a school in the Miami area. As far as I can tell, Collins is the only product of the school who has ever been drafted by, or played in, the NBA. The school was founded in 1961 by members of the Catholic Augustinian order who had formerly run a university in Cuba, called Universidad Católica de Santo Tomás de Villanueva (“St. Thomas of Villanova Catholic University”), but had fled to Florida after Fidel Castro came to power. In 1984, Biscayne College’s name was changed to St. Thomas University. It is presently an NAIA school and I am guessing that was the case when Collins played there as well.
MCT
 
Posts: 915
Joined: Fri May 11, 2007 5:41 pm

Re: 1980-81 Atlanta Hawks Games Played/Started & Transaction

Postby MCT » Fri Feb 21, 2014 5:08 pm

MCT wrote:For most of the season, the Hawks seem to have had two backup PGs and no backup SG.

This may be a bit of an overstatement. Up until the trade with Washington on January 17, while the team didn’t have any “full-time” backup SGs, swingman Don Collins was undoubtedly playing some minutes at SG; as discussed earlier, I think that Collins probably played more guard than forward during his stint with Atlanta. Then, from February 3 on, Art Collins was there as the backup SG, with one of the backup PGs on the injured list at all times. So while the Hawks’ backcourt corps definitely had a PG slant to it, the only periods where there were really two backups PGs and no backup SG was from January 17 to February 3 (which our “snapshot” just happens to fall into) and a few short stretches where the Hawks were using a starting backcourt of Eddie Johnson and Don Collins.

MCT wrote:1/17/81 – Traded Don Collins to the Bullets for Wes Matthews.

I find this to be a really interesting trade. Two guys who were mid-1st round picks, four selections apart, were traded straight up for each other in the middle of their rookie season. I’m not sure that there’s ever been another trade like this, in all of NBA history. It appears to me that the trade was made more because each team felt it could use the other player than because the two players were performing especially badly for their current teams. The two teams effectively did a “do over”, seven months after the draft.

Having now done some an analysis of each team’s roster, I’m guessing the Hawks wanted Matthews because they felt that they needed a point guard to replace Armond Hill. I’m not sure what had happened with Hill, but after beginning the season as the starting PG, he had been benched in November and then traded in early December. The Hawks had tried Charlie Criss as the starter, as well as pairing up Eddie Johnson with an SG (Don Collins) in a lineup where Johnson was presumably serving as PG, but had apparently concluded that neither arrangement was the answer. Atlanta had another PG on their roster, Jim McElroy, but it looks like he was so far down on the depth chart that they didn’t even try him as the starter.

The Bullets presumably wanted Collins mainly to fill the hole at SF left open by Bob Dandridge’s injury. Reserve Greg Ballard had been promoted to starter, but that had left the team with no backup. I suspect that Carlos Terry got some playing time at SF in the wake of Dandridge’s injury, but then Terry got hurt, too. The Bullets picked up Anthony Roberts from the CBA on a 10-day deal, and liked him enough to sign him for the remainder of the season on the same day they traded for Collins, but apparently didn’t see him as good enough to cover the backup SF role alone (Roberts seemed to become the last player off the bench after Collins was acquired). The Bullets had also likely concluded that the aging Dandridge wouldn’t be in the team’s long-term plans – he became a free agent after the season and wasn’t re-signed – so acquiring a young player for the role who might stick around for future years was a plus. That Collins could play SG was also a bonus. The injured Terry had also played that position, so Collins could take those minutes. And depth at SG was especially important with the injury issues Austin Carr appears to have been struggling with.

Of course, both teams lost something, too. The trade of Collins left the Hawks with a roster that was kind of heavy on big men and PGs, and thin at both positions Collins had played (SG and SF). The only backup at SF was rookie Craig Shelton, and there really was no true backup SG. They must have been forced to use lineups with two PFs or two PGs as a result. The trade of Matthews left the Bullets with Kevin Porter and Andre McCarter at PG. The Bullets had already re-installed Porter as the starter after trying Matthews for a while, but I'd think they had seen Matthews replacing Porter permanently somewhere down the line. Now that was lost, and they needed to go out and get another “PG of the future”. The Bullets must have seen McCarter as an adequate short-term backup, but he was a CBA pickup who had been out of the NBA for three years before the Bullets signed him in December, and would never return to the NBA again after this season.
MCT
 
Posts: 915
Joined: Fri May 11, 2007 5:41 pm

Re: 1980-81 Atlanta Hawks Games Played/Started & Transaction

Postby wojoaderge » Fri Feb 21, 2014 5:31 pm

MCT wrote:[Does anyone have any information about Drew playing guard?

He played a lot of guard next to Adrian Dantley as a 6th man with the Jazz
wojoaderge
 
Posts: 189
Joined: Fri Dec 21, 2007 4:23 am

Re: 1980-81 Atlanta Hawks Games Played/Started & Transaction

Postby MCT » Thu Jul 27, 2017 9:03 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 Hawks:

Mike Goodman wrote:
Code: Select all
tm     player         pos   Min         
Atl   Eddie Johnson    G   2693         
Atl   Steve Hawes     Cf   2309         
Atl   Dan Roundfield   F   2128         
Atl   John Drew        F   2075         
Atl   Charlie Criss    g   1708         
Atl   Tom McMillen    fg   1564         
Atl   Sam Pellom       g   1472         
Atl   Don Collins     gf   1184         
Atl   Wes Matthews     G   1105         
Atl   Tree Rollins     c   1044         
Atl   Jim McElroy     cf    680         
Atl   Armond Hill      g    624         
Atl   Craig Shelton    f    586         
Atl   Art Collins      g    395         
Atl   Tom Burleson     c    363         


MCT wrote:If you add up the minutes of all the Hawks’ players whose primary position was guard (Johnson, Criss, Matthews, McElroy, Hill and Art Collins), there are 767 minutes left over. These minutes would seem to have been played by Don Collins. Since Collins played 1184 minutes with the Hawks, that leaves him with 417 minutes at forward. This split – 767 at guard, 417 at forward – seems like it could be a reasonable approximation of how much Collins played at each position. Note that he started games at both positions, but more at guard.

It surprises me that the Hawks wouldn’t have used Collins more at SF, though, especially as he seems to have played more there after being traded to the Bullets. Starter Drew didn’t play especially heavy minutes, and Craig Shelton (who didn’t play much at all in the early stages of the season) was the only other backup SF. Drew, Shelton and Collins (assuming he only played 417 minutes at F) combined played more than 900 minutes fewer than was available at one forward slot.

Neft & Cohen seem to agree with my take on Collins. They have him as “gf”. Note that this contradicts b-r.com’s identification of Collins’ primary position as SF (which I had disputed in my previous analysis). Note also, though, that Neft & Cohen also have Collins as “gf” while with the Bullets, so they might dispute my suggestion that Collins played more heavily at forward after being traded to the Bullets.

MCT wrote:No one else really looks like a particularly good candidate to have picked up minutes at SG to free Collins up to play at SF, though. I notice that Drew’s header lists him as a “Forward-Guard”. Does anyone have any information about Drew playing guard? Even if he did, that would have just swapped minutes around between SF and SG, still leaving a shortage at SF.

Neft & Cohen have Drew as exclusively a forward.

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 Hawks had at least three such players: Hawes, McMillen and Pellom.

The only two players on the Hawks’ roster who are listed as centers both in their old b-r.com headers and as their primary position for each season of their career are Rollins and Burleson, both of whom missed a lot of time due to injury. They leave 2579 minutes at center. If you add up the minutes of all the Hawks’ players whose primary position was forward (Roundfield, Drew, and Shelton, plus the 417 minutes Collins seems to have played there), that leaves 2766 minutes at forward. So the number of minutes available at each position is pretty similar, though slightly more at forward. With three different players and so many minutes involved, it’s impossible to work out precisely who played how much where. I’m guessing that all three of these guys played significant minutes at both C and PF.

McMillen is an odd case because the old b-r.com header lists him as a “Forward-Center”, but his primary position is shown as C for every season of his career. He started a dozen games, all but one of them at forward. I have to think that McMillen played more PF than his season-by-season listing implies, but it’s really hard to tell how much he played where this season. If C was his primary position, why didn’t the Hawks start him there more? Like Mitch Kupchak with the Bullets, was he effective in a role off the bench that the coaching staff just didn’t want to disturb? If McMillen was the backup C, what was the strategy in signing Burleson as a free agent during the 1980 offseason? Did the Hawks think they needed a third center for whatever reason, or was the idea to leave McMillen free to play some minutes at PF?

Since Hawes filled in a lot for Rollins, I think he probably played more heavily at C than PF. Pellom’s header lists him as a “Forward-Center”, but he started more games at center than at forward. Note that he seems to have been deliberately flipped with Hawes towards the end of the season, moving Pellom to center. Hard to tell where he played more.

There are several different things going on here. To start off, I’ll note that Mike’s list has Jim McElroy as “cf”, and San Pellom as “g”. I suspect these are transcription errors, and the two have their position data transposed. Pellom would make much more sense as “cf”, and McElroy would make much more sense as “g”. The list also has McMillen as “fg”, but I can’t see McMillen playing guard. Can I assume this should be “fc”?

Taking the above into account, we’re left with this: Neft & Cohen agree with my take that Hawes, Pellom and McMillen all played significant minutes at both center and forward. They also agree that Hawes played more at center (“Cf”). I wasn’t sure where Pellom played the most out of the two, but seemed to be leaning towards the idea that he played more at center. If I’m correct about the “cf” listed under McElroy actually belonging to Pellom, Neft & Cohen go in the same direction.

I also wasn’t quite sure where McMillen played more. If I’m correct that “fg”, should be “fc”, then that’s Neft & Cohen’s take.

Neft & Cohen have Rollins and Burleson as exclusively centers.

MCT wrote: b-r.com shows Roundfield’s primary position as PF for every season of his NBA career, but the header lists his position as “Forward-Center”. Does anyone have any information about Roundfield playing center? I guess I could see any PF playing C for at least short stretches, but Roundfield was 6’8”, a bit undersized to be playing extensively at C. I don’t see why the Hawks would have had any pressing need to use him at C this season.

Neft & Cohen have Roundfield as exclusively a forward.
MCT
 
Posts: 915
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 2 guests

cron