1979-80 Boston Celtics Games Played/Started & Transactions

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1979-80 Boston Celtics Games Played/Started & Transactions

Postby MCT » Fri Feb 01, 2019 3:25 pm

This is the first of a series of threads analyzing games played, games started and transactions for the 1979-80 season. Before reading any further, see the introductory thread below:

viewtopic.php?f=5&t=5945

BOSTON CELTICS

SEASON OVERVIEW

The Celtics had a 61-21 record. They finished first in the Atlantic Division, and were the #1 seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs.

As a #1 seed, the Celtics got a bye for the First Round of the playoffs. In the Conference Semifinals, the Celtics defeated the Rockets 4-0. They then lost to the 76ers 4-1 in the Conference Finals. The Celtics played a total of 9 playoff games.

The Celtics used 12 different players for the season, one above the minimum.
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Re: 1979-80 Boston Celtics Games Played/Started & Transactio

Postby MCT » Fri Feb 01, 2019 3:27 pm

PART I - ROSTER AND TRANSACTIONS

OPENING NIGHT ROSTER

Nate Archibald
Larry Bird
M.L. Carr
Don Chaney
Dave Cowens
Eric Fernsten
Chris Ford
Gerald Henderson
Jeff Judkins
Cedric Maxwell
Rick Robey

IN-SEASON TRANSACTIONS

In the list below, anything which is underlined is the subject of discrepancies or guesswork.

1/22/80 – Signed Pete Maravich as a free agent and placed him on the injured list.

2/6/80 – Placed Dave Cowens on the injured list; activated Pete Maravich from the injured list.

2/26/80 – Activated Dave Cowens from the injured list; placed Don Chaney on the injured list.

3/11/80 – Placed Chris Ford on the injured list; activated Don Chaney from the injured list.

3/25/80 – Activated Chris Ford from the injured list; placed Don Chaney on the injured list.

Note: the Celtics finished the season with 12 players on their roster, including one on the injured list. Don Chaney was on the injured list as of the end of the regular season, and remained inactive for the playoffs.

NOTES/DISCREPANCIES

Pete Maravich on the injured list:

The Celtics signed Pete Maravich on 1/22/80, but he didn’t appear in any games until 2/8/80.

The transactions column in the 2/7/80 Globe reported that the Celtics placed Dave Cowens on the injured list and at the same time “activated” Maravich. These moves presumably took place the previous day, on 2/6. That was the day the Celtics played their first game following the All-Star break.

Looking at which players’ names appear in which box scores, I’m fairly certain that Maravich was never on the Celtics’ active roster prior to 2/6/80. From 1/22 through 2/6, the Celtics played eight games. Nine players appeared in all eight of those games, and a tenth player appeared in five of the eight. That player was Jeff Judkins, and the games he played in were the second, third, fourth, seventh and eighth games in that stretch. The first nine players obviously must have occupied spots on the active roster for this entire time period, and it seems a near certainty that Judkins did as well.

The remaining player on the Celtics’ roster was Dave Cowens. Cowens only played in one game during the above stretch, which was the first game, on 1/22. Given his absence from all of the remaining games, it’s conceivably possible that Cowens was removed from the active roster after that game. In theory, that could have allowed Maravich to spend time on the active roster prior to 2/6. Bearing in mind that Cowens would have had to get back on the active roster before 2/6, though (in order to be placed on the IL on that date), and that any player placed on the injured list needed to sit out five games before he could be activated, it’s hard to come up with any plausible sequence of events which leads to that result. The simplest explanation is that Cowens remained on the active roster until 2/6, and Maravich remained off the active roster until then.

So where was Maravich between 1/22 and 2/6, if he wasn’t on the active roster? My best guess is that he was on the injured list, since that would be the most obvious explanation. But I have no documentation that Maravich was ever on the injured list, so this is only a guess. The transactions column in the 2/7/80 Globe states that Maravich was “activated”, but it doesn’t explicitly state what Maravich was being “activated” from. The injured list seems like the most logical reading, but it’s conceivably possible that Maravich was in some other status instead (e.g., suspended).

Injured list transactions:

As discussed in the previous section, I am guessing that the Celtics placed Pete Maravich on the injured list when they signed him on 1/22/80. Assuming that is accurate, this was the first time all season the Celtics had a player on the injured list. They would continue to carry one player on the IL for the rest of the year.

On 2/6/80, the Celtics activated Pete Maravich, and placed Dave Cowens on the IL. This was reported in the transactions column in the following day’s Globe. The Celtics played a game on 2/6; I don’t know for certain whether these moves were made before or after that game was played, as neither Maravich nor Cowens appeared in the game. I strongly suspect that they were made before the game, however. In my experience, movement of players on and off the IL on the day of a game was almost always made before the game was played. This would mean that Maravich was on the active roster for the game on 2/6, and Cowens was on the injured list.

On 2/26/80, the Celtics activated Dave Cowens, and placed Don Chaney on the IL. This was reported in the transactions column in the following day’s Globe. The Celtics played a game on 2/26; these moves were definitely made before that game was played, as Cowens played in the game.

On 3/11/80, the Celtics activated Don Chaney, and placed Chris Ford on the IL. This was reported in the transactions column in the following day’s Globe. The Celtics played a game on 3/11; I don’t know for certain whether these moves were made before or after that game was played, as neither Ford nor Chaney appeared in the game. I strongly suspect that they were made before the game, however. In my experience, movement of players on and off the IL on the day of a game was almost always made before the game was played. This would mean that Chaney was on the active roster for the game on 3/11, and Ford was on the injured list.

On 3/25/80, the Celtics activated Chris Ford, and placed Don Chaney on the IL. This was reported in the transactions column in the following day’s Globe. The Celtics played a game on 3/25; these moves were definitely made before that game was played, as Ford played in the game.
Last edited by MCT on Fri Feb 08, 2019 6:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 1979-80 Boston Celtics Games Played/Started & Transactio

Postby MCT » Fri Feb 01, 2019 3:28 pm

PART II – GAMES STARTED

REGULAR SEASON

MEDIA GUIDE

When I previously worked on the 1980-81 season, I used a 2012-13 Celtics Media Guide as a reference, and noted that it had regular season games started stats going back to the 1979-80 season. When I began working on the 1979-80 season, the first Celtics Media Guide I came across online was the 2015-16 edition. To my surprise, I discovered that it only has games started stats going back to 1982-83.

Most team media guides list games started either as part of season-by-season team stats, or as part of a player register feature with career stats for each player. The Celtics Media Guide is different. It has a single page specifically devoted to games started totals, listing them season by season, followed by Celtics career totals for each player. Over time, as new seasons were added, the page with this information must have become full, leaving no space to add the most recent season. At some point after 2012-13, the team apparently decided to create room by starting to eliminate the earlier seasons.

Fortunately, one can often find team media guides from multiple years back in time still posted online. I was able to locate a 2011-12 edition of the Celtics Media Guide, when the games started stats still went back to 1979-80. For 1979-80, it shows the following:

Bird 82
Archibald 80
Maxwell 80
Ford 73
Cowens 55
Robey 27
Carr 7
Maravich 4
Henderson 2

Incidentally, I also found a 2006-07 Celtics Media Guide online, and it also goes back to 1979-80. So if the Celtics Media Guide has ever had games started stats back any further than 1979-80, it wasn’t anytime recently.

TSN BOX SCORES

Every TSN box score for the 1979-80 Celtics appears to list the players in “starters first” F-F-C-G-G order. The games started totals for all players are in agreement with those in the Celtics Media Guide.

NOTES/DISCREPANCIES

N/A

PLAYOFFS

As far as I can see, the Celtics Media Guide does not have games started stats for the playoffs.

The TSN box scores show the same five players who were the usual starters for most of the regular season (the first five players on the list above) starting every game in the playoffs, with one exception. The one exception is that Rick Robey is shown starting Game 2 of the Houston series in place of Dave Cowens. This was the Celtics’ second playoff game. Cowens played in this game, but is shown coming off the bench.

While we don’t have any info from a media guide to check it against, I am assuming what is shown in the TSN box scores is accurate. One would expect that the five players who started for most of the regular season would continue to start in the playoffs, and aside from the one exception, that’s what the TSN box scores show. As for the one exception, Cowens appears to have battled injuries for much of the second half of the season, and Robey made a number of starts in his place. This includes the final two games of the regular season, when Cowens didn’t play. Against that backdrop, it is plausible that Robey would have started one playoff game in place of Cowens, especially a game early in the Celtics’ playoff run.

B-R.COM’S GAME LOG FEATURE

When b-r.com first added its game log feature several years ago, it used the TSN box scores as its original source for every season that TSN ran them (1966-67 through 1980-81). Since games started was not an official NBA statistic during that period, and the TSN box scores didn’t explicitly identify the players who started each game, b-r.com’s game log feature did not have any games started data for these seasons. Over time, however, b-r.com has collected additional box score data. In some cases, this includes data for statistical categories that do not appear in the TSN box scores. For some games, this includes explicit identification of the starters. As of February 2019, b-r.com’s game log feature has games started data for 48 of the 1979-80 Celtics’ regular season games, and five of their nine playoff games (the five games of the Philadelphia series). For all of those games, the players identified as the starters in b-r.com’s game log match the first five players in the TSN box scores.
Last edited by MCT on Fri Feb 08, 2019 6:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 1979-80 Boston Celtics Games Played/Started & Transactio

Postby MCT » Fri Feb 01, 2019 3:34 pm

PART III – SAMPLE ROSTER

The sample roster below shows the Celtics’ roster as it looked in late February, after Dave Cowens was activated from the injured list on 2/26/80. The players identified as the starters (the first five players) are the players who made the most starts at each position.

There is one quirk to this roster that I’d like to address. When Cowens was activated from the injured list, he swapped places with Don Chaney, who went on the IL. Consequently, this sample roster features Chaney on the injured list, even though he appeared in 60 games and was on the active roster for all but about twenty days of the regular season. The root cause of this is that the Celtics signed a twelfth player in January, Pete Maravich, but didn’t drop anyone off their existing roster to make room. Instead, they apparently rotated players on and off the injured list for the rest of the season.

If our sample roster is going to have Maravich on it – and I think it has to, as from the All-Star break on Maravich was on the Celtics’ active roster continuously, and was an integral part of the rotation – someone else has to be relegated to the injured list. Of the possible choices, I think Chaney makes the most sense. Chaney’s initial placement on the injured list on 2/26 falls within the boundaries of the mid-to-late February timeframe I typically use for sample rosters, and he only played in four games after that date. He was also left off the playoff roster. Chaney was the player whose presence on the team was sacrificed the most to make room for Maravich, even if Maravich didn’t necessarily directly replace him on the roster.

LARRY BIRD

History: 1st round pick of Celtics in 1978, as a junior eligible; returned to college for 1978-79 season, but signed with Celtics in June 1979 rather than re-enter that year’s draft.

Games Played (Regular Season 82 G, 36.0 MPG; Playoffs 9 G, 41.3 MPG): Bird appeared in every game the Celtics played.

Games Started (Regular Season: 82; Playoffs: 9): Bird started every game the Celtics played.

b-r.com position info: Position in old b-r.com header is listed as Forward. Primary position is shown as PF for all seasons through 1983-84 (including 1979-80), then as SF for all seasons from 1984-85 onward.

CEDRIC MAXWELL

History: 1st round pick of Celtics in 1977.

Games Played (Regular Season 80 G, 34.3 MPG; Playoffs 9 G, 35.6 MPG): The two games Maxwell didn’t play in were on 3/18/80 and 3/30/80. The latter was the last game of the regular season.

Games Started (Regular Season: 80; Playoffs: 9): Maxwell started every game he played in.

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.

NATE “TINY” ARCHIBALD

History: 2nd round pick of Royals in 1970. Acquired in trade associated with “franchise swap” between owners of Celtics and Braves/Clippers franchises, July 1978.

Games Played (Regular Season 80 G, 35.8 MPG; Playoffs 9 G, 36.9 MPG): Archibald didn’t play in two consecutive games on 3/11/81 & 3/12/81.

Games Started (Regular Season: 80; Playoffs: 9): Archibald started every game he played in.

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

DAVE COWENS

History: 1st round pick of Celtics in 1970.

Games Played (Regular Season 66 G, 32.7 MPG; Playoffs 9 G, 33.4 MPG): The sixteen games Cowens didn’t play in were fourteen consecutive games from 1/23/80 through 2/23/80, and two consecutive games on 3/28/80 & 3/30/80 (the last two games of the regular season).

From 2/6/80 to 2/26/80, Cowens was on the injured list. This covers much of the fourteen-game stretch when he didn’t play. When Cowens went on the injured list on 2/6, Pete Maravich was activated. When the Celtics signed Maravich in January, they appear to have initially placed him on the IL, allowing them to keep their existing 11-man active roster intact. Cowens was apparently placed on the injured list on 2/6 so that Maravich could be activated. When Cowens was activated on 2/26, Don Chaney took his place on the IL.

Games Started (Regular Season: 55; Playoffs: 8): The eleven regular season games Cowens played in but didn’t start were eleven consecutive games from 2/26/80 through 3/14/80. These eleven games immediately followed the stretch of fourteen games that Cowens didn’t play in. Between games he didn’t play in and games he played in but didn’t start, Cowens was absent from the starting lineup for 25 consecutive games from 1/23 through 3/14.

According to the TSN box scores, Cowens started eight of the Celtics’ nine playoff games. The game he is not shown starting was Game 2 of the Houston series (4/11/80), which was the Celtics’ second 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, including 1979-80, with one exception. The exception is his comeback year in 1982-83, which is shown as PF.

CHRIS FORD

History: 2nd round pick of Pistons in 1972. Acquired in trade with Pistons, October 1978.

Games Played (Regular Season 73 G, 29.0 MPG; Playoffs 9 G, 31.0 MPG): Ford didn’t play in nine consecutive games from 3/11/80 through 3/23/80.

From 3/11/80 to 3/25/80, Ford was on the injured list. When Ford went on the IL on 3/11, Don Chaney was activated. When Ford was activated on 3/25, Chaney went back on the IL. The Celtics played games on both dates. Assuming that Ford was placed on the IL before the game on 3/11 was played (which I think is likely, but don’t know for certain, as neither Ford nor Chaney played in that game), Ford’s stay on the IL covered exactly the nine games he didn’t play in. Ford was definitely activated before the game on 3/25 was played, as he played in that game.

Games Started (Regular Season: 73; Playoffs: 9): Ford started every game he played in.

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.

M.L. CARR

History: Signed first pro contract with ABA, 1973. Signed as Veteran Free Agent, July 1979 (compensation owed to Pistons).

Games Played (Regular Season 82 G, 24.3 MPG; Playoffs 9 G, 19.1 MPG): Carr appeared in every game the Celtics played.

Games Started (Regular Season: 7; Playoffs: 0): Carr started six consecutive games from 3/11/80 through 3/18/80, and a single game on 3/30/80. The first five games of the six-game stretch (3/11 through 3/17) were at guard in place of Chris Ford, who was placed on the injured list on 3/11, the day of the first game. The final game of the six-game stretch (3/18) and the single game on 3/30 were at forward in place of Cedric Maxwell, who did not play in either game. The game on 3/30 was the last game of the regular season.

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.

RICK ROBEY

History: 1st round pick of Pacers in 1978. Acquired in trade with Pacers, January 1979.

Games Played (Regular Season 82 G, 23.4 MPG; Playoffs 9 G, 16.8 MPG): Robey appeared in every game the Celtics played.

Games Started (Regular Season: 27; Playoffs: 1): Robey started 25 consecutive games from 1/23/80 through 3/14/80, and two consecutive games on 3/28/80 & 3/30/80 (the last two games of the regular season). All of these starts were at center, and they represent all 27 games that Dave Cowens didn’t start. Cowens didn’t play in the first fourteen games of the 25-game stretch, or in the games on 3/28 & 3/30.

In the playoffs, according to the TSN box scores, Robey started Game 2 of the Houston series (4/11/80) at center. Cowens is shown playing off the bench.

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.

PETE MARAVICH

History: 1st round pick of Hawks in 1970. Signed as a free agent, January 1980.

Maravich started the season with the Jazz, but was waived in January when the Jazz bought out his contract. The Celtics then signed him on 1/22/80.

Games Played (Regular Season 26 G, 17.0 MPG; Playoffs 9 G, 11.6 MPG): When the Celtics signed Maravich on 1/22/80, they don’t appear to have immediately placed him on the active roster. I am guessing that he was placed on the injured list, but I don’t know that for certain. Maravich was activated on 2/6/80, which was the day of the Celtics’ first game following the All-Star break.

When Maravich was activated, Dave Cowens was placed on the IL. I don’t know for certain whether these moves were made before or after the Celtics’ game on that day was played (neither Cowens nor Maravich appeared in the game), though I strongly suspect they were made before the game. If that’s correct, 2/6 was Maravich’s first game on the active roster, but he didn’t play.

Maravich made his Celtics debut in the team’s next game, on 2/8. At that point, the Celtics had 28 games remaining in the regular season. Maravich played in 26 of them. The two games after 2/8 that he didn’t play in were two consecutive games on 2/17/80 & 2/18/80. Maravich also played in all nine of the Celtics’ playoff games.

Maravich had appeared in 17 games for the Jazz before they waived him. Between the Jazz and the Celtics combined, he appeared in a total of 43 regular season games for the year.

Games Started (Regular Season: 4; Playoffs: 0): Maravich started four consecutive games from 3/18/80 through 3/23/80. These were in place of Chris Ford, who was on the injured list at the time.

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.

GERALD HENDERSON

History: 3rd round pick of Spurs in 1978. Signed as a free agent, June 1979. Henderson had been cut by the Spurs in training camp in 1978, so even though he had come out of college a year earlier, he had no regular season NBA experience prior to making the Celtics’ opening night roster.

Games Played (Regular Season 76 G, 14.0 MPG; Playoffs 9 G, 11.2 MPG): The six games Henderson didn’t play in were a single game on 12/9/79, four consecutive games from 2/8/80 through 2/15/80, and a single game on 3/25/80.

Games Started (Regular Season: 2; Playoffs: 0): Henderson started two consecutive games on 3/11/80 & 3/12/80. These were in place of Nate Archibald, who didn’t play in either 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.

JEFF JUDKINS

History: 2nd round pick of Celtics in 1978.

Games Played (Regular Season 65 G, 10.4 MPG; Playoffs 7 G, 1.4 MPG): The seventeen regular season games Judkins didn’t play in were single games on 12/9/79, 12/16/79, and 12/22/79; two consecutive games on 1/2/80 & 1/5/80; three games in a four-game stretch from 1/16/80 through 1/22/80 (didn’t play on 1/16, played on 1/18, didn’t play on 1/20 & 1/22); two consecutive games on 1/29/80 & 1/30/80; single games on 2/17/80 and 2/26/80; three games in a five-game stretch from 3/2/80 through 3/9/80 (didn’t play on 3/2, played on 3/4, didn’t play on 3/5, played on 3/7, didn’t play on 3/9); and single games on 3/14/80 and 3/25/80. Judkins seemed to play somewhat less frequently as the season wore on. He appeared in the first 27 games of the season, and 38 of the first 43. He then played in 27 of the remaining 39 games in the regular season.

Judkins appeared in seven of the Celtics’ nine playoff games. The two games he didn’t play in were Games 3 and 4 of the Philadelphia series. Even though he made an appearance in all but two of the Celtics’ playoff games, Judkins played only 10 minutes during the entire playoffs.

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

b-r.com position info: Position in old b-r.com header is listed as Guard-Forward. Primary position is shown as SF for all seasons of career. Note that even though Judkins’ position in the old header is listed as “Guard-Forward” (implying that guard was the position he played at the most over the course of his entire career), his primary position for each individual season of his career is shown as SF.

ERIC FERNSTEN

History: 4th round pick of Cavaliers in 1975. Signed as a free agent, June 1979.

Games Played (Regular Season 56 G, 7.7 MPG; Playoffs 5 G, 3.6 MPG): Fernsten is credited with appearing in 56 regular season games, but I only noted him in 55 TSN box scores. It is possible that Fernsten was omitted from the TSN box score to one game in which he did not compile any stats that would have been shown in the box score.

When b-r.com first added its game log feature several years ago, it used the TSN box scores as its original source, and it also showed Fernsten in only 55 box scores. Over time, however, b-r.com has collected additional box score data. Through this effort, they have been able to identify one additional game that Fernsten played in, and now show him in 56 box scores. That matches his official games played total.

The additional box score b-r.com now shows Fernsten in is for the game on 12/28/79. The Celtics’ opponent in this game was Los Angeles. At some point in time, b-r.com appears to have obtained nearly complete box score data for the Lakers for the 1979-80 season. b-r.com has data for all statistical categories for almost every game the Lakers played, even those statistical categories that do not appear in the TSN box scores. When b-r.com received the complete box score data, they apparently discovered that Fernsten played in this game, even though he does not appear in the TSN box score. Fernsten did not compile any stats that would have been shown in the TSN box score.

Crediting Fernsten with playing in the game on 12/28, he played in 27 of the first 46 games of the season (through 1/20/80); 22 of the next 23 games (1/22/80 through 3/9/80; the only game Fernsten didn’t play in during this period was on 3/2/80), and seven of the last thirteen games of the regular season (from 3/11/80 on).

Not surprisingly, Fernsten’s heaviest period of usage, the 23 games from 1/22 through 3/9, contains the 14-game stretch when Dave Cowens was apparently out with an injury. While Cowens was out, Fernsten seems to have been the team’s primary backup at center. The first game in this stretch, on 1/22, was the last game Cowens played before dropping out of the lineup. Cowens returned eight games before the end of the 23-game stretch, but played off the bench for his first few weeks back and may have been limited in his availability. Outside of this 23-game stretch, Fernsten played in just 34 out of 59 games.

Fernsten appeared in five of the Celtics’ nine playoff games. The games he played in were Games 1, 3 and 4 of the Houston series, and Games 2 and 5 of the Philadelphia series. Fernsten played only 18 minutes during the entire playoffs.

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

b-r.com position info: Position in old b-r.com header is listed as Center-Forward. Primary position is shown as C for most seasons of career, but 1979-80 is one of two exceptions shown as PF (the other is 1983-84).

INJURED LIST:

DON CHANEY

History: 1st round pick of Celtics in 1968. Acquired in trade with Lakers, December 1977.

Games Played (Regular Season 60 G, 8.7 MPG): Chaney appeared in 56 of the first 61 games of the regular season, a stretch running through 2/23/80. The five games before 2/23 that Chaney didn’t play in were on 10/17/79, 11/21/79, 11/24/79, 12/7/79 and 2/15/80.

Chaney was then on the injured list from 2/26/80 to 3/11/80, and again from 3/25/80 to the end of the season. His four appearances after 2/23 were during the period in March between his two stints on the injured list.

Chaney was initially placed on the injured list on 2/26. The Celtics had been carrying one too many players since signing Pete Maravich in January, requiring them to juggle players on and off the IL for the rest of the season. When they first signed Maravich, they appear to have initially placed Maravich on the injured list, allowing them to keep their existing 11-man active roster intact. When Maravich was activated just after the All-Star break, Dave Cowens was apparently out with an injury, so he was moved to the injured list. When Cowens returned on 2/26, someone else needed to be dropped from the active roster. Chaney apparently suffered a conveniently-timed injury, and was moved to the IL to make room for Cowens.

Chaney was activated again from 3/11 to 3/25, while Chris Ford was on the injured list. The Celtics played games on both dates. Assuming that Chaney was activated before the game on 3/11 was played (which I think is likely, but don’t know for certain, as neither Ford not Chaney played in that game), he was on the active roster for a total of nine games. Chaney appeared in four of those nine games (didn’t play on 3/11, played on 3/12, didn’t play on 3/14, played on 3/15 & 3/17, didn’t play on 3/18, played on 3/20, didn’t play on 3/22 & 3/23), bringing his games played total for the season to 60.

Chaney was definitely placed on the injured list before the game on 3/25 was played, as Ford played in the game. Chaney finished the regular season on the injured list, and remained inactive for the playoffs.

Games Started (Regular Season: 0): Chaney 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.
Last edited by MCT on Fri Feb 08, 2019 6:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 1979-80 Boston Celtics Games Played/Started & Transactio

Postby MCT » Fri Feb 01, 2019 3:35 pm

PART IV – POSITION INFORMATION

STARTERS

The starters on the sample roster are shown in bold below. Any games started figures below are per the Celtics Media Guide, include regular season games only, and may include games started by players at positions other than their primary position.

C: Dave Cowens was the regular starter throughout most of the season. Cowens was absent from the starting lineup for a 25-game stretch from late January to mid-March; this appears to have been injury-related, as Cowens missed the first 14 games in that stretch. While Cowens was out of the starting lineup, Rick Robey filled in. For the season as a whole, Cowens started 55 games, Robey 27.

PF: Larry Bird was the regular starter throughout the season.

SF: Cedric Maxwell was the regular starter throughout the season.

PG: Nate Archibald was the regular starter throughout the season.

SG: Chris Ford was the regular starter throughout the season.

b-r.com shows Bird as a PF and Maxwell as a SF. I think that’s debatable; my first reaction is that they should be the other way around, but I don’t know that PF and SF roles were well defined between the two. Bird in particular was one of those guys whose skill set can’t be pigeonholed into a defined role very well – he led the team in rebounds, and was second in assists. More than anything, I think Bird just played his game, and the other frontcourt players adapted around him. b-r.com lists Bird’s primary position as PF every season through 1983-84 (while he was mostly starting alongside Maxwell), then SF thereafter (while he was mostly starting alongside Kevin McHale). By contrast, b-r.com shows Maxwell’s primary position as SF throughout his entire career.

The Celtics’ starters played fairly heavy minutes. Four of the five starters averaged at least 32 mpg during the regular season, with Ford (29.9) the only exception. During the playoffs, every starter saw their mpg increase, with all five over 30.

MINUTES PLAYED

All players are listed based on their primary positions for this season as shown by b-r.com.

REGULAR SEASON

Center
Available minutes: 3976
Cowens 2159, Robey 1918
adds up to 4077 (101 over)

The 101 minute surplus is presumably minutes played at forward by someone whose primary position was center. Of the available choices, my guess would be Rick Robey. The positions shown for each player in the preseason rosters in the 1979-80 and 1980-81 editions of the NBA Guide are consistent with this. Both show Cowens as exclusively a center, but Robey is shown as exclusively a forward in the 1979-80 edition (did he mostly play forward as a rookie in 1978-79?), and as “C-F” in the 1980-81 and 1981-82 editions (reflecting how he was used in 1979-80 and 1980-81?)

Things may not be as simple as saying “Robey played 101 minutes at forward”, however. There is another factor to take into account. Eric Fernsten’s primary position is shown by b-r.com as PF, but this is one of only two seasons in Fernsten’s NBA career when b-r.com doesn’t show his primary position as C. It’s not clear to me why b-r.com thinks PF was Fernsten’s primary position this year. Because Cowens and Robey collectively played more minutes than was available at center, and no other player on the team is shown with a primary position of PF, did b-r.com simply perceive that there was more room for Fernsten at PF than C?

As Fernsten was the last player on the bench, he didn’t play a lot of minutes, which makes it difficult to figure out exactly how much he played where. That having been said, I’m not convinced that PF was really his primary position this year. Fernsten must have played at least some center; if nothing else, he has to have served as the backup center while Cowens was out and Robey was starting. For what it’s worth, the preseason rosters in the NBA Guide have Fernsten as exclusively a center in the 1979-80 edition, and “C-F” in the 1980-81 and 1981-82 editions.

Taking Fernsten’s usage at center into account, Robey likely played more than 101 minutes at forward. If Fernsten played no center at all, with Robey playing only the 101 minutes at forward, that would work out to Robey playing 1.2 mpg at forward. If Fernsten played exclusively at center, that would leave Robey with 532 minutes to cover at forward, or about 6.5 mpg. I suspect that the truth was somewhere in between, but if I had to guess, I’d say it was closer to the latter scenario. Given that the Celtics didn’t really have a full-time backup PF, it would make sense that Robey saw some use there.

Forward
Available minutes: 7952
Bird 2955, Maxwell 2744, Carr 1994, Judkins 674, Fernsten 431
adds up to 8798 (846 over)

The above numbers come out 846 minutes over, but taking into account the 101 minute surplus at center, the frontcourt as a whole is 947 minutes over. That surplus is presumably minutes played at guard by someone whose primary position is shown as forward. The leading candidates are Jeff Judkins and M.L. Carr.

Judkins is one of a number of players I’ve encountered in the course of this project who have an inconsistency between the position information listed in their old b-r.com header and the positions shown by b-r.com for each individual season of their career. Judkins’ old b-r.com header lists his position as “Guard-Forward”, implying that guard was the position he played the most over the course of his entire career. But his primary position for every season of his career is shown as SF. That doesn’t make sense; how could the position he played the most over the course of his career be guard if the position he played the most in every season of his career was SF? For players with this anomaly, I’ve found that the positions listed in the old header often seem to make more sense than the positions shown as primary for each individual season. When we previously looked at the 1980-81 season, by which time Judkins was on the Jazz, I concluded that his primary position was SG, not SF, although he likely saw some playing time at SF as a secondary position.

It’s harder to say which position Judkins played the most at in 1979-80, due to the possibility of Carr also swinging between the same two positions. I strongly suspect that he played at least some guard, though. The preseason rosters in the NBA Guide have Judkins as exclusively a forward in the 1979-80 edition, “F-G” in the 1980-81 edition, and “G-F” in the 1981-82 edition. If those accurately represent how Judkins was used the previous season, he played more forward than guard in 1979-80, but saw significant playing time at both positions.

My sense is that Carr’s primary position was almost certainly SF, but that he also saw significant time at SG as a secondary position. That’s the reverse of what we found when we looked at 1980-81, but I think the numbers bear out that 1979-80 was different. Carr played 1994 minutes in 1979-80. If Judkins played no minutes in the backcourt at all, Carr would have been split roughly evenly between the two positions. The more Judkins played at guard, the more heavily Carr’s minutes would shift to forward. At the other end of the extreme, if Judkins played exclusively at guard, there still would have been a smaller but not insignificant number of minutes at guard left for Carr to fill. I suspect that the truth is somewhere in between.

The preseason rosters in the NBA Guide have Carr as exclusively a forward in the 1979-80 edition, and “G-F” in both the 1980-81 and 1981-82 editions. If those reflect how Carr was used during the previous season, this would suggest that Carr played guard more heavily than forward in 1979-80. I’m having a hard time seeing that, though. As alluded to in the previous paragraph, even if Judkins played exclusively at forward, there wouldn’t have been enough minutes available at guard to make it Carr’s primary position. Perhaps Carr’s position designation in the 1980-81 Guide is reflective of how he was expected to be used in 1980-81, not how he was used in 1979-80?

The bottom line with Judkins and Carr:

--I believe that both played significant minutes at both SF and SG, and that this accounts for the 947 minute surplus above.

--I think Carr played more heavily at SF than at SG. I’m having a hard time seeing how the numbers could work otherwise. Carr’s position designation in the preseason rosters in the 1979-80 NBA Guide suggests the opposite, however.

--It’s hard to say which position Judkins played more heavily at. His position designation in the preseason rosters in the 1979-80 NBA Guide suggests that it was SF.

Until Pete Maravich was added to the active roster just after the All-Star break, it looks like the Celtics took a backup-by-committee approach at SG, with Judkins, Carr and Don Chaney in the mix. Once Maravich joined the team, he became the backup SG. Maravich’s presence on the team would ultimately bump Chaney off the active roster. I suspect that it also cut significantly into Judkins’ playing time, and possibly into the need to use Carr at guard.

Guard
Available minutes: 7952
Archibald 2864, Ford 2115, Henderson 1061, Chaney 523, Maravich 442
adds up to 7005 (947 under)

The 947 minute shortage is presumably minutes played at guard by someone whose primary position is shown as forward. I think this was a combination of Jeff Judkins and M.L. Carr; see the discussion under Forward above.

PLAYOFFS

Center
Available minutes: 432
Cowens 301, Robey 151
Adds up to 452 (20 over)

As in the regular season, we have a small surplus, likely representing minutes played by Rick Robey at forward net of minutes played by Eric Fernsten at center. Note that Fernsten played only 18 minutes during the playoffs.

Forward
Available minutes: 864
Bird 372, Maxwell 320, Carr 172, Fernsten 18, Judkins 10
Adds up to 892 (28 over)

The above numbers come out 28 minutes over, but taking into account the 20 minute surplus at center, the frontcourt as a whole is 48 minutes over. Similar to the regular season, those 48 minutes are likely minutes played by M.L. Carr and Jeff Judkins at guard.

Note that Judkins played only 10 minutes during the playoffs, and that the number of minutes being shifted from forward to guard is much lower on a per game basis than during the regular season (11.5 versus 5.3). Pete Maravich’s presence on the roster likely cut into Judkins’ playing time during the later part of the season - possibly into the need to use Carr at guard as well - and this presumably continued into the playoffs.

Guard
Available minutes: 864
Archibald 332, Ford 279, Maravich 104, Henderson 101
Adds up to 816 (48 under)

Similar to the regular season, the 48 minute shortage likely represents minutes played at guard by M.L. Carr and Jeff Judkins; see the discussion under Forward above.

TRIVIA

Oldest Player: Don Chaney, born 3/22/46 (age 33 throughout most of the season, turned 34 about a week before the end of the regular season).

Played in ABA: M.L. Carr, Don Chaney.

Longest continuous service with team: Dave Cowens, with the team since the 1970-71 season. Don Chaney had played for the Celtics for two seasons before Cowens arrived, but had not been with the team continuously since then.
Last edited by MCT on Fri Feb 08, 2019 7:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 1979-80 Boston Celtics Games Played/Started & Transactio

Postby Mike Goodman » Fri Feb 01, 2019 7:27 pm

Hey, more awesome research!
Here's what my old file has for positions, regular season (RS) and playoffs (PO)
Code: Select all
Celtics   RS   Min   PO   Min
Bird      F   36.0   F   41.3
Archibald G   34.9   G   36.9
Maxwell   F   33.5   F   35.6
Cowens    C   26.3   C   33.4
Ford      G   25.8   G   31.0

Carr     fg   24.3   fg  19.1
Robey    cf   23.4   cf  16.8
Henderson g   12.9   g   11.2
Judkins   g    8.2   g    1.1
Chaney    g    6.4     
Maravich  g    5.4   g   11.6
Fernsten  c    5.3   f    2.0
The capitalized G/F/C indicates the usual starter. Minutes are per team game played: DNP = 0
Judkins is simply called "guard" the whole time. Carr is primarily "forward".
I think my original source was from 1989, so it may have the advantage of recent memory for the compilers.
(If this isn't useful, I can delete it. If it is useful, I can do the whole league this way for ya. Per-game minutes, raw minutes, or no minutes.)
`
36% of all statistics are wrong
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Re: 1979-80 Boston Celtics Games Played/Started & Transactio

Postby MCT » Fri Feb 08, 2019 6:37 pm

Is this position data from Neft & Cohen’s NBA Encyclopedia, like what you posted in the 1980-81 series? I think it's useful to see another perspective on which positions players were used at. It seems like there are four players on the Celtics at issue.

Rick Robey:

In my earlier analysis, I concluded that Robey’s primary position (the one he played the most at) was center, where he was Dave Cowens’ backup; but that he also played a significant number of minutes at forward as a secondary position.

The position designation in Mike’s data is consistent with this (“cf”).

M.L. Carr:

In my earlier analysis, I concluded that Carr’s primary position (the one he played the most at) was forward; but that he also played a significant number of minutes at guard as a secondary position.

The position designation in Mike’s data is consistent with this (“fg”).

The outlier here is the Celtics’ preseason roster in the 1980-81 NBA Guide, which gives Carr’s position as “G-F”. While supporting the notion that Carr swung between the two positions, this suggests that Carr played guard the more heavily of the two. For the reasons explained in the original article, I’m having a hard time seeing how that could be possible. I just don’t see enough minutes available for Carr at guard for him to have played the majority of his minutes there.

Eric Fernsten:

Because Fernsten 1) was the last player on the Celtics’ bench, and didn’t play a lot of minutes, and 2) was potentially swinging between two positions that another player (Robey) was also swinging between, it’s hard to figure out exactly how much he played where.

b-r.com shows Fernsten’s primary position for 1979-80 as PF. That’s an anomaly, though; for almost every other season of Fernsten’s career, b-r.com shown his primary position as C. It’s not clear to me why b-r.com thinks his primary position this season was PF.

The Celtics’ preseason rosters in the 1979-80, 1980-81 and 1981-82 NBA Guides have Fernsten’s position as C, C-F, and C-F, respectively. Mike’s data has him as “c”. I’ll say that Fernsten has to have seen at least some playing time at center, because he has to have been the Celtics’ backup there during the period when Cowens was out.

Note that Mike’s data suggests that Fernsten was exclusively a center, and didn’t play forward. Is it possible that this should be “cf”, but the trailing “f” was dropped somewhere along the line? Or that Mike’s source has a higher bar to show a secondary position, and the amount of time Fernsten spent playing at forward wasn’t enough to hit it?

Ultimately, this is where I’m landing on Fernsten:

--For the reasons explained above, it’s difficult to work out exactly how much Fernsten played where.

--I have a strong suspicion that Fernsten’s primary position was center, and that his main role with the team was to serve as the third-string center. b-r.com aside, most of the evidence seems to be pointing that way.

--I think Fernsten probably helped out at forward as well. If nothing else, the NBA Guide changing his position from “C” to “C-F” effective with the 1980-81 edition is pretty strong evidence of that. Since the Celtics didn’t really have a full-time backup PF, it may have been useful to sometimes plug Fernsten in for few minutes there - kind of how the Celtics used Robey, but on a smaller scale.

Note that Mike’s source has Fernsten's position switching to “f” for the playoffs. I’m not sure what to make of that. The data Mike posted for 1980-81 also had him making this same switch.

Jeff Judkins:

Because Judkins potentially swung between the same two positions as Carr, it’s hard to work out exactly how much he played where. My initial thought was that he probably played more at guard, since I had previously concluded that he played primarily at guard in 1980-81. Between Carr and Judkins, it would also make more sense to me for one to have played mostly forward (Carr), and one to have played mostly guard (Judkins), rather than both being used interchangeably. That Judkins seemed to play somewhat less as the season wore on is also consistent with the idea that he played mostly guard, then had midseason acquisition Pete Maravich cut into his playing time.

But the preseason rosters in the NBA Guide have Judkins progressing from “F” in the 1979-80 edition, to “F-G” in the 1980-81 edition, to “G-F” in the 1981-82 edition. That suggests that he played both positions in 1979-80, but more at forward than guard.

In addition, b-r.com has Judkins’ primary position as SF, as it does for every season of his NBA career. I'm a bit wary of b-r.com’s primary position designations for players with the inconsistency Judkins has between his old header and the season-by-season positions (discussed in the main article), however.

Mike’s data now has him as “g”, suggesting that he played guard exclusively. Again, is it possible that this should be “gf”, but the trailing “f” was dropped somewhere along the line? Or that Mike’s source has a higher bar to list a secondary position, and the amount of time Judkins spent playing at forward wasn’t enough to hit it?

Ultimately, I think Judkins is hard to call, as we’re getting some mixed signals. If you forced me to guess, I’d say that Judkins’ primary position was probably guard, but that he likely saw some time at both positions.
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