1977–78 Buffalo Braves season

The 1977–78 NBA season was the Braves' eighth and final season in the NBA. Entering the season, the Braves were allowed an escape clause in their lease, because season ticket sales did not reach the set goal of 4,500. The Braves suffered another disappointment as Tiny Archibald (whom they acquired from the New Jersey Nets for George Johnson) was lost for the year due to an Achilles tendon injury in the preseason.[1][2]

1977–78 Buffalo Braves season
Head coachJoe Mullaney and
Cotton Fitzsimmons
ArenaBuffalo Memorial Auditorium
Results
Record27–55 (.329)
PlaceDivision: 4th (Atlantic)
Conference: 10th (Eastern)
Playoff finishDid not qualify

Stats @ Basketball-Reference.com
Local media
TelevisionWIVB-TV
RadioWBEN
< 1976–77 1978–79 >

The Braves played competitively in November with a respectable .500 record at 10–10. Despite the promising start, the Braves won just nine games over the next three months.[1] While the Braves were struggling on the court, owner John Y. Brown was brokering a deal to take over the legendary Boston Celtics franchise. Celtics owner Irv Levin wanted to move the historic franchise to California. However, the NBA would not allow him to take the cornerstone franchise out of Boston.[1]

NBA Lawyer David Stern offered a comprise in which Levin and Brown would swap franchises. The concept was that Levin would take over the Braves and move them to San Diego.[3] The Braves finished in fourth place in the Atlantic Division with a 27–55 (.329) record, and played their last game on April 9, ironically, in Boston.[1] Owners voted 21–1 to approve the deal, and the Braves moved from Buffalo to San Diego; the team was renamed the San Diego Clippers for the 1978–79 season.[1]

The deal also included a seven-player trade in which the Celtics acquired Archibald, Billy Knight, and Marvin Barnes.[1] The San Diego-bound Braves received Freeman Williams, back-up center Kevin Kunnert, and power forwards Kermit Washington and Sidney Wicks.[3] The team would not request a draft pick in the deal, allowing the Celtics to retain the draft rights to Larry Bird in 1979.

OffseasonEdit

NBA DraftEdit

Round Pick Player Position Nationality College
2 24 Larry Johnson Guard   United States Kentucky
4 68 Melvin Watkins Guard   United States UNC Charlotte
5 90 Mike Hanley Forward   United States Niagara University
6 112 Curvan Lewis Forward   United States Virginia Union
7 133 Mike Jackson Guard   United States Tennessee
8 153 Emery Sammons Guard   United States Philadelphia T&S

RosterEdit

Buffalo Braves 1977–78 roster
Players Coaches
Pos. # Nat. Name Ht. Wt. From
G 1   Archibald, Nate   (IN) 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m) 165 lb (75 kg) UTEP
F 8   Barnes, Marvin 6 ft 9 in (2.06 m) 225 lb (102 kg) Providence
G 7   Brokaw, Gary 6 ft 4 in (1.93 m) 180 lb (82 kg) Notre Dame
F 22   Gerard, Gus (to DET) 6 ft 8 in (2.03 m) 205 lb (93 kg) Virginia
G 14   Glenn, Mike 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m) 175 lb (79 kg) Southern Illinois
G 10   Johnson, Larry 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m) 205 lb (93 kg) Kentucky
F 24   Jones, Wil 6 ft 8 in (2.03 m) 205 lb (93 kg) Albany State
G 25   Knight, Billy 6 ft 6 in (1.98 m) 195 lb (88 kg) Pittsburgh
C 45   Lloyd, Scott 6 ft 10 in (2.08 m) 230 lb (104 kg) Arizona State
G 12   McClain, Ted 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m) 190 lb (86 kg) Tennessee State
C 44   McDaniels, Jim 7 ft 0 in (2.13 m) 240 lb (109 kg) Western Kentucky
F 43   McNeil, Larry 6 ft 9 in (2.06 m) 195 lb (88 kg) Marquette
C 31   Nater, Swen 6 ft 11 in (2.11 m) 240 lb (109 kg) UCLA
F 40   Owens, Eddie 6 ft 7 in (2.01 m) 210 lb (95 kg) UNLV
F 34   Shumate, John 6 ft 9 in (2.06 m) 235 lb (107 kg) Notre Dame
G 9   Smith, Randy 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m) 185 lb (84 kg) Buffalo State
G 11   Williams, Chuck 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m) 185 lb (84 kg) Colorado
F 32   Willoughby, Bill 6 ft 8 in (2.03 m) 205 lb (93 kg) Dwight Morrow H.S.
Head coach

Legend
  • (C) Team captain
  • (DP) Unsigned draft pick
  • (FA) Free agent
  • (S) Suspended
  •   Injured

Regular seasonEdit

Season standingsEdit

Atlantic Division W L PCT GB Home Road Div
y-Philadelphia 76ers 55 27 .671 37–4 18–23 14–2
x-New York Knicks 43 39 .524 12 29–12 14–27 7–9
Boston Celtics 32 50 .390 23 24–17 8–33 8–8
Buffalo Braves 27 55 .329 28 20–21 7–34 7–9
New Jersey Nets 24 58 .293 31 18–23 6–35 4–12
# Eastern Conference
Team W L PCT GB
1 z-Philadelphia 76ers 55 27 .671
2 y-San Antonio Spurs 52 30 .634 3
3 x-Washington Bullets 44 38 .537 11
4 x-Cleveland Cavaliers 43 39 .524 12
5 x-New York Knicks 43 39 .524 12
6 x-Atlanta Hawks 41 41 .500 14
7 New Orleans Jazz 39 43 .476 16
8 Boston Celtics 32 50 .390 23
9 Houston Rockets 28 54 .341 27
10 Buffalo Braves 27 55 .329 28
11 New Jersey Nets 24 58 .293 31



Record vs. opponentsEdit

1977–78 NBA Records
Team ATL BOS BUF CHI CLE DEN DET GSW HOU IND KCK LAL MIL NJN NOJ NYK PHI PHO POR SAS SEA WAS
Atlanta 2–2 3–1 1–3 1–3 1–3 2–2 1–3 3–1 3–1 2–1 3–1 2–2 3–1 2–2 2–2 2–2 3–1 1–3 1–3 2–1 1–3
Boston 2–2 3–1 1–3 1–3 1–3 1–3 2–2 2–2 2–1 2–2 1–2 3–1 3–1 2–2 2–2 0–4 2–2 1–3 0–4 0–4 1–3
Buffalo 1–3 1–3 3–1 1–3 1–3 1–3 0–3 3–1 1–3 1–2 1–3 1–3 2–2 2–2 3–1 1–3 0–4 1–3 1–3 1–3 1–3
Chicago 3–1 3–1 1–3 3–1 2–2 2–2 1–3 3–1 3–1 0–4 2–2 1–3 1–2 2–2 1–3 3–0 2–2 1–3 2–2 2–2 2–1
Cleveland 3–1 3–1 3–1 1–3 3–1 2–2 2–2 2–2 2–1 2–2 2–2 3–1 3–1 2–2 3–1 1–3 1–2 0–4 0–4 3–1 2–2
Denver 3–1 3–1 3–1 2–2 1–3 2–2 2–2 3–0 2–2 2–2 3–1 3–1 3–1 3–1 1–3 1–3 2–2 3–1 2–1 1–3 3–1
Detroit 2–2 3–1 3–1 2–2 2–2 2–2 2–2 3–1 1–3 1–3 2–2 2–2 3–1 3–0 0–4 0–4 2–2 1–3 1–3 1–3 2–2
Golden State 3–1 2–2 3–0 3–1 2–2 2–2 2–2 2–1 3–1 3–1 0–4 2–2 3–1 0–4 2–2 1–3 2–2 1–3 3–1 2–2 2–2
Houston 1–3 2–2 1–3 1–3 2–2 0–3 1–3 1–2 3–1 2–2 1–3 1–3 2–2 1–3 2–2 2–2 1–3 2–2 1–3 0–4 1–3
Indiana 1–3 1–2 3–1 1–3 1–2 2–2 3–1 1–3 1–3 2–2 1–3 0–4 2–2 2–2 1–3 2–2 1–3 1–3 1–3 1–3 3–1
Kansas City 1–2 2–2 2–1 4–0 2–2 2–2 3–1 1–3 2–2 2–2 2–2 0–4 2–2 2–2 0–4 1–3 0–4 0–4 0–4 1–3 2–2
Los Angeles 1–3 2–1 3–1 2–2 2–2 1–3 2–2 4–0 3–1 3–1 2–2 3–1 4–0 2–1 3–1 2–2 1–3 0–4 2–2 1–3 2–2
Milwaukee 2–2 1–3 3–1 3–1 1–3 1–3 2–2 2–2 3–1 4–0 4–0 1–3 3–1 2–1 3–1 1–2 1–3 1–3 2–2 1–3 3–1
New Jersey 1–3 1–3 2–2 2–1 1–3 1–3 1–3 1–3 2–2 2–2 2–2 0–4 1–3 0–4 1–3 0–4 2–2 0–3 0–4 2–2 2–2
New Orleans 2–2 2–2 2–2 2–2 2–2 1–3 1–3 4–0 3–1 2–2 2–2 1–2 1–2 4–0 1–3 2–2 1–3 3–1 1–3 2–2 0–4
New York 2–2 2–2 1–3 3–1 1–3 3–1 3–0 2–2 2–2 3–1 4–0 1–3 1–3 3–1 3–1 1–3 1–3 1–3 2–2 2–1 2–2
Philadelphia 2–2 4–0 3–1 1–3 3–1 3–1 4–0 3–1 2–2 2–2 3–1 2–2 2–1 4–0 2–2 3–1 2–1 2–2 3–1 3–1 2–2
Phoenix 1–3 2–2 4–0 2–2 2–1 2–2 2–2 2–2 3–1 3–1 4–0 3–1 3–1 2–2 3–1 3–1 1–2 1–3 2–2 2–2 2–2
Portland 3–1 3–1 3–1 3–1 4–0 1–3 3–1 3–1 2–2 3–1 4–0 4–0 3–1 3–1 1–3 3–0 2–2 3–1 2–2 3–1 2–1
San Antonio 3–1 4–0 3–1 2–2 4–0 1–2 2–1 1–3 3–1 3–1 4–0 2–2 2–2 4–0 3–1 2–2 1–3 2–2 2–2 2–2 2–2
Seattle 1–2 4–0 3–1 2–2 1–3 3–1 3–1 2–2 4–0 3–1 3–1 3–1 3–1 2–2 2–1 1–3 1–3 2–2 1–3 2–2 1–3
Washington 3–1 3–1 3–1 1–2 2–2 1–3 2–2 2–2 3–1 1–3 2–2 2–2 1–3 2–2 4–0 2–2 2–2 2–2 1–2 2–2 3–1

Player statsEdit

Legend
GP Games played MPG Minutes per game FG Field-goals per game FGA Field-goals attempted per Game
FG% Field-goal percentage FT Free-throws per game FTA Free-throws attempted per Game FT% Free-throw percentage
ORPG Offensive rebounds per game DRPG Defensive rebounds per game RPG Rebounds per game APG Assists per game
SPG Steals per game BPG Blocks per game PFPG Personal fouls per game PPG Points per game
Player GP MPG FG FGA FG% FT FTA FT% ORPG DRPG RPG APG SPG BPG PFPG PPG
Billy Knight 53 40.7 8.6 17.5 0.494 5.7 7.0 0.809 2.4 4.8 7.2 3.0 1.5 0.2 2.6 22.9
Randy Smith 82 40.4 9.6 20.7 0.465 5.4 6.8 0.800 1.3 2.4 3.8 5.6 2.1 0.1 2.7 24.6
Swen Nater 78 35.6 6.4 12.7 0.504 2.7 3.5 0.765 3.6 9.6 13.2 2.8 0.5 0.6 3.5 15.5
John Shumate 18 32.8 4.2 8.4 0.497 4.1 5.5 0.747 1.8 5.3 7.1 3.2 0.8 0.5 3.2 12.4
Marvin Barnes 48 28.7 4.7 11.3 0.416 2.4 3.2 0.745 2.2 5.0 7.3 2.4 1.2 1.5 4.1 11.8
Chuck Williams 73 27.4 2.8 6.0 0.477 1.6 1.9 0.826 0.4 1.5 1.9 4.3 0.7 0.1 1.9 7.3
Larry McNeill 37 23.6 4.2 9.1 0.462 3.5 4.2 0.833 2.1 3.0 5.1 1.2 0.5 0.3 2.7 11.9
Wil Jones 79 21.7 2.9 6.5 0.440 1.1 1.5 0.706 1.3 2.9 4.2 1.5 0.9 0.5 3.2 6.8
Bird Averitt 34 19.9 3.8 8.7 0.436 1.9 2.8 0.667 0.3 1.2 1.5 3.8 0.6 0.2 2.5 9.5
Bill Willoughby 56 19.3 2.8 6.5 0.430 1.1 1.4 0.800 1.4 2.6 3.9 0.7 0.4 0.8 2.3 6.7
Ted McClain 41 17.7 2.0 4.5 0.440 1.2 1.5 0.794 0.3 1.6 1.8 3.0 1.0 0.0 2.1 5.2
Mike Glenn 56 16.9 3.5 6.6 0.527 0.9 1.2 0.785 0.3 1.2 1.4 1.4 0.6 0.1 1.8 7.9
Jim McDaniels 42 16.5 2.4 5.6 0.427 0.9 1.0 0.857 1.1 3.2 4.3 1.0 0.1 0.9 2.7 5.6
Scott Lloyd 56 10.1 1.2 2.9 0.425 0.8 1.0 0.741 0.8 1.3 2.1 0.6 0.2 0.2 1.5 3.2
Gary Brokaw 13 10.0 1.4 3.3 0.419 1.4 1.8 0.750 0.2 0.7 0.9 1.5 0.2 0.4 0.8 4.2
Larry Johnson 4 9.5 0.8 3.3 0.231 0.0 0.5 0.000 0.3 1.0 1.3 1.8 1.3 0.5 0.8 1.5
Gus Gerard 10 8.5 1.6 4.0 0.400 1.1 1.5 0.733 0.6 0.8 1.4 0.9 0.2 0.3 1.3 4.3
Eddie Owens 8 7.9 1.1 2.6 0.429 0.4 0.8 0.500 0.6 0.6 1.3 0.6 0.1 0.0 0.4 1.1

Awards and honorsEdit

TransactionsEdit

The Braves were involved in the following transactions during the 1977–78 season.

Coaching ChangeEdit

Offseason
Outgoing Coach Date Removed 1976-77 Record Incoming Coach
Joe Mullaney (interim) Fired, August 5, 1977 11-18 Cotton Fitzsimmons

TradesEdit

June 7, 1977
To Buffalo Braves
To Milwaukee Bucks
  • The 3rd pick in the 1977 NBA Draft
June 10, 1977
To Buffalo Braves
  • A 1977 2nd round draft pick
To Chicago Bulls
  • The 13th pick in the 1977 NBA Draft
June 10, 1977
To Buffalo Braves
To Los Angeles Lakers
  • A 1977 3rd round draft pick
August 5, 1977
To Buffalo Braves
  • A 1978 3rd round draft pick as compensation
To Detroit Pistons
  • The right to sign Don Adams as a veteran free agent
September 1, 1977
To Buffalo Braves
To New Jersey Nets
  • George Johnson, a 1978 1st round draft pick & a 1979 1st round draft pick.
September 1, 1977
To Buffalo Braves
To New Jersey Nets
  • A future 4th round draft pick as compensation
September 1, 1977
To Buffalo Braves
To Indiana Pacers
September 2, 1977
To Buffalo Braves
  • A 1979 1st round draft pick
To Milwaukee Bucks
September 7, 1977
To Buffalo Braves
  • Cash considerations
To Los Angeles Lakers
September 13, 1977
To Buffalo Braves
To Atlanta Hawks
  • A 1978 2nd round draft pick
October 3, 1977
To Buffalo Braves
  • The right to sign Wil Jones as a veteran free agent
To Indiana Pacers
  • A 1980 2nd round draft pick as compensation
October 6, 1977
To Buffalo Braves
To Denver Nuggets
  • A 1978 3rd round draft pick as compensation
October 17, 1977
To Buffalo Braves
To Cleveland Cavaliers
  • Future considerations
October 18, 1977
To Buffalo Braves
  • A 1978 3rd round draft pick
To Indiana Pacers
November 23, 1977
To Buffalo Braves
To Detroit Pistons
January 31, 1978
To Buffalo Braves
  • A 1978 3rd round draft pick
To Philadelphia 76ers

Free agentsEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c d e f Buffalo Braves (1970-1978)
  2. ^ "Archibald may be out for season". St. Petersburg Times. Florida. Associated Press. October 15, 1977. p. 7C.
  3. ^ a b "Celts, Buffalo swap owners; Braves move". Toledo Blade. Ohio. Associated Press. July 8, 1978. p. 15.