2. Mel Daniels

Mel Daniels was drafted ninth overall by the Cincinnati Royals in 1967, but the Minnesota Muskies of the American Basketball Association also chose him and offered him more money to sign.  As a rookie, Daniels was a dominating player, winning the Rookie of the Year, but the Muskies (like so many in the ABA) had financial problems, and he was shipped off to the Indiana Pacers for $75,000.

Daniels would cement himself as the best Center in the ABA over the next few seasons, winning the MVP Award in 1969 and 1971 and having three straight years as a First Team All-ABA Selection.  He was the anchor of an elite Pacers team that would win the ABA Championship in 1970, 1972 & 1973.  In terms of his individual stats, Daniels was the Rebounding Champion twice averaging an even 16.0 as a Pacer.  He was also scoring well with a 19.4 PPG and boasted a PER of 20.1.  His days with Indiana ended when he was traded to the Memphis Sounds after the 1973/74 Season, but he ensured that three banners would forever be hung in Indianapolis.

Daniels would be inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in 2012.

The Bullet Points

  • Position: Center
  • Acquired: Traded from the Minnesota Muskies for Jimmy Dawson, Ron Kozlicki, and $75,000 after the 1967/68 Season.
  • Departed: Traded to the Memphis Sounds with Freddie Lewis for Charles Edge before the 1974/75 Season.
  • Games Played: 479
  • Per Game Averages: 37.1 MP, .483 eFG%, .679 FT%, 19.4 PTS, 16.0 RB, 1.9 AST, *0.7 STL, **1.6 BLK
  • Advanced Stats: 20.1 PER, .523 TS%, ***0.4 VORP, 53.4 WS
  • Major Accolades and Awards:

    ABA Champion (1970, 1972 & 1973)

    ABA MVP (1969 & 1971)

    First Team All-ABA (1969, 1970 & 1971)

    Second Team All-ABA (1972)

    ABA All-Star (1969, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973 & 1974)

    All-Star Game MVP (1971)

    Most Defensive Rebounds (1968-69)

    Most Rebounds (1968-69 & 1970-71)

    Most Rebounds per Game (1968-69 & 1970-71)



    *Steals were not a stat until the 1973/74 Season.

    **Blocks were not a stat until the 1972/73 Season.

    ***VORP was not a stat until the 1973/74 Season.

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