Lighting up the scoreboard in an NBA debut

Photo of NBA Hall of Famer Bob Lanier.

NBA Hall of Famer Bob Lanier. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Let’s start this blog with a quiz…

Of the 10 NBA Hall of Fame players listed below, who scored less than 10 points in his NBA debut and who scored more than 20 points in their first game in the NBA? Here’s a hint: Four of the players listed scored less than 10 points; three of those listed scored 20 or more.

The list: Dave Bing, Larry Bird, Clyde Drexler, Michael Jordan, Bob Lanier, Karl Malone, Pete Maravich, Bob McAdoo, Bill Walton, Dominique Wilkins.

The answer is at the end of this column.

This blog is about NBA debuts. The NBA season got started earlier this week and a couple of rookies got their careers off to a great start. Michael Carter-Williams, the 11th pick of the Philadelphia 76ers (from Syracuse) had a big game in the 76ers upset of the Miami Heat. Carter-Williams had 22 points in his NBA debut. Two other first-year players tallied 10 or more points in their first games. Vitor Faverani, the 25-year-old Brazilian who played professionally in Spain from 2005-13, had 13 points in his NBA debut with the Boston Celtics. Victor Oladipo, the second pick of the 2013 draft (Indiana University) by the Orlando Magic had 12 points in his first game in the league.

Based on research on basketball-reference.com dating back to the 1963-64 NBA season, 21 different players scored 25 or more points in their NBA debut. Topping the list is John Drew who scored 32 points for the Atlanta Hawks on October 18, 1974 against the Chicago Bulls. Here’s a look at the players who scored 25 or more points in their NBA debut since 1963-64.

Points in NBA debut, players

32: John Drew
31: Isiah Thomas
30: Willie Anderson, Allen Iverson, Lamar Odom
29: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Gordon Giricek
27: Ron Anderson, Bobby Jackson, Jerry Stackhouse
26: Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf, Darrell Griffith, Magic Johnson, Donyell Marshall, Mitchell Wiggins
25: Willie Burton, Ron Harper, Elvin Hayes, Grant Hill, LeBron James, Rudy Macklin

Trivia answer: The four players who scored less than 10 points in their NBA debut were Dave Bing (0), Clyde Drexler (2), Karl Malone (8) and Pete Maravich (7). The three Hall of Famers who scored 20 or more in their first NBA game were Bob Lanier (22), Bob McAdoo (20) and Dominique Wilkins (23). The other three players on the list were Larry Bird (14), Michael Jordan (16) and Bill Walton (18).

Follow Jerry on Twitter @StatsonTapp

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