When Bill Russell retired, the Boston Celtics took a brief dip before Dave Cowens helped John Havlicek and Jo Jo White rebuild the team into a title contender.
Before they were back though there was an interregnum, a vacuum, and the Lakers and the Knicks stepped into it.
The Lakers had Wilt Chamberlain and Jerry West and some interesting players. Their 1972 team, which won 33 straight, was a great, great team.
The Knicks though had a team of great character and characters, including Willis Reed, Bill Bradley, Earl Monroe, Walt Frazier, Jerry Lucas, Dave DeBusschere, Dick Barnett and Phil Jackson (it’s worth noting that Duke great Art Heyman should have been part of that core).
This was one of the smartest teams in NBA history. Aside from Bradley and Jackson, Dick Barnett earned his Ph.D. after his career. Lucas had a phenomenal memory and developed a side business teaching people how to improve theirs
Dick Barnett was an interesting player who had an unusual jumper that may have influenced David Thompson.
Here are some of his career highlights. You’ll notice his form quickly.