On this day: Maravich signs with Celtics; Powe, Vranković born
On this day in Boston Celtics history, iconic Hall of Fame guard “Pistol” Pete Maravich signed with the Boston Celtics in the twilight of his famed career in 1980.
Maravich began his pro career with the Atlanta Hawks, who picked him up with the third pick of the 1970 NBA Draft after three seasons playing for Louisiana State (1967-70). The Pennsylvania native’s Hawks collided with the Celtics in the playoffs in his second year in the league but were eliminated five games to two. After that season, Maravich’s play elevated to an elite level, rising to the sixth-highest scoring player in the league in his third season.
It continued on its upward trend to be second-highest by its fourth.
Pistol Pete was traded to the expansion New Orleans Jazz between his fourth and fifth seasons, and while he certainly helped fill seats, he was asked to do too much, with little success.
By his second season with the Jazz, injuries began to affect Maravich, and by his fourth, he was missing much of each season due to injuries.
Pete Maravich came to the Celtics for a ring. If he only could’ve hung on for one more year. pic.twitter.com/ve49gorY3U https://t.co/LKUx3L4Ihn
— Honest☘️Larry (@HonestLarry1) January 15, 2021
He would fall out of favor with the head coach the season they moved to Utah for his inability to practice, eventually being waived and signing with the Celtics.
He averaged 11.5 points, 1.5 rebounds, and 1.1 assists per game with Boston.
(AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
It is also the birthday of champion Celtic forward Leon Powe, born this day in 1984 in Berkeley, California.
Powe attended Cal-Berkeley — Jaylen Brown’s alma mater — and was drafted by the Denver Nuggets 49th in the 2006 NBA draft, immediately traded to Boston.
#FlashbackFriday 6/8/08 @Leon_Powe drops 21 pts off the bench to take Game 2 of the NBA Finals over the Lakers 108-102. ✅✅@paulpierce34: 28 pts, 8 asts@KGArea21: 17 pts, 14rbs
Allen: 17 pts@RajonRondo: 16 asts pic.twitter.com/slNF0XABQp
— Boston Celtics (@celtics) June 8, 2018
The Californian struggled in his rookie and sophomore campaigns, but the Celtics kept him anyway, paying off in Game 2 of the 2008 NBA Finals, where he put up 21 points in just 15 minutes of game time, helping Boston to a 108-102 win and Banner 17.
Powe would play one more season with Boston before signing with the Cleveland Cavaliers, for whom he averaged 6.6 points and 4.2 rebounds per game.
The #Celtics really need Stojko Vrankovic to step up if they want to get back into this series. #NBAPlayoffs #BOSvsCLE #GoCeltics pic.twitter.com/M0U9oHmsIl
— Brendan Kirby (@BrendanKirbyTV) May 22, 2017
Powe shares that birthday with Celtic center Stojko Vranković, born on this date in 1964 in Drnis, Croatia. Vrankovic played much of his career in Europe renowned as a shot-blocker before coming to Boston in 1990.
His reputation as a rim protector did not translate to the NBA, however, with him never recording better than his first year with the Celts, 0.8 blocks and 1.9 points per game.
Jim Rogash/Getty Images
Vranković would return to Europe after the 1991-92 series, later returning to the NBA in 1996 for a season with the Minnesota Timberwolves (and Kevin Garnett, then playing small forward).
He would also play two seasons with the Los Angeles Clippers before returning to Europe to end his career in 2001.
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