1966 NBA Draft Pick Transactions
Contributor Patrick Farrell has uncovered numerous discrepancies
that call into question the 1966 NBA Draft as reported by virtually all other
traditional reference sources. How can this be? Read on for his account of
his research findings.
Based on this new information, we have available both the
"Traditional" account of the 1966 Draft (which we now believe to
be inaccurate) as well as Patrick's new "Alternate"
1966 NBA Draft
by Patrick Farrell
I have been doing some research on 1960s NBA drafts off-and-on
for awhile, looking up contemporary media coverage of various drafts from that
era. In the course of doing so, I have discovered a number of cases where there
are discrepancies between what was reported in media sources and what is shown
in modern reference sources.
In most cases, the discrepancies are minor, and involve players
chosen down in the nether rounds of the draft. With the 1966 draft, however,
I have found several discrepancies in the draft order, involving picks as high
as the second round. I am posting my findings in this article in
the event that anyone else has an interest in this topic and/or may have access
contemporary media sources that can corroborate or refute what I have found.
A Few Preliminary Questions
You may be wondering, "What do you mean, 'discrepancies' in the draft order? Why would there be any question about that? How hard is it to copy down a draft list? How could the draft order shown in modern reference sources possibly be wrong?"
This is made possible because the format in which the draft
lists appear today is often not the way they were reported back in the '60s.
In the '60s,
draft lists were not generally published with each pick in sequential order,
as they are today. Instead, draft lists would usually go team-by-team, listing
each team's picks in the order the team selected them, sometimes explicitly
indicating which round each player was taken, sometimes not. Articles covering
the draft would often describe the sequence of picks in the first round, but
little or no sequential information would be provided for other rounds. The
sequential lists that you see in modern reference sources were not simply lifted
from published draft lists, but were apparently assembled by taking the team-by-team
lists and organizing the players' names into what the assembler believed to
be the correct sequential order. Most of the time, the above process works
fine. If you assume that the third player on
the Hawks' list was their third round pick, and you assume that he must have
been the fourth player taken in that round because the Hawks picked fourth
in the first round (i.e., they had the fourth worst record in the league the
previous season), most of the time you'll be right. But what if the Hawks had
traded their third round pick to another team, so that the third player
on their list was actually their fourth round pick? What if another team
had been given
a bonus pick (or had forfeited/passed on a pick for some reason) earlier in
the round? This is where the discrepancies lie.
If, after reading this article, you decide to check what
I'm saying against other sources that you have at hand, you may also be thinking, "I've
checked five different modern sources, and they all have the information that
you say is wrong. How could all of them possibly be wrong?" It's
not that they all independently researched this matter, and all got it wrong.
It's that they all are drawing their information directly or indirectly from
the same pool of data, without independently researching it any further, and
that pool of data may be wrong to begin with. It appears to me that, at some
point back in the '70s (?), someone must have compiled draft lists for use
in some type of NBA encyclopedia, and most reference sources published since
then have simply used the data on that "Master List" with little
or no further research into the matter.
I am very curious about who originally created the "Master List",
and where they got their information from. One thing I have learned about
'60s drafts is that the later rounds of the drafts were sometimes conducted
a "supplementary" process, in which the players
were not selected on draft day, but were claimed after the fact by teams
submitting players' names to the league office. In 1966, for example, only
eight rounds of the draft were actually held on draft day. Players selected
through the supplementary process were rarely mentioned in media reports.
I have no idea where the compilers of the "Master List" got their
information on players selected in supplementary rounds, and in most cases
I have found no way to check these portions of the lists
Sources I have used for the 1966 draft include:
- Various articles from The Washington Post, May 1966, reporting
on the expansion and college drafts. The 1966-05-12 Post has a team-by-team draft
that does not
indicate which round each player was selected in.
- Various articles from The New York Times, May 1966, reporting
on the expansion and college drafts. The 1966-05-12 Times has a team-by-team draft
that does indicate which round each player was selected in.
- An article in the 1966-05-21 issue of The Sporting News covering
the college draft. TSN has a round-by-round list which seems to loosely follow
order within each round, but not always. The list seems to (usually) show
teams in the sequence they picked in the first round, not always taking into
account trades, placement of bonus picks, etc. It is therefore useful for
determining which round a player was selected in, but may not always be reliable
for the exact sequence of picks within a particular round.
- Articles in the 1966-05-11 evening edition and 1966-05-12 morning
edition of The Boston Globe covering the college draft. The 1966-05-11 evening
Globe has a
round-by-round list which seems to loosely follow the sequential order within
each round, but not always (it is similar, but not identical to, the TSN
list). The 1966-05-12 morning Globe has has a different, team-by-team, draft
list that does not indicate which round each player was selected in (similar
the list in the Post).
- All four publications only reported on the
eight non-supplementary rounds that were actually held
on draft day. (The list in the 1966-05-11 evening Globe only goes down to
the fifth round— perhaps that was all the information they had when
they went to press.)
I have found the following discrepancies:
- Modern reference
sources indicate that each round of the 1966 draft was scheduled to have
ten picks, as there were ten teams at the
I have found indicates that the second round actually had eleven picks,
due to the presence of a bonus pick that had been granted to the Chicago
as part of their expansion agreement. The Bulls used one pick to take
Erwin Mueller, and traded the other pick to the Lakers, who used it to take
Finkel. The Lakers used their own second round pick to take John Block.
- Articles in the Times and Post on 1966-05-01, covering the expansion draft,
mention that the Bulls will have two picks in the second round
of the upcoming college draft. A subsequent Post article on 1966-05-09, covering
college draft, also mentions that the Bulls will have two second
rounders. None of these sources specifically mentions how or why
- The draft lists in the Times, TSN and the 1966-05-11 evening
Globe (all of which explicitly identify the round each player
was selected in) show eleven
players as having been selected in the second round, including Mueller,
Finkel and Block. The draft list in the Times shows the Lakers
as having two second round picks, Finkel and Block, the former "acquired
The TSN draft list (which goes round-by-round) states that Chicago
two selections" in
the second round, which were Mueller and Finkel, but "Finkel was
sold for cash to Los Angeles". The Globe shows two Laker picks,
with Finkel's as "(trade from Chicago)".
- The text of the TSN article states, "Chicago had two choices in
the second round, and Los Angeles bought one of the players, purchasing Henry
Finkel of Dayton, a six-foot, 11-inch center".
- The various sources do not agree as to whether the Bulls drafted Finkel
and then traded his rights, or the Lakers drafted Finkel after acquiring
the pick from the Bulls before the draft started. TSN and the Globe seem
to suggest the former, the Times and the Post (which lists Finkel under
the Lakers) the latter. The latter seems to be how this was ultimately
up. All modern sources indicate that Finkel was actually drafted by the
Lakers, and that is also what is shown in his "register" entry
in '70s NBA Guides.
- Modern reference sources indicate that the Knicks picked
first in each round, and the Pistons second. This was unquestionably true
of the first
round, due to the Knicks winning the coin flip with the Pistons for the
right to pick first overall. But the information I have found suggests that
all other rounds the Pistons actually went first, the Knicks second.
- The TSN article states, "From the second round on, Detroit was
permitted the first selection". In addition, the draft list accompanying
the TSN article shows the Knicks picking first in the first round, but
the Pistons picking first in all other rounds. The Globe lists shows the
As noted above, these lists do not seem totally reliable in terms of showing
the exact sequence of picks. However, they usually deviate by sticking
to the first round order no matter what; the fact that they went away from
first-round order to make this change in the list lends some corroboration
to what the text of the TSN article says.
- During the 1965-66 season, the Pistons had the worst record in the NBA.
The Knicks were second worst. At least in future years, the usual procedure
with coin flips was that in rounds other than the first, teams would pick
in reverse order of record, without any regard to the coin flip. In 1967,
for example, the Pistons won the coin flip over the Bullets
for the #1 overall pick, but in all rounds other than the first round, the
Bullets went first, because they had the worse record. Assuming that there
wasn't a different rule in effect just for one year in 1966, you would expect
that, in all rounds other than the
first round, the Pistons would have gone first and the Knicks second.
- Unfortunately, neither the Times nor the Post addresses this question,
not even with a hometown team involved in the case of the Times.
- Modern reference sources indicate that the expansion Bulls picked last
in each round of the draft. This appears to have been true of most rounds,
but not of the second round, where the information I have found indicates
that the Bulls were originally scheduled to pick third and fourth, apparently
a special arrangement connected to their being granted a bonus pick in that
- An article in the Times on 1966-05-01, covering the expansion draft, states: "Chicago
will have the 10th or last pick in the first round of the N.B.A.'s annual
draft of college players May 11. Then the Bulls will have the third and fourth
picks in the second round and the 10th pick in each subsequent round." An article in the same day's Post states, "[Chicago] will pick 10th
in the first round, 13th and 14th [overall] in the second round and then 10
all succeeding rounds." Another article in the Post on 1966-05-09, reporting
on the upcoming college draft, says, "Chicago's NBA entry, which will
wage its first campaign this year, receives the final choice of the first
round, but gets to choose third and fourth in the second round".
- The lists in TSN and the 1966-05-11 evening Globe show the Bulls
at the end of the second round, not third and fourth. However, this
is inconclusive, given
that these lists seem to usually show teams in the sequence they picked in
the first round, not always taking into account trades or other deviations.
Oddly, however, the TSN list moves the Bulls to third in each round
for the sixth round on. Since the TSN list usually deviates by sticking to
order, and that isn't the case here, you have to wonder why they did this.
There is no explanation in the article that addresses this. I have not found
any other source suggesting that the Bulls' position changed in those later
rounds; in fact, the 1966-05-01 Times and Post articles cited above explicitly
it didn't (e.g., "…the Bulls will have the
third and fourth picks in the second round and the 10th pick in each subsequent
round"). Based on the information that I have right now, I think we have
to assume that the Bulls did pick last in all rounds other than the 2nd, and
the TSN list has some kind of weird typo. But I'd be curious as to whether
there is anything on this point in other sources, such as the Chicago papers.
- Modern reference sources indicate that the Lakers' picks
through the first five rounds were as follows: first, Jerry Chambers;
second, Henry Finkel;
John Block; fourth, Archie Clark; and fifth, Stan Washington. The information
I have found indicates that the Lakers actually had two second round picks
and Block), and that Block, Clark and Washington were actually picked a
round ahead of what is indicated above. The Lakers' fifth round pick was
a player named Bobby Leonard from Wake Forest, who has somehow been completely
omitted from draft lists in modern sources.
- The lists in the Times, TSN and the Globe (all
of which explicitly identify the round each player was selected in) show
Finkel and Block
as second round picks, Clark as a third round pick, Washington as
a fourth round pick, and Leonard as a fifth round pick. From the TSN article and
TSN and Globe lists, it is clear that the Lakers had two second round
picks because Finkel was taken with what was originally one of the Bulls'
- Since the draft lists in the Post and in the 1966-05-12 morning Globe don't
explicitly identify the round each player was selected in, they aren't
of any use in determining which round the Lakers' draftees were taken
in. Bobby Leonard does appear on the lists, however, in the same order
appears on the list in the Times.
- Finkel, Block and Clark were all active into the mid '70s. Starting
in 1971, the NBA Guide began showing each player's original draft year
and round in his "register" entry. Entries in post-1971 Guides
show Finkel and Block as second rounders and Clark as a third rounder.
appears that Finkel was selected with the second of the the Bulls' two original
second round picks. The Times draft list for the Bulls, following Erwin Mueller,
states "extra second round choice traded to Los Angeles".
- Modern reference sources indicate that the Celtics selected John Austin on the fourth round, and traded their fifth round pick to the Bullets, who used it to take John Beasley. The information I have found indicates that the rounds are reversed in the above description; the
Celtics actually traded their fourth round pick to Baltimore, who used it
to take Beasley, then the Celts took Austin on the fifth round.
lists in the Times, TSN and the Globe (all of which
explicitly identify the round each player was selected in) show Beasley as
a fourth round pick and
as a fifth round pick. All three lists also note that the pick Beasley
was selected with had been acquired from Boston.
- Articles in the 1966-05-11
Globe and 1966-05-12 Post state in the text that Austin
was a fifth round pick (the Post specifically mentioned Austin in their
articles because he was from Washington).
- Some modern reference sources show an odd pick sequence in the fifth
round, with Baltimore selecting Beasley with the fifth pick in the round
(which should have been their own slot, not Boston's), then selecting
again sixth, then the teams which should picked sixth, seventh and eighth
all bumped down a slot (Boston should have been eighth), then the teams
picking ninth and tenth in the correct position. I can find no evidence
that this was the case. I suspect that this can be traced back to the
practice on some semi-sequential draft lists of not strictly following
the correct draft order, but, when a team had two picks in a round due
to a trade, listing both picks together in the picking team's own slot.
This practice is followed in the TSN and 1966-05-11 evening Globe lists
with regard to both Baltimore in the fourth round and Chicago/L.A. in
round. I assume that whoever compiled the "Master List" used
such a semi-sequential list as a source but did not understand what had
happened with these picks. The 1989 edition of The NBA Basketball
which I have, actually shows the Beasley pick as "from Boston",
and the Finkel pick as "from Chicago",
even though neither pick is shown in the correct position to have come
from those teams (instead, they are shown in the receiving team's original
- Modern reference sources indicate that the Bulls made
selections in the first five rounds, didn't make one in the sixth round (presumably
passed or perhaps selected an ineligible player), then picked again from
the seventh through eleventh rounds. The information I have found suggests
that the Bulls did make a sixth round selection; the players selected by
the Bulls on the seventh, eighth and ninth rounds (John Comeaux, Stan Curtis
and Gene Summers) were actually picked a round ahead of what is listed in
modern reference sources.
- The lists in TSN and the Times (both of which
explicitly identify the round each player was
selected in) show Comeaux as a sixth round pick, Curtis as a seventh round
pick, and Summers as an eighth round pick. (Actually, the Times lists
as seventh round picks, but showing Summers as a seventh round pick is
probably a typo. In any event, Summers was picked no lower than the eighth
since the remaining
rounds were supplementary rounds which hadn't taken place yet when the
Times article was written. Summers' name also appears as the last Bulls
pick on the
round-less lists in the Post and 1966-05-12 morning edition of the Globe.)
- The players listed as being selected on the ninth and tenth rounds
were also presumably picked one round ahead of where they are listed,
but as all picks below the eighth round were supplementary picks I have
no way to verify this.
- Modern reference sources show Philadelphia with a similarly odd pick
sequence: no picks in the seventh or eighth rounds, but picks in the
ninth and tenth rounds. This appears to be correct, although I cannot
ninth and tenth round picks as they were supplementary selections.
The draft lists in the Times and TSN both indicate that
the 76ers passed on the
seventh and eighth rounds. The explanation seems to be that on draft
day Philly decided to stop picking after the sixth round, but later decided
a couple of supplementary picks (remember, the ninth round was the first