Elgin Baylor burst onto the scene in 1958.

A new superstar burst on the NBA scene with the arrival of Elgin Baylor in Minneapolis. A 6-5 forward from Seattle, Baylor helped a Lakers' team that had been 19-53 a year before to a 33-39 record and a Playoff berth by averaging 24.9 points and 15.0 rebounds per game. He made the All-NBA Team as a rookie, which previously had been accomplished only by Bob Pettit and Alex Groza. But perhaps his most profound impact in his first season came in the Playoffs.

Boston had won the East by 12 games, while St. Louis won the West by 16 games. Just about everyone expected a third straight Boston-St.Louis matchup in the NBA Finals. Boston had a tough time with Syracuse, which had acquired George Yardley to add to a front line that already boasted Dolph Schayes and Red Kerr. Pushed to the limit, Boston won the seventh game of the Eastern Finals, 130-125. St. Louis, however, did not even make it back to the Finals for the expected date with the Celtics. Baylor and the Lakers overcame a 2-1 St. Louis lead to win three straight games and oust the Hawks. Nobody gave the Lakers much chance against the Celtics, and although the Lakers kept three of the four games close, Boston recorded the first 4-0 sweep in NBA Finals history. Nobody knew it at the time, but it would be eight years be to begin its run of eight straight championships.

BAYLOR SETS STANDARD FOR FORWARDS
Even in 1959, 6-5 was not considered tall for a forward in the NBA. But Elgin Baylor proved to be more than a handful for taller rivals. As strong as any of his counterparts, Baylor had a smooth scoring style that was ahead of its time and his ability to seemingly hang in the air would become the measuring stick for players that followed, like Connie Hawkins, Julius Erving and Michael Jordan.

Baylor's 55-point game in his rookie season was the third-highest in NBA history and signaled a new high-scoring era around the NBA.