Hall Pass – Al Attles
The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Class of 2014, which will be immortalized in Springfield, Mass. on Friday, features four players with ties to the Warriors—Alvin Attles, Sarunas Marciulionis, Mitch Richmond and Guy Rodgers. We’ll take a look at a few notes and numbers that helped lead to their induction to the Hall, courtesy of @GSWStats.
First up: Warriors Legend & Ambassador Al Attles, who will be honored as the 42nd winner of the Bunn Lifetime Achievement Award, presented annually to a coach, player or contributor whose outstanding accomplishments have impacted the high school, college, professional or international game.
For as long as the Warriors have been in California (since 1962), Attles has had a role with the organization. His career with the team actually began in 1960, two years prior to the club’s West Coast move, when he was selected by the Philadelphia Warriors in the fifth round of the NBA draft. Following an 11-year playing career, his tenure with the club continued with stints as a head coach, general manager, vice president and ambassador.
Attles has coached more seasons (14) and games (1,075) than any other head man in team history, and only Chris Mullin has played in more seasons for the Warriors (13) than Attles, who ranks fifth all-time in games played (711). All told, his time with the Warriors has spanned 54 consecutive years, making him the longest tenured employee of any NBA team.
GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS ALL-TIME GAMES PLAYED
It’s difficult to quantify Attles’ statistical value on the defensive end for a few reasons. The NBA didn’t begin naming All-Defensive Teams—which former players insist he would have frequented—until 1968-69, his ninth season in the league. And never mind the advanced metrics of today’s NBA. Even the two most basic defensive stat categories, steals and blocks, were not officially recorded until 1973-74, three years after Attles retired from playing.
What we can look at for perspective on Attles’ defensive impact is the success of his teams on that side of the ball. According to Basketball-Reference, the Warriors ranked in the top half of the league in defensive rating (estimated points allowed per 100 possessions) in all but one of The Destroyer’s 11 seasons, boasting a top 3 rating in seven of those campaigns.
100 PERCENT, 100 POINTS
On March 2, 1962, Attles went a perfect 8-of-8 from the field, while also hitting his only free throw attempt, to finish as the team’s second-leading scorer in a win over the Knicks. His efficient 17-point game was overshadowed slightly by his teammate, Wilt Chamberlain, who scored an NBA-record 100 points that same night in Hershey, PA.
With 30 games remaining in the 1969-70 season, Attles took on duel responsibilities as Golden State’s player/coach, a role he held for the entire 1970-71 season before serving exclusively as head coach for the next 12 years. By the time he transitioned into a general manager role following the 1982-83 season, Attles had coached 1,075 games for the Warriors, winning 557 of them—both team records.
GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS GAMES COACHED
Attles is one of only 26 coaches in NBA history with over 1,000 games on his resume and is one of only 11 coaches to amass over 500 victories with a single franchise. He’s also tied with Ed Gottlieb for the most postseason appearances in Warriors lore (six), more than doubling Gottlieb with a franchise-leading 31 playoff victories. And of course, it was Attles at the helm of the 1974-75 squad that captured the only NBA championship in the Warriors’ 52-year history on the West Coast.
In the 1975 NBA Playoffs, the Warriors fought back from a 3-2 deficit in the Western Conference Finals to defeat the Chicago Bulls in seven games, advancing to face the 60-win Washington Bullets in the NBA Finals. Attles, a player on Warriors teams that fell just short of NBA glory in both 1964 and 1967, led the Warriors to a 4-0 series sweep against the heavily favored Bullets, winning those four games by a combined 16 points—including a pair of one-point victories.
In addition to having a hand in raising the 1974-75 championship banner, Attles has another, more personal banner hanging from the rafters at Oracle Arena as his No. 16 is one of only six retired numbers in Warriors franchise history.