Nets All-Time Top 25: No. 22 Billy Paultz
Center for 1974 ABA champs is 10th in ABA history in rebounding
The selections for the Nets All-Time Top 25 Team were made by the author, with no input from the Brooklyn Nets organization. Selections were based on a combination of individual performance, team success and their contribution to it, and longevity with the franchise.
Billy Paultz was selected in the seventh round of the 1970 NBA Draft out of St. John’s, not the kind of thing that promises optimism about making it in the league.
So he opted for the ABA and the Nets and used that start as the foundation of a 15-year professional career that included three ABA All-Star Game appearances and an ABA championship with the Nets.
The 6-foot-11, 235-pound center they called “The Whopper” was a reliable scorer who gobbled up rebounds at a prodigious rate, ranking 10th in ABA history with 11.1 rebounds per game during his time in the league.
He made a strong first impression when he averaged 14.7 points and 11.3 rebounds while shooting 52.4 percent from the field as a rookie in 1970-71.
The next season, Paultz helped the Nets to their first ABA finals appearance after scoring 14.5 points per game and grabbing 12.5 rebounds per game. With the Nets down 3-2 to the Virginia Squires in the division finals, Paultz scored 33 points to key a Game 6 win as the Nets went on to win the series and advance to the championship series against the Indiana Pacers, where Paultz had 30 points and 18 rebounds in a Game 4 win that knotted the series at two games apiece before Indiana went on to win in six games. Paultz averaged 17.7 points and 15.2 rebounds in 19 playoff games in 1972.
After that breakthrough playoff performance, Paultz continued to elevate his game the following season. He made his first ABA All-Star Game appearance in 1973 and averaged career highs of 16.7 points and 12.5 rebounds. In 1974 he posted a double-double average for the fourth straight season to start his career with 16.4 points and 10.2 rebounds per game, helping lead the Nets to their first ABA title in 1974.
Paultz completed his Nets career with his second ABA All-Star Game appearance in 1975, averaging 15.8 points and 9.7 rebounds per game as the Nets won a franchise-record 58 games.
Traded to the San Antonio Spurs after the 1975 season, Paultz continued his career through the 1984-85 season, also playing for Houston, Atlanta, and Utah.
He is second in Nets history behind Buck Williams in total rebounds (4,544) and rebounds per game (11.2) and is third in blocks per game (2.1). He has two of the top five rebounding seasons in Nets history with his 12.5 per game in 1973-73 and 1973-74, which are tied for second on the list with Buck Williams. Paultz played 404 games for the Nets in five years, averaging 15.6 points and shooting 50 percent from the field.