Archives 75: Paul Arizin | NBA.com


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Paul Arizin didn’t invent the jump shot, but he adapted his own unique modifications as it evolved. Jumping like no one had done before, almost stopping in midair to avoid, Arizin released the ball during his defender’s descent. It was part of the new game being played at the time – more and more players were taking their feet off their feet – and Arizin, as much as he hated attention or credit, must forever be recognized for his responsibility to play. body control a vital part of a game.

Despite the scoring titles that followed and his role in the Philadelphia Championship in 1956, it is Arizin’s relationship with the jump shot that resonates most with game historians when they remember its impact. Likewise, he had perhaps the most analyzed respiratory system in the history of the game. With the ball, he studied athleticism and grace. Without it he would huff and pant up and down on the floor; teammates concerned about his well-being, opponents secretly hoping it would force him to give in. It’s been a fascinating contradiction for a truly wonderful player who played for the league in his early days.

So where do we stand when reviewing Arizin’s career? It’s a name of the distant past, occupying a somewhat shady area of ​​his generation when measured with his contemporaries George Mikan and Bob Cousy. This is where we come in. Here you get the total overview: Was her breathing problem real? Did he like the nickname ‘Pitchin’ Paul? What kind of game did he have? Think of this as your starter kit – Arizin 101.

Arizin’s professional arrival saw him finish fifth in the NBA as a rookie. In his second season, in 1952, he wrote one of the greatest seasons for a forward at this point, toppling George Mikan as the scoring leader while also being named to the All-NBA first team. In an era before the league awarded the MVP award, Arizin was ranked by the Met Basketball Writers Association as the “professional MVP,” beating Mikan, Cousy and Dolph Schayes. It’s a transformation unlike anything in the history of the game – five years after a first season at Villanova where the experience was purely academic, with intramural being the only form of basketball in his life. Now he was one of the greatest players in the world.

The final touch to this season was Arizin’s performance at the All-Star Game in Boston. He scored 26 points while being named the game’s MVP, leading the East to victory. The logical question here is: do the strengths of this game exist? Yes. They’re black and white, a bit hazy, and the players are a bit hard to see. But the real gem here is that we’re going to take you to the locker room before the game. Get your autograph book – it’s time to meet the All-Stars.

Arizin was at his peak at the end of the 1952 season. But that summer he was drafted into the US Marine Corps, putting his basketball career on hiatus. The next time the league’s leading scorer appeared in an NBA game? More than two years later, the 1954-55 season. Yet 28 months of military service did not mean 28 months without basketball. In 1953 and 1954, Arizin was the primary vote voter for the First All-Service Team while serving with the Quantico, Virginia Marines. And while it seems unfathomable that a player of Arizin’s stature would indeed disappear from professional sports at the start of his prime, it has to be remembered that this was a generation proud to fulfill their duty, every time we did. ‘called.

Archives 75 Paul Arizin

Arizin embraced this period of his life, in fact the experience was positive. Here, Arizin reflects on his time in the Marines and his transition to professional basketball in 1954. Remarkably, what awaited him beyond was the peak of his career – a championship in his hometown.

Philadelphia beat Fort Wayne in five championship games in 1956, earning the Warriors their first title since 1947, and it was Arizin who got them there. Never before has a forward scored more than his 289 points in a single playoff series, and only one guy who went through “Mr. Basketball”, the legendary Mikan, had exceeded that total in the playoff competition.

In the deciding match of the Eastern Division Finals, with a place in the championship series awaiting the winner, Arizin scored 35 points by beating defending Nationals champion and Dolph Schayes. The Finals brought another powerful offensive weapon in the form of George Yardley of the Pistons, and once again Arizin emerged. He averaged 27.6 PPG in the series as the Warriors let off steam, securing an eternal place at the table of Philadelphia basketball royalty.

Back to the archives: with the 1956 final stalled at 1-1, it’s Game 3, Pistons v Warriors.

Paul Arizin and Philadelphia celebrating the championship

Arizin averaged over 20 points per game in each of his eight seasons upon returning from the Marines, including a career-high 26.4 in 1959. By the time of his retirement in 1962, Arizin had scored over points in franchise history than any other player. . When the Warriors moved from Philadelphia to San Francisco, Arizin made his own exit – from the NBA. Starting as calm and modest as he entered, Arizin happily entered his second career as a member of the work force, away from the professional basketball limelight.

But before today’s education on this oft-overlooked legend comes to an end, here’s a super rare treat from the Vault: An Interview from Arizin’s Playful Days. It dates from November 1957. Bill Russell and the Celtics were building a dynasty. Elgin Baylor and Wilt Chamberlain were in the not-so-distant future. As for Arizin, he was only two years away from issuing a title in Philadelphia and had just won his second scoring crown, further consecrating him as one of the game’s elite forwards. the weapon he was helping popularize – the ever-evolving jump shot? In the NBA, it was becoming commonplace.

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