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Gus Williams - a Man of Principle

Gus Williams is one of several NBA stars who flourished during the worst period in the life of this league — at the end of the 70s and the beginning of the 80s when professional basketball and television were at their lowest point. But not only this is the reason for its present oblivion. Gus himself had a hand in this, who preferred to miss a whole year of career (1980/81 championship) in order to knock out the contract that suited him from Seattle management. The principle, in theory, is a positive quality, but in this case, it has turned against the team and the player himself.

Gus began his career just awesome as well as could be yours if you check this post. Only two years it took him to adapt to the NBA and the next two seasons (1977/78, 1978/79) were very successful for his team, Seattle, and for Williams himself, who quickly became the leader of this team.

Surprisingly, the man who, 4 years after the draft, will lead Seattle to the title, in 1975 was chosen only in the second round. In the first round, the current champion of Golden State chose to take Joe Bryant - the future father Kobe. Actually, this was Joe's only contribution to basketball.

Gus was chosen as number 20, and even later, Philadelphia drafted Lloyd B. Free, a player who looked somewhat like Gus and whose career turned out to be very similar to Williams' basketball biography.

Both were of the same height (188 cm), one role, both jumped high, had a medium throw, could and liked to play the ball. In the very low-quality videos of those distant years, they can be easily confused, since both already at a young age had gorgeous bald spots. True, B. Free had a noble bald spot, emphasizing his prominent forehead, while Williams had a bald spot on his head.

The first years in the NBA of Free and Williams turned out, as if for a carbon copy: both came from the sit in clubs - contenders for the title: Lloyd in Philadelphia, and Gus in the Golden State. Both did not shine at first, but as soon as they switched to another team, they quickly became NBA stars. True, in the future Free did not receive the coveted champion's name, but Gus achieved this already at the age of 25, in his fourth championship!

Before the 1977/78 season, Williams ended up in Supersonics - a team that brought together a group of young players under the leadership of the rather young Lenny Wilkens, who came to the club at the same time as Gus. The new coach brought the Seattle to the number of leaders of the Western Conference and Williams became one of the leading players during the season, gaining an average of 18 points in less than 33 minutes on the court.

The following year was the best in the career of Williams. He was the club leader in performance in both the regular championship and the playoffs, in which Gus scored a grandmaster 26.7 points per game with 47% of hits from the game. In the semi-finals of the conference, Seattle again beat Karim with the “Lakers”, and in the West finals in the most difficult fight “supersonic” defeated “Phoenix” Paul Westfall and Walter Davis (in the decisive match, Seattle won 114: 110).

In the NBA finals, the Sonics met again with Washington, but this time they did not give it any chance: 4: 1. Only one tar fly was in this victory for Gus: Dennis Johnson was the best player in the final series, not Williams. The decision was very controversial: Johnson was good in the final (22.6 points, 6 assists, 6 rebounds, and 2.2 blocks), but Williams was the team's top scorer, gaining 28.6 points per game. The choice of the best player of 1979 final strongly resembles the award of the MVP finals in 2015 to Andre Iguodala, who was given a prize for slightly slowing down the raging LeBron.

Williams himself after his triumphant return quickly passed and ended his career in 33 years. It happened so that his peak lasted only 5 years (1978 / 79-1982 / 83), of which he missed one year. As a result, on his account are only 2 teams at the end of the season (1980, 1982) and 2 participation in the games all old (1982, 1983). Not enough for one of the best basketball players of the time. Therefore, it is not surprising that one of the brightest NBA players of the late 70s - early 80s, who led his team to the title, has not yet become a member of the Basketball Hall of Fame.