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45. Dave Cowens

One of the statistically most dominant players of his era yet is often overlooked. Dave Cowens played in one of the more troublesome era’s of NBA basketball but was able to thrive on and off the court and generally stay out of the same mischief and troubles many of his counterparts fell into.

Cowens attended Florida State University where he put up solid numbers in all four years there. He never scored an exceptionally high amount of points but was able to add a lot of rebounds and played tough defense. In 78 career games Cowens averaged 19 points and 17 rebounds.

The Celtics drafted Cowens 4th overall in the 1970 NBA draft, mainly on recommendation of Celtic great Bill Russell. Cowens had a great rookie season averaging 17 points and 15 rebounds and won rookie of the year. He’d remain a consistent player averaging around those numbers for the remainder of his career.

Cowens best year came in 1972-73, his third year in the league, where he averaged 20 points and 16 rebounds. He was named All-star MVP and went on to win the League MVP as well. The following year he guided the Celtics to their first title not in the Bill Russell era. After winning the title Cowens apparently slept on a park bench. These kinds of uncommon characteristics became defining traits of Cowens.

Cowens helped the Celtics win another title in 1976, than the next season missed a large portion of the season because he wanted to drive a taxi cab. His career also began to decline at this point and he failed to average a double-double in 1980 for the first time in his career.

The Celtics traded Cowens to the Milwaukee Bucks in 1982 He had been on Boston’s roster from 1980 until 82 but never played as he acted mostly as a player coach. He played 40 games for the Bucks in 1983 before retiring. Cowens appeared in 766 career games averaging 18 points and 14 rebounds. He was a 7 time all-star and two time NBA champion. He was elected to the hall of fame in 1991.

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