March 29th 1971: Revisiting the Knicks 1971 NBA Draft
In the spirit of the NBA Draft Lottery and the road to Mt. Zion1, I had a fun time revisiting the earlier days of the NBA Draft. Back in 1971, the draft was held in March and at the same time as the playoffs were happening in the current season. The draft was held over 2 days and there were only 17 teams. Unlike now, college players had to finish 4 years of eligibility before being selected in the upcoming draft. Additionally, the first 2 picks in the NBA Draft were determined based on worst record in each respective conference. The winner of the coin flip received the #1 pick.
The Knicks had 3 picks in the draft, beginning with the #16th overall pick. The Knicks drafted Dean Meminger with their 1st pick and subsequently drafted Gregg Northington with their 2nd round pick (#34 overall) and Kenny Mayfield with their 3rd round pick (#50 overall).
Meminger, known locally as “Dean The Dream,” was a local basketball legend before going to Marquette and before the Knicks drafted him. His college coach, Al McGuire, was Knick scout Dick McGuire’s brother and influenced the selection. Meminger received a championship ring in 1973, but only played 6 seasons in the NBA.
Knicks Film School Historian, amongst other things