Ed. Note: Prior to the 1988-89 season, the NBA only had All-NBA 1st and All-NBA 2nd Teams. To fill in that historical award gap, the crack Pro Hoops History committee of one has gone back and created the Lost All-NBA 3rd Teams.

Kicking off the 1975 All-NBA 3rd Team is the super athlete Randy Smith. The Buffalo Braves point guard was the 104th(!) pick of the 1971 draft and now here he is averaging 18 PPG and 6.5 APG for a 49-win ball club. Smith contributed to the Braves very good year with a knack for making buoyant jump shots, making daring steals, and crashing the boards superbly for his position with 4.2 RPG.

Randy’s teammate Bob McAdoo took home MVP honors for the NBA and knocked Kareem Abdul-Jabbar off the All-NBA 1st Team. So here is Kareem on the 3rd team squad after a relatively underwhelming season. Well, underwhelming for him. Kareem still averaged 30 points, 14 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 blocks per game on a career-low 51% shooting. He missed 17 games and the Bucks straggled to 38 wins in his absence. Picking up the slack as best he could was Bob Dandridge. The Bucks forward averaged 20 points and 7 rebounds per game and was Milwaukee’s most persistent performer all year. More troublesome for Milwaukee was that Jabbar was unhappy and grumbling for a change of scenery. It would come soon enough with an offseason trade to Los Angeles.

Occupying the other forward slot with Dandridge – for the second straight year – is Rudy Tomjanovich. Rudy T’s statistical output dipped somewhat from the previous year, but the Rockets performed better for the season finishing an even 41-41 and making the playoffs. The 41 wins were a franchise record at that point and Houston advanced to the second round of the Eastern Conference playoffs. In the postseason Tomjanovich played out of his mind averaging 23 points on 56% shooting. Remember this is a power forward who got a good deal of his points on mid-and-long range jump shots. So the accomplishment is all the more noteworthy.

For Rudy T to get Houston to the second round required dispatching the New York Knicks in the 1st Round. The early playoff exit was disappointing for New York, but Earl Monroe was the story for the Knicks that season. After being traded from Baltimore to New York in 1971, Monroe was used mostly as a reserve on a well-balanced attack. But as Dave DeBusschere, Willis Reed, Dick Barnett and Jerry Lucas retired, Monroe’s offensive output was needed more and more. In 1975, he once again received big time minutes and rose to the challenge. Earl the Pearl averaged 21 points as he began an oft-forgot career renaissance at age 30.

Pos. Player Team G PPG RPG APG BPG SPG FG% FT% WS PER
F Rudy Tomjanovich Houston Rockets 81 20.7 7.6 2.9 0.3 0.9 0.525 0.790 10.1 17.8
F Bob Dandridge Milwaukee Bucks 80 19.9 6.9 3.0 0.6 1.5 0.473 0.805 7.0 16.7
C Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Milwaukee Bucks 65 30.0 14.0 4.1 3.3 1.0 0.513 0.765 12.9 26.4
G Randy Smith Buffalo Braves 82 17.8 4.2 6.5 0.0 1.7 0.484 0.800 7.2 17.1
G Earl Monroe New York Knicks 78 20.9 4.2 3.5 0.4 1.4 0.457 0.827 6.6 17.7