When Paul Silas broke into the National Basketball Association in 1964, Magic Johnsn was fast approaching kindergarten age. Is it any wonder, then, that Silas, president of the NBA players' association since 1974, has developed into something of a father figure around the league?
His accumulated wisdom has helped the Boston Celtics win two championships and the Seattle SuperSonics one, and now it could aid San Diego in steering a similar course. Silas has just accepted the job of player-cach of the Clippers, replacing Gene Shue, who resigned. Always a superb offensive rebounder and defender, Paul should be able to teach his players a lot about those two aspects of the game. And if Bill Walton sees more action than last season, when he appeared in just 14 games, the Clippers could improve markedly on their 35-47 record.
When Silas enters his 17th season next October, his toughest job may be deciding when to put himself in the game. He needs to play in just 17 more games to eclipse the record of his former teammate John Havlicek, who was in 1, 270 regular-season games. Another perspective on NBA finals
"Match-ups" are something pro basketball people never quit talking about, and as usual, it was a hot topic during the National Basketball Association playoffs. But instead of comparing how Julius Erving would do against Jamaal Wilkes in the finals, maybe the experts should have looked at the alma maters of the Los Angeles and Philadelphia players.
Three starters on the victorious Lakers played on collegiate champions, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Wilkes for UCLA and Magic Johnson for Michigan State. Filling out this unit were Jim Chones and Norm Nixon, whose alma maters, Marquette and Duquesne, are noted basketball schools.
Now check out the 76er starters: Darryl Dawkins (Evans High School, Fla.); Caldwell Jones (Albany State, Ga.); Julius Erving (Massachusetts); Maurice Cheeks (West Texas State); and Lionel Hollins (Arizona State). No NCAA championship experience here.
Philadelphia did have it on the bench: Henry Bibby (UCLA) and Bernard Toone (Marquette) played for collegiate champions. The Lakers, though, could counter with Butch Lee, the team's least-used reserve. He played alondside Toone at Marquette in 1977, when the Warriors won the NCAA crown and Butch was selected the tournament MVP.