Jerry Lucas was one of those highly sought out prospects coming out of Ohio University. Having already participated in the 1960 Olympic Games, there was little doubt Lucas would be a special player in the NBA. Once he got drafted by the Cincinnati Royals and came to the league in 1963, he’d do nothing to dispell that theory.
At a relatively early point in the game of basketball’s existence, not many players brought creativity and flare to their game. They were more rugged and fundamental, with no extra or unnecessary movements, lest it compromises the task at hand.
Lucas averaged 19.6 points per game in just over six seasons with the Royals, scoring in a variety of uneventful ways ranging from simple post ups that led to jump hooks or uncontested layups. He had a respectable 15-foot jumper, a unique skill for a big man at the time which was probably his biggest asset when he had the ball in his hands.
Despite standing only 6-foot-8, Lucas was gifted with an innate desire to pursue any and all loose balls available. He averaged 19.1 rebounds per game for the Royals, coming incredibly close to averaging 20-20, which has become very rare as just a one-game stat line much less a per game average for over half a decade.
The 1962-63 Rookie of the Year, Lucas was an All-Star in each of his first six seasons in the league and wound up an NBA champion with the New York Knicks in 1973 and a Hall of Famer in 1980. With such a crowded trophy case, it’s safe to say he exceeded the hype.