He was given the nickname “Tiny” for his lack of size at 6-foot-1 and weighing around 150 pounds, and while most miniature players find it difficult to thrive in a sport predicated on size, not only did Nate Archibald carve out a career, he was amazing out on the court.
When it comes to manning the point guard position, most guys fall into either one of two categories. The first is the more traditional type, the one who likes to run the offense and get everyone involved, only inclined to shoot when deemed appropriate.
Then there are the score-first types, those whose styles are predicated on being aggressive and looking for their own shot and having their teammates play off them.
In his prime years, Archibald really was the best of both worlds. He was scoring well over 20 points a night will coming fairly close to 10 assists.
In fact, the six-time All-Star is the only player in NBA history to lead the league in both scoring and assists in the same season, which was accomplished during the 1972-73 season with averages of 34.0 points and 11.4 assists per game.
As one could likely surmise from this accomplishment, Tiny was incredible with the ball in his hands. He was aggressive in taking the ball to the bucket but proved equally adept with his jump-shooting if the defense sagged off. Plus, he could always find the open man whether he was coming off a screen or penetrating the teeth of the defense.
Archibald is a Hall of Famer and yet rarely comes up in NBA history lessons. The man holds one of the most unique accolades ever, and maybe it’s time he starts getting the type of recognition he deserves.