Welcome to the second issue of “Remember the Lakers.” Due to name conflicts with a few other sites and magazines we have changed the name of the segment formerly known as “This is LA.” It’s still the exact same series with the exact same intentions of the previous issue. These articles will go up every Thursday unless stated otherwise on Twitter (@jscanlanwilson, @BravesLiferInKS, @LakersPulse).
In this issue, we will be discussing the Lakers’ second season of play, like ever. The 1948-49 season. For the next few minutes, we will be talking over the same subjects as last week and this will most likely be the format we follow from here on out. So sit back, strap in, and enjoy the ride…
Fresh off two different championships in the 47-48 season, the Minneapolis Lakers changed leagues. The Basketball Association of America had just finished the league’s second season and was better financed. The president of the BAA was able to add four teams to the league and gained the Lakers as well as the Rochester Royals. The Royals, later the Sacramento Kings, presented a great new rivalry for the league.The Lakers and George Mikan quickly became the league’s biggest draw.
After a whole year (well, season) of switching between two stadiums for whole games in the previous season, the Minneapolis Lakers finally settled on playing all their home games in the Minneapolis Auditorium, where they stayed for quite a while.
There were a few gains and losses in the Lakers roster, which made the team look quite different than the year before.
Jack Rockner (C-F) who averaged 1.5 points, 0.0 rebounds and 0.2 assists in his 14 game Laker career, played for the team in the prior season and left in the offseason when he was traded to the Philadelphia Warriors. He played another year before retiring.
Both Joe Patanelli (Kansas City Blues) and Paul Napolitano (Indianapolis Jets) also left at the same time as Rockner and they also retired after another year.
A few newcomers who were on the roster to start the season were:
Whitey Kachan (G) from the Chicago Stags.
Ray Ellefson (C) from West Texas A&M University.
Donnie Forman (G) from NYU (New York University).
In-Game Stats and Facts
The 1948-49 Lakers would fall short of a division championship by one game in favor of the Rochester Royals. The team finished with a record of 44-16. MIkan led the team in scoring at a 28.3 clip and the team would lead the league in team scoring and team defense. The margin of victory was 7.38 ppg and the team averaged 84 ppg. The longest winning streak reached ten games and the longest losing streak was two.
During the playoffs, the Lakers beat the Chicago Stags 2-0, Rochester Royals 2-0 and the Washington Capitals (coached by Red Auerbach) 3-2. Mikan averaged 30.3 and Pollard averaged 13.0 on the way to the championship.
Jim McMillian 3/11/48 1970-73
Jim McDaniels 4/2/48 1975-76
Earnie Killum 6/11/48 1970-71
Cornell Warner 8/12/48 1975-77
Rudy Tomjanovich 11/24/48 2004-16 Coach/Scout
Charlie Scott 12/15/48 1977-78
“I feel this was another really strong season for the Lakers. Just getting back into the swing of things and aiming for one thing only: to win games. And that’s what they did. Also the management was great in getting rid of the ‘weaker’ players in order to make space for rookies. Something the current Lakers could take from here is that not the whole team needs to be youngsters and maybe it’s better to have some senior players on your roster as well.” – Joshua Scanlan-Wilson
“The 1948 Lakers showed that a new league and different competition would not slow them down. Mikan continued his dominance and the Lakers would show that they would be a team to beat for the next several years.” – Bryan Diffendal
And on that note, we would like to thank you once again for reading the second installment of “Remember the Lakers.” Please feel free to check out the previous and debut episode of the series and check back for a new issue next week.