Bob Kauffman


Bob Kauffman

infobox NBA Player


name = Bob Kauffman
position = Center/Power Forward
height_ft = 6
height_in = 9
weight_lbs = 240
nickname =
nationality = American
birth_date = birth date and age|1946|7|13
birth_place = Brooklyn, New York
college = Guilford
draft = 5th overall
draft_year = 1968
draft_team = Seattle SuperSonics
career_start = 1968
career_end = 1975
former_teams = Seattle SuperSonics 1968–1970 Buffalo Braves 1970-1974 Chicago Bulls 1974 Atlanta Hawks 1974-1975

Robert "Bob" Kauffman (born July 13 1946, in Brooklyn, New York) is a retired American professional basketball player.

A 6'8" forward/center from Guilford College, Kauffman was selected with the third pick of the 1968 NBA Draft by the Seattle SuperSonics. He played seven seasons in the NBA as a member of the Sonics, Chicago Bulls, Buffalo Braves, and Atlanta Hawks. A three-time All-Star (in 1971, 1972, and 1973), Kauffman averaged 11.5 points and 7.0 rebounds for his career. He had his finest season in 1970-71, when he averaged 20.4 points and 10.7 rebounds for the Braves.

Kauffman was the third player taken overall in the 1968 NBA draft after Elvin Hayes and Wes Unseld. Kauffman proved to be a legitimate star.At 6'8" and 240 pounds, Kauffman had the strength and athleticism to play both forward and center. His shot was accurate to 20 feet and he could muscle for points near the hoop. He was also an above-average passer and a willing defender.

The Seattle SuperSonics, in their second year of existence, were 32-50 in Kauffman's rookie year. But the star prospect never started. He remained a reserve behind smaller forwards. His second year, star player/coach Lenny Wilkins traded Kauffman to Chicago for aging veteran Bob Boozer. Chicago faired a few games better that year than Seattle, but went with a smaller, quicker lineup that again featured smaller forwards. Kauffman was even deeper on Dick Motta's bench in the playoffs.

The Bulls, who actually needed big man help, then traded Kauffman to the expansion Buffalo Braves. Kauffman, who could not get a chance at forward before, became the Braves' starting center, where his play reminded some of Dave Cowens or Dan Issel. He responded with an average of 20 points, 11 rebounds and 4.5 assists per game for the season and a selection to the NBA All-Star Game. Finally with a fair opportunity, he had proven his talent.

With seven-foot shot blocker Elmore Smith added in 1971, Kauffman moved back to his natural power forward spot and was again an NBA all-star. His stats remained about the same. He hit half his shots and 80% of his free throws as well. His play highlighted a second straight losing season during his time there.

In 1972, coach Jack Ramsay and star rookie Bob MacAdoo arrived. The three big men , Smith, Kauffman and MacAdoo, formed a potent frontline. But the Braves were again not winners. A shakeup was needed.

Kauffman had earned his third straight All-Star selection with 17.5 points, 11 rebounds and five assists per game. Despite his obvious talents, however, his all-star days would end here.

Coach Ramsay traded Elmore Smith, placed MacAdoo, a natural forward, at center, and put the three-time all-star Kauffman on the bench. The Braves would start to win now, but Kauffman was again an unhappy reserve, lost in the shuffle of the new roster.So the three-time all-star was dealt to Atlanta, where was again a reserve behind lesser forwards. A disappointed Kauffman retired at that point.

Kauffman would later serve as General Manager and briefly as head coach of the Detroit Pistons for a half-season to fill a coaching vacancy, posting a 29-29 record. He was a 32-year-old coach who had elevated a losing team. But the following season, the coaching spot was given to Dick Vitale.

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