St. John’s big man Billy Paultz was an early-round selection by the ABA’s Washington Capitols in the 1970 ABA Draft, while he was also taken by the San Diego Rockets in the seventh round of that year’s NBA Draft.
Paultz signed with the Capitols in mid-June 1970 and was set to compete for their starting center spot, but shortly before the club moved to Virginia to become the Squires, the Caps sent Paultz to the New York Nets in exchange for a future draft pick and some cash.
Sir Charles In Charge
The move reunited Paultz with his college coach, Lou Carnesecca, who took over the reins with the Nets for the 1970-71 campaign.
He went on to have a terrific rookie season for the Nets, appearing in 83 of the team’s 84 games and averaging 14.7 points and 11.3 rebounds in 33.2 minutes per game while shooting .524/0-for-2/.747.
The Nets won a then-franchise-best 40 games and made their second straight trip to the playoffs before being eliminated by the Squires in six games.
Paultz was huge in the series against the 55-win Virginia club, averaging 20.2 points, 15.0 rebounds and 3.0 assists in 39.8 minutes per game and shooting .592/1-for-1/.750.
Despite the solid season, Paultz was left off the All-Rookie team at season’s end. The ABA voted for the team by position and Paultz wasn’t going to beat out Kentucky Colonels’ sensation Dan Issel at center, who led the ABA in scoring at nearly 30 points a game.
Paultz spent his first five season with the Nets before he was traded to the San Antonio Spurs in 1975. He played four-plus seasons with the Spurs and parts of four seasons with the Houston Rockets before returning to San Antonio in 1983.
He spent a season each with the Atlanta Hawks and Utah Jazz, retiring in 1985 after 15 pro seasons.