1974-1975 ABA Stats: 84 GP, 37.7 MPG, 18.7 PPG, 10.7 RPG, 1.5 APG, 1.3 SPG, 0.4 BPG, 50.9 FG%, 77.0 FT%
1974-1975 ABA Advanced: 54.1 TS%, 51.0 eFG%, 17.0 PER, 107 ORtg, 99 DRtg, 10.0 WS
All-Star Team? Yes
Team: 58-26, lost in first round to Spirits of St. Louis
Larry Kenon had an immediate impact in his rookie year on the 1974 ABA champion New York Nets. The lean 6’9″ (not including afro) power forward put up 15.9 points and 11.5 rebounds and made the ABA All-Rookie team alongside such awesomely named players as Bo Lamar and Swen Nater.
Kenon, nicknamed “Mr, K”, did not suffer from a sophomore slump. He made the first of his five career All-Star appearances (2 ABA, 3 NBA) in 1974-75. The former junior college product was third in the ABA in defensive win shares with 5.7 and the versatile forward solidified his spot as the second best player (Dr. J being the first) on a 58-26 team. The Nets tied for first in the Eastern Division with the Kentucky Colonels and because – duh – it was the ABA, they played a special one game playoff to determine the Division champion. The Nets would lose the tie-breaker game and would go on to be upset by the 32-52 Spirits of St. Louis in five games (4-1).
Mr. K might have had a stronger entry on this list, but he was traded to the San Antonio Spurs in the summer of 1975 along with Mike Gale and Billy Paultz in exchange for the aforementioned Swen Nater, Chuck Terry, Kim Hughes and Rich “House” Jones. While Kenon was a solid rebounder, especially on the offensive end, Dr. J still led the team in rebounding in 1974-75 and the perception was the Nets needed more help on the boards.
The Dutch native Nater led the ABA with 16.4 rebounds in 74-75, so it seemed like a natural fix. Nater would average 10.1 rebounds per game through 43 games for the Nets in 75-76 before being traded to the Virginia Squires for “Jumbo” Jim Eakins.
(We really need to bring the ABA back, or at least, ABA names.)
One last parting thought about Kenon. In the first year post ABA/NBA merger, the Spurs forward set an NBA record with 11 steals in a game in December of 1976 (told you he was versatile). The only other player to steal 11 in a game? The New Jersey’ Nets Kendall Gill, who did it against the Miami Heat in April of 1999.