Ex-Kings coach Paul Westphal to be enshrined in Basketball Hall of Fame

by James Ham

The Hall is calling.

After more than 30 years, the wait finally is over for former Sacramento Kings coach Paul Westphal. He will be enshrined in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame later this year, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported Friday. 

The Hall confirmed the news Saturday.

Drafted by the Boston Celtics 10th overall in 1972, Westphal played 12 seasons in the NBA. The 6-foot-4 guard, who was a five-time All-Star, averaged 15.6 points and 4.4 assists per game while playing for four different teams.

Westphal won an NBA title with the 1973-74 Celtics, and he helped lead the Phoenix Suns to a Western Conference title in the 1975-76 season.

The former USC Trojan star posted his best career season with the Suns during the 1977-78 season. He averaged 25.2 points and 5.5 assists per game, and finished sixth in the NBA MVP balloting.

Westphal won the NBA’s Comeback Player of the Year following the 1982-83 season with the New York Knicks. He retired one year later after returning to the Suns for a second tour of duty.

Following his playing career, Westphal coached the Suns, Seattle SuperSonics and Kings. He compiled a 318-279 record over parts of 10 seasons, and led the Suns to an NBA Finals appearance against Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls during the 1992-93 season.

In Westphal's two-plus seasons coaching the Kings, he compiled a 51-120 record, but the team ran the lowest payroll in the NBA during that stretch under the Maloof family's ownership.

In addition to his NBA accomplishments, Westphal is in the USC Hall of Fame, Pac 12 Hall of Honor and the Phoenix Suns Ring of Honor. He also coached at the collegiate level at Pepperdine and Southern Baptist Bible College, and led Grand Canyon University to an NAIA national title in 1988.

Joining Westphal in the Basketball Hall Class of 2019 will be Kings general manager Vlade Divac, former Bucks guard Sidney Moncrief, Warriors ambassador Al Attles, former 76ers forward Bobby Jones and basketball pioneer Chuck Cooper. Other honorees include Bill Fitch, Jack Sikma, Teresa Weatherspoon and the Tennessee A&I teams of 1957 to 1959.

Divac and Co. will be enshrined into the Basketball Hall on Sept. 5-7 in Springfield, Mass.