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Stanford Basketball Power Ranking: Top 15 NBA Cardinal Careers, #2

The penultimate entry in an epic cataloging of great Stanford NBA products was the #2 man of the NBA's original dynasty.

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2. Jim Pollard, 6'4" F/C, 185 lbs. (NBL: 1947-48, BAA: 1948-1949, NBA** 1949-1955). Stats: 13.2 ppg, 7.8 rpg, 3.2 apg (they didn't tally steals/blocks before 1973-74), 75% ft%, 36% fg%, 15.5 PER, 0.093 WS/48, 35.4 mpg. Accolades: 4x All-Star, 2x All-NBA First Team (1949-50), 2x All-NBA Second Team (1952, 1954), 6x Champion (Minneapolis Lakers, 1948-1950, 1952-1954), Hall of Famer 1978 - Though George Mikan was the #1 guy on those Minneapolis Lakers championship teams, during the pre-24 second shot clock era, Pollard was their #2. Pollard overlapped with the shot clock era for one sole season, his last in 1954-55. He was an All-Star that year, but he also tallied the lowest averages of his career in scoring and dimes (10.8 ppg, 2.5 apg), and his boards average was significantly below his peak output (7.3 rpg, as opposed to seasons of 9.0 and 9.1 rpg). He was also an NCAA Champion in 1942, back when Stanford's mascot was the Indians. Obviously non-pro career accolades are not counted towards these players' rankings, I just wanted to throw that little fact out there.

Before the 24-second clock , the NBA moved at an ugly, glacial pace, its defense defined primarily by excessive fouling as point guards wound down the shot clock by holding the ball forever (Bob Cousy once called this stalling tactic "put[ting] the ball in the icebox"). As a pre-24-second clock guy who, like Charles Barkley after him, was a front court player, Pollard has to be slotted behind our #1. Could he have banged with the league's bigger contemporary centers? Could the Lopez or Collins twins have handled him in the post? Possibly, but he was quite athletic for his day (he was nicknamed "The Kangaroo Kid" for his ability to leap from the free throw line to the basket during warm-ups), and the dude could flat-out score for the NBA's first dynasty. Pollard was a winner, through and through. Pollard's athleticism extended to other pursuits, too: he played amateur baseball for a Jordan, MN town team, solid on the mound and a slugger on the plate. It's hard to do a ton of video scouting for such an old-school player, and the footage that exists has to be taken with a grain of salt. Pollard's output belongs to an era that was so predominantly white (meaning the competition wasn't wholly legitimate, compared with today's equal-opportunity teams), the fact that he compares favorably to his peers as an athlete and scorer is a good start on this front, but it's hard to gauge where he'd stand against the current crop of NBA players.

*For his rookie and sophomore seasons, Pollard was in two premiere pre-NBA leagues, the National Basketball League and the Basketball Association of America. The Lakers won the title both years.