While he was a member of the Atlanta Hawks, Spud Webb used his extraordinary leaping ability to instantly make a name for himself, not just across the league, but also around the globe.
On July 1st, 1991, the unthinkable happened – Webb was traded by the Atlanta Hawks, together with a 1994 2nd round draft pick, to the Sacramento Kings for guard Travis Mays.
The Kings weren’t exactly a powerhouse at the time – they hadn’t recorded a 30+ winning season nor did make the playoffs since the 1985-86 NBA season. That season the Kings finished with a 37-45 record before they lost the in the first round to the Houston Rockets.
However, the Kings did have the battle-hardened power forward Wayman Tisdale and rookie forward Lionel Simmons, who finished his 1990-91 rookie campaign with 18.0 ppg, 8.8 rpg, and 4.0 apg.
What made the 1991-92 Sacramento Kings squad especially exciting for the fans was a new backcourt with Mitch Richmond, who came in from the Golden State Warriors, and of course – Spud Webb.
That was a new beginning for Sacramento. Webb had the best year of his NBA career. He appeared in a total of 77 games, starting every one of those, and posted averages of 16.0 ppg, 7.1 apg, 2.9 rpg, 1.6 spg. Webb shot 44.5% from the field, 36.7% from beyond the three-point arc, and a respectable 85.9% from beyond the charity stripe.
Spudd once again found himself in the familiar role in the ‘Land of Giants’ – controlling the tempo for the Kings that season, he scored double digits 68 times.
Being surrounded by teammates like Richmond, Tisdale, and Simmons was a tremendous plus – Spud just needed to deliver the ball in the right spot, and they took care of the rest scoring buckets with great ease. That, of course, co-related with a total of 61 games that season in which Spud recorded 5+ dimes.
Some of the most exciting games of the Kings’ 1991-92 season came against the Houston Rockets, the team which featured ex-Kings player Kenny Smith and Otis Thorpe. Spud knew Smith from the mid-1980s NCAA rivalry between North Carolina State and North Carolina Tar Heels. On March 8th, 1992, the two teams squared off in Sacramento’s ARCO Arena for an exciting game.
Webb wasn’t afraid to blow by Smith and take it right to the hoop! Then, in the second half, he continued to feed his teammates and hit open shots, even a trey (he hit 2-4 treys in a game!).
With just over a minute left in regulation time, and the game on the line, he tried to score a lay-up, but Olajuwon denied him. The very next offensive possession, Webb came up with a ‘dagger.’ In essence, he took it directly in the eye of Houston’s defensive ‘twister’ Olajuwon & Thorpe and somehow produced the miraculous twisting lay-up!
Webb finished the game with 20 points, 7 assists, and 3 boards, but the Houston Rockets managed to edge the Kings by 109-108. The visiting team was led by the dominating Hakeem Olajuwon and Otis Thorpe, who combined for 46 points along with 31 boards.
The Kings may have lost that game, but all in all, the 1991-92 campaign was Webb’s most productive NBA season.