Mavs From the Past: Kurt Nimphius

Kurt Nimphius signed with the Dallas Mavericks on September 2, 1981. He was drafted by the Denver Nuggets a year before but he never played with them, only taking part in their rookie camp before playing overseas in the Italian Pro League. He then got waived by the Nuggets on the same day he signed with the Mavericks.

In his first season with the Mavericks, Nimphius averaged 5.3 points per game (PPG), 4.7 rebounds per game (RPG), 1.0 assist per game (APG), and 1.3 blocks per game. He played in 63 games his first year in Dallas while starting in 27 of them at the center position. His rookie season with the Mavericks was the least amount of games he played on the team in a full season.

In his second season with the Mavericks, Nimphius stayed consistent with his stats, averaging 5.3 PPG, 5.0 RPG, 1.4 APG, and 1.4 BPG. He also made the only three-pointer he shot in the season. He played in 81 games while starting in 12 of them. 

Nimphius’ third season in Dallas would be his best as he would average 7.9 PPG, 6.3 RPG, 2.1 APG, and 1.8 BPG while starting in 46 of his 82 games played for the season. He followed up that season averaging  6.1 PPG, 5.0 RPG, 2.2 APG, and 1,5 BPG in the next one. He again played in all 82 games for the season while starting in 40 of them.

Nimphius’ fifth season in Dallas would be his last there as he was traded on November 25, 1985, to the Los Angeles Clippers for James Donaldson. For the rest of that season, he averaged 12.0 PPG, the best scoring average in a season during his career. He also started in 62 out of the 67 games played during that season with the Clippers, along with the four starts before he got traded from Dallas, that was the most starts in a season for him.

Nimphius spent the first half of the 1986-1987 season with the Clippers before getting traded mid-season to the Detroit Pistons. In the offseason, he signed as a free agent with the San Antonio Spurs. He then played a season in the Spanish League. His final season in the NBA came in 1989 when he signed in the offseason with the Philadelphia 76ers and played his final season there. He played the following year in the Italian league, which would be his final season playing professional basketball.

As part of the Mavericks, Nimphius averaged 6.2 PPG, 5.2 RPG, 1.7 APG, and 1.5 BPG. He showed to be a reliable big man while on the Mavericks playing in 80 or more games in three of his four and a half seasons there. He led the league in games played when he played in all 82 games in back-to-back seasons. Even though Nimphius wasn’t the star of any team in which he played on, his biggest strength was his ability to stay on the court for a majority of the season. Being able to stay healthy and play in a majority of games is something taller players, such as himself, have trouble with.

Nimphius lives in Arizona with his family. He is a black belt in karate. In 2007, he was inducted into the Wisconsin Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame. In 2011, he was inducted into his alma mater’s Hall of Fame, the Arizona State University Sports Hall of Fame. The following year he was inducted into the Pac-12 Hall of Honor.

Nimphius started his NBA career getting waived by the team that drafted him but became a big man that coaches could rely on to be on the court a majority of the season. His achievements got recognition when he got inducted into three different basketball Hall of Fames.

Leave a ReplyCancel reply