NBA: 30 greatest playmakers in NBA history

(Photo by Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images)
(Photo by Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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Tiny Archibald, Cincinnati Royals, Kansas City Kings, Boston Celtics
(Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images) /

16. Nate “Tiny” Archibald, Cincinnati Royals/Kansas City Kings/Boston Celtics

Nate “Tiny” Archibald was listed at only 6-foot-1, but he played a lot bigger than that during his time in the NBA, climbing from the then-Cincinnati Royals to the championship-minded Boston Celtics franchise during his career.

Archibald led the league in scoring (34.0 PPG) and assists per game (11.4) as a member of the then-Kansas City Kings, showing off his ability as both a scoring and passing machine during the 1972-73 season. He became the only player in league history to lead the league in both scoring and assists per game during a regular season.

That year, he put up a career-high 21 assists to go along with three 50-point games and 15 40-point games. It was quite the accomplishment considering the makeup of his team.

He had quite the battle with an Achilles’ injury, which cut a few of his seasons short. This included the 1973-74 season, where he played in just 35 games.

An Achilles’ injury caused him to miss the entire 1977-78 season, but he still managed to return as a member of the Celtics. He won an NBA title as a member of the Celtics in 1981, averaging 15.6 points and 6.3 assists per game during the playoffs.

He would go on to finish his career with six All-Star appearances, a scoring title, an assist title and an NBA title, despite the ups and downs he faced. Archibald will go down as one of the best playmakers below 6-foot-5, a rarity these days at the guard position.