NBA Player Directory
Tisdale player file
A terror in college with good post moves and a sweet lefthanded jumper, Wayman Tisdale has been a consistent scorer in the NBA. He had spent most of his career on weak teams, reaching the playoffs only once in his first nine seasons, before joining the Phoenix Suns in 1994.
Oklahoma University had never seen anything like Tisdale. He pumped in an average of more than 24 points per game for his three seasons there, becoming the first player in NCAA history to earn All-America First Team honors in his first three years. As a sophomore in 1983-84 he averaged 27.0 points, and as a junior he scored at a rate of 25.2 points per game. He was also a member of the 1984 U.S. Olympic basketball team.
Tisdale passed up his senior season in order to enter the 1985 NBA Draft and was taken by the Indiana Pacers with the second overall pick (behind Patrick Ewing). He made the NBA All-Rookie Second Team after scoring 14.7 points per game in 1985-86. After posting 2+ more solid seasons with the Pacers, he was traded in 1989 to the Sacramento Kings.
He spent 5+ seasons in Sacramento, from 1989 to 1994, and was the team's top scorer in several of those years. In his first full campaign with the Kings, 1989-90, he averaged a career-best 22.3 points, shot .525 from the floor and averaged 7.5 rebounds. The following year he scored 20.0 points per contest in 33 games but ruptured a tendon in his foot and missed the remainder of the season.
In his next three seasons at Sacramento, Tisdale posted consistent scoring averages of 16.6, 16.6 and 16.7 points per game, respectively. In each of his first eight full seasons in the NBA his field-goal percentage had topped .500. The Kings, however, never made the playoffs while Tisdale was on board.
In the 1994 offseason Tisdale left the Kings to sign as a free agent with the Phoenix Suns. Coming off the bench at center and forward, he helped the Suns to the Pacific Division title in 1994-95. It marked the first time in his career that Tisdale had played on a team with a winning record.
He again played a valuable role as a frontcourt reserve and spot starter for the Suns in 1995-96, scoring in double figures for the 11th season in a row. He scored his 12,000th career point on Dec. 20 and ended the 1995-96 season just three rebounds from becoming only the 14th active player to total 12,000 points and 5,000 rebounds.
Tisdale again provided valuable frontcourt depth in his second season with the Suns, averaging 10.7 points and 3.4 rebounds in just 18.3 minutes per game. He played in 63 games, primarily coming off the bench but drawing six starting assignments.
He missed 11 games in March due to a strained right shoulder but finished the season strongly, averaging 15.1 ppg and 4.1 rpg and shooting .520 over his final eight games.
Tisdale scored in double figures 27 times and had 20 or more points nine times, including a season-high 30 points against Washington on Dec. 20. He shot 13-for-18 from the field in that game, in which he scored his 12,000th career point.
He averaged 5.3 ppg in 16.8 mpg during the playoffs.
Tisdale, who hadn't played on a winning squad in his first nine years in the league, signed a one-year free-agent contract with the Phoenix Suns for 1994-95. He registered his lowest scoring average to date (10.0 ppg) but played a strong role on a team that won the Pacific Division with a 59-23 record.
Tisdale was a reserve forward and center for the Suns, who boasted Tisdale, Charles Barkley, A. C. Green, and Danny Manning at the forward positions. Tisdale's average of 19.6 minutes per contest was eighth on the team, and his .484 field-goal percentage was the lowest full-season mark of his career. On January 9 he popped in a season-best 24 points on 10-for-12 shooting from the field.
The Suns swept the Portland Trail Blazers in three games in the first round of the playoffs but then fell to the eventual NBA-champion Houston Rockets in a seven-game conference semifinals series. Tisdale averaged 7.3 points and 3.0 rebounds in 10 postseason outings. He scored 21 points in a single game against Portland, his highest ever in a playoff game.
In a November 16 game against the Atlanta Hawks, Tisdale became the 40th active player in the NBA to reach 10,000 career points. For the year, the veteran forward ranked second on the Kings in scoring (16.7 ppg) and third in rebounding (7.1 rpg). He shot .501 from the floor and .808 from the free-throw line. Tisdale scored a season-high 32 points against the Dallas Mavericks on April 16 and grabbed 17 rebounds (tying his career high) on March 22 against the Portland Trail Blazers.
The 1993-94 season marked Tisdale's ninth in the NBA and his sixth with the team. He finished the year as the Sacramento Kings' all-time leader in both scoring and rebounding. He also performed at the NBA All-Star Weekend, but not in the usual manner. Tisdale's band, the Fifth Quarter, entertained fans throughout the three-day event.
Tisdale became the Kings' all-time Sacramento-era scoring leader on January 5 against the Denver Nuggets. He finished the season with 5,489 points in 291 games with the team for an average of 18.9 points per game. He also became the franchise's Sacramento-era leader in minutes (9,965), field goals made (2,301), and field goals attempted (4,508), while moving into second place behind LaSalle Thompson in rebounds (2,116).
At the end of another productive season, Tisdale ranked 28th in the league in field-goal percentage with a .509 mark. He scored in double figures in 63 games, with 20 or more points in 21 contests, including a career-high-tying 40 points on 19-of-23 field-goal shooting against the Los Angeles Clippers on March 23.
Tisdale averaged only 13.4 points on .457 shooting from the floor, 5.1 rebounds, and 25.7 minutes in the final 10 games after recovering from a strained right Achilles tendon that forced him to miss three games. He posted averages of 16.6 points and 6.6 rebounds per game for the season.
Tisdale's hope of a bounce-back season was dashed early as he suffered a pulled right hip muscle in the preseason. The injury resurfaced in the season opener and sidelined him for five games.
After a slow start in November and December (14.7 ppg, 5.9 rpg, .471 field-goal shooting), Tisdale came on strong in the final 22 games of the season, averaging 17.9 points and 7.9 rebounds while shooting .512 from the floor.
He scored 20 or more points in 22 games, including 9 times over the final 22 contests. His season high of 29 points came in Denver in a game against the Nuggets on January 13. He grabbed 10-plus rebounds in 12 games and had a double-double in each. On April 3 he grabbed a season-high 14 rebounds against the Golden State Warriors.
Tisdale, who finished with averages of 16.6 points and 6.5 rebounds per game, made the clinching play when the Kings ended an NBA-record 43-game road losing streak with a 95-93 victory over the Magic in Orlando on November 23. He forced a jump ball with seconds remaining and batted the tip downcourt to allow time to expire.
Tisdale played in only 33 games, his fewest as a pro, after he ruptured a tendon in his right foot in early January. He was initially hurt on January 8, then attempted to return for the next game on January 10 in Charlotte against the Hornets but went down early.
Tisdale's foot was placed in a cast on January 11, and 18 days later the cast was removed. His recovery was slow, and he was not activated until March 9. After playing in games on March 10 and 12 (he totaled 11 points on 5-of-17 shooting), Tisdale's foot was placed in a cast again, and he was out for the season.
Before the injury, Tisdale had been leading the Kings in scoring (21.2 ppg) and rebounding (8.2 rpg). In 13 games in November he averaged 23.0 points and 9.5 rebounds. He scored a season-high 36 points against the Orlando Magic on December 15 and hauled down a season-high 16 boards against the Golden State Warriors on November 17.
In his first full season with the Kings, Tisdale looked as though he might become the star post-up player that many had predicted he would be. He led the club in scoring (a career-high 22.3 ppg) and field-goal percentage (.525). Both marks ranked 18th in the NBA. He posted 15 double-doubles, with a season high of 16 rebounds in Houston against the Rockets on December 22. In 79 appearances he averaged 7.5 rebounds.
Tisdale twice reached career-high scoring nights of 40 points, against the Golden State Warriors on December 8 and versus the Detroit Pistons on March 6. Against the Pistons, Tisdale connected on 19 of 23 field-goal attempts, including 15 straight at one point. Those 40-point games were only the second and third in the club's Sacramento-era history.
The Sacramento Kings sent center LaSalle Thompson and guard Randy Wittman to the Indiana Pacers for Tisdale and a second-round draft pick on February 20, 1989. In terms of the subsequent production of the players involved, it was arguably the best deal ever made by the Kings during the franchise's Sacramento era.
Prior to the trade, Tisdale was averaging 16.0 points (second on the team) in 27.6 minutes per game for the Pacers. With the Kings, he averaged 19.8 points and a team-leading 9.6 rebounds in 31 games. His only single-digit scoring outing came when he left a game at halftime with the flu. He pulled down a then career-high 18 rebounds against the Portland Trail Blazers on March 25 and had 10-plus rebounds in 16 of the season's final 25 games.
The Kings were 13-18 (.419) in the games he played and 14-37 (.275) without him. Tisdale's .512 career field-goal percentage in Indiana was only .003 behind the Pacers' career record held by Billy Knight. For the season, Tisdale averaged 17.5 points and 7.7 rebounds.
Tisdale was a tower of strength in the second half of the season, averaging a team-leading 18.4 points on .558 shooting from the field over the final 41 games. He also averaged 6.3 rebounds during that stretch.
A career .699 shooter from the foul line up to this point, Tisdale improved his free-throw percentage to .783 this season. His average minutes per game went from the previous season's 26.7 to 30.1. Tisdale led Indiana in scoring 19 times and in rebounding 21 times. All told, Tisdale averaged 16.1 points and 6.2 rebounds for the season.
He scored a season-high 32 points against the New Jersey Nets on April 11 and had a season-high 13 rebounds against the Nuggets in Denver on November 18.
Tisdale, usually the first player off the bench for the Pacers, became one of the NBA's top sixth men. He started 15 games and averaged 26.7 minutes.
He established a new career high with 35 points against the Sacramento Kings on February 22-for the year, the highest point total by any sub in the league in a 48-minute game. He dished for a then career-high 6 assists in a game against the Atlanta Hawks on April 13.
As a starter, Tisdale averaged 16.9 points, 7.4 rebounds, and 32.7 minutes. For the season, he averaged 14.5 points and 5.9 rebounds, leading the team in offensive rebounds with 217 and in field-goal percentage at .513.
Tisdale scored in double figures in 64 games, the second-highest total on the squad. He posted double figures in rebounds nine times and led the team in scoring on 14 occasions and in rebounding 13 times.
The Indiana Pacers used the second pick in the 1985 NBA Draft-the first draft to utilize the lottery system-to select Wayman Tisdale out of Oklahoma. (Patrick Ewing was chosen first by the New York Knicks.) The lefthanded low-post threat had been a three-time All-American and a three-time Big Eight Conference Player of the Year for the Sooners. Tisdale left after his junior season with 17 school and 9 conference records. He had also played on the gold-medal-winning 1984 U.S. Olympic Team, averaging 8.6 points and a team-leading 6.4 rebounds at the Los Angeles games.
Tisdale averaged 14.7 points and 7.2 rebounds in only 28.1 minutes per game with Indiana. Shooting a team-high .515 from the floor, he posted season highs of 32 points versus the Warriors at Golden State on January 13 and 15 rebounds against the Detroit Pistons on January 20.