The Chicago Stags were founded in 1946 and folded in 1950. Despite their short history, they were able to acquire the draft rights to a young Bob Cousy in a trade with the Tri-Cities Blackhawks (although he never played a game for them). When the Stags folded, a dispersal draft was held to divide up their players around the league. Bob Cousy was drafted by the Boston Celtics. Despite their short existence in the NBA the Chicago Stags did very well, making their way to the NBA finals in 1947 only to lose to the Philadelphia Warriors.
The beginning of a new league
In the NBA's inaugural year, there were 11 teams split into 2 divisions. The Chicago Stags were placed in the Western Division, and won the division by one game, finishing 39-22 over the 38-23 St. Louis Bombers. They finished second in the regular season standings, only behind the 49-11 Washington Capitols. In the playoffs, they received a first-round bye, only to play the Capitols in the semi-finals. Chicago won the series 4-2, and procceded to play into the finals. There they played the Philadelphia Warriors, who easily won 4-1.
The next season, however, the Stags were not as competitve. They finished second in their division (which was down to 4 teams). They finished 28-20, finishing only 1 game behind the St. Louis Bombers, and second overall in the league (the total number of teams was down form 11 to 8). In the playoffs they played a tiebreaker (after tying with the Washington Capitols. They won that game by 4 points, and advanced to play the Boston Celtics in the quarter-finals. They won, moving into the semi-finals for the second consecutive year. However, they were then trounced by the eventual champions, the Baltimore Bullets.
The next year, each division was instantly made more competitive with more teams, including the Minneapolis Lakers and the New York Knickerbockers. The Stags finished 3rd, 38-22, seven games behind division-winning Rochester Royals. The playoffs were explanded from 6 to 8 teams, and the Stags played the Lakers. They lost again to the eventual champions, the Lakers, 2-0.
The final season
In Chicago's final season, the league consistently continued its growth, forming a third division, and a total of 17 teams. The stags finished third, again behind the Lakers and Royals, 11 games back, with a 40-28 record, however failing to make the playoffs in their final chance.
Players of note
Max Zaslofsky (1947-1948 Scoring Leader of BAA) G
Gene Vance #12 G
Mickey Rottner F
Chick Halbert C
Note: W = Wins, L = Losses, % = Win-Loss %
Season W L % Playoffs Results
Chicago Stags (BAA)
1946-47 39 22 .639 Won BAA Semifinals
Lost BAA Finals Chicago 4, Washington 2
Philadelphia 4, Chicago 1
1947-48 28 20 .583 Won Division Tie
Won 1st Round
Lost Semifinals Chicago 1, Washington
Chicago 2, Boston1
Baltimore 2, Chicago 0
1948-49 38 22 .633 Lost Division Semifinals Minneapolis 2, Chicago 0
Chicago Stags (NBA)
1949-50 40 28 .588 Lost Division Tie
Lost Division Semifinals Fort Wayne 1, Chicago 0
Minneapolis 2, Chicago 0
The Chicago Bulls wore replicas of the 1946 Stags uniforms during the 2005-06 NBA season as part of the NBA's "Hardwood Classics" program. (They wore them on December 5th, February 22, and April 16)