Bob Lanier and Rudy Tomjanovich—the two players picked before Maravich in the 1970 NBA Draft—would both make at least five All-Star appearances and have longer careers than Pistol Pete, but neither was turning as many heads as Pete was during their rookie season. The team's veterans were upset at the guard's comparatively large $1.9 million contract, but Pete proved to be worth it. Maravich averaged 23.2 PPG and 4.4 APG in 81 games—the most he's played in a season.
He clearly was good from a numbers standpoint, but look at the way he put up those numbers. For example, peep the classic Christmas Day game against the Suns. Take note of the frightening nonchalance Pistol Pete is making some of those assists. Pistol Pete's masterful ball handling and exceptional scoring ability was on display as well. You're damn right $1.9 million. (Check out the rest of the game too while you're at it. It's a classic).