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The Wilt Chamberlain Debate – Basketball’s Goliath Conundrum

Even today, Wilt Chamberlain’s statistical accomplishments incite debate amongst basketball fans and historians around the world. Some feel that his accomplishments were overrated. Others feel that they were underrated. And yet a third contingent merely wants to understand how he was able to shamelessly galavant with 2 phallically-charged nicknames such as the “The Stilt” and “The Big Dipper”, without arousing any suspicion whatsoever.

Regardless, nearly 40 years after Wilt played his final game, the basketball universe remains collectively at odds over 2 questions:

1.) Did Wilt really bang 20,000 women?

2.) The Goliath Conundrum: Were Wilt’s statistical accomplishments truly the measure of greatness and dominance, or was he merely the beneficiary of playing in an era against inferior competition?

The good news is that I can definitely answer #1: Wilt did NOT sleep with 20,000 woman over a 40-year period, because if he did, his rod would have fallen off somewhere around 1967 – and there is no way that any man can sustain himself for a 96-game season, average 24 points, 24 rebounds, and 8 assists, win the regular season MVP, and lead his team to 68 wins and a NBA championship without his most important appendage. No folks, Wilt was merely a farcical liar who inflated his numbers to compensate for his own insecurities, and the fact is that every one of us knows at least one of those guys - so no need to suddenly disregard our bullshit meter.

#2 on the other hand is far more complex. Were Wilt’s statistical accomplishments truly the measure of greatness?

For many, Wilt Chamberlain remains the most dominant player in NBA History. No player has ever scored more points in a single game, or averaged more points and rebounds for an entire season. To this day, his statistical accomplishments remain transcendent and beyond reproach. No one else has even come close:

  • 30.1 points, 22.9 rebounds, and 4.4 assists per game average for his career
  • NBA record 50.4 points per game for a single season
  • NBA record 27.2 rebounds per game for a single season
  • Scored an NBA record 100 points in a single game
  • Scored an NBA record 59 points in a single half
  • Won 4 Regular Season MVPs
  • Finished second in assists per game as a Center (8.6 in 1968)
  • NBA record for most career 60-point games (32)
  • NBA record for most career 50-point games (118)
  • NBA record for most career 40-point games (271)

For years, I sided with the critics. I argued that Wilt Chamberlain was the beneficiary of being born into an era as a 7’2, 285 pound player who abused opposing centers that were smaller, weaker, less athletic, and averaged a mere 6’7  and 230 pounds in size. In my mind, this was not real competition, and I argued that Wilt would have never averaged an NBA-record 50 points (1962) or 27 rebounds (1961) per game in the modern era given today’s larger, more athletic centers, and sophisticated defenses. I argued that other centers such as Hakeem Olajuwon, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Shaquille O’Neal could have also put up the same astronomical numbers had they been fortunate enough to play during Wilt’s era,  and that Wilt’s accumulation of stats was merely the act of a selfish player who was cursed with a big ego, and paired with deferential teammates such as Paul Arizin, Chet Walker, and Hal Greer.

While all of the aforementioned may be true, after extensively researching Wilt’s career and watching tons of game film, I have completely changed my stance and believe that Wilt deserves full recognition for his statistical accomplishments for 2 reasons:

 

Reason #1: Wilt Chamberlain should not be penalized for being ahead of his time

By all accounts, Wilt Chamberlain was a first-of-a-kind physical freak who was nearly 6 inches taller and 70 pounds heavier than his counterparts at the same position. He was build like an ox, phenomenally athletic, possessed a 48 inch vertical, and wielded speed that had never been seen for a man of his size. So would the 1960’s Wilt Chamberlain, who was 7’2 and 285 lbs, and once averaged 50-25 for an entire season, statistically dominate against bigger, stronger, more athletic centers of the modern era? Probably not. However, here is what the critics overlook: Given the 50-year improvement in genetics, height, advanced training, and modern medicine, 2012 Wilt Chamberlain would not merely be 7’2 and 285 pounds. Instead 2012 Wilt Chamberlain would be closer to 7’5 and 340lbs: an incredibly athletic version of Yao Ming, but with the power of Shaquille O’Neal. 2012 Wilt would have also likely developed some of the same sophisticated skills that today’s centers are taught, but that were absent during the 1960s, such as a refined low post game, advanced footwork, 20 foot jumper, etc… Therefore, would it be that far fetched to believe that a 7’5, 340 pound athletic freak would fill up the stat sheet and dominate just like he did during the 1960s? Perhaps not to same degree, but a player of that stature would undoubtedly have a tremendous impact.

Simply put, Wilt Chamberlain was ahead of his time the same way that other physical freaks have been ahead of their time. Ironically, you need not look any further than Oscar Robertson, who actually played in the same era as Wilt Chamberlain, and was another physical freak who dominated in much the same way. Have we really forgotten?

Today, Oscar Robertson continues to be lauded for his statistical accomplishments despite only winning 4 playoff series over a 10-year period as an Alpha Dog (yes, he won a ring in Milwaukee, but Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was clearly the Alpha Dog of that Bucks team in 1971). During his first 5 years in the league, Oscar literally averaged a triple double with 30.3 points, 10.4 rebounds, and 10.6 assists, and during his 10-year Alpha Dog reign with Cincinnati (1961-1970), an astounding 29.3 points, 8.5 rebounds, and 10.3 assists – statistics that are arguably as impressive as Wilt’s.

Moreover, like Wilt, Oscar had a secret sauce that enabled him to be ahead of his time, repeatedly utilizing 2 physical gifts throughout his playing career:

1.)   His Height – At 6’5, Oscar was a full 3 inches taller than the average guard of his time. In reality, he was built like a 1960s power forward, but possessed the skills of a guard, making him the Lebron James of his generation (and coincidentally having an eerily similar career during his prime).

2.)   His Rump – Oscar had a gynormous ass, which allowed him to create space against defenders, big and small. This, combined with his height allowed Oscar to repeatedly back players down and shoot over them with incredible efficiency. As an example, in 1964, Oscar had a TS percentage of 57.6%, over 9 percentage points higher than the league average.

Yep, Oscar benefitted from his size in the much the same way that Wilt Chamberlain did, and generated mind-boggling statistics in the process.  Yet, why do we not demonize Oscar’s stats the same way that we do Wilt’s?

Reason #2: Even if we were to normalize Wilt’s stats for 2011, they would still remain impressive.

I would be remiss to overlook the fact that players from the 1960s benefitted from statistical inflation due to style of play in which games were played at a faster pace, leading to more possessions. More possessions meant more shots, and more shots translated to more total points and rebounds. For example, in 1962, at the height of the faster offense/no defense era, teams averaged a NBA record 118.8 points per game and a near-record 71.4 rebounds. No coincidence that this is the same year that Wilt Chamberlain averaged his famous 50-25 is it?

However, even if we were to statistically normalize Wilt’s 1962 numbers according to 2011 pace, points, shooting percentage, possessions, and rebounds, his statistical accomplishments still remain nonetheless impressive. To normalize, I took the league averages from both 1962 and 2011 to help gauge how Wilt may have performed in today’s game:

  • In 1962, teams averaged 118.8 ppg. In 2011, teams averaged 99.6 ppg.
  • In 1962, teams averaged 71.4 rpg. In 2011, teams averaged 41.4 rpg.
  • In 1962, teams averaged 23.9 apg. In 2011, teams averaged 21.5 apg.
  • In 1962, players averaged 42.6% FG. In 2011, players averaged 45.9% FG.
  • In 1962, players averaged 47.9% TS. In 2011, players averaged 54.3% TS.

 

1962 Wilt 2011 Wilt
FG% 50.6% 54.5%
TS% 53.6% 57.4%
Points 50.4 42.3
Rebounds 25.7 14.9
Assists 2.4 2.2

 

Take a look at the results. While Wilt may not have averaged 50.4 points in 2011, could his 7’5, 340 pound version still have averaged 42.3? Granted, he would have faced more sophisticated defenses, but basketball players have proven to evolve their skills along with the game itself, so wouldn’t it be reasonable to believe that a more skilled Wilt could have kept with the times and offered counters to today’s defenses?

Moreover, it is important to note that with the modern day emphasis on ball movement and shot discretion, Wilt’s shooting percentages would have jumped significantly (Wilt typically shot 5-6 percentage points above the league average anyway, and was usually top three every year). Most interestingly though is his decline in rebounding – no way Wilt would have averaged 25.7 per game.

Ultimately, Wilt’s statistical accomplishments will be overshadowed by the one thing that supersedes individual numbers: winning. He will be remembered as a player who cared more about his stats, failed to maximize his potential, and was on the opposite end of some of the more historic upsets in NBA history. However, to devalue his statistical accomplishments is far sighted and disregards changes in human evolution. Don’t compare the 1960s Wilt to today’s modern day players. Instead, normalize for his physical and athletic growth and development, and use the 2011 version as a baseline. If you want to declare Wilt to be a poor playoff performer, selfish teammate, or underachiever, it is another argument for another day.  However, his statistical accomplishments, particularly those during the regular season, remain remarkable.

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Discussion

445 Responses to “The Wilt Chamberlain Debate – Basketball’s Goliath Conundrum”

  1. Nice piece. One thing that gets overlooked in Wilt’s numerical resume is the times he led the league in minutes; and astonishing EIGHT TIMES!!! That is a huge total for any player, let alone a big man!!

    Thanks for the understanding that skill level and play style have affects on the numbers and that players form the past would receive huge benefits from today’s “professionalism” of the modern athlete.

    I have argued that any player would average close to 50 ppg provided he had 40 FGA per game, as Wilt did in 1961-62. He may not have averaged 50 or even 40 points a game, but surely would have been in the 30′s with 16-19 rpg and likely 7 blocks a game. Wilt undoubtedly wins DPOTY multiple times, as well.

    Wilt was a total package, not a choker or a myth. Wilt was one of the greatest athletes mankind has ever seen.

    Posted by Paulie Walnuts | July 25, 2011, 5:02 pm
    • Thanks for the Kudos Paulie. I agree that statistics are completely misguiding if they are not compared against league averages. Style of play, game evolution, etc.. need to be taken into account when making assumptions.

      With that said, I do not believe that Wilt would have ever averaged more than 16 rebounds per game, nor 7 blocks per game, because the pace would have been far slow which would mean fewer possessions and fewer rebounds/blocked shots. Even if we were to normalize Wilt’s career high in rebounding during the 1961 season, he would average approximately 15.4 rebounds per game based on today’s pace.

      Lastly, I had a chance to study Wilt’s career extensively, and do agree that the “choker” comments are a bit ridiculous. However, his 1968 playoff loss against the Celtics still serves as the one black stain that I have a difficult time justifying. No way that Wilt’s Sixers should have lost to Russell’s Celtics that year, and Wilt’s disappearing act in the second half was inexcusable.

      Posted by The NBA Realist | July 25, 2011, 7:45 pm
      • Your whole argument is pure BS.
        At 37 years old and a bad knee he leads the league in FG% rebounding and would have had over 10 blocked shots a game. If Dennis Rodman get get 18 boards Wilt and Russell have no problem getting 20+. Wilts 1971-72 lakers aren’t changed by today’s fundamentally atrocious players but will exceed what they did. Lanier,Thurmond,Reed, Jabbar, Cowens, Bellamy, Beaty, and others are all better then today Center.
        There are no Centers today. None.
        Wilt was taller, stronger, faster, more athletic and Smarter then Shaq ever was. From 1959 till 1973.
        Wilton Norman Chamberlain. MDEEEEAA.
        Most Dominant ever ever ever ever and after.

        Posted by dr len gilman | December 4, 2012, 11:25 pm
    • I am very interested in the stats party a party of Wilt Chamberlain in the 61-62 season.
      Thank you very much for your work

      Posted by Ubaldo Puche | January 17, 2012, 3:05 pm
    • This is totally stupid and Chamberlain never weighed 286 while playing. His heaviest weight was 271 in his last year. You may be a Chamberlain hater but don’t deminish his legacy as a player. He was an incredible athelete.

      Posted by Charles | February 14, 2012, 4:29 am
      • Wilt Chamberlain bulked up while still playing in the NBA and was well over 300lbs..
        Believe me I met Wilt and have game programs with him listed at 300lbs..
        The Big Dipper’s 100: The Night A Cold One Trumped A Legend

        By Larry Harris

        Friday marks the 50th anniversary of one of basketball’s greatest achievements, and it also stirs the memories of a couple local guys who were there — but not there.

        On March 2, 1962, the fabled 7-foot-1, 300-pound giant Wilt “The Stilt” Chamberlain scored 100 points for the Philadelphia Warriors during a National Basketball Association game, a feat that no one likely will ever come close to equaling.

        The site of that 169-147 victory for the Warriors against the New York Knicks was a dilapidated sports arena in Hershey, Pa., that was originally built to house hockey games. According to records, there were 4,124 in attendance that night, and it is not known whether that figure counted the guys who played in the preliminary game to the Warriors-Knicks contest.

        Watch the YouTube video and read the comments.

        http://youtu.be/-fQDipb-uSI

        Posted by Geo | March 7, 2012, 4:11 am
      • WILT WAS OVER 320 IN THE 70′S AND PURE ATHLETE.

        Posted by dr len gilman | December 4, 2012, 11:28 pm
    • 5 seventy point games, 32 sixty point games, 118 fifty point games (7consecutives), 271 forty point games (14consecutives), 65 consecutive 30 point games, 126 consecutive 20 point games, 103 games of 30 points & 30 rebounds, 4 of the highest scoring numbers in a single season (#1,#2,#4,#5), only one with more than 4,000 points in a season. Blocks were not counted then, but I counted 18 in one game. I will leave the rebounds (record 55 in one game) for another time.

      Posted by JM | December 11, 2012, 7:41 pm
  2. The 1968 Finals probably serves as the Rosetta Stone for the Wilt haters.

    Wilt’s 1966-67 season has to be the single greatest by any player ever; leading the league in minutes played, fg%, fta, and total rebounds. Wilt averaged 24 ppg, 24 rpb and 7.8 assists and shot .683 from the floor. Beating the Warriors probably motivated Wilt like nothing had before.

    The 1967-68 regular season was just as good and in some was better, yet they come up short against the Celts. That is difficult for people to grasp, I think.

    I do agree that Wilt wouldn’t average 7 blocks today, but would still lead the league with around 5.

    Are you saying that a neo wilt would have a CAREER 15 rpg average? I would agree with that, but I think Wilt would have peaks o18 or even 19 a game.

    Posted by Paulie Walnuts | July 25, 2011, 9:00 pm
  3. “Finished second in assists per game as a Center (8.6 in 1968)”

    I’m quite sure that Wilt actually led the league in assists per game this season.

    Posted by PJ Gaudie | July 26, 2011, 6:28 am
    • PJ – Thanks for the read, but you are wrong. Oscar Robertson led league in assists per game with 9.7 in 1968. Wilt led the league in TOTAL Assists with 702:

      http://www.basketball-reference.com/leagues/NBA_1968_leaders.html

      Posted by The NBA Realist | July 26, 2011, 7:58 am
    • Superimposing genetic advancement onto Wilt is retarded. The reason he dominated so was that he almost never came out of a game where he was usually faster, stronger, more athletic and six inches taller and 70 pounds heavier than the man supposed to guard him. His stats haven’t been duplicated because he would be a skilled, superbly athletic, yet unexceptional and very much slowed and guardable at the very least as a center in today’s game. Get off his nuts. And the 20,000 women thing??? Please… Its probably around 50

      Posted by Paul | August 22, 2013, 12:26 am
      • Your the one retarded, Wilt would have no problem dominating today’s game. Who is going to stop him? In his day he was mauled and the refs allowed it,in today’s game he would be free to dominate even more. I saw Wilt play and there is no one in today’s game that could even slow him down. He is the GOAT and that is fact.

        Posted by michael lord | August 23, 2013, 1:17 am
  4. I stand corrected. My bad. You are right. I should have looked it up myself. I’ve just heard Wilt lead the league in assists so many times. I assumed it was assists per game as that is the more telling stat, but it was indeed total assists. I think there is a cool story behind it too. Was it just because he wanted to prove he could, or was it because people said he shot too much? I can’t remember, but he decided to do it and he did. He was quite obsessive about it, and even had at least one game where he never took a single shot, just because he wanted to get so many assists. Yep, the guy who averaged 50, elected not to take a single shot. Crazy.

    Posted by PJ Gaudie | July 26, 2011, 12:42 pm
    • No prob regarding the oversight PJ. I agree with you in that Wilt’s attitude toward the 67 season was very interesting indeed and there are typically 2 different explanations depending upon who you ask:

      1.) Wilt was simply obsessed with stats over winning, and decided to focus upon his assist total in an effort to prove the critics wrong.
      2.) In 1967/1968, Wilt finally had a talented supporting cast consisting of Hal Greer, Billy Cunningham, and Chet Walker, as well as the luxury to defer to teammates vs. handling the scoring load all by himself. Therefore, he focused more on being a passer.

      I would guess that the truth lies somewhere in between.

      Posted by The NBA Realist | July 26, 2011, 7:38 pm
      • If Wilt cared about stats as everyone thinks he would have led the league every year in scoring. It is foolish to think that after his mind numbing scoring his first seven years that he couldn’t score after that. It is pretty clear to me that anyone who wins 10 scoring titles really does care about his stats. Wilt had no physical limitations and he would dominate in any era. Anyone who thinks otherwise lives in fantasy land.

        Posted by michael lord | February 15, 2013, 11:05 pm
    • LOOK AT WILTS ASSISTS IN 1966-67 AND THERE IS NOT MUCH DIFFERENCE.
      UNTIL MAGIC JOHNSON WAS WELL INTO HIS CAREER NOO ONE EVER MENTIONED TRIPLE DOUBLES.
      BUT WILT HOLDS THE NBA RECORD FOR MOST CONSECUTIVE TRIPLE DOUBLES 9.
      AND IF THEY HADN’T WAITED FOR WILT TO RETIRE TO COUNT BLOCKED SHOTS HE WOULD HAVE ALL THE TRIPLE DOUBLE RECORDS!
      PS WILT’S RECORDS DON’T SURPASS PLAYERS, HIS RECORDS SURPASE THE REST OF THE NBA IN TOTAL!
      EXAMPLE: 30 POINTS AND 30 REBOUNDS IN A GAME.
      ITS HAS BEEN DONE 131 TIMES IN THE NBA. WILT DID IT 103 TIMES.
      SCORING 60 POINTS IN A GAME.
      THE LEAGUE TOTAL IS 60. WILT 32.

      Posted by dr len gilman | December 4, 2012, 11:39 pm
    • He lead the league in assists because even being bigger than everyone else, at some point when all 5 opposing players are hanging on you, that leaves 4 wide open people and each time you pass to a wide open player, you have a better than half chance to get an assist. It was not brilliant passing, it was that no one was guarding the players he passed to. Obvious answers to the myth of Wilt’s overhyped greatness.

      I liken Wilt’s mythical greatness to how Jim Thorpe was said to be able to throw a football 100 yards. There is literally no one alive today that can remember or would have seen how far Thorpe could throw a ball. Wilt is younger, but there really is no factual basis for saying he is greater than everyone today. For reference, the best arm can only throw a football 75-80 yards today. Genetics have improved, fitness and strength training, weight lifting and aerobics have made astronomical leaps in the last 50 years. Obviously, the greatness of players from long ago is overblown into mythical proportions because of senility and old folks not wanting to admit that the new age is better than the old and Wilt today would be nothing more than Shaq lite, more speed, less power and no more size or athletic advantage. So much for the all-time greatest scorer and player. MJ owns that title, and Lebron is the only player that can challenge him for it. Wilt should be laid to rest, his talent is not historical, simply better than those in the 60′s, but not even exceptional in today’s game, which are the players you are trying to say he is better than..

      Posted by Paul | August 22, 2013, 12:36 am
      • Paul,

        You’re an idiot.

        To induldge your delusion for just a moment. . .

        I wholly agree that the training, conditioning, and equipemnt available for today;s atheltes is incomprable to that of the 1960′s or even of the 1990′s.

        Yet, all of those benefits only help to maximize an athletes abilities; it cannot create any.

        Your contention is that Wilt would NOT be exceptionally unskilled today? Are you then of the belief that Wilt would NOT benefit form the greater training, diet and conditioning that today;s athletes enjoy?

        Wilt, was not just bigger; he was faster could jump higher, and was far stronger. Wilt was much stronger than Shaq ever was, and Wilt was far more graceful and far more agile.

        Would Wilt average 50 ppg or have 30 rpg in todya’s game? I think that is uynlikely as no layer will ever shoot 40 times a game, as Wilt did when he averaged 50 a game.

        There are fewer rebounds available in today’s game, but I am really confident that Wilt would certainly get more than his share; I would expect Wilt to average 20 or so boards a game.

        You think a center that plays 3500 minutes a year, has rates of 23 ppg/20 rpg/5 apg/6 blocks per game and has a FG% of 65, and that is probably no worse than a 2nd team defender woudl be just “average”?

        Really?

        Posted by paulie | August 22, 2013, 9:16 pm
  5. Allow me to comment on that era as a whole. It seems to me that many fans regard the NBA of the ’60s with suspicion, that it seems somehow less legitimate because of some of the marks that were reached back then. I say that this era should be regarded as THE golden age of the league. Consider that back then the league had the following:

    1. The absolute prime years of Russell, Chamberlain, Robertson, Baylor, West and Havlicek-6 of the very best ever-plus Sam Jones, Jerry Lucas, Nate Thurmond, Lenny Wilkens and Hal Greer, Hall of Famers all. Not only that, but there were also established legends (Bob Cousy and Bob Pettit) winding down, while a new crop of legends (Willis Reed, Rick Barry, Walt Frazier and Billy Cunningham, among others) was emerging.

    2. The greatest individual rivalry that the NBA has ever seen in Russell vs. Chamberlain, who went at it mano-a-mano 9-10 times each regular season, plus some of the most epic and dramatic playoff confrontations ever.

    3. A dominant team in the Celtics (perhaps the most dominant team ever) and two prominent rivals trying to take them down in the Lakers and 76ers, which gave rise to the two best team rivalries the league has ever seen.

    4. The deepest talent pool ever, when you consider the caliber of players of that era with the small number of teams, this coming before the league got on its over-expansion frenzy.

    5. A consistently up-tempo style of play, which contributed to some of the marks of the era and sounds like it would have been a lot more fun to watch than what the present-day NBA offers up much of the time.

    6. The achievements of that era. No, no one will ever again score 100 points in a single game, average 50 points per game for a season or average a triple-double for a season (Robertson actually averaged a triple-double in the aggregate through his first 5 seasons). All the more reason to admire these achievements and hold them in awe, instead of trying to take them down a notch or two.

    Posted by E-Dog | July 26, 2011, 4:44 pm
    • E-Dog: Definitely agree with you for the most part. However, given today’s looking glass, I am not sure that I can subscribe the notion that the 60s provided a more exciting brand of basketball than the 90s. I love the notion of up-tempo basketball, but the horrid shot selection, rushed shots, and missed baskets drive me crazy. Just my opinion. Granted, that was the style of play back then, but I will still choose today’s style of mundane pick and roll basketball. Other than that, I agree 100% with every one of your points.

      Posted by The NBA Realist | July 26, 2011, 7:43 pm
  6. Looking at the game today, there isn’t a single dominant center in the game that stands out. Today is the era of 7 foot small forwards who want to be guards. Shaq is long gone, Jabbar is a senior citizen, and besides Dwight Howard there isn’t a single big man that does anything besides clog up the lane. Wilt would have held his own against Shaq, even aging, he held his own against a young Kareem, and Olajuwon, Robinson and many of the other ” greats ” had single faceted games. In the 1980′s-90′s, he would have had Laimbeer, Mark Eaton , and several others to contend with whom he would have dominated. Laimbeer he probably would have slapped a few times. In 2011, with no one to stop an athletic freak like him, he would have dominated easily. Much like the younger version of Shaq, but with better conditioning, much more speed and intelligence. Wilt is overlooked for that.

    Skip Jordan, Wilt is still the man who owns over 100 NBA records, some 20 that CAN never be broken.

    Posted by AJ | July 26, 2011, 7:26 pm
    • AJ – Thanks for the read. I completely agree with your take on modern day centers on the 90s. Many people believe that the players are bigger in 2011, but the truth is that only the guards and small forwards have really done so. The Centers and Power Forwards are all significantly smaller than they were during the 80s and 90s and you now find 6’8 players such as Udonis Haslem now filling the #5 spot. Of course much of this can be attributed to the rule changes which has shifted the advantage over to the guard.

      Posted by The NBA Realist | July 26, 2011, 7:46 pm
  7. Love the article. As you know, I’m a huge Wilt fan. I’m not sure you even need to make Wilt taller and heavier for him to be ridiculously dominant today. If he were in the league today he’d be it’s strongest player and one of the fastest just based on his 1960s measurables. He is among the league’s most talented scorers, rebounders, defenders, and even passers ever. It’s hard for me to imagine that he wouldn’t be the most dominant center of any era.

    As for Oscar, I find it interesting that you picked the big O as a guy who’s generally lauded for his stats. I feel like the reason that nobody demonizes him is that he’s settled in comfortably as an afterthought. His legacy seems to generally be agreed up on as that of a guy who’s comfortably behind Magic as the second best point of all time (there’s nobody close behind him either, so why debate about it), a guy from a less talented era, and a guy who couldn’t climb the mountain until Kareem came along. Very few bring up his name when talking about greats like Kobe, Lebron, Bird, and Magic, even though it could be argued he was better than any of them and should be considered a top 5 player in his own right.

    Posted by Lochpster | July 26, 2011, 8:38 pm
    • Appreciate the kudos Lochpster.

      I also agree that 1960s Wilt would be a dominant center today, but would need to refine his his skill set. I had a chance to watch a significant amount of film, and found Wilt’s skills to be quite raw. Of course, this is mostly attributed to the style of play during the 60s and the fact that the Mchale/Olajuwon type low-post footwork had yet to be introduced.

      With regards to Oscar, I have a whole new appreciation for him. Did you know what his 1962 stats normalize to by 2011 standards? 25.8 points, 10.3 assists and 7.2 rebounds and a 62.8% TS. 1964 is even better: 28.2-9.8-6.2 with 64.5% TS. He shot so far above the curve during an era where players were encouraged to take quick shots and show little discretion. However, I picked Oscar out to prove my point. Just because he is now an afterthought does not mean that his stats should be any less scrutinized than Wilt’s. One of my biggest issues when evaluating legacies is that we do not hold players to the same standards. Oscar’s legacy rests as the second greatest point guard ever, but the biggest part of his resume is that 1962 season in which he averaged a triple double. No way he averages a triple double in 2011, yet most fans seem to conveniently overlook this.

      Posted by The NBA Realist | July 26, 2011, 9:14 pm
      • OSCAR VS MAGIC
        THERE IS NOTHING MAGIC COULD DO BETTER THEN OSCAR. NOTHING.
        OH MAYBE ONE THING.
        NO LOOK PASSES.
        OSCAR SAW THE WHOLE COURT WITH OUT TURNING HIS HEAD.

        Posted by dr len gilman | December 4, 2012, 11:42 pm
      • ASSISTS HAD TO DIRECTLY LEAD TO THE FG. NOT MAGICS RECORD BREAKO ER WHICH WAS A PASS TO KAREEM

        Posted by dr len gilman | December 5, 2012, 12:02 am
      • Listen folks appreciate the players for thier time and era quit making foolishly silly comparisons will you! Silly people I guess due to nothing else to discuss or talk about do it in. Every sport lets face these facts: an opinion is like a ass we all got one. Life is about change
        Things don’t ever stay the same and lastly. You cannot even compare. Twins why? Though they may look similar they are two different people now do u folks see the folly of. Comparing. Era in sports nice to look back but thats all no need to do anything but give the players their due and leave it at that. I often wonder why most who are intelligent enough in sports dont understand and get this comparison nonsense!!

        Posted by Lawrence Lundy | March 22, 2014, 7:02 am
    • I have to disagree with you about Oscar. I’d put Isiah Thomas, Jason Kidd and Walt Frazier above him.

      Posted by Bill Morrison | September 30, 2012, 9:31 pm
  8. As an admitted Big Dipper fan since childhood (In the 60s’) I’d like to add a few things. I love how critics like to say Wilt dominated against inferior opponents. Well, they WERE inferior because he was the best. But Nate Thurmond, Walt Bellamy, Willis Reed, Wes Unseld, Elvin Hayes, Dave Cowens, Bob Lanier, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and of course, Bill Russell. Does that sound like a bunch of lames to anyone? And don’t forget, Wilt was also ahead of his time with weight training in basketball. Look at him as a rookie and then 5-6 years later. Given todays equipment and suppliments at 7’2″ he’d still be maybe 340 with 6% body fat! Or, better still, imagine Dwight Howard and Lebron James, playing 8 games in 9 nights,highlighted by night/day Saturday Sunday games. Taking cramped trains or tiny prop planes night after night. Eating in greasy spoons at 2am in the dead of winter, playing 20 exibition games as well as the regular season and playoffs. And having to sell insurence to suppliment income in the offseason instead of working with personal trainers. And the most important thing, PLAYING IN NO ARCH NO SUPPORT CHUCKS! I’d love to see what they’d look like after a full season of all that!

    Posted by Dimitrius | July 27, 2011, 2:38 pm
    • Thanks for the read Dimitrius. Can’t disagree with anything that you said. Wilt was a beast and the 60s were a different animal altogether.

      Posted by The NBA Realist | July 27, 2011, 4:37 pm
  9. todays game is played at a much slower pace than the game of the 60s or even the 80s,when the the all-time high in points per game by a team was set at 126.5 (81-82 denver nuggets).with todays expansion to 30 teams there simply is not the talent that there was in earlier eras,this is clearly shown by the very low pts per game of 93.5 that was “achieved” in 2003-2004 along with its dismal shooting % of 43.9.where as the low shooting percentages of the 60s was due in part to the faster pace of the game the result was much higher averages in points per game,todays game has neither the fast pace of the 60s or the great shooting of the 80s.so please name the great players of today that wilt chamberlain could not score 50 points on,you’ll find that it doesn’t exist,because not one of them is the defensive genius that was bill russell and wilt once scored 62 on him.

    Posted by john w crom | July 27, 2011, 3:06 pm
    • Thanks for the read John, but I disagree with some of what you said:

      1.) You stated that today’s game does not have great shooting when the fact is that shooting percentages have been through the roof since 2005 (no, not the outdated FG% which fails to to take into account 3-pointers and free throws, but True Shooting percentage which accounts for all 3) once the new rule changes were implemented. In fact, in 2011, they were a near record 54.3% TS.

      2.) You mention that the talent pool has been diluted becuase of expansion. Yet since 1996, only one additional team has been added.

      3.) You mention the talent of the high flying 80′s but defenses have become much better since the mid 80s, once Chuck Daly began implementing more sophisticated traps. That forced the pace of the game to slow during the latter part of the 80s and shooting percentages began to decline.

      Posted by The NBA Realist | July 27, 2011, 4:55 pm
      • 1.i believe you are trying to baffle people with “bs” fg% is about the same over the last ten years as it was between 66-76,and 3% pts lower than its peak in the middle 80s.2.true fg% is where 75% of a players points are earned and its as valid today as it ever was.3 since 1987 when there were 23 teams there has been a steady drop in fg%.4.it wasn’t great “d” that caused the downturn in shooting percentages because the good teams kept their high fg% and their high scoring through the early nineties when the effects of the draft started evening out the mediocrity.

        Posted by john | July 27, 2011, 9:55 pm
        • John,

          Have no idea what you mean by #1. Perhaps you can clarify.

          2.) Completely disagree that FG% is more accurate than TS%. Moreover, I am not sure why you would only account for 75% of points with FG% when you can account for 100% with TS%? It is obvious that you either refuse to acknowledge advanced stats, or simply do not understand them. FG% does not account for scoring opportunities in which a player is fouled and scores two points at the line. Nor does it account for the additional points earned via 3-pointers. For example, Player ‘A’ shoots 6/14, all three pointers (42.9%), player B shoots 8/14, all two pointers (57.1%). Player ‘A’ has shot 42.9% while Player ‘B’ shoots 57.1%, yet Player ‘A’ generated 18 points, Player ‘B’ only 16. Which one are you taking?

          3.) Of course FG% has dropped since 1987. Teams are attempting and making far more three pointers than in the 80s . So yes, while FG% has decreased, EFG% and TS% which are more accurate measures of scoring, have increased.

          4.) Which good teams are you referring to?

          Posted by The NBA Realist | July 27, 2011, 10:41 pm
  10. so now we do the same thing for jordans inflated numbers in 86-87 the league average was 109.9 pts per game compared to 2011 which is 99.6,so we normalize jordans 37.1 to 33.6 pts per game and oh my chamberlain is still far and away the greatest scoring machine of all-time.next we have to inflate chamberlains assist totals to match todays more liberlized rules.

    Posted by djwc6 | July 27, 2011, 4:26 pm
    • Yes, Jordan’s numbers in 87 were inflated and I think that we have to take that into account. However, Jordan’s Shooting percentage (TS) would have also increased in today’s game.

      However, I am not sure how Wilt’s assist total gets inflated when the game was played at a faster pace in the 60s giving more scoring opportunities. If anything, his assists by today’s standard would decline since there would be fewer possessions.

      Posted by The NBA Realist | July 27, 2011, 4:58 pm
      • in the sixties a player did not get credit for an assist if the player he passed to dribbled the ball,therefore no one wilt played with ever averaged more than 9 assists per game except for guy rogers who only averaged 10.5 in 61-62 when wilt averaged 50 pts/gm

        Posted by djwc6 | July 28, 2011, 12:48 pm
        • Good points. I overlooked that one.

          Posted by The NBA Realist | July 28, 2011, 11:39 pm
        • Although, the fact that there were so many more possessions, and therefore so many more opportunities to obtain assist may offset the stringent requirements.

          Posted by The NBA Realist | July 31, 2011, 6:11 pm
          • Can we re-calculate Wilt’s totals for today’s standards of being allowed to travel, change pivot feet multiple times, palm, and my favorite: the 3-4 step, then hop, then finish standard? The league started overlooking these things for MJ and they have become utterly ridiculous now. Love MJ’s game, but what little tape that exists of the 50s-mid-60s Wilt shows an unreal athlete who would’ve done whatever he pleased in this current-day soft league with soft rules benefitting the exciting players.

            Posted by JWEBSR10 | January 5, 2012, 4:51 pm
          • IF we do, we also need to take into account the increased physicality of the game, the increase in flagrant fouls, and the advanced traps and defensive schemes that were not a part of the 60s. Wilt was great, but there is no way that his 1960s version would have dominated to the same level in today’s game. A 2012 version of Wilt however, would have been a monster.

            Posted by The NBA Realist | January 5, 2012, 5:10 pm
          • I still disagree, REalist. Wilt was awsome even in his final season which was 1972-73.

            The 36 year old Wilt played 3542 minutes!!!

            Wilt shot .727 from the floor!!!

            Wilt had 1526 rebounds or 18.6 a game!!!

            Hey, wasn’t some guy named Kareem in the league then?

            Cowens?
            McAdoo?

            I think that you aren’t giving Wilt his just due.

            Posted by Paulie Walnuts | January 5, 2012, 10:27 pm
          • Paulie,

            I’m not sure how I am not giving Wilt his due. I stated that if Wilt played in 2012, he would be fantastic. But the 1962 version would not have put up the same numbers in today’s game given that wouldn’t be playing against 6’5 centers.

            On a side note, Wilt never played Kareem, Cowens or Macadoo when they were in their prime.

            Posted by The NBA Realist | January 5, 2012, 11:03 pm
          • Kareem wasn’t in his prime in 1972-73?

            Cowens was the MVP that year and McAdoo was ROY.

            I am not sure what you are defining as “prime”

            Kareem averaged 30.2/16.1/5.0

            I don’t know how much better Kareem or Cowens could have been.

            McAdoo led the league in scoring the next three years, so he wasn’t really a slouch either.

            Posted by Paulie Walnuts | January 5, 2012, 11:36 pm
          • Sorry Paulie, I meant to say that Wilt wasn’t in his prime. All of Wilt’s great accomplishments took place well before those guys were in the league. In others words, from 1971-1973, when Kareem, Macadoo and Cowens were in their prime, or close to their prime, Wilt averaged 16 points and 20 rebounds. Nice numbers, but certainly nothing close to the 50/25 Wilt that played against inferior competition from 60-66 when he put up the bulk of his numbers.

            Just because Wilt played during some of the same years as Kareem doesn’t mean that he put up those same incredible numbers.

            Posted by The NBA Realist | January 5, 2012, 11:50 pm
          • Thanks for the caveat and the clarification.

            I do agree with you regarding Wilt dropping 50 a game, but for different reasons, though you are not incorrect that the overall talent was inferior then.

            Posted by Paulie Walnuts | January 5, 2012, 11:56 pm
          • Well, even with more possessions, one would still have to abide by the strict rules in order to tally the assist.

            With Wilt’s passing skills, and under today’s lenient assist rules, I think he would register around 4-5 per game, which would place him in an exclusive club. The last time a Center averaged over 4 apg was in 2005-06 (Brad Miller). Much like in the 1960s, Wilt would have to face constant double-teams, and with his great passing skills, he’d find the open man.

            It is true that teams don’t have nearly as many scoring opportunities as they had in the 1960s, but with teams focusing their defensive attention on stopping Wilt, Wilt would have plenty of opportunities to pass the ball to open teammates to counter the opposing team’s defensive strategy. This could lead to more assists. Wilt had the passing skills and most importantly, the desire to utilize his skill to maximize his teammates’ scoring output (he did finish in the top 10 in assists on four occasions). These are reasons why I think his assists “could” actually increase in the modern era.

            Posted by Dee | July 18, 2012, 11:44 am
  11. As far as the notion of Wilt being a choker and not coming through in big games-perhaps it was simply a matter of his bad free-throw shooting? His teams lost four Game 7s to Russell’s Celtics (’62, ’65, ’68 and ’69) by a grand total of nine points; I’m guessing that he missed many more free throws than that in those games. I’m also guessing that it made him not ask for the ball, and made his team not give him the ball, as much in crunch time, a la with Shaq.

    The thing about it is that, by all accounts, Wilt worked hard on his free-throw shooting and tried a variety of techniques, even under-handed Rick Barry-style. It would seem that all of that simply messed up his mental approach, and it wound up being quite costly for him and his teams. With even just slightly better free-throw shooting, Wilt and his teams would have had a few more playoff series wins over Russell’s Celtics and a few more titles, in which case the perception of his career would be quite different from what it largely is today.

    Posted by E-Dog | July 27, 2011, 7:20 pm
    • The reason Wilt could not shoot free throws was because of an eye issue not discovered back then. It would not be an issue in today’s game because someone would have corrected it. When Wilt came into the league you didn’t have to shoot the free throws,but when he had difficulty shooting free throws they changed the rules. Changing the rules to slow or stop Wilt is as much a part of the game’s history as anything else.

      Posted by michael lord | February 15, 2013, 11:26 pm
  12. I just want to know what other 2 time NBA champion is considered and underachiever?

    Posted by Paulie Walnuts | July 27, 2011, 9:25 pm
    • Thank You! No one ever calls Hakeem, I Thomas, Dr J, Clyde Frazier, or Dave Cowans “Losers” or says that a lack of winning tarnishes their career. Two rings or less make the above players “legendary winners.” Factor in that Wilt’s two championship teams set the league records for wins in a season at the time, and you have a winner. Dude was one of two Alpha Dogs to EVER beat the Russel Celtics, and he took them to game 7 several times. Wilt was a winner.

      Posted by Hannie Schaft | July 28, 2011, 6:34 pm
  13. wilt chamberlain was quite simply the greatest basketball player that ever lived.you do not get to “normalize” wilt.when he entered into the nba the league had never averaged over 108.2 pts per game, immediatley upon his arrival the average shot up to 115.3. if he played today he would do the same,he would run for 48 min and all the “great” athletes of today would be left sucking oxygen on the bench.wilts teams would never be average in scoring or rebounding or blocking shots.because he was the best ever in all three categories.wilt chamberlain was usually at his best when he played against the best,he once passed for 19 assists against cinncinati and the great oscar robertson,his greatest rebounding effort of 55 came against the great rebounder bill russell.his record(at the time) 78 points came against the great offensive scorers of the day west and elgin baylor.in two consecutive games against the milwaukee bucks and kareem with his “unstoppable” skyhook in the western conference finals wilt chamberlain blocked 20 shots including 11 against kareem.leading time magazine to say”chamberlain decisively outplayed basketballs newest giant superstar 11 years his junior”.wilt is the only player to lead the league in the three major categories of points,assists and rebounds and he would have undoubtably led the league in rebounding many times.I know you cannot comprehend wilt chamberlain,those of us old enough to have seen him play can hardly do it ourselves.

    Posted by djwc6 | July 27, 2011, 10:56 pm
    • I am not going to stand in the way of your love for Wilt. In fact, I am firmly defending his statistical accomplishments in my article. However, Wilt Chamberlain is not the greatest player to ever play:

      1.) He typically suffered a statistical decline during the playoffs.
      2.) During 4 instances, his teams grossly underachieved in the playoffs (61, 66, 68, 69).

      This is not the mark of the greatest of all time. The Greatest refuses to let their teams lose against inferior teams.

      Posted by The NBA Realist | July 27, 2011, 11:08 pm
      • oops in my last line i meant to say he would have undoubtably led the league in blocked shots many times.thank you for allowing my man crush of wilt.Yes wilt did on occasion suffer a scoring decline in the playoffs for various reasons (injury,coaching,slower play)but his stats are second to none.no one in the high scoring decades of the 60s,70s or 80s can come close to wilts pra (points+rebounds+assists)which was 60 or greater his first seven playoff seasons.wilt was never able to increase his minutes played by 9% as some players(jordan)were able to do since he was pretty much maxed out on minutes already,but he was able to work harder and pull down more rebounds and according to credible accounts get more blocked shots.the fact that wilt chamberlain couldn’t compensate for poor coaching decisions,injurys to himself or his teamates or his teamates shooting slumps must of course lie squarely on his shoulders because nobody loves goliath and apparently few respect his enormous accomplishments either.

        Posted by djwc6 | July 28, 2011, 10:35 am
        • I love Golliath. However I need to call it like it is. You can’t blame 69, or 70 on anyone elses injuries. Wilt’s performance dicatated the outcome of those series.

          Posted by The NBA Realist | July 28, 2011, 11:57 am
          • absolutely you must call it like you see it.however in 69 when wilt sprained his knee he wanted to come back into the game,van breda kolfs comment was” we are playing better without him” butchs personal animosity towards chamberlain not only cost the lakers the championship it also cost van breda kolff his job.in 70 chamberlain had been out the entire season with a knee injury coming back to play the last three games before the playoffs,in game 6 against the knicks he scored 45 to even the series 3-3 in game seven the lakers came up against a buzz saw and were down 27 at the half,but you really can’t call bill bradley, willis reed,dave debusherre,and bill bradley a bunch of slackers since they are all hall of famers.

            Posted by djwc6 | July 28, 2011, 1:28 pm
          • djwc6 – My issue with Wilt in 69 goes beyond the last 7 minutes (in fact I agree with you that Van Brenda Kolf did not act in the best interest of the team). My issue is that Wilt is that we played awful throughout the series, finished with only 11.7 points per game for the entire NBA Finals, and ultimately was the major reason that the Lakers lost to a Celtics team that you should not have lost two. The last 7 minutes was really a mere microcosm of the entire situation.

            Point taken on the 1970 series. I stand corrected in pointing the finger on Wilt for that one.

            Posted by The NBA Realist | July 28, 2011, 11:37 pm
      • I’ve gotta agree with you that Wilts playoff failures take him down a notch. But I do disagree about which ones were truly failures. 61, no excuse. Losing to the Nats? Horrible! ’66? The Celtics were better. And no way they lose in Reds last year.’68? They lost in 7 with Luscious Jackson AND Billy Cunningham out with injuries. His really bas losses were in ’69 and ’70. Even with that idiot Van Breda Koff keeping Wilt on the bench in game 7, it never should have gone 7 games in the first place. And Wilt should have scored another 100 against a hobbled Willis Reed in game 7 the next year. One other thing I’ll say about Wilts winning. He played for only 2 good coaches, Alex Hannum and Bill Sharman, for a total of 4 and a half seasons. In those years he won 2 titles, lost in one final, and lost in one conference final. MJ won rings for only 1 coach, Russell for only 2. In fact, among the all-time greats, only John Havilcek has won rings for more than 2 coaches. And he still won them for the same franchise. Had Wilt had more time with good coaching, who knows?

        Posted by Dimitrius | July 28, 2011, 10:44 am
        • Fair points on 66 and I stand corrected. Wilt played well, but his supporting cast, especially Greer and Walker, were awful (although him deciding to skip practice during the Finals should not sit will with anyone).

          However, I disagree with you on 68. I felt that Wilt had enough there to get past the Celtics, but didn’t. Granted, Cunningham and Jackson were injured, but the Sixers had the best record in the league, home court, and were playing a Celtics team that was in decline. Moreover, Greer and Walker still played and during Game 7 of that series, Wilt failed to take a shot in the second half. Blame the coach? Sure. But Wilt deserves some criticism as well. I think that the greatest player in the game needs to be more assertive at some point and believe that he should have pulled that game out.

          Posted by The NBA Realist | July 28, 2011, 11:53 am
          • Obviously, you are as big a basketball nerd as I am. So let me ask you this. Name me one all-time great, MJ, Magic, Bird, anyone, who ever won a ring missing 2 of their top 6 players. Not to mention 1 who is an all star, and the other a hall of famer. This is really what has always set Wilt apart in crticism. No matter the circumstance, if Wilts team lost, it was his fault. Now compared to Bill Russell, who virtually never let his team lose, Wilt comes up short. But any one else?

            Posted by Dimitrius | July 28, 2011, 12:47 pm
          • Dimitrius – I would probably have to dig a bit to answer that one, although you are giving me some flexibility since it could easily be the 5th and 6th best player . However, I think that the better question to ask is whether or not Wilt had enough to win, despite losing those 2 players. In 68, I felt that he did, and with home court, should have won.

            Also on a side note, I am very sensitive to refraining from penalizing superstars for shortcomings in their supporting cast -whether it is talent, poor play, etc. For example, in 1990, Magic’s Lakers lost the an underdog Suns team in the second round. However, Magic played his ass off and I have refrained from penalzing him for this when assessing his legacy because I felt like he did everything humanly possibly to get his team over the top. I simply did not feel the same way with Wilt in 68.

            Posted by The NBA Realist | July 28, 2011, 1:04 pm
          • in this instance i must agree,sometimes wilt was just too passive

            Posted by djwc6 | July 28, 2011, 2:42 pm
        • The quality and quantity of players in M.J.’s team was also superior. Also W.C. never received any “help” from the officials. By the way W.C. despite great on defense, only averaged 2.1 fouls per game. Never fouled out.

          Posted by JM | December 11, 2012, 8:13 pm
      • The reason for Wilt’s points decline in the playoffs had to do with the the defensive planning of the opposing team. The opposing team would have the time to devise a defensive plan to counter Wilt and had the time to revise it from game to game. Basketball is a team sport and one man can not beat 5 men.

        If you put Chamberlain on that Celtic team instead of Russel They would still be winning rings today, even though half of them are dead! ))))

        It the playoffs, who do you leave open if you want to double or triple Jordan? Do you leave Kerr? Pippen? do you leave the center or PF open under the basket? 5 guys would rush Chamberlain when he would get the ball…

        Posted by Fred | January 26, 2012, 12:51 am
        • Thanks for the read Fred, but you do realize that Wilt played with Jerry West AND Elgin Baylor, right? he also played with Hal Greer and Paul Arizin Are you really telling me that his teammates were the reason for his decline in the playoffs?

          Posted by The NBA Realist | January 29, 2012, 12:33 pm
          • when wilt won in LA he was at the end of his days here is the stats. http://www.basketball-reference.com/teams/LAL/1972.html

            the philly was very balanced all season and not much of a drop off in the play offs.

            here is the page for the philly team. http://www.basketball-reference.com/teams/PHI/1967.html

            It is a team sport with lots of moving parts. just look at Kobe’s 40 points games. why did he do than? was he ball hog or were there good reasons for that? Team mates and coaches are involved in all of this. Also the play offs are a different animal than the reg. season and centers are easier to double and triple team than guards.

            Wilt was a very self centered person but I feel he did what he had to do to win. leading the league in points or leading the league in assists had a lot to do with the team around him and the coach. the drop off in the play offs had more to do with the opposing team and had they defended wilt being or not being a clutch player.

            Posted by Fred | February 3, 2012, 11:18 am
          • Thanks Fred. But I am still uncertain as to your point. Can you explain?

            Posted by The NBA Realist | February 3, 2012, 11:20 pm
          • The point I’m trying to make: People criticize wilt for not scoring big numbers in the play offs. They compare him to Jordan saying that Jordan was a clutch player and Wilt choked. I was trying to explain that it was not the case and that there are reasons for Wilt not scoring as much in the play offs as the regular season.

            Posted by Fred | February 7, 2012, 11:00 am
      • Are you insane. He was beaten by the greatest team in sports history.
        You know the BOSTON CELTICS!
        Who had the greatest coach/executive in team sports history. RED!
        And the greatest winner in sports history.Russ?
        By the way there were no flagrant fouls because there were no such a thing in those days.
        No one, not shaq or any other player was abused as much as Wilt.

        Posted by dr len gilman | December 5, 2012, 12:27 am
  14. Fair point. And for sure, Wilt did not care as much about winning as did any of the players that fairly would be compared to him. Everyone knows that kid who was always a better developed athelte than anyone else around until his world got expanded and he encounters other kids bigger, faster, stronger. Wilt never had that day. I always thought that things had always come so easily to him that he never developed that chip on his shoulder the others had. I’m afraid that same thing may be happening with LeBron. He’s been the best athelete on the floor since forever. I wonder if he’ll find a way get that last push in him. As was with Wilt, if LeBron ever decides “The hell with this, I’m just gonna crush everyone all the time”…

    Posted by Dimitrius | July 28, 2011, 2:47 pm
  15. 2011 Mavs. JJ Barea has a broken arm, he won’t be attending. Shawn Marion and Jason Kidd are walking with hamstring injuries.

    You think Dirk is going to win a ring?

    2010 LA Lakers. Lamar Odom has a broken arm, he won’t be attending.
    Kobe Bryant and Ron Artest are walking with hamstring injuries.

    You think Pau Gasol is going to win a ring?

    1993 Bulls. John Paxson has a broken arm, he won’t be attending. Scottie Pippen and BJ Armstrong are walking with hamstring injuries.

    You think Jordan is going to win a ring?

    I’m thinking… well, no not really. No freaking way.

    But Wilt Chamberlain? He should have beat the Celtics in 68.

    Just because Wayne Embry & John Havlicek double teamed Wilt while Bill Russell guarded pretty much the only 76er that could run, Chet Walker… Wilt should have won easily, based on their regular season record.

    Nah. That dog don’t hunt.

    Posted by Freddie Freeloader | August 1, 2011, 5:58 pm
  16. You going to blame Chamberlain for blowing out his knee in the 69 G7?

    Russell lost EVERYBODY when he said that – after he quit playing.

    You gonna blame Wilt for Em Bryant? “Enraged by the unlucky Game 4 loss, the Lakers overran the Celtics with high-power basketball. Wilt Chamberlain played through a swollen eye, after Celtics guard Em Bryant had poked him. With just three minutes remaining and the Lakers safely ahead, Bryant stole the ball from West. Instead of letting Bryant run, he lunged for the ball, pulled his hamstring and had to be carried out of the game. It was immediately evident that West’s swollen leg would not heal until the end of the series.”
    Wilt’s fault that his shooting guard pulled a hamstring.

    Blame Wilt for this too…
    Elgin Baylor
    Wilt Chamberlain
    Jerry West

    Total All-Star appearances of the rest of the team: ZERO
    Hall of Fame Probability of the rest of the team: 0.000

    Mel Counts
    Johnny Egan
    Keith Erickson
    Bill Hewitt
    Tom Hawkins
    Freddie Crawford
    Cliff Anderson
    Jay Carty

    I’m betting the only guy anyone ever heard of on that list is Mel Counts and only then because he was the guy that went in for Chamberlain when he wrecked his knee.

    How did Wilt do in that game seven BTW? First of all, his counterpart, Bill Russell, scored six points, on 2-7 shooting, with 21 rebounds in 48 minutes. Meanwhile, Wilt, who did not show up, scored 18 points on 7-8 shooting, with 27 rebounds.

    And missed the last 5 minutes.

    It’s just like the 65 ECF. Score was 110 to 109 Boston… then the scoring went Chamberlain 10, Celtics 0 to bring it to 110-109.

    Havlicek stole a pass that was not from Wilt, didn’t go to Wilt, had nothing to do with Wilt, but apparently, Wilt choked.

    I dunno…. do people bash Garnett, Pierce, Rondo, & Ray Allen for losing the 2010 Finals after Kendrick Perkins wrecked his knee? Did they choke?

    But since it’s Chamberlain who wrecked his knee in the 1969 Finals, we can say IT’S HIS FAULT

    Makes no sense at all.

    Posted by Freddie Freeloader | August 1, 2011, 7:22 pm
    • Freddie, Thanks for the read, but your arguments are extremely flawed:

      1.) “Wilt’s fault that his shooting guard pulled a hamstring.” – No, not Wilt’s fault for his shooting guard pulling his hamstring in Game 4: Its Wilt’s fault for failing to step up when his shooting guard pulled his hamstring and going 2/11 for 8 points, a complete non-factor. By comparison, West scored 40 points in that game.

      2.) “Total All-Star appearances of the rest of the team: ZERO” – Are you serious? You are saying that Wilt lost that NBA Finals because he was playing with ONLY 2 other Hall of Famers. Do you know many other teams won championships with ONLY 2 other hall of famers (3 HOFers total)? Plenty. I invite you to take a look. The bottom line is that Celtics team was completely over the hill and Bill Russell was on his last legs. No way the Lakers should have lost and Wilt is squarely to blame.

      3.) “Meanwhile, Wilt, who did not show up, scored 18 points on 7-8 shooting, with 27 rebounds.” You are obviously selectively interpreting whatever you want to interpret from my comments. Please re-read them. I never blamed Wilt for his Game 7 performance, nor for blowing out his knee. In fact, I think that Wilt gets a bad rap from historians on this one. I do however blame him for the following:

      - Scoring only 11.7 points per game for the entire series and shooting 36.4% from the FT Line
      - Scoring only 4 points in Game 2
      - Scoring only 8 points in Game 4
      - Scoring only 13 pointsin Game 5
      - Scoring only 8 points in Game 6

      Bottom line: Wilt did not step up and bring his “A” game. He had a strong Game 7, but should have stepped up prior.

      I agree with you that Wilt gets more blame than he deserved for his failures and you are absolutely right – there are plenty of legends who have failed far worse than Wilt did in his career. However, he HAS failed (unjustifiable failureS) and trying to justify his horrendous 69 Finals doesn’t change that fact.

      Posted by The NBA Realist | August 1, 2011, 8:29 pm
      • of course that over the hill celtics team dispatched of the ny knicks 4-2 with their team of 6 hall of famers dave debusherre,bill bradley,walt frazier,walt bellamy,willis reed and phill jackson as well as dick barnett and cazzie russell

        Posted by djwc6 | August 4, 2011, 9:09 am
        • The fact that you are trying to pass off Phil Jackson (who entered the Hall as a Coach, not a player, and didn’t even play a single game in the 69 playoffs), Bill Bradley ( who really entered for his political activism than his basketball skills – career averages of 12pts-3reb-3-ass) and Walt Bellamy (who didn’t even play a game in the 69 playoffs) to substantiate your argument means that you are simply grasping at straws at this point. Face it, you are out of your league on this debate.

          Posted by The NBA Realist | August 4, 2011, 9:53 am
          • my apologies on trying to sneak that load of crap past you but i did find it quite humorous when i was typing it out.

            Posted by djwc6 | August 4, 2011, 12:18 pm
          • No prob. We are all spin doctors in our own right.

            Posted by The NBA Realist | August 4, 2011, 12:20 pm
    • Freddie you are 1000% correct.
      Also that knee really exploed the next season after 7 games or so and some dr said his year and maybe his career were over. He would miss at least that season and maybe the next.
      Lets see what happened he came back to take the lakers to the finals with 1 knee and in game 6 of the finals he scored 45 points to tie the series.
      But then he had to fly that same night back to NY for game 7.
      But when Reed walked out he made 2 shots and never scored again and Clyde dominated West but who got the blame.
      Wilt who scored over 20 and 20 boards with 1 knee. And playing every minute as usual.

      Posted by dr len gilman | December 5, 2012, 12:35 am
  17. just to clear up a point on rebounding,you say he would only get 14.9,and since kevin love gets 15.2 you are in essence saying kevin love is a better rebounder than chamberlain

    Posted by djwc6 | August 3, 2011, 11:02 am
    • Would you consider a guy who gets .3 more rebounds per game “better”? I wouldn’t. With that said, and inflated stats aside, I do not know how you can proclaim Wilt Chamberlain a better rebounder than Kevin Love either.

      Posted by The NBA Realist | August 3, 2011, 12:18 pm
      • well the case i would feel comfortable making would be 60-61 when wilt had his all time high in rebounds he beat russell by 13%,this last year kevin love beat his closest competition by only 1.3%

        Posted by djwc6 | August 4, 2011, 9:57 am
        • The disparity in rebounds per game could very well be attributed to the fact that Wilt was in a league of his own in 1961. That does not mean that he is “better” or “worse” than Kevin Love.

          Here is my position – At this point, it is not fair to compare Love to Wilt. Love has only done it for one season while Wilt did it for many. However, if Love continues to average 15 reb/game for the next 8-9 seasons, I think that he has a case. Regardless, I stand by my original stance – no Way Wilt averages 25+ rebounds in today’s game. There simply aren’t enough opportunities.

          Posted by The NBA Realist | August 4, 2011, 10:04 am
      • well when kevin love leads the league in rebounding 10 more times we can start comparing him to wilt

        Posted by djwc6 | August 4, 2011, 11:16 am
        • that is why you should consider the BLACK INK rather than the raw total. In other words, ascertain the context of the total against the league. Wilt had the MOST rebounds in the league 10 times. Surely, the raw opportunities are scarcer than in the 60′s, yet Wilt was leading the league.

          It is analgous to the home run explosion in MLB; Rafael Palemrio gets 38 HR in 1997 and finishes 6th in the AL. (Palmerio never leads the league in HR or RBI) Well, if you compare his 47 HR to Graig Nettles 1976 total of 32, Nettles looks pretty insignificant until you consider that Nettles had the MOST HR in the AL in 1976.

          Posted by Paulie Walnuts | August 4, 2011, 2:35 pm
    • Once again DJ your 100% perfect.
      Kevin got 30 points and 30 boards for the first time in over 20 years.
      I wonder if Wilt ever got 30 and 30?
      Oh right he did it 103 times many coming in back to back nights against William Felton Russell.
      Thats 103 times for Wilt and 28 times for the rest of the history of the NBA!

      Posted by dr len gilman | December 5, 2012, 12:41 am
  18. Those who brand Wilt a loser are sorely mistaken. Also, mistaken are those that think he cared only about his stats. Take a look for yourself. These days the NBA channel has a number of classic games featuring Wilt in their rotation. Just watch game 5 of the 1972 finals to not only see Wilt hit for 24 points, 29 rebounds, 8 assists and 8 blocked shots (not bad for a guy one year from retirement), but he gets praised over and over by Keith Jackson for the excellent series he had. Wilt was named the MVP, which is proof enough of that. If you watch game 5 you will see a player who played every minute of the game, had some amazing blocks, rebounds and monster dunks, and made some terrific unselfish passes. His whole role was to be the defensive backbone of the team.

    Wilt had a huge ego and surely could be selfish at times, but he clearly wanted to win and he did so against some of the best players ever. Game 5 featured 9 hall-of-famers. This year’s NBA finals (with stars such as Dirk, Lebron, Wade, Kidd, etc. still only had half as many.

    Wilt may have loved to brag, but then is it really bragging when you’ve had 100 points or 55 rebounds in a game? I think not.

    Posted by Darren | August 3, 2011, 6:24 pm
    • I am as big a fan of Wilts as there is. And for sure, he was not a loser. But I do think that he was not obsessed with winning like Jordan or Russell. And truthfully, I don’t think that’s a bad thing. Russell did not seem to be a very happy guy, really until the last 15 years or so. And Jordan by most accounts is an A-$%&#. I think Wilt was happier with who he was, even though he was as egotistical as most top pro atheletes are. He just didn’t bleed to win. And still, he did a pretty good job of winning.

      Posted by Dimitrius | August 4, 2011, 11:28 am
  19. The problem with Wilt Chamberlain has and always will be the disparity in his stats from the regular season to the playoffs.

    Psychologists, sports experts, friends and family members – someone needs to explain to me why when the playoffs rolled around – Wilt’s numbers went down so much.

    Posted by Adam | August 5, 2011, 9:26 pm
    • that problem didn’t belong to wilt,during his first six seasons wilt averaged 33 points per game,26 rebounds per game and 3 assists per game,it was his coaches who wanted a better scoring balance,who wanted wilt to pass to the open man instead of trying to score against the inevitable double teams.alex hannum,who coached wilt at san francisco and later at philly,especially wanted wilt to change his game and so wilt did.wilt led his team in assists and essentially became a point center.

      Posted by djwc6 | August 9, 2011, 10:06 am
    • There’s no great mystery why Wilt got worse during the playoffs. He had some bad coaching (Hannum and Van Breda Kolff really hurt him) and injuries, but the primary driver was, as you mentioned, psychological. He’s not the only player ever to perform worse when the pressure was at its highest, but he was still historically great even when not at his regular season peak.

      His per game stats of 23 PPG, 25 RPG and 4 APG look nice next to his 6 Finals appearances in 14 seasons with 2 titles and a finals MVP. And of course, he was the leader of the only team ever to knock off the vaunted 1960s Celtic juggernaut at full strength. If you like advanced stats, and I do, he’s one of 2 players to be in the top 10 in offensive, defensive, total, and per 48 minute win shares in the playoffs (Jordan is the only other). His PER is 18th all time, down from 5th during the season, but still right there with Jabbar, Magic, Pettit and Kobe. Given his Herculean exploits during the regular season setting up enormous expectations and his obvious counterpart in Russell, the guy who nearly always lost the battle but won the war, his failures have been magnified far beyond what is reasonable.

      Wilt obviously underperformed for teams that should have won, and that’s really the only major weak point in his legacy (well, that and his free throw shooting). He is definitely not the greatest playoff performer every, but even in the playoffs he’s still easily among the elite.

      Posted by Lochpster | August 11, 2011, 6:54 pm
      • i found paulie walnuts comment on black ink very enlightening and so i went to basketball reference to check out how many times wilt was in the top five in various categories and found that he was in the top five 103 times over his 13 years in the playoffs.In wilts days of course they didn’t have statistical categories for blocked shots,blocked shots per game,offensive rebounds,defensive rebounds,steals,steals per game,3 pt fg,3 pt fga,3 pt fg%.Then of course i compared him to michael jordan who had nine more categories in which he could be placed in and michael “only” totals 86.Now wilt would have of course led many times in blocked shots,blocked shots per game,offensive rebounds and defensive rebounds.So even though you are accurate in saying jordan was the better playoff scorer over his entire career i believe that wilts dominance in many facets of the game makes him the greatest playoff performer ever.

        Posted by djwc6 | August 16, 2011, 8:49 am
    • The reason for Wilt’s points decline in the playoffs had to do with the the defensive planning of the opposing team. The opposing team would have the time to devise a defensive plan to counter Wilt and had the time to revise it from game to game. If he had better players surrounding him he would have not been so easily quadruple teamed…

      Posted by Fred | January 26, 2012, 12:57 am
    • You have to remember that the bulk of Wilts playoff games were in the second half of his career when his shooting were drastically cut back
      especially with a couple of chuckers
      named West and Baylor.

      Posted by dr len gilman | December 5, 2012, 12:45 am
  20. I never was a “Goliath” fan – meaning no fan of Wilt Chamberlain. I feel as if I am kind of stabbing Wilt in the back when I use the term Goliath. Wilt was great because he was a great ATHLETE.
    Although he was big and strong enough to bully guys around, he didn’t- that wasn’t his nature.He was mellow to a fault and if he had had a mean streak he probably would have won a few more championships. I’m quite sure that if Wilt had played on those Celtic teams rather than Russell – he would be the one who “won” all those championships. I use the term won , as if he would have won them singlehandedly , because he singlehandedly was “blamed” for not beating those Hall of Fame laden Boston teams.

    The author here speaks of – The Goliath Conundrum: Were Wilt’s statistical accomplishments truly the measure of greatness and dominance, or was he merely the beneficiary of playing in an era against inferior competition?

    Inferior competition ? The author must be thinking of Shaq.

    Wilt played against more HOF centers than any other center.
    Here are the HOF centers he played.

    Bill Russell 6’9″, 220
    Kareem Abdul Jabbar 7’2″,225
    Nate Thurmond 6’11″ 240
    Walt Bellamy 6’11″ 225
    Bob Petit 6’9″ 230
    Dave Cowens 6’9″ 230
    Bob Lanier 6’11 265
    Spencer Haywood 6’9″ 230
    Jerry Lucas 6’8″ 245 (C-F)
    Elvin Hayes 6’9′ 240 (C-F)
    Wes Unseld 6’7″ 245
    Willis Reed 6’9″ 240

    I don’t see a guy in the NBA worthy of HOF status ! These guys ALL belong !

    Other centers

    Walter Dukes 7’0″, 220
    Swede Halbrook 7’3, 235
    Tom Boerwinkle 7’0″, 265
    Darrall Imhoff 6’10″, 220
    Otto Moore 6’11″, 210
    Sam Lacey 6’10″, 235
    George Johnson 6’11″, 245
    Paul Ruffner 6’10″, 230 Dick Cunningham 6’10″, 245
    Leroy Ellis 6’10″, 210
    Mel Counts 7’0″, 235
    Nate Bowman 6’10″, 230
    Clyde Lee 6’10″, 210
    Walt Wesley 6’11″, 230
    Henry Akin 6’10″, 225
    Hank Finkel 7’0″, 240
    Neal Walk 6’10″, 220
    Elmore Smith 7’0″, 250
    Jim McDaniels 6’11″, 230
    LaRue Martin 6’11″, 215
    Tom Riker 6’10″, 225
    Conrad Dierking 6’9″, 225 Johnny “Red” Kerr 6’9″, 230
    Rick Roberson 6’9″, 230
    Luke Jackson 6’9″, 240
    Duke Hogue 6’9,” 240
    Zelmo Beaty 6’9″, 230
    Len Chappell 6’9″, 240
    Hub Reed 6’9″, 220
    Henry Akin 6’10″, 225
    Nate Bowman,6’10″, 230
    Clyde Lee,6’10″, 210
    Walt Wesley ,6’11″, 230
    Hank Finkel 7’0″, 240
    Connie Dierking 6’9″, 225
    Johnny “Red” Kerr 6’9″,230
    Bob Pettit 6’9″, 220
    Rick Roberson 6’9″, 230
    Luke Jackson 6’9″, 240
    Duke Hogue6’9,” 240
    Zelmo Beaty 6’9″, 230
    Len Chappell 6’9″, 240
    Hub Reed 6’9″, 220

    Those guys w/ very few exceptions could easily play today –
    Wilt played against the best.

    It is said that today a center cannot average 30 points. In Shaq’s 8th season he averaged 29.7 points. His range was from 5 FEET and in.
    If he had had a range of 10-12 feet he’d easily have 40 ppg.
    Wilt , depending on the scoring need of the team could easily FORTY points per game.

    He could easily get up better than any big man in history. He blocked shots – 15 foot jump shots at theor apex. I never saw this before or after Wilt.

    As far as a 100 point game – look Kobe had 81. Kobe had 55 in 1 half. Wilt, under the right conditions, could get 100 points today. He only shot 57% from the field when he had 100 and Kobe shot 60% when he got his 81. Imagine if they had been shooting for a high percentage those nights.

    As Jerry West said “If Wilt was playing today, he’d lead the league in scoring, rebounding and blocked shots. He is correct !

    Posted by ricky warner | October 27, 2011, 10:11 pm
    • The most amazing thing about Wilt is the minutes he played.

      Wilt led the league in minutes played 8 times and average MP 9 times.

      As we know, big men typically suffer from too many minutes; Wilt clearly defied this physical reality.

      At age 36, Wilt played 3542 minutes. That is an amazing total.

      compare with the other top centers at age 36:

      Kareem 2662
      Shaq 2252
      Hakeem 1784
      Russell retired
      Moses 2511
      K Malone 2947
      E Hayes 3032
      A-Train 2395

      Only Russell and Moses leg the league twice in minutes. Elvin Hayes led 4x. Kareem only once. A-Train led the ABA 3x.

      The minutes that Wilt was able to put in considering his immense stature is a clear indication of his tremendous athletic ability.

      Posted by Paulie Walnuts | October 30, 2011, 8:27 am
      • Paulie you have underhand that when Wilt played an entire season with out sitting down and he averaged over 48 minutes a game that was in the 1960′s. Wilts worse season was better then Shaq’s best. But why?
        With science and computers we all know that there was much less gravity on earth when Wilt played so playing an entire season was much easier then when Shaq played.

        Posted by dr len gilman | December 5, 2012, 12:55 am
    • Ricky: Thanks for the read. I will happily own my comments.

      You are cherry picking quite a bit on this one and I have 2 responses:

      1.) Just because Wilt played in the same era against HOF forwards and centers, does not mean that they were great defensively (Off the top of my head, only Thurmond and Russell made the All-Defensive team ) or that he actually matched up against those players on offense (Petit and Hayes never drew the defensive assignment against Wilt ).

      2.) Wilt ‘s monster scoring numbers occurred from 1960-1966 when only Bill Russell was in his prime. Every other HOF player that you mention, with the exception of Petit, peaked after 1966.

      3.) Contrary to what your point, Wilt played against very few big centers while he was putting up his monster numbers. As an example, in 1962, when Wilt averaged 50 points/25 reb per game, the height of the average center was 6’5. Moreover, there was only a grand total of 2 other 7-footers: Walter Dukes and Swede Halbrook.

      I stand by my point that during the time in which Wilt was putting up his record scoring numbers, the talent at the Center position was still inferior, particularly on the defensive end.

      Posted by The NBA Realist | December 9, 2011, 3:27 pm
      • the games in the 50s and 60s were fast paced. many of the centers today would be used sparingly if at all. The Yao Mings would not last a fourth of a season due to injuries that would be caused by the fast pace. It was a Nelly ball style of play. (sort of…) Russell, 6’10? with a wing-span of 7’4? could keep up because he was an Olympic class track star. He revolutionized defence with his athleticism. He would guard his man and then guard another and then come back to his man. He was that quick. Really, he was one of the best defensive centers to play the game. It is not by chance that he won 11 rings.

        But he did not create the match-up problems because his expertise was not on the offense.

        When Chamberlain came into the league not only was he athletic enough to keep up with Russel but some say he surpassed him, even on defence.

        In B-ball strength beats height and quickness beats strength (if you do not believe me ask Charles Barkley and Manute Bol!!) Chamberlain was quicker, stronger and bigger than anyone in the league and he could score!

        Today he would be a match-up nightmare. The centers that could come close to matching his strength couldn’t keep up and the ones that could keep up couldn’t stop he at the post. What player is as strong as Shaq (Wilt benched 500 lbs.) and a world class track and field star? In track he ran the 100, 220, 440, and the 880. He high-jumped, long-jumped and triple-jumped. He also shot-putted.

        Today, the bigger and taller players that would be needed to guard him in the post could not match his quick moves in the post and they would not be able to keep up with him as he beats them down the floor.

        He ran the 1/2 mile in under 2 minutes. What big man today could do that? It’s about speed and stamina… He Also ran the 100 in 10 something. That shows fast break speed . What guard today could put up those numbers and then guard him at the low post? Non. What big men could do this? He high jumped 6 9 doing the barrel roll! He could put change on top of the backboard! Blocked shots and ally-opps!! Today, who would have the speed and stamina to play the small ball of the 60′s and have the strength and the height of Chamberlain?

        What the people that worship Jordan and want to kiss his feet do not understand is that Chamberlain dominated the 60′s small ball with his height and strength and would dominate todays game with his athletic quickness, endurance and speed. What made him special was that he was both big and strong, quick and fast.

        Chamberalian played a fast pace game for 48 minutes. The centers were smaller in the 50s and 60s because the bigs could not play that game. the bigs of today would not be able to keep up.

        The rebound issue is amazing!!!!! Jordanites always forget this issue!!!!!! The blocked shots numbers are also something that the younger generation that loves Nike and their shoes forgets!!!! ))))) jordan was the best one on one shooting guard to play the game.

        Kobe’s fundamentals are better, Kobe’s outside shot is better, Kobe’s around the rim game is as good but his defensive game is not as good as King jordan.

        But Jordan never would have won as many rings if he played against Bird’s Celtics (at their best) Lambreer’s Piston’s (during their time) and magic and company when they were not beat up, emotionally drained, without Jabbar, and running on fumes. After the bulls beat the Lakers in their final lame hurray they beat the might sonics, the mighty blazers and the one trick pony jazz. these teams could never get passed the Lakers in its prime and would have crumbled in the face of Bird’s Celtics. Without jordan, the bulls were a play away from the finals. Without jordan they were 4 games less than they were the year before when jordan was there.

        Rings are won by teams. 5 beats 1 every day of the week. But I mean no disrespect to jordan, he is the best shouting guard one on one in the history of the game but team chemistry suffers when you are an asshole (ask kobe about this).

        Chamberlain was an asshole but he also knew that he needed his team and just by the skin of his teeth he was able to change.

        Rings are not a the best way to gauge greatness. pistol Pete Maravich was the greatest ball handler in the history of the game (see youtube!!!!!)he was better than Magic. He made Magic look ordinary! I would pick Pistol Pete over magic as a point guard (where team chemistry is a problem…) but Pete has no rings. The greatest ball handler in the history of the game by far!! Rings are a team effort.

        Back in the day the discussion was “who is better, Chamberlain or Baylor?” Baylor was jordan before jordan. he was not as athletic as jordan (but almost!!!) he passed better and was a much better rebounder. If he and jordan traded places the discussion would be, “greatest? Chamberlain or Baylor?” Really, he was that good.

        Years ago, when Larry Bird was at the height of his career in Boston, someone asked Celtics broadcaster Tommy Heinsohn who the greatest forward in the history of the game was. Everyone was expecting Heinsohn (a Celtic loyalist if there ever was one) to give the obvious answer: Larry Bird. Instead, and without hesitation, Heinsohn said, “Elgin Baylor.”

        But the greatest forward (power or small according to Heinsohn) was without a ring…

        Rings are important but the greatest can’t win without teammates and can not win against a better team.

        Rings are important but Barkley is a better forward than Rorbert Horry. Stockton and Malone are better than Kerr and Grant…. Really, if Chamberlain was on that celtic team instead of Russell, they’d be winning rings today even though half of them are dead!!!!

        Who was the greatest B-ball player ever? Ask Jabbar, ask Oscar. They’ve seem and played against them all…

        Posted by Fred | March 2, 2012, 10:41 pm
      • It does not matter why Wilt was so impressive in his stats. What matters is that they happened. You can argue anything you wish but until someone can match Wilt’s accomplishments he is still the GOAT.

        Posted by michael lord | February 15, 2013, 11:48 pm
        • I have stated this previoulsy, yet I shall do so again.

          Leading the league is an improtatn factor; it must be considered in combinaiton with the rates.

          Having the MOST of somehtin has significant meaning.

          True, that Wilt’s rebounding and scoring AVERAGES would be lower by todays standards, Wilt still had the MOST of may thigs many times.

          Wilt the league in the following:

          Minutes Played 8x
          Field Goals Attempted 7x
          Field Goals Made 7x
          Field Goal Percentage 9x
          Free Throws Made 1x
          Free Throws Attempted 9x
          Total Rebounds 11x
          Assists 1x
          Total Points 7x

          That’s 61 times combined in those categories in which Wilt led the league. And, I would hardly call those categories “cherry picking”

          In contrast, here are some other of the top players and their Black Ink

          Kareem: 13 (MP,FG 5x, FG%, TRB 2x, Tot PTS 3x)

          Jordan: 36 (MP 3x, FG 10x, FGA 9x, FTM 2x, FTA, Tot PTS 11x)

          Duncan: 3 (TRB, FTM, FGM)

          James: 5* (MP 2x, FGM 3x*, FT)

          Shaq: 25 (FGM 5x, FGA, FG% 10x, FTA 6, Tot Pts 3x)

          *assuming that James finishes the year 2012-2013 leading the league.

          Jordan did lead the league twice in steals and Kareem twice in blocks, yet blocks and steals were NOT tabulated in Wilt’s career. I am very confident that Wilt would have lead the league in Blocked Shots many times (probably 8 or more), and perhaps even steals once or twice.

          To summarize, that’s 61 Black Ink points for Wilt and Jordan is second with 36!!

          Understandably, much of Wilt’s Black Ink is due to his minutes, yet that is a really important factor for a team. Especially when the player getting the most minutes is also the BEST player in the league.

          Posted by Paulie Walnuts | February 18, 2013, 2:34 pm
          • “Leading the league is an improtatn [sic] factor; it must be considered in combinaiton with the rates.

            Having the MOST of somehtin has significant meaning.”

            No.

            Many would argue that Russel was a better rebounder than Wilt, because he got more rebounds he was in position to get, especially on the defensive board. He also has a better estimated rebounding percentage and Russell was surrounded with better rebounders than Wilt. Boston also rebounded better as a team in total rebounds and estimated rebounding percentage.

            So again: No. It isn’t important to lead the league in a category.
            I also don’t see how your argument matters in contrast with Rodman, considering he not only led the league in TREB% multiple times but also in TREB/game.

            Posted by Chris | February 18, 2013, 4:06 pm
          • Chris,

            I disagree with your perspective.

            Black Ink has value. To what degree, we can discuss, but to summarily dismiss leading the league is pretty foolish.

            As I said before, the implication and tone of your responses seem to imply that you are the self appointed mediator of all opinions offered on this board.

            It is possible that in your calculation that you have misplaced values. Is it possible that you are wrong or are you ABSOLUTELY right about everything? There is NO room for interpretation?

            Perhaps you are simply attempting to correct what you see as a total oversight. If that is so, you should explain WHY having the most of something is NOT important or does not carry value.

            Posted by Paulie Walnuts | February 18, 2013, 4:23 pm
          • And to be clear, I was not making any comparison to Rodman.

            Yet, now that you metion it. . .

            Yes, of course Rodman was a great rebounder; probably the best of all time.

            The difference, and the greater point I was driving at, is that Wilt was leading the league in MANY categories. Wilt had a diversity of skills, thus certainly demonstrating greater value than any other player.

            Certainly Wilt’s peer group thought that. Were they all wrong.

            Perhaps your viewpoints have become too narrow?

            Fear not, I have gotten the message. You simply do not wish “unenlightened” or archaic types like me to offer my stone aged thoughts.

            Thus, true to my word, I shall leave further erudition to Chris, who like Mike Fratello, is the Czar of the Message Board!!

            Posted by Paulie Walnuts | February 18, 2013, 4:33 pm
          • Don’t get so upset just because someone disagrees with you. I can see where Chris’s tone may be brusque, but this-”I have stated this previoulsy, yet I shall do so again.”-is pretty haughty.

            I do agree with Chris, leading a league in something isn’t important IMO. A player’s overall effectiveness is what matters, not his ability to lead the league in some statistic.

            Allen Iverson lead the league in PPG, SPG and MPG a combined 14 times-or as many times as Lebron, Duncan and Bird have lead the league in something combined. Yet in ’05-06 Iverson averaged 33 points per game, his highest single season mark, but lost the scoring title to Kobe Bryant. Was he a worse player that season because he didn’t lead the league? Of course not! Was he a more effective offensive player than James, Duncan and Bird because of all those scoring titles? Of course not!

            Posted by lochpster | February 18, 2013, 9:27 pm
          • In 2000/01 Jerry Stackhouse led the league in fga, ft made, total TO and total points. He was also second in points/game at 29.75. By your arbitrary, flawed and archaic logic, that makes Jerry Stackhouse great, or what? Yeah, no.

            I’m telling you a secret: The NBA is about two things:

            1. Possessions and the positive conversion of it – a short version of the 4 factors. The box score gives you a rudimentary view of a player’s ability to fulfill those principles, but it is crowded with information that has only value in the context of the boxscore. Saying somebody leads the league in fga, TO or points is an utterly useless blank statement. It’s all about the efficient conversion of the possessions used and the ability to secure more possessions for your team.

            2. A team has to function as a holistic unit, growing via synergy between the players and the coach. For example: Wilt led the league in scoring from 1960 up to 1966. Only once did any of his teams lead the league in points/game and they had almost every year one of the least efficient offenses in the 8-9 team league. Why was that? Because Wilt’s unbelievable points and rebounding numbers don’t tell you, that his teammates, many of whom ended up in the hall of fame, couldn’t get into the flow of the game because Wilt constantly hijacked the offense – partly because he wanted to and partly because he had horrendous coaches, before his first title, that told him to. It’s no accident that Russel was the MVP in a year were Wilt had 50 and 25 as averages.

            To this point you have used parts of those fundamental basketball truths in various arguments, but never at the same time and you have also disregarded them if it fit your argument better.

            You are saying that I’m acting as if I know everything, to what I can only say that I lack a lot of knowledge, because basketball is so complex, that I’m learning something new all the time. What I know is, that your arguments are weak and that you are a hypocrite, which can be seen by your omission of Kobe, who has more black ink points than LeBron, in case you don’t know…

            Posted by Chris | February 19, 2013, 6:31 am
          • I never said that merely leading the league was congruent to greatness. . .

            It is an INDICATOR that a player has some higher level of value. that value could be limited to only that team or it could mean that the value is even higher.

            Again, you seem solidly cemented in the world of absolutism.

            I apologize for momentarily returning with my really stupid, archaic, moronic thinking.

            I will let you return to debating the relative merits of Captain Kirk vs. Captain Picard, now.

            Posted by Paulie Walnuts | February 19, 2013, 9:08 am
          • A couple of final points to Chris.

            1) I didn’t omit Bryant out of any intent, I simply selected some random players.

            2) Do you suppose there are reasons that I have Wilt ranked as #5 or #6 in my hierarchy?

            3) The problem with using only the efficiency of a player while ignoring (or marginalizing) his volume is to ignore that said player jeopardizes that effective rate with more volume.

            do we value Larry Bird or Mark Price more?

            Posted by Paulie Walnuts | February 19, 2013, 9:20 am
          • 2. A team has to function as a holistic unit, growing via synergy between the players and the coach. For example: Wilt led the league in scoring from 1960 up to 1966. Only once did any of his teams lead the league in points/game and they had almost every year one of the least efficient offenses in the 8-9 team league. Why was that? Because Wilt’s unbelievable points and rebounding numbers don’t tell you, that his teammates, many of whom ended up in the hall of fame, couldn’t get into the flow of the game because Wilt constantly hijacked the offense – partly because he wanted to and partly because he had horrendous coaches, before his first title, that told him to. It’s no accident that Russel was the MVP in a year were Wilt had 50 and 25 as averages.

            These HOF teammates that you allude to; how do they measure up with your system of efficiency?

            Are they, in fact, HOF worthy based upon performance?

            IF they are, then how and why?

            If not, how are they not and why?

            The “good teammates” argument is made often with Wilt, and though I am willing to concede that Wilt played with some good players with the Warriors, I am dubious as to what their actual value is and whether those players should be amongst the greats.

            Rather that continuing to point out the errors in my judgment, you could enlighten us with the evidence using your model of efficiency rating as to whether Wilt’s teammates were indeed HOF worthy.

            Posted by Paulie Walnuts | February 19, 2013, 9:37 am
          • Also true that the Warriors “only led the league in PPG once form 1959-1960 thru 1965-66, but isn’t that a little misleading?

            The Warriors finished 2nd in 1960-61 to Boston’s 121.3 by scoring 121.0; a difference of only 0.3 ppg.

            1962-63, the Warriors were well behind the Celtics (121.6-118.5), yet were only 0.6 ppg behind the 2nd place Cincinnati Royals (119.1-118.5)

            Posted by Paulie Walnuts | February 19, 2013, 10:37 am
          • paulie, chris … are we done with this back-and-forth?

            i want to talk about a HUGE dunk near Crash and Hump in the Nets game before the all-star break!

            i want to talk about two HUGE blocks in an all-star game!

            i never get enough of the Kobe mythologists downplaying LeBron as a “freakish athlete who has no skills, merely the winner of a genetic lottery” when they play up Kobe and his “perfect footwork and array of refined skills, making him the hardest working player in the game” … and then, like ever-so-predictable clockwork, his periodic dunks and blocks receive front-page coverage in their blogs and other assorted ramblings …

            let’s focus on what counts, footwork and taking shots while being draped by a defender … who cares about the results of those actions?

            Posted by ken | February 19, 2013, 11:24 am
          • “Again, you seem solidly cemented in the world of absolutism.”

            Come on now. You are the one who said, that leading the league in arbitrary boxscore columns has to be something really good and positive without providing any argument.
            I don’t thinkt that absolute truths or values exist, not in a philosophical sense anyway. Instead of trying to stigmatize me as a holier-than-thou nerd, how about you actually give some input that’s more than your daily dosis of random per/game numbers.

            “1) I didn’t omit Bryant out of any intent, I simply selected some random players.”

            So is Kobe a great player because of all the ink, or is he not? And if he is not, why is his black ink worth less than Chamberlain’s for example?

            “3) The problem with using only the efficiency of a player while ignoring (or marginalizing) his volume is to ignore that said player jeopardizes that effective rate with more volume.”

            We are exclusivley talking about star players and I have said multiple times that considering that, volume and per/game statistics are worthless.
            Secondly, I’m surprised from all people you would bring up this point, considering the way you and other guys are chiding Kobe for his high volume/low efficiency shooting.

            “These HOF teammates that you allude to; how do they measure up with your system of efficiency?”

            There is no system(s) for players before the 70s/80s as you should know, just watching old tape, reading up on zeitgeisty books and articles, look at winning and trying to be fair. With that said:
            Wilt played by the way with: Paul Arizin, who was great(er) without Wilt; Nate Thurmond, who was great without Wilt; Chet Walker, who was even better without Wilt; Hal Greer, who was great without Wilt and Billy Cunningham, who was great without Wilt. Actually, no high profile teammate of Wilt performed worse without Wilt and some were even better without him highjacking the performance all game long.
            I’m not saying that Wilt was surrounded by players as good or better than Russell, – I already said that his coaches sucked – but he really underperformed given his own talent.

            “but isn’t that a little misleading?”

            I already said that Wilt’s early teams were pretty average/bad on offense if you adjust for estimated pace. I just gave you the additional information, that even with the league’s highest pace they weren’t able to do something you love: score a lot points per game.

            Coming full circle with all this: Being efficient with high usage, while being a good teammate is what players should aspire to. Also: While Wilt was obviously dominant in multiple facets of the game, it shouldn’t force us to put him above specialists like Rodman et al., especially if we have multiple ways to show, that this specialist impacted winning greatly, something that cannod be said for the whole career of one Wilton N. Chamberlain.

            Posted by Chris | February 19, 2013, 12:14 pm
          • Addendum: Guy Rodgers, one of the top 5 playmakers in the 60s, had the best season of his career without Wilt.

            Posted by Chris | February 19, 2013, 4:15 pm
          • Do I understand this correctly?

            this statement:

            There is no system(s) for players before the 70s/80s as you should know, just watching old tape, reading up on zeitgeisty books and articles, look at winning and trying to be fair. With that said:

            Does this mean that you are relying upon the “eye test”, “archaic metrics”, and “anecdotal” evidence?

            Then, tell me, why is your opinion any better than anyone else’s regarding this?

            How are you able to establish that Guy Rodgers was BETTER after Wilt? because his numbers increased a little? Isn’t that using the raw totals?

            Is it possible that Tom Gola had his BEST years with Wilt, and that he Gola’s HOF resume was solely reliant upon his being a double digit scorer and rebounder DESPITE the pace of the game and the fact that many more rebounds were violable?

            Check the average production for the center position (per team) in the NBA in 1959-60 against Wilt

            MP: 41.9 to 46.4
            FGM: 576 to 1065
            FGA: 1405 to 2311
            FTM: 321 to 577
            FTA: 475 to 991
            FG% .410 to .461
            FT% .676 to .582
            TRB: 1204 to 1941
            RPG: 16.1 to 27.0
            Asst: 184 to 168
            APG: 2.5 to 2.3
            PTS: 1472 to 2707
            ppg: 19.6 to 37.6

            Wilt, as a rookie, was DOUBLING the production of every other TEAM at the center psoiton. And, that INCLUDES Russell.

            So, you’re the coach of the Warriors. You’ve got a roster that without Wilt is shooting 2484 of 6367 for .382%

            Who, exactly, would you WANT shooting the ball more? The guy hitting at the .461 clip, or anyone else?

            Further, if you replace Wilt with an AVERAGE center that means the Warriors are shooting 3060 of 7771 for ,394. That puts roughly 4711 rebounds into play, or 63 a game. Using the average centers rate of 16.1 per game, that means that there are now 47 rebounds that now need to be distributed. We can probably agree that the distribution would not be equal amongst the 10 positions on the court; so, let;’s say that the Warriors get 50% of those 47 rebounds, which is 24.

            We can probably assume that without Wilt or Russell as the center, Gola pulls down an extra 8-10 rebounds of those 24 a game. That would push Gola’s rebounding average from 10.4 to around 20.

            that doesn’t make Gola a better player because of that, he just happened to be there. But, it would absolutely serve to cement Gola as a great when 15 years later people look at a 20 ppg and rpg player.

            The difference is that Wilt’s was NOT an illusion. Wilt’s numbers are reflective of his greatness. They tell the wide disparity that Wilt had to the rest of the league.

            It also tells that there is truth that Wilt was a far better athlete than his competition. It also tells us that his coaches saw that the most logical offense was to have Wilt shoot more often than anyone else. It was an easy trap to fall into given the rudimentary understanding of the coaches of the time.

            Wilt would still be an elite player today. Wilt would be the best rebounder of any age, and the best scorer of any age. He was simply the best.

            Wilt’s TEAMS did not win like we would have expected, and Wilt has to be accountable for some portion of that. However, I cannot buy that Wilt’s teammates were as good as Russell’s in total.

            I would agree that Wilt’s big failures came in 1967-68 and 1968-69 when the Sixers and the Lakers were probably better than the Celtics.

            Still, those series were far from one sided.

            Posted by Paulie Walnuts | February 19, 2013, 10:06 pm
          • Another element to consider with Wilt and the NBA post 1966 was the Texas Western team winning the NCAA title.

            That likely led to NBA teams acquiring and utilizing more and better athletes and the talent level rising from the mean.

            Posted by Paulie Walnuts | February 20, 2013, 8:23 am
          • “Does this mean that you are relying upon the “eye test”, “archaic metrics”, and “anecdotal” evidence?”

            I have already written what I used to evaluate the players I was talking about. The box score isn’t reflective of basketball as a whole today and in the 60s it was much worse. There is also no +/- data, no play-by-play data, much less tape and it is hard to figure out the pace.

            “Then, tell me, why is your opinion any better than anyone else’s regarding this?”

            Because I’m looking at the whole picture, while you are still only looking at per/game stats, that are even more useless than they are now.

            “How are you able to establish that Guy Rodgers was BETTER after Wilt? because his numbers increased a little? Isn’t that using the raw totals?”

            Because he became a more effective player while getting much more attention from opposing defenses and because he didn’t have Wilt to pass to anymore. Your argument was after all: How do we know Wilt’s teammates were really HOF-material? Well, if they can succeed without him, that makes the answer pretty obvious. And in cases like Paul Arizin we know that he had success, because he was already established.

            “Is it possible that Tom Gola had his BEST years with Wilt, and that he Gola’s HOF resume was solely reliant upon his being a double digit scorer and rebounder DESPITE the pace of the game and the fact that many more rebounds were violable?”

            Tom Gola was good before Wilt, good with him and good after him, – and shouldn’t be in the hall by the way – so I have no idea what you are talking about.

            “Wilt, as a rookie, was DOUBLING the production of every other TEAM at the center psoiton. And, that INCLUDES Russell.”

            Wilt was dominant. Obviously. Did he help his team and his teammates as much as you would expect with such a monstrous production? Probably not.

            “Who, exactly, would you WANT shooting the ball more? The guy hitting at the .461 clip, or anyone else?”

            You are implying that those players would get the same quality shots as before or even worse ones, but considering that Wilt was positioned in the paint with his big body all game long and was rather pass averse at the beginning of his career, I wouldn’t be surprised to see improvement in the team. It’s pretty similar to the Rondo-situation in Boston: Domination of the best player might force other players to play in a way that is detrimental to their own abilities.

            “The difference is that Wilt’s was NOT an illusion. Wilt’s numbers are reflective of his greatness. They tell the wide disparity that Wilt had to the rest of the league.”

            I believe that Wilt was the best players before Kareem, but you haven’t proven that with your line of argumentation.

            “It also tells that there is truth that Wilt was a far better athlete than his competition. It also tells us that his coaches saw that the most logical offense was to have Wilt shoot more often than anyone else. It was an easy trap to fall into given the rudimentary understanding of the coaches of the time.”

            I don’t think he was a much better athlete than Russell or Oscar, relative to their body proportions.
            And yes, it was an easy trap to fall in to, but it was a trap, going away from one of the most fundamental principles of basketball: If one dominates the ball all the time, the other players will either don’t find a rhythm or will get out of it.

            “Wilt would still be an elite player today. Wilt would be the best rebounder of any age, and the best scorer of any age. He was simply the best.”

            He would still be elite. I don’t think he would be a better rebounder than Rodman or Moses and he wasn’t even the best rebounder of his time. And he wasn’t even close to the best scorer of all time. What Jordan and Gervin have done and what Durant is doing now is more impressive to me than those hollow numbers Wilt put up.
            And you really lose me when you say he was simply the best. Your own alltime list disagrees with you.

            Posted by Chris | February 20, 2013, 8:52 am
          • Chris, I disagree strongly when you call Wilt’s points hollow and argue that he should have shot less. You state, “If one dominates the ball all the time, the other players will either don’t find a rhythm or will get out of it.” That is probably true, but the question, as always, whether that truly impedes your team from winning? Why not just keep doing what works until somebody stops it?

            The 1961-62 Philadelphia Warriors scored more points than any team in basketball, the year Wilt averaged 50.4 (rate unadjusted, I know :( ). They were the second best team in basketball by point differential and the third best by record out of 8 teams, and they took the Celtics to the wire in 7 game in the ECF before finally succumbing. A successful season by team standards, unless you only care about championships.

            Wilt led his team in true shooting % by a wide margin that year and was way above the league average as well. In fact, Wilt was more efficient that year than any of the significant players on his team ever was, pre, peri or post-Wilt, except for Paul Arizin, who’d posted a higher TS% during a single season ten years prior.

            Does that mean Wilt shouldn’t have passed a couple shots per game to open teammates? Of course not! But that’s true of any volume scorer, and no team truly manages to optimize their offense. With or without Wilt clogging the middle, none of those guys is going to approximate the results Wilt could get them despite his absurdly high usage, rhythm or no rhythm-hence, getting the ball to Wilt seems the best way to score points.

            Your argument might be that his teammates were disinterested and didn’t play as hard. Does this bear out historically? Anecdotally and in certain situations the answer is yes, but over the course of many seasons, it’s hard to find such a trend.

            ABA and NBA combined, there have been 44 years in which the league’s highest usage player could be calculated (note-I excluded the ABA’s 68-69 season, where Bob Verga played for three teams. Presumably nobody cares). Since that time, the player with the highest usage percentage has won the championship 6 times, made the finals 9 times, and missed the playoffs a mere 8 times. None of the players who lead the league in usage but missed the playoffs were really all-time greats, either-the list includes Iverson, Bernard King (twice), World B Free, Freeman Williams, a young Mark Aguirre, and John Brisker (twice, with the Pittsburgh Pipers/Condors). Even if you exclude Jordan, you still notice that most such teams are going to be above average.

            Similarly, these teams’ offenses generally perform markedly better with their ball hogs on the floor. Of the top 10 usage seasons in basketball history, only Jermaine O’Neal didn’t have a positive impact on his team’s offense (RAPM offensively of -.2 in ’04-05). In some of these cases, the wheels came off totally without the high user in the game.

            I know the synergy data. Iso possessions that lead to a shot are the worst possessions in the league. Assisted shots are worth more. Also, as usage goes up, shooting percentages get worse. No question these are all true on a league-wide basis, and its hard to criticize team that moves the ball to the open man.

            However, when you have a singularly unguardable offensive player who gets you high percentage shots with relative ease, and you decide to milk that advantage to its full worth rather than feeding lesser players, it seems hard to criticize that strategy as well. Would Wilt’s team have been more effective had he shot less? It’s conceivable. It’s also conceivable they’d have been better had he shot more, given the effectiveness gap between Wilt and the rest of the team.

            Posted by lochpster | February 21, 2013, 3:46 pm
          • “I disagree strongly when you call Wilt’s points hollow and argue that he should have shot less”

            The staggering amount of points is a potemkin village, you can’t tell me otherwise. I also can’t see any argument why he shouldn’t have shot less; it’s obviously a question to what degree.

            “Why not just keep doing what works until somebody stops it?”

            I never argued that it didn’t work, but that his stats don’t reflect his actual worth.

            “A successful season by team standards, unless you only care about championships.”

            You can’t tell me that Wilt’s teams were as succesful as you would imagine with an unstoppable force of nature, that is teamed up with between 2-4 HOF-players.

            “none of those guys is going to approximate the results Wilt could get them despite his absurdly high usage”

            I’ve never said that. It just seems obvious to me, if you look at the latter parts of Wilt’s caeer and how he approached the game, that he couldn’t find the equilibrium between shooting and distributing early on…or maybe he didn’t want to, who knows.

            “Anecdotally and in certain situations the answer is yes, but over the course of many seasons, it’s hard to find such a trend.”

            Please be more specific.

            “Even if you exclude Jordan, you still notice that most such teams are going to be above average.”

            I value high usage, don’t get me wrong.

            “It’s also conceivable they’d have been better had he shot more, given the effectiveness gap between Wilt and the rest of the team.”

            I wonder if you are playing devil’s advocat or actually believe that; or should I say, believe that’s probable?

            Anway, I already listed Wilt as my number 1 player before the merger, (or Kareem’s prime) so it should be obvious that I appreciate him a lot. But Wilt’s teams were never the best offensive team (probably never the second best either), something that definitely has to make you think about his actual impact compared to the perceived one by observers 40-50 years later.

            Posted by Chris | February 21, 2013, 7:08 pm
          • What interests me here is not the value of Wilt (on which we agree), but the question about usage and team results. And I do love playing devils advocate, but I’m not doing so here.

            “The staggering amount of points is a potemkin village, you can’t tell me otherwise. ”

            No question. But whether this was premeditated or not does not affect the value of the season.

            “You can’t tell me that Wilt’s teams were as succesful as you would imagine with an unstoppable force of nature, that is teamed up with between 2-4 HOF-players.”

            Agree. He had seasons where his teams underacheived. 1961-62 was not such a year.

            The only HOFer i see on this team is Paul Arizin, who was at the tail end of his career, and Tom Gola, who we agree never should have been one. Compared to the rest of the league’s better teams, a mediocre supporting cast, IMO. Perhaps you disagree-that’s fine.

            Nonetheless, the Warriors very nearly knocked off the Celtics despite injuries. Had the Warriors won that series, even had they lost the Finals, we would have viewed this season as a resounding triumph for Wilt instead of a statistical oddity, but history is written by the victors.

            “It just seems obvious to me, if you look at the latter parts of Wilt’s caeer and how he approached the game, that he couldn’t find the equilibrium between shooting and distributing early on…or maybe he didn’t want to, who knows.”

            That’s certainly the popular story and corresponds to when he won titles. But, again, his later teams also had a lot more prime marquee talent. On the 76ers, Wilt was able to pass the ball to three true HOFers in their primes in Chet Walker, Hal Greer and Billy Cunningham, and in LA he paired up with West, Goodrich and for a time, Baylor. That makes it a lot easier to focus on the other stuff.

            “I wonder if you are playing devil’s advocat or actually believe that; or should I say, believe that’s probable?”

            I’m truly not sure what happens when you adjust Wilt’s usage meter. If Wilt takes more shots per game without a significant drop off in his or his teammates’ performance, they’re better. If he takes fewer shots, perhaps his rebounding and defense (and that of his teammates) make up the difference. I find both plausible. I would find the latter more likely if I thought there was strong evidence that Wilt’s teammates could easily pick up his scoring slack, but I don’t.

            This is probably just a trivial argument, so I imagine I should just drop it after this.

            Posted by lochpster | February 22, 2013, 5:03 pm
  21. Fuck outta here. His cute little spectacles of 50 ppg average (LMAO) and 25 rpg (LM*F*AO) shouldn’t be COMPLETELY disregarded, but they shouldn’t be the benchmarks future big men aspire to either. For one, those numbers are unachievable in today’s game. Two, his numbers were clearly inflated, regardless of your weird normalized stats taking into account if he were 7’5 340 pounds (wtf). They should be footnotes in NBA history….like, “hey did you know this guy dropped 100 points against a bunch of 6’4 white guys in 1947 and pulled down 50 boards in a game? LOL! Yeah, cool right? now, back to reality….”

    Shaq, Kareem, Hakeem…all were better. Russell and Wilt go into the bottom half of the Top 20 all time.

    Posted by Mike | October 31, 2011, 7:12 pm
    • Mike, Thanks for the read, but you obviously have not yet grasped the concept of human evolution. Over time, people have become stronger and taller. Therefore, if Wilt was exceptionally stronger and taller thjan his peers in1962, why wouldn’t the same hold true in 2011? Are you telling me that everyone would have evolved given modern day training, nutriotion, and genotype EXCEPT Wilt?

      You cannot penalize a player for being ahead of his time.

      Posted by The NBA Realist | December 9, 2011, 3:35 pm
    • kareem, who played against jordan and wilt considers wilt to be the greatest player ever, no contest. yes, jordan scored a lot of points but wilt not only scored a lot of points but also rebounded… wilt was stronger than shaq (bench pressed 550lb) and more athletic than hakeem. russell and wilt where world class athletes in track and field. russell would have gone to the olympics as a highjumper if he did not go as a B-ball player russell’s wingspan was / is 7″4″. both of their vertical leaps were pushing 50″ both of those men were freaks of nature.

      I know that people who idolize Jordan like to bash Wilt but if you look at both men and take away the team factor, there really is no comparison. Yes, Jordan could score but you need to add Rodman’s rebounding with Jordan to start to equal Chamberlain. Wilt’s stats are other worldly, even if you slow down the game.

      Posted by Fred | January 26, 2012, 1:16 am
    • the games in the 50s and 60s were fast paced. many of the centers today would be used sparingly if at all. The Yao Mings would not last a season due to injuries that would be caused by the fast pace. It was a Nelly ball style of play. (sort of…) Russell, 6’10″ with a wing-span of 7’4″ could keep up because he was an Olympic class track star. But he did not create the match-up problems because his expertise was not on the offense.

      When Chamberlain came into the league not only was he athletic enough to keep up, but he was athletic enough to dominate. Some say that he was even more athletic than Russell.

      In B-ball strength beats height and quickness beats strength (if you do not believe me ask Charles Barkley and Manute Bol!!) Chamberlain was quicker, stronger and bigger than anyone else and he could score!

      Today he would be amatch-up nightmare. The centers that could come close to matching his strength couldn’t keep up and the ones that could keep up couldn’t stop he at the post. What player is as strong as Shaq (Wilt benched 500 lbs.) and a world class track and field star? In track he ran the 100, 220, 440, and the 880. He high-jumped, long-jumped and triple-jumped. He also shot-putted.

      Today, with bigger and taller players that would be needed to guard him in the post could not match his quick moves and they would not be able to keep up with him as he beats them down the floor.

      He ran the 1/2 mile in under 2 minutes. What big man today could do that? What guard today could do that? I’m sure there are some guards that can run a 2 minute 1/2 mile but not many and I don’t see any big men during it.

      chamberalian played a fast pace game for 48 minutes. yes, the centers were smaller in the 50s and 60s but that is because the bigs could not keep up.

      Posted by Fred | February 17, 2012, 6:12 pm
  22. Mike,

    You are really delusional or totally ignorant of the facts.

    True, that it could be argued that Wilt’s rebounding was inflated due to play style and low FG% of the ERA, but we also do not have any BS data, which would certainly show Wilt to average 5-8 blocks per game.

    The man was playing 3500 minutes at age 36 in 1973 and shot .727 form the floor that year.

    The season he averaged 50 ppg game he also average 40 FGA per game. There is an undeniable corollary between points and FGA.

    Any star could average 50 ppg PROVIDED HE TOOK 40 FGA A GAME. The reality is, that no player will take that many shots again.

    Wilt is no worse that the third greatest center of all time behind only Kareem and Russell.

    Wilt is certainly the greatest leatherette to ever play in the NBA.

    Posted by Paulie Walnuts | November 1, 2011, 8:30 am
    • kareem said that wilt was the best… better than any center and better than any shooting guard. study wilt and you will see a freak of nature. here is what he said”I have nothing but respect for you my friend as an athlete and knowledgeable basketball mind. But you are way off in your assessment of who is the greatest player of all time and the greatest scorer of all time. Your comments are off because of your limited perspective. You obviously never saw Wilt Chamberlain play who undoubtedly was the greatest scorer this game has ever known. When did MJ ever average 50.4 points per game plus 25.7 rebounds? (Wilt in the 1962 season when blocked shot statistics were not kept). We will never accurately know how many shots Wilt blocked. Oh, by the way in 1967 and 68, Wilt was a league leader in assists. Did MJ ever score 100 points in a game? How many times did MJ score more than 60 points in a game? MJ led the league in scoring in consecutive seasons for 10 years but he did this in an NBA that eventually expanded into 30 teams vs. when Wilt played and there were only 8 teams….”

      Posted by Fred | January 26, 2012, 1:23 am
  23. just to compare Wilt to Shaq:

    Minutes played

    Wilt; 47859
    Shaq: 41918

    PPG

    Wilt: 30.1
    Sahq 23.7

    RPG:

    Wilt: 22.9
    Shaq 10.9

    APG

    Wilt: 4.4
    Sahq: 2.5

    Playoffs Minutes averages:

    Wilt: 47.2
    Shaq: 37.5

    Playoff PPG

    Wilt: 22.5
    Shaq: 24.5

    Playoff RPG

    Wilt: 24.5
    Shaq: 11.6

    Playoff APG

    Wilt: 4.2
    Shaq: 2.7

    One can theorize that Wilt’s scoring took a big drop when he went to Philly and later the Lakers and became more of a facilitator rather than an offensive “crutch”, but his rebounds are still DOUBLE what Shaq’s were.

    Does anyone think that Shaq was NOT the largest person on the floor in his day? Do we believe that the disparity of talent across the eras is that great? that conclusion is just not logical.

    Wilt played more minutes and was still more productive than Shaq.

    Perhaps, we can adjust his RPG downward to account for difference in play style, but in half? Put it another way: even if Wilt only played the FIRST HALF of each game, he still averages more rebounds than Shaq does.

    There is no rational argument that could be made to elevate Shaq ahead of Wilt.

    Posted by Paulie Walnuts | November 1, 2011, 2:32 pm
  24. If anyone played in physically era it would be MJ not chamberlain. Please note Chamberlain changed the
    game as the NBA widen the lane… becaused Chamber could actually jump over people who had inside position when rebounding off of missed fouls. Unfortunately its obvious you never saw him play or are aware of the legandery match up with Bill Russell. I guess you never heard of the time Chamber grab a rebound and held the ball over his head with an opposing player still hanging on with that
    player dangling in the air.

    Finally there is the question of MJ championships. It took 7 (seven)
    years before he won his first and he never defeated a Jabbar, Magic
    led team or a Larry Bird team. MJ’s bull had a losing record to
    Hakeem teams.

    Please realize playing center takes more than just being big, or gawky other wise the mark eatons of the world would dominate.

    What great Centers are they now …really. Moses Malone, Dave Cowens even Walt Bellamy who eat
    these centers up. When Shaq first met that pretender from China
    he had his first three (3) shots blocked. Shaq team with Kobe lost to Detroit with Wallace at Center how big is he. I could give at least 10 – 20 more reasons why any comparsion on present or recent present players or stats in no way surpass or even come close to those of the past… (ol school)

    Posted by maynard edwards | December 21, 2011, 2:51 pm
    • Clearly you didn’t watch that detroit/la series, Shaq obliterated Wallace and the pistons in game 4 for an unreal 36-20.. he had to have been 32 or 33 at that point. That team lost because Shaq and Kobe hated each others guts, Kobe’s refusal to run the triangle and selfishly gunning for himself, and gp getting murked by Chauncey Billups. And you do realize that very same game where yao blocked shaqs first 3 shots that shaq finished with 31 and 13…

      Posted by jon | January 7, 2012, 5:56 pm
  25. I tis true that the Bulls with Jordan had a losing record to the Rockets with Hakeem.

    The Bulls were 11-13 against the Rockets, but I am not certain that is evidence of anything.

    The Rockets were 5-1 against the Bulls from 1984-85 to 1986-87 when the Rockets were really good and the Bulls were. . .well Jordan and nobody else. The Bulls went 10-8 agaisnt hakeem’s teams after that.

    The scoring of those games was Bulls 2443 to Houston 2462 or 102-103.

    Over that span of seasons the Jordan Bulls were 648-336 for .659 or 54-27 per year.

    The Rockets were 568-416 for .577 or 47-37

    Again, I am not certain what those two regular season games every year proved. The real test of NBA merit is in the best of series.

    We all know how Jordan’s teams fared in those.

    Posted by Paulie Walnuts | December 21, 2011, 10:16 pm
    • Hakeem did make me cry when I was like 11-12 years old(92′?), when he just destroyed the Bulls. This actually caused me to rip-up an Olajuwon basketball card, which was amongst my top 5 most valuable.

      Posted by Nikko | March 18, 2012, 1:20 am
  26. Chamberlain was dominant far more because of his physical attributes than his technical ones. Most of the centers he played against were 4 or so inches shorter and 50 pounds or more lighter. He should dominate against such people.

    Posted by Ray | December 25, 2011, 6:13 pm
  27. you guys are crazy saying Shaq doesn’t belong in Wilt’s realm… I mean you do realize Shaq was his generations Wilt but with a bit of a mean streak. Go watch him obliterate Dikembe Mutombo in the 2001 finals, Wilt never came close to doing that against Bill Russell (a defensive minded center/ rebounder akin to dikembe) Shaq didn’t even stay in shape for the majority of his career and he still doubled the amount of rings wilt got. Greatness should ultimately be measured by a players output on the grandest stage of all, and Shaq’s performance on that stage shits on Wilt’s. Drop Shaq off in 1960 and you have to rewrite all the record books, and the russell led celtics would have never won 11 rings including 8 in a row. nuff said.

    Posted by jon | January 7, 2012, 5:52 pm
    • shaq was not as strong as wilt. Wilt used to work out with the Terminator (Arnold Schwarzenegger) during the time when Arnold first came to the U.S. as a bodybuilder. Wilt got his bench press up to 500 pounds. Shaq could only bench about 450, probably less now.

      nor was shaq as athletic, wilt was a world class athlete in track and field. shaq would most likely win in the “down hill roll…” ))))

      Posted by Fred | January 26, 2012, 1:32 am
      • Shaq never benched over 330 where Wilt was well over 500.
        Shaq didn’t break a backboard like Gus Johnson and Darryl Dawkins.
        Shaq hung on the rim and pulled over the whole support.
        I watched Wilts entire career and never saw him hang on the rim once.

        Posted by dr len gilman | December 5, 2012, 1:04 am
    • I think Shaq gets shafted when discussing greatest players. Not only did Shaq win more titles than Wilt, he was by far the most dominant player in the league in 3 of those years. In contrast, Wilt won in a somewhat diminished role.

      Posted by Nikko | March 18, 2012, 1:06 am
      • You are right when it come to Shaq getting the shaft. He was almost as strong as Wilt and so dominant. Really, if Shaq came in shape in the preseason, added shots in the off season and was obsessed with being great like Kobe, (not necessary a good thing for a human…) he would have been recognized universally as one of the greatest players ever. He had soooo much talent and strength.

        But because of Chamberlain’s individual records, Russell’s rings (and greatness), Jabber’s offensive numbers and athleticism, and Olajuwon’s experience and athleticism in dominating Shaq the ‘95 finals, Shaq is not given proper recondition.

        But in comparing Chamberlain with Shaq remember, Chamberlain was stronger (He bench pressed 500 lbs vs Shaq’s 475), had a 48 to 50 inch vertical leap, (He could put a dollar up on the top of the backboard and take a quarter, all in one leap), in collage, he was a track star in the 100, 220, 440, and half mile, he high jumped, triple jumped, long jumped and shot putted. Not only did he compete in those events but he was a world class athlete in those events.

        Imagine Jordan with the body of Shaq and you will get an idea of Chamberlain. Ok, yes, he was not that good but if you imagine it, it is in the ballpark.

        He did not want to be known as a tall, strong guy who could dunk with power so he spent a lot of time developing a finesse game around the basket.

        Who today could run with him and them guard him in the post? Who today could guard him in the post and run with him? Who in history could do this? He was a mismatch from Hell for any team in any age. Shaq was close to this but did not have the “other worldly” athleticism that chamberlain had.

        Jabber was skilled and athletic, so good that he gave Chamberlain a run for the money, Russell was off the charts athletic, high B-ball skills, team player, quick and strong but lacked in the offensive end, and Shaq was strong and athletic, good on both ends of the court. Only because Shaq did not put in the time is he not getting the recognition he deserves.

        One of the times that Magic won MVP was the time he spent the entire off-season practicing his free throws. The voters knew this… It makes a difference when he not only deserve the MVP because of God given talent but also that the voters knew you tried. The fact that Shaq only got one mvp is disgusting, considering how good he was.

        Regarding the rings: If any other team played during Russell’s Celtics and Baylor and West’s Lakers, they would have zero rings.

        In the finals, Jordan beat Magic’s Lakers when they were injured and beat up, and the Sonics, Blazers and Jazz, teams that could not get past the Lakers when they were healthy. None of the teams that Jordan beat in the finals would have won against a healthy Lakers team, Bird’s Celtics or Laimbeer’s Pistons. Jordan would have maybe one ring, if he was lucky, if he played during that earlier time and Zero if he played during Russell’s and Baylor’s time. This is no chop towards Jordan, he was great, but it is more than being a great individual when it comes to rings.

        If the third best golfer played at a time were Woods and Nicholson were at their peak, he would be an unknown – a complete unknown.

        Rings can mean something regarding clutch shooting and team chemistry (i.e. Magic).

        Really, I wish Shaq gave the all out effort. If so the mvp voters would have given him his due. I think as time goes by he will get the recognition he derives.

        Posted by Fred | March 18, 2012, 8:10 pm
      • Really. Wilt won MVP’s in 1966-1968.
        His team won 68 games in 1966-67.
        And they won the title beating the Celtics who had won 8 straight titles.
        Diminshed role
        1966-67 30 yrs 45.5 minutes a game .683 FG% 7.8 assists 24.2 reb and 24.1 points.
        That’s diminished.

        Posted by dr len gilman | December 5, 2012, 1:16 am
    • “Rings” and “ships,” being accrued by teams, have nothing whatsoever to do with a given player’s primacy in his profession. To assert otherwise is to besmirch the talents of a whole lot of great ballers — you don’t really want to go there now, do you? As for Shaq’s performance on the “grandest stage of all,” viv-a-vis that of Wilt, all I can say is that it is unlikely that any of Shaq’s titled teams would have beaten the 1967 Sixers or the 1972 Lakers even once (and the same outcome would have awaited any of MJ’s championship teams).

      Shaq was a dominant physical force, but a dominant talent he was not; Wilt was both. Who, pray tell, invented the finger roll, the slam dunk, the alley oop, and, yes Virginia, the fadeaway jump shot. Chamberlain’s midrange game was beautiful to look at and the equal to that of any NBA guard, from any era; he utilized the glass better than any baller — ever. Go to youtube, look a few seconds into the “NBA at 50″ video (on Hal Greer 15′s channel) and watch Wilt’s imperial, one-handed, tangential (meaning he never squares up with the basket), fadeaway, baseline bank shot from at least 18 feet; this is comic book stuff — we’re talking primordial athleticism! Shaq does not rank among the top 12 centers in any fashion whatsoever other than his offense, and to compare him to Wilt is to compare the Graf Spee to a 747! Do you think that 6′ 6″ Ben Wallace could have blocked a Chamberlain shot and subsequently slammed him to the floor as he did Blubber Boy? And had Shaq been “dropped off” in 1960 (via cargo chute) — where he would have to have abided by 1960s rules — has fat ass would have kept the bench warm in those often chilly venues, as foul trouble would have been his constant companion. The best team ball was played in the 1980s, but the best era for NBA centers was the Chamberlain Era. Wilt = GOAT. Nuff said!

      Posted by John Q. Parvenu | May 22, 2012, 3:43 pm
    • “Rings” and “ships,” being accrued by teams, have nothing whatsoever to do with a given player’s primacy in his profession. To assert otherwise is to besmirch the talents of a whole lot of great ballers — you don’t really want to go there now, do you? As for Shaq’s performance on the “grandest stage of all,” viv-a-vis that of Wilt, all I can say is that it is unlikely that any of Shaq’s titled teams would have beaten the 1967 Sixers or the 1972 Lakers even once (and the same outcome would have awaited any of MJ’s championship teams).

      Shaq was a dominant physical force, but a dominant talent he was not; Wilt was both. Who, pray tell, invented the finger roll, the slam dunk, the alley oop, and, yes Virginia, the fadeaway jump shot. Chamberlain’s midrange game was beautiful to look at and the equal to that of any NBA guard, from any era; he utilized the glass better than any baller — ever. Go to youtube, look a few seconds into the “NBA at 50? video (on Hal Greer 15?s channel) and watch Wilt’s imperial, one-handed, tangential (meaning he never squares up with the basket), fadeaway, baseline bank shot from at least 18 feet; this is comic book stuff — we’re talking primordial athleticism! Shaq does not rank among the top 12 centers in any fashion whatsoever other than his offense, and to compare him to Wilt is to compare the Graf Spee to a 747! Do you think that 6? 6? Ben Wallace could have blocked a Chamberlain shot and subsequently slammed him to the floor as he did Blubber Boy? And had Shaq been “dropped off” in 1960 (via cargo chute) — where he would have to have abided by 1960s rules — has fat ass would have kept the bench warm in those often chilly venues, as foul trouble would have been his constant companion. The best team ball was played in the 1980s, but the best era for NBA centers was the Chamberlain Era. Wilt = GOAT. Nuff said!

      Posted by John Q. Parvenu | May 22, 2012, 3:53 pm
    • Drop Shaq off in the 60′s and he wouldn’t last past the first quarter

      Posted by michael lord | February 13, 2013, 12:19 am
  28. First, compliments to the author – you made more good points than anybody else I’ve ever read regarding Wilt and the different eras. I do think you’re completely wrong to extrapolate Wilt’s height. Leave him at 7-2, maybe bulk him up 20 pounds of pure muscle. Leave him like that in 2010 and he’d be tough enough to handle. Don’t forget too that supposedly he was the fastest guy in the game during his era.
    Suppose Lebron goes on to win a few Championships. 20 years from now, if his body characteristics change from being freakish to being much closer to the norm; will they then penalize him for having played against inferior-built players?
    I’m old enough to have been a b-ball fanatic in the 1960s … hated the Celtics, loved the Lakers. My favorite teams were the Lakers and Cincy because they each had one black and one white superstar – who played really well together. (By the way, who ever listed the greats from the 60s and left off Baylor – shame on you.)
    My basic points are two:
    1) Because the U.S. has been the top-dog country for some 60+ years this was bound to tremendously affect its culture … thus, here more than anywhere else, being #1 and winning first place is tremendously over-emphasized. Look at virtually all GOAT lists and they’re dominated by Celtics, Lakers (& MJ). By this logic, there have basically been no great players on any other teams. (No wonder great players nowadays try to switch to better teams – the (over)emphasis on winning championships dwarfs playing great ball on a weak team.

    Posted by Pablo | January 18, 2012, 7:35 pm
  29. Let me give just one example of this “only winning (or being first) counts”. Bill Rodgers, one of history’s greatest marathoners, after finishing 2nd (out of 1,000s of competitors), after the race, spoke about why he “lost” ! Couldn’t be clearer, could it?
    What about 2nd best? If your team loses in the finals/champs are you a loser, even though you finished 2nd out of 30 or so teams?
    For example, the Buffalo Bills lost 4 SuperBowls in a row and are regarded as one of history’s biggest losing teams. Ridiculous, they were the 2nd best team out of some 30 every year for 4 years, putting the 4 years together, they were at worst the 2nd best team over almost half a decade – one of history’s best football teams!
    Similarly, the Celtics have one more Ring than the Lackers; but the Lakers have many more Finals appearances; no way the Celtics franchise should be considered better; but if only being first/winning counts, they are.
    2nd) The only fair way to arrive at a truly reasonable listing of the greatest players is to treat each decade as equal to all others. And each of the five positions as of equal value. So, for example, the 50s,60s etc, you could have 10 candidates each and for the 40s 5 candidates (for the last half decade then.) So you’d have a base of 75 all-time greats. Then, rank all ten for each decade in order. Then, compare the 7-8 #1s. Compare the #2s, etc. Then, if any top ranked players within a low-ranked group were clearly better than the lowest ranked player(s) from a higher-ranked group, switch places.
    3) (oops I’ve got more than 2 points, sorry) DON’T FORGET LONGETIVITY. I’ve virtually never seen longetivity rewarded; in fact, oftentimes, people refer to it as merely “piling on points or stats”. But nobody really piles on points career-wise in the NBA – if you aren’t one of the best, you’re either on the bench piling up bench time, or you’re out of the league!) An example: MJ, who almost everybody ranks #1, had 13 years, Kareem had 20. That’s 50%, like a career and a half career extra. Kareem was an All-Star for 18 years, most of the GOAT top candidates had 12! That’s 50% more!
    (Similarly with Karl Malone and John Stockton – 18 quality years for a team that just didn’t have enough quality role players to win championships – not their fault, so shouldn’t be enough to remove them from even being mentioned amongst the all-time greats.)
    4) Almost nobody (except Athlon Sports’ 50 Greatest of All-Time) that I’ve seen give any recognition of ABA-time and achievements. Athlon (and anybody else I’m unaware of) gets it right, everybody’s got it wrong.

    Posted by Pablo | January 18, 2012, 7:52 pm
  30. 5) (oops another one) A certain percentage of commentors refer to the NBA talent-wise as being deleted in recent decades as opposed to the 60s for example, because then they had some 10 teams and now we have 30. This is just NOT thinking. There’s certainly more than 3 times as many kids playing b-ball nowadays. With 30 teams Times 15 players (max) that’s 450 players in a country (even world, now) of 250+ million (7 billion). That’s not a diluted talent-pool.
    Plus with more rewards to be gained and more scientific training, it’s just the opposite – the average NBA player nowadays is a way better basketball player than in the 60s. One example, Rick Barry was one of the all-time greats (both NBA and ABA). I would guess that his four NBA-playing sons were physically better conditioned athletes, but the talent level was so much higher, they were basically subs.
    And compare this to football or baseball with similar numbers of teams and many more players per team – you wanna argue that those leagues have diluted talent.
    6) (oops) Wilt & co. VS Russell & co. According to the NBA, Russell’s teams were all-star squads (in a League with only some 10 teams); Wilt’s were clearly inferior in this regard. Supposedly the Celtics coach(es) Aurebach (spelling?) (and Russell) was/were the best or 2nd best (now after Phil Jackson) all-time. YET, the Celtics barely beat Wilt’s teams – a number of small-margin game 7s! And Wilt ALWAYS dominated Russell MASSIVELY.
    My point, Wilt was #1 in the 60s clearly. Russell was not even always the best player on his own team!
    BUT, if the number of championships (but NOT 2nd places) is THE determining factor, or the factor that almost overrides all other factors put together, then, you get Russell > Wilt. This just ain’t right, imho.
    Similarly, Baylor-West and the big “O”. These three were superior players to Russell, clearly!

    Posted by Pablo | January 18, 2012, 8:10 pm
  31. I think that the measure of a great player on a ‘team sport’ like basketball, should be determined by the impact that player had on the team. How did the team perform when the player joined the team as well as when the player retired or went to another team? If that,s the true measure of greatness, then players like Russell, Bird,Magic Johnson, Shaq,Alcindor,Duncan and a few others belong at the top of the list. Their impact was immediate and last
    ing. Players like Wilt,Olajuwon,Jor
    dan,Bryant et al had to play sev
    eral years and had to have a comp
    liment of other great players be
    fore winning championships. I be
    lieve that Wilt had just as many HoF players and top 50 players as did Russell. Just my opinion!

    Posted by vincent | February 19, 2012, 3:19 pm
  32. You realize that the Celtics had 7 HOF players on their roster, right?

    Do you further remember that Magic got to play with Kareem?

    You shouldn’t ump Chamberlain and Jordan in with Bryant; Wilt and Jordan had HUGE obstacles to reach the championships that Bryant did not have until AFTER he had three rings.

    Posted by Paulie Walnuts | February 19, 2012, 4:23 pm
  33. I believe that the Lakers were a sub 6oo team prior to the Magic era, but a championship contender after. I,m not certain of the obstacles that you speak of. Wilt joined one of the best teams in the NBA. When he went to San Francisco they were one of the worse teams. He had outstanding players around him most of his career. When he won a championship in 1972, he was asked what he would do differently if he had it to do again. He said that he would shoot more. Not a team player.
    Russell won championships in col
    lege, won in the olympics and 11 nba championships in 13 years. One year that the Celtics lost, Russell was out injured. Don’t for
    get the Celtics were an average team prior to Russell, and traded Mccauley, one of the best in the nba to get Russell.Before you tell me about Cousy, Sharman, Heinsohn,et al, remember they re-
    tired and the Celtic-led by Russell won another 3-4 titles.
    I am not suggesting that one player is better than another, I simply want to argue that there are other considerations than who scored the most,etc.

    Posted by vincent | February 19, 2012, 5:09 pm
    • The year 1971-72 they were the first team to win 69 games in a season beating Wilts other teams 68 wins.
      Wilt just wanted to get the 69 record that’s all he cared about.
      And talk about being selfish that 33 game record was just about being selfish. he avg 9.3 shots a game while making 6. Thats a .649 pct.
      Since he played over 42 minutes a game that’s almost a shot every 5 minutes! How selfish can you get.
      They won the title at 36 beating getting by kareem’s team and he was all defense not Kareem.

      Posted by dr len gilman | December 5, 2012, 1:26 am
  34. What happens is Wilt gets penalized because he was so individually great that we rationalize reasons as to whyu his teams did not win.

    Well, Russell was a great player, too. And his Celtics were a deeper and better team. Russell could focus all of his effort into stoppng Wilt and Wilt;s supporitng cast could not mathc up with Russells.

    My point regarding the Lakers was that they were already a playoff team AND had 5 time MVP, KAREEM, on their roster, You are correct that the Lakers were sub .600 prior to Magic, but not by much. From 1975-76 to the 1978-79 season they were 145-101 for .589; they win just ONE more game per year and they are a .600 team. They were certainly a championship contender.

    Wilt’s early years the best players he had were Paul Azirin and Tom Gola. AFTER Wilt went to Philly, he got better teammates and he won, but the early years, the Warriors were not so good.

    The three years prior to Wilt the Warriors went 106-110.

    After Wilt the Warriors went 240-234, which includes the 1964-65 17-63 team for which he played only 35 games.

    The 76ers were a great team and they were 185-58 with Wilt and won one title and lost a game #7 to the Celtics.

    The Lakers were 278-132 with Wilt and won one title and lost two others to a GREAT New York Knicks team.

    This is why Russell ranks ahead of Wilt, because of the team result and the effect that Russell had on his teammates’ the same for Magic and Bird. However, Wilt should not be simply classified or dismissed as selfish; that is just a really oversimplified rationalization that wishes to ignore the difficulty of winning an NBA title regardless of how talented or dominant a single player can be.

    If you research my other posts, I have Wilt ranked behind all the above plus Jordan in my hierarchy.

    Again, it goes: Jordan, Russell, Kareem, Bird, Johnson, Chamberlain, Duncan, West, Robertson, Moses, Olajuwan, O’Neil, Bryant, Havlicek, Baylor.

    Wilt, it seems get really penalized for ONLY winning TWO titles against some really really stiff competition.

    Conversely, Bryant and Shaq get praise heaped upon them when they won three titles together and NEVER faced a team nearly as good as ANY of the teams that Wilt (or Jordan) lost to.

    Posted by Paulie Walnuts | February 19, 2012, 9:48 pm
    • “This is why Russell ranks ahead of Wilt, because of the team result and the effect that Russell had on his teammates’ the same for Magic and Bird.”

      Russell isn’t as good as Wilt, period. I’m not going to put him ahead of Wilt because he was on a team with surefire Hall of Famers and a Hall of Fame coach for his entire career, along with lots of luck.

      The “team effect” myth needs to stop. It’s easy to talk about “team effect” when the players around you can all put the ball into the basket in the first place.

      Posted by The Realist #2 | February 20, 2012, 6:25 am
      • I would challenge you to check the shooting percentages of some of the Celtics, like KC Jones and Cousy be-
        fore talking about who could put the ball in the basket. Even Sam Jones and Sharman were about .450 or less.

        Posted by vincent | February 22, 2012, 10:35 am
    • One person (Jabbar) that you put above Chamberlain wrote a scalding letter to Scottie Pippen regarding who was the greatest. Oscar Robinson has also made many comments on the lack of long-term memory regarding who was the greatest B-ball player ever. One third of the time that Russell went head to head with Chamberlain, Russell won, a third of the time Chamberlain won, and one third of the time Chamberlain destroyed Russell.

      In playing defense, Russell and Chamberlain were somewhat equal. Offensively, Chamberlain was a giant compared to Russell. Team chemistry and B-ball smarts there is no question, you give it to Russell but if you asked Russell who was the greatest player of all time, I think he would be in agreement with the Big O and Jabbar.

      I am old enough to have seen Chamberlain play and really it was incredible. Make Shaq a little stronger with the quickness and atheism of a world class track and field athlete, (the 100, 200, 400, 800, high jump, long jump, triple jump and shot put!!!), then give him a variety of shots around the rim and you have a match-up nightmare called Super Shaq, or you can just can him Chamberlain.

      If you spend a few hours studying his play and career you will see what I am talking about. Even with the players of today, Chamberlain would be a match-up nightmare. The big and strong could not run the floor or defend against his quickness and the fast, quick players could not defend against his strength and height. Russell and Jabbar were the only two players that were able to give Chamberlain a run for the money. I do not mean to be dissing you and what you know, but just spend some time on line reading and watching the Big Dipper and you will see what I am mean.

      One thing that will come to mind is that the stats were inflated due to the fast pace of the game in the 60s. But you need to remember that the Yau Mings of the world would have never been able to play at the fast pace of the 60’s. Jabbar, Chamberlain and Russell could and that is one reason for their greatness.

      Posted by Fred | April 2, 2012, 6:06 pm
      • Fred,

        You don’t have to sell me on the greatness of Wilt.

        Merely looking at his astounding number of minuteness played at age 36 tells how incredible he was.

        If Russell and Wilt changed teams, Wilt likely wins 6 or 7 titles and then there is NO debate as to who was the greatest.

        BUT, the results are what they are. Russell did play with a great Celtics team and a great coach that understood how to maximize Big Russ and they win 11 titles in 13 years. That is a tough record to match.

        Wilt was clearly the greatest force in NBA history, but when we talk about ranking the greatest players we have to consider all the elements. This would include team performance. Admittedly, this is more of a nuanced thing and should be used to separate players that are closely ranked. the record is clear that Jordan, Russell, Magic, Bird and Kareem all had better team results while still achieving individual greatness.

        It is hardly a slight, after we take everything into consideration, to have Wilt at #5 or #6 behind that group.

        Yet, the argument I make for Wilt is still a really valid one: If you have all the top players line up and you are picking teams fora playground game. . . who you gonna take first?

        I’m taking Wilt.

        Posted by Paulie Walnuts | April 2, 2012, 7:23 pm
        • Paulie, it seems to me that your arguments as to why Russell and Kobe are where they are in your hierarchy are extremely contradictory.

          Both are the great “winners” of their day, yet both lagged behind the statistical luminaries of their day in terms of individual production. However, the gap between Wilt and Russell is a chasm compared to the gap between Kobe and guys like Lebron and MJ.

          Everybody’s going to have their own criteria-if yours heavily favors team success, then that’s fine. But in that case, it seems hard to justify having the likes of Tim Duncan and Shaq (or even Kobe) behind Bird, and to have Kobe Bryant behind the likes of Oscar Robertson, Jerry West, and Moses Malone is likewise puzzling.

          All these guys are much closer individually than Russell and Wilt. I agree with you that team results should be taken into account for players that are closely ranked. But unless you’re already heavily factoring team performance at the expense of all other variables already, Russ and Wilt aren’t even remotely closely ranked.

          In case you can’t tell, I really hate the ring counting argument :) To me, the argument as to who is better really boils down to this one:

          “If you have all the top players line up and you are picking teams for a playground game. . . who you gonna take first?”

          Posted by Lochpster | April 3, 2012, 12:33 pm
          • Loch,

            Ring counting is something that I don’t put much weight upon, but I do consider it. I also consider points categories (which includes rebounds and assists), awards shares and team results.

            And you are really wrong about Russell. His rebounding numbers are staggering, his assist totals are also really great.

            Think of it this way: Kobe averages 25 ppg and 5.3 rpg and 4.5 apg, add them all up and you get 34.8.

            Russell had 15.1 22.4 4.3 and added up is 42.8. The only players over 40 are Wilt, Jordan, Bird, Pettit and Robertson.

            If you switch Russell’s PPG with his RPG, would you then consider a top defensive player with 5 MVP awards with 22 ppg and 15 rpg a great player? I bet you would. Why, then do we discount a 15 ppg and 22 rpg player that also contributes 4.3 assists?

            Why is it, then, that a player that played on a team with great balanced scoring would be downgraded because he “only” rebounded and created shot opportunities for teammates?

            Kobe does have 5 rings, but as I have stated many times, his overall results data are well behind the rest, his awards shares are well behind the rest. Lastly, Kobe’s titles have come against far inferior competition to any of what Russell, Wilt, Magic, Bird, Kareem, West, Robertson faced.

            I see no hypocrisy in my logic.

            Posted by Paulie Walnuts | April 3, 2012, 5:14 pm
          • Paulie,

            I’ve got to disagree with your assertion that Wilt and Russell’s rebounding numbers are staggering. I would strongly suggest that they are instead inflated. The pace of the game was significantly faster, FG% lower, and therefore, many more rebounds to be had. Put another way, the top 33 highest rebound/game averages occured before 1972. Dennis Rodman, at 18.7 reb/game in 1992 is #34.

            http://www.basketball-reference.com/leaders/trb_per_g_season.html

            You cannot possibly convince me that this was due to the stamina and endurance of the 1960′s athlete. Therefore, I think that your statistical summation of Russell is inaccurate and inflated.

            Posted by The NBA Realist | April 3, 2012, 6:35 pm
          • Whether Russell’s record is inflated due to style of play is one point, to say that it is inaccurate is another.

            Russell did lead the league in RPG 5 times and still has the second highest total ever, only to Wilt.

            I suggest that your assertion that his record does not reflect his impact is inaccurate.

            I find it curious that we can agree that Rodman is one of the top 65 best players ever, but disagree so much on a player with a better results record that won 5 MVPs is “over rated”.

            Rodman won no league MVP’s. ZERO. The people that watched the players at the time felt that Russell had enough impact to be named the MVP 5 times. That means something.

            Posted by Paulie Walnuts | April 3, 2012, 8:19 pm
          • Paulie,

            Fair enough – To clarify, I think that the formula that you posited to Lochpster is extremely misleading considering that the rebounding numbers were inflated. Therefore, in my opinion, it is not a fair comparison.

            With that being said, I absolutely agree with you and lend credence to the fact that Russell is one of the greatest of all time. And his 5 MVPs certainly do mean something. However, those MVPs are the bi-product of Russ’s success in winning, and Russell’s success in winning needs to be weighted against the basic human emotions that are incited through winning – When a player wins, their stock increases, regardless of how logical or illogical it is. And to me, the source of Russell’s winning rests in the fact that from 1957 to 1969, Russell benefited from playing with an average of 5 other Hall of Famers every season of his career,and in some instances, a maximum of 6,as well as a coach who can arguably be considered the greatest of all time. He benefited from more weapons that any other Top 15 player, while generating the least individual production within that same group. This is why I consider him to be overrated. Not unqualified, not lacking greatness- but overrated when compared to the others in the Top 15. Give Kareem, Wilt, MJ, Oscar, Hakeem etc… 5 Hall of Famers each season, and it then becomes an apples to apples comparison. Until then, Russell does not crack my Top 10, and I can’t help but believe that Bill Russell was the greatest beneficiary of circumstance.

            Lastly, I do not think that Russell vs. Rodman is close. To me Russell is in a different league.

            Posted by The NBA Realist | April 3, 2012, 10:18 pm
          • Paulie, perhaps you can clarify the difference between ring counting and team results for me. To me, they sound like the same thing.

            To portray Russell (or Wilt) as anywhere close to the greatest rebounder of all time is a gross misrepresentation-the GROAT is Rodman, no question. The best way to calculate who rebounding prowess is to calculate rebounds gathered as a percentage of total available, as it completely negates the variability of pace. Rodman has the top 7 seasons in terms of total rebound %. Wait, you say! Russell and Wilt’s best seasons never qualified. While true, you can make a very accurate estimation of where they would have been-and neither Wilt nor Russell’s best season would have been as good as Rodman’s 7th best season.

            On a per minute basis the difference is even more glaring. Rodman 3 times grabbed over half his team’s rebounds per minute and one season had over 55%. His 7th best season he was still over 45%. Neither Wilt nor Russell ever reached 40% for a season. Neither Wilt nor Russell can touch Rodman as a rebounder.

            Furthermore, to go back to the original comparison, Wilt’s rebounding totals and percentages are slightly better than Russell’s. Just as they are with assists.

            “If you switch Russell’s PPG with his RPG, would you then consider a top defensive player with 5 MVP awards with 22 ppg and 15 rpg a great player? I bet you would. Why, then do we discount a 15 ppg and 22 rpg player that also contributes 4.3 assists?”

            Save the mock outrage. It’s not discounting Russell to say Wilt was better. Your argument is repackaging misleading data in an even more misleading manner. It’s exceedingly easy to normalize Russell’s data to today’s game, and if we do so, we’d find we have a guy who averages 12.7 PPG, 13.0 RPG and 3.9 APG with a FG% of 47 for his career.

            In fact, using that same formula you did, after correcting for pace, Russ winds up with a score of 29.6, which is noticeably behind Kobe’s, for one, and you’ll note that Russell’s scoring efficiency is much lower than Kobe’s as well even after adjusting upward for era. Keep in mind that Russell is a center and Bryant is a shooting guard. And if you want to use Russell’s D as a tiebreaker, remember that Kobe has more All-Defense and first team All-Defense selections than anyone in NBA history (because the people of our era think he’s one of the best defenders alive). Admittedly, they only started giving out the award in Russell’s final season, and he made the team.

            Using that same formula, Wilt would wind up with an unadjusted score of 57.4, which blows away all other competition. However, even if you normalize his data based on the formula used in the article, his numbers would be 25.3 PPG, 13.3 RPG, 4.0 APG, 58.2% FG-still in the elite group you mentioned, sans Russell.

            “I find it curious that we can agree that Rodman is one of the top 65 best players ever, but disagree so much on a player with a better results record that won 5 MVPs is “over rated”.”

            Do we disagree that much? You have Russ at #2, which I feel overrates him by 7-8 spots historically. I don’t put much stock in MVP awards. MVPs are a popularity contest, and they often go to the best player on the best team, which for his entire career, was Russell. Wilt won 4, and Russell over Wilt in 1961 was the biggest sham in the history of MVP voting. This is not a good argument for Russ over Wilt.

            “Why is it, then, that a player that played on a team with great balanced scoring would be downgraded because he “only” rebounded and created shot opportunities for teammates?”

            You mean, in talking about the top 5-10 players of all time, we shouldn’t point out a player’s flaws because he played on a team that covered for his weaknesses? That’s absurd. Now I think being a defensive and rebounding specialist is insanely valuable-I think Rodman, for all his goofiness, is one of the top 20-25 players ever, and Russell cracks the top 10, despite neither having the more balanced games of the other top 25.

            Nonetheless, Wilt did everything Russ did in terms of rebounding and passing and was at least in the same ballpark on defense in addition to being the most unstoppable scorer in NBA history. And he crushed Russell every time they played-scoring, rebounding, efficiency, he had it all. Even you say he was the greatest force in NBA history and the #1 pick in the all-time pick-up game.

            “I suggest that your assertion that his record does not reflect his impact is inaccurate.”

            It sounds like what you’re saying here is that he’s a winner and attributing excellent team results to one player. People say the same about Kobe. Heart of a champion, intangibles, will to win, magic dust…

            I still would put Russ ahead of Kobe because I think his skillset is much more rare and valuable than Kobe’s, even though the individual numbers don’t necessarily back it up. But to put Russ ahead of Wilt, who did all the same things and more? Call a spade a spade. Ring counting, nothing else.

            Posted by Lochpster | April 4, 2012, 12:47 pm
          • “I still would put Russ ahead of Kobe because I think his skillset is much more rare and valuable than Kobe’s, even though the individual numbers don’t necessarily back it up.”

            Actually Loch, Russel’s numbers DO back it up: http://www.basketball-reference.com/play-index/pcm_finder.cgi?request=1&sum=1&p1=russebi01&y1=1969&p2=bryanko01&y2=2012

            Those are top 10 numbers. I think the +/- regressions also put Russell in that company, but I don’t have access to them at the moment.

            Posted by The Realist #2 | April 4, 2012, 1:14 pm
          • Realist #2, I didn’t know we ever disagreed on anything :) In this case, though, I will hold my ground. I’m not sure what part of those numbers is so impressive.

            Even without adjusting for era, his WS and WS/48 place him on the fringes of the top 20 and his PER doesn’t crack the top 100 of all time. And that’s without taking into account the differences in era, which paint an even less impressive picture (see my above post).

            I’d love to see those +/- numbers. I thought they didn’t exist that far back, but if someone put in the legwork, I’d be excited to see it. That could certainly disprove my argument and make a much stronger case for Russell.

            Posted by Lochpster | April 4, 2012, 1:32 pm
          • Fair point about the top-10 assertion. I said that earlier because Russell’s peak seasons (from his player page) actually compares well to players like Shaq, Robinson, Hakeem, etc. and they’re arguably top-10 players. It’s tricky to compare across eras (especially when they didn’t even track basic numbers in Russell’s day), but WS works to put one’s production into context of the era and Russell still holds his own against the other greats, including Kobe Bryant. PER is going to undervalue his worth because of the lack of defensive component that’s present in WS, and he comes out as the defensive GOAT by that measure.

            I think the folks at Basketball-Reference came up with a way to estimate +/- impact from Russell’a era – obviously an estimate – but I can’t track them down at the moment.

            Posted by The Realist #2 | April 4, 2012, 2:30 pm
          • I think Shaq, Hakeem and Robinson is exactly the right company for Russell.

            I went digging and found this article on statistical plus minus. Is it the same one you were talking about? The top 10 are mostly the names you’d expect expect-MJ, Wilt, D. Robinson, L. James, Barkley, Kareem, Magic, Bird, Dr. J, Shaq. Russ was 29.

            http://www.basketball-reference.com/blog/?p=1415

            Interesting article here about how Russ was perhaps a slightly larger win force per unit time than Wilt but slightly lower in total wins produced. The conclusion was still that Russell was slightly better.

            http://courtsideanalyst.wordpress.com/2010/01/01/the-great-debate-russell-vs-chamberlain/

            Posted by Lochpster | April 4, 2012, 7:40 pm
          • Loch,

            I don’t put nearly as much weight into PER to TS as you and others.

            Please, do not ever think that I don’t worship at the altar of Wilt.

            I have written several times, had Wilt played on the Cletics with that great roster and with Red, he likely doesn’t put 30 ppg, but closer to 20 with ungodly FG% and still with off the charts rebounding.

            However, I find it really hard ot envision 11 titles in 13 years. More like 7. And if ANYONE with Wilt’s then 20 and 20 has 7 rings, they are easily the considered the best ever.

            But that is NOT what happened is it?

            I can only base my evaluation on what did happen, not on what I think may have happened.

            Posted by Paulie Walnuts | April 4, 2012, 10:02 pm
          • With all due respect Paulie:

            “Ring counting is something that I don’t put much weight upon”

            “However, I find it really hard ot envision 11 titles in 13 years. More like 7″

            I can’t argue with 11 titles in 13 years, brother. If rings are your thing, that’s fine. Just call a spade a spade, and don’t pretend it’s something else. Because Russell’s point categories and awards shares, as per your ranking system, don’t measure up to Wilt.

            We can agree to disagree :)

            Posted by Lochpster | April 4, 2012, 11:55 pm
        • You make a good point Paulie. If I were to create the greatest team ever it would not have the best 12 players ever. Winning rings is more than an individual effort.

          I often wondered what a team would be like with Chamberlain and Jordan. Well, we all got to kind of see it with Shaq and Kobe. It took the calming influence of a great (greatest?) coach to keep the peace in the locker room for them to win.

          It took Baylor, who should be mentioned when talking about who was the greatest b-ball player ever, to leave the LA time for Chamberlain and West to win 33 games in a row and win the championship. (Chamberlain and Baylor bumped heads)

          So, yes, teammates, team chemistry, coaching, who they played against, etc, etc all is in the mix.

          That is why many people say Russell was the greatest player ever. He, unlike Chamberlain, Shaq, Kobe, and Jordan shared his toys and played well with the other kids. ))

          Others greats that could play with their team mates and not get into pissing contests poisoning the locker room were Jabbar, West, Magic, The Big O, Karl Malone, Duncan….

          Posted by Fred | April 27, 2012, 1:07 pm
      • Russ said the greatest player was Wilt.
        The most skilled player was O.
        That is still the truth.

        Posted by dr len gilman | December 5, 2012, 1:30 am
  35. I am not suggesting that Wilt or any of the several players were not the best. I just have a hard time when I hear that Wilt had a lesser supporting cast than Russell. Wilt joined a team with Gola,Arizin and Guy Rodgers
    I don’t understand why such a “great” player could not win with those players. He had Nate Thurmond in San Francisco,one of the worst teams in the league. He had to have supporting casts with the likes of Cunningham, Walker, Greer, Baylor, West, Goodrich, etc.,all HoF players as well as many other very good players. And you suggest that he had a suspect supporting cast. I do not understand. If you judge a player by statistics, then players like ‘the iceman’ et al needs to be included in the mix, and Cousy can
    not possibly be included.He was a great passer,but what else did he do that could considered good or great.

    Posted by vincent | February 20, 2012, 6:38 am
    • And they all played better teams. Not Wilt’s fault. He played well above the average player in the playoffs.

      Also, some of those Wilt teammates you mentioned weren’t even THAT good.

      Posted by The Realist #2 | February 20, 2012, 6:54 am
    • Gola Arizin and Rodgers.
      Toma Gola was a great college player a mediocre pro 11 points a game. Paul Arizin was at the end of his career. Guy Rodgers had not become the great point guard he became. Nate Thurmond did not become great or good until he played center which is after Wilt Left.
      The 1958-59 Warriors were 32-40
      and didn’t make the playoffs.
      Wilts rookie season they were 49-26.

      Posted by dr len gilman | December 5, 2012, 1:43 am
  36. He had better stats. He was told not to shoot as much on the ’72′ Lakers.
    He averaged about 14ppg, and the Lakers won the championship. The players that I mentioned were all HoF
    players and some in the top 50. I think Rodgers might be the exception.
    He was a great player and one of the best point guards in the league. I believe that players like Luke Jack-
    son,Nate McMillian,Happy Hairston et al qualify as being very good players. Beside the four or five well-known Celtic players during the Russell era , who are the other
    so-called good or great players on the Celtics during that period? I am not picking any of the ‘great’
    players over others. They all are called on to contribute differently
    I ask, did Wilt’s game diminish the play of his teammates? I’m not certain. San Francisco was a much better team without Wilt.

    Posted by vincent | February 20, 2012, 4:15 pm
    • The SF Warriors were an awfull team when Wilt left. His last Half season with SF he had stomach and pancreatic problems. He went to the sixers and in less the half a season he almost won a Title(see Havlichek steals the ball).
      The Warriors Got much better the next season when Nate came into his own and they drafted of the greatest players ever Rick Barry.

      Posted by dr len gilman | December 5, 2012, 1:55 am
  37. The record does not reflect that the Warriors were better without Wilt.

    106-110 the three years prior to Wilt and 240-234 with Wilt.
    which is better?

    I really doubt he was “told” to not shoot. It was that he likely was well beyond believing that he was obligated to prove his worth by scoring. Rather, he focused on scoring effectively and his rebounding and defense. He did lead the league in minutes his final two seasons and led in rebounds and also FG% (.727 in 1973!)

    You really want MORE than five great teammates for Russell?? How many players have EVER had three great teammates, let alone five? Being a capable player is far from being a transcendent one. Dominique Wilkins was a great player as was James Worthy, but by themselves, they wouldn’t nor couldn’t win an NBA title.

    Posted by Paulie Walnuts | February 20, 2012, 9:36 pm
  38. And the Celtic HOF players on the 1958-59 roster were:

    Cousy
    Heinshon
    Sam Jones
    KC Jones
    Frank Ramsey
    and Russell

    Look at the stats from that season and you will see how incredibly balanced their offense was.

    Posted by Paulie Walnuts | February 20, 2012, 9:38 pm
  39. Chamberlain played about two and one
    half years in Golden State. Their record in the 62/63 season was 31/49.
    They did well in the 63/64 season,but
    were having a terrible 64/65 season,
    so they traded Wilt to Philadelphia.
    I don’t know what the record was when
    Wilt left halfway through the season,
    but Golden State only won 17 games the whole season.
    I don’t think that you are really familiar with the Celtics. I would
    suggest that you add Havlicek and Bailey Howell. As for KC Jones,he would have a difficult time making
    many college teams. I’m not going to judge the players that you men-
    tioned, I will just say that if you just look carefully at their stats, you might change your mind.
    Once again, consider the HoF play
    ers who played with Wilt:
    ARIZIN
    GOLA
    GREER
    WALKER
    BAYLOR
    WEST
    Some of the above were not only HoF, but in the top fifty. Don’t forget some of the other players that Wilt played with:
    RODGERS
    LUKE JACKSON
    HAIRSTON
    MCMILLAN
    There were others,but just the above should make you wonder why such a “great” player did not win more championships. And Wilt ‘was’
    told not to shoot as much. Wilt the
    “team player” not, said that if he had to do it again (after the 72 championship)he would shoot more.

    Posted by vincent | February 21, 2012, 7:10 am
  40. I forgot, I left out Nat Thurmond from the HoF teammates of Wilt.

    Posted by vincent | February 21, 2012, 7:19 am
  41. Was Greer better than Sharman?
    Arizin and Gola were allstars when
    they played with Wilt.
    Baylor had three years with Wilt and he averaged more than 24 points
    a game. Far from washed up!
    Are you suggesting that Thurmond was overrated? Wow!

    Posted by vincent | February 21, 2012, 11:18 am
    • Points per game is hardly aaylor was still a good offensive player but he dropped off from his prime

      Posted by The Realist #2 | February 21, 2012, 12:10 pm
    • Points per game is hardly an accurate indicator of player performance though. Baylor was still a good offensive player in ’69 and ’70 but he wasn’t that more effective than some other in the league at the time and he was a non-factor in the playoffs.

      And yes, I’d take Sharman over Greer. Greer played more seasons, but Sharman was better on both ends of the floor in his day.

      Posted by The Realist #2 | February 21, 2012, 12:18 pm
    • Actually, Vincent, Baylor only really played TWO season with Wilt. Baylor only played 2 games in 1970-71.

      Baylor did average 24.0 and 24.8 in the two full seasons, but they were hardly wasted or lost years as the Lakers went to game #7 of the Finals both years, losing to the Celtics and that great Knicks team.

      Posted by Paulie Walnuts | February 21, 2012, 8:27 pm
  42. I agree stats are not the measure of the player, but,24 plus points per game and 10 plus rpg, app field goal percentage of over .450 might not be his best, but Baylor was far from “washed up.”
    Greer was a better defensive player than Sharman and had better stats in just about all of the measurable stats on record. I don’t believe that
    stats are the true measure, but I don’t know how to deal with you when you obviously use stats to make your arguments. Greer was tal-
    ler, had a higher ppg average,shot a higher percentage,more assists and more rebounds than Sharman.

    Posted by vincent | February 21, 2012, 4:50 pm
    • Lastly, vincent,

      I am not going to ask you to explain why it is that you seemingly do not read any of my posts nor understand the contention therein. I am not even going to ask why you obviously don’t even bother to check the records before you make your claims. . .

      Yet, I do feel compelled to ask the question as to why, if Arizin and Gola were so good, they were unable to get past Russell and the Celtics after 1955-56?

      Wilt only played with Arizin for 3 years, and the idea that Gola was a great NBA player is joke, though he is in the HOF.

      Posted by Paulie Walnuts | February 21, 2012, 8:38 pm
      • If you read and understood my posts,then you would understand that I dealt with all of your concerns. KC Jones was not a good ballplayer in my opinion. Frank Ramsey was ok, but not deserving of HoF, in my opinion. He did not even start for the Celtics. Arizin and Gola were at least very good. But, Russell was the X factor,and that’s why the Celtics had such success. You cannot say the same for Wilt. Even with Rodgers and Gola and Arizin, Wilt could not win.
        I understand that Baylor was not at his best when he played with Wilt, but he was still very good. I
        do not understand why if Wilt was so good he did not win more. He had
        many very good,if not great players
        on all of his teams. I believe that
        he had as many,if not more good to great players as Russell. Russell
        was long in the tooth as was Sam Jones in 1969. But with Siegfried,
        Havlicek and Howell the Celtics won
        yet another championship.WHY? The X factor. I’m not suggesting that anyone is the best. My concern is that Wilt is greatly overrated.

        Posted by vincent | February 22, 2012, 4:26 am
        • I did read your posts and though it is difficult to discern what you are saying due to the poor syntax, it is clear that you do not fully understanding the value of the defensive contribution.

          That is why the Warriors could not win, they had no one, other than Wilt that could play defense.

          The Warriors were leading the league in ppg and when they made their bid at a title, they were leading the league in defense. Then, they went into the tank and traded Wilt; that move did work short term as they reached the finals (only to get hammered by the 76ers, and Wilt)

          That is why the Celtics did win, they stopped people when they had to.

          You really don’t understand KC Jones value on the defensive side. A great great defender. You stated he couldn’t make a college team; that is just folly. There is no college team in history that wouldn’t take a shut down defender that wasn’t worried about his scoring.

          Regarding Ramsey, you are missing the point that the Celtics of ’58-59 did, in fact, have a HOF player on the BENCH! Likely the ONLY time that has happened.

          Posted by Paulie Walnuts | February 22, 2012, 1:41 pm
          • I mistyped above.

            I meant to say that the Warriors transitioned from the highest scoring team to the best defensive team (in terms of scoring) when they made their title bid.

            Posted by Paulie Walnuts | February 22, 2012, 1:42 pm
    • Stats are a record of player performance. If you throw it out because “stats don’t matter” then it makes no sense to compare players. Baylor had a couple good seasons when Wilt joined the Lakers, but they way down from his own peak and he didn’t play well in the postseason. When people talk about Baylor they’re thinking of the player who was among the league’s very best players before his injury. He wasn’t that in ’68 and ’69.

      As for Greer, comparing his per game numbers to a player from a different era is flawed. Sharman has the edge when you make the era adjustment, and he played good defense on those Celtics teams (as most Celtics players did during their title runs).

      Posted by The Realist #2 | February 22, 2012, 8:28 am
      • I prefer not to compare players and
        when forced to do so I do not like to
        use stats because players have dif-
        ferent roles on different teams. Just
        consider how Robertson reduced his
        offensive output when he joined Mil-
        waukee and Milwaukee won. More recen-
        tly Garnett, Pierce and Allen all sacrificed offensive numbers to win a
        title. Wilt was more interested in his numbers.

        Posted by vincent | February 22, 2012, 11:03 am
        • “I prefer not to compare players and
          when forced to do so I do not like to
          use stats because players have dif-
          ferent roles on different teams.”

          So why are you here?

          I won’t use stats either then, and with that I’ll say Wilt’s better anyway. And don’t talk to me about “rings”, because number of rings is a stat.

          Posted by The Realist #2 | February 22, 2012, 12:59 pm
          • These discussions never go anywhere
            and they sometimes get personal. Perhaps if I can get you to check out an article on the internet, “The Greatest Debate in NBA His-
            tory: Wilt the Stilt or Bill Rus-
            sell, by Matt Ravida, you will get an objective discussion on the two
            I think that you will really app-
            reciate it. Do you know that many
            of their contempories, like Pettit,
            West, Hot Rod Hundley, et al said that Russell was better. Do you know that when the Lakers were dis-
            cussing trading for Wilt only two
            wanted Wilt, the others opposed? Check out the article.

            Posted by vincent | February 22, 2012, 6:42 pm
          • Vincent,

            Again, in a post above, I list my hierarchy and I have Russell #2 and Chamberlain as #6.

            I am not getting personal, but is just that the argument that Wilt’s teammates were as good as Russell’s is a false one.

            Wilt was a great player and I believe had he played for Red that Wilt would have 6 or 7 rings; yet that still falls well short of Russell’s mark of 11 in 13 years!

            Posted by Paulie Walnuts | February 22, 2012, 7:28 pm
          • Number of rings are more than stats.
            They are an indicator of attaining the ultimate goal of the contest,

            Posted by vincent | February 23, 2012, 10:37 am
          • No, number of rings is a stat. Period.

            And, by its nature as a team accomplishment (because,after all, only teams can win championships) it’s the stat that tells us the LEAST about an individual player. “Ring counting” is a lazy intellectual exercise that continues to plague the sport.

            Posted by The Realist #2 | February 23, 2012, 10:54 am
        • Is there any proof that Wilt only cared about his numbers? Every Wilt hater says that and I just do not get it. If Wilt cared about his numbers then he would own all the records, all of them because he could do anything he wanted to on a bb court. If Wilt really had a mean streak like Shaq then there would be lots of paralyzed ex ballers.

          Posted by michael lord | February 16, 2013, 12:36 am
      • You choose to take things out of context to make a point. I clearly was talking about the Warriors after
        they had moved o the West Coast.Greer
        and Sharman played against each other
        for 3-4 years. they were pretty much contemporaries

        Posted by vincent | February 22, 2012, 11:13 am
  43. Normally I shun baseball-based arguments w/ respect to basketball, but here goes one anyway:

    Babe Ruth is rightly remembered as best-ever by many not because he played pre-integration or for some other tangential reason, but because he HIT better and also PITCHED better than just about anybody when he was asked to.

    Similarly, Wilt Chamberlain not only was the most devastating Offender the game has seen, leading the bigs in shooting surety, points, Off Rebs (earning his points rather than hogging plays), & Assists, but he also adapted his game to play the Russell role for the fabulous Sharman Laker champs/Finalists. Nobody else — not Jabbar, not Jordan, not Shaq — ever showed the ability to fit his game to the team’s needs the way Dipper did.

    In their clubs’ respective formulae Jabbar & Jordan simply shrank their games & became hired-guns, letting Magic & Pippen & others assume the heavy lifting for the teams’ success. Shaq seemed to possess the potential to subdue his scoring a la Russell while leading the NBA in Rebbies & dominating on Defense as Laker Wilt did, but he never came close to actually doing so (much less leading the L in Assists) and it may have cost the Suns & Cavaliers each a title.

    Posted by Keith Ellis | February 22, 2012, 9:13 pm
    • If you read my initial post you will find that my argument was simply that I felt that the true measure of the ‘great’ players was their impact on the team when they joined the team as well as when they left. Babe Ruth is a good example of what I’m talking about I contrasted those ‘great’ play
      ers and their impact with other ‘great’ players whose coming and going had a far lesser impact. I based my decision on whom I thought was best on the impact they had on the team i.e. Russell had an immediate and lasting impact
      Wilt did not. Jordan did not,Magic
      did, etc. I had no thought of stats
      because I know some players with great stats who are not considered to be among the elite and others with questionable stats who are. I dealt somewhat with stats because just about all of the opposing view
      points based their arguments on stats.Finally I said that many play
      ers that played against both Wilt
      and Russell chose Russell over Wilt
      and some chose wilt over Russell. The Lakers were asked if they would
      like a trade to bring Wilt to the Lakers? Only two approved, the other players did not want Wilt. He
      had a reputation of being a very nice, generous person, but on the court a very selfish player inter-
      ested only in his stats. My origin
      al posting was not really about Wilt versus Russell.

      Posted by vincent | February 23, 2012, 8:16 am
  44. I can’t agree with the “normalization” of Wilt’s rebounding totals.

    Dwight Howard who is listed at 6′ 11″ and 240 has led the league in RPG 5x (soon to be 6x after this year) and has a career average of 13.0 RPG; we are supposed to believe that Wilt would NOT average 18+ RPG in today’s NBA?

    Dennis Rodman was a great rebounder and he averaged over 18 twice; we can’t believe that someone blessed with the size and athletic skill of Wilt would NOT post a greater total than that?

    I still believe that Wilt would pull down 18+ RPG and have 5+ Blocks per Game if he were playing today.

    Posted by Paulie Walnuts | March 1, 2012, 12:26 pm
    • His numbers certainly does not suggest he would get that many rebounds. Shaq and David Robinson were much more impressive in physical stature than Rodman, yet averaged 6+ rebounds less than the worm.

      Posted by Nikko | March 18, 2012, 12:54 am
  45. Why in the world would Wilt all of a sudden grow 3 inches today?! I could why he would have more muscle and explosiveness, but assuming Wilt grows 3 inches is absurd.

    Posted by Nikko | March 18, 2012, 12:50 am
  46. The funny thing about “chasing 23” is it is all about justifying Jordan’s greatness.

    There is a great leap in logic when comparing Chamberlain to Jordan.

    Number one thing wrong; Jordan was better than Chamberlain because Jordan has 6 rings and Chamberlain has two.

    Number 2 thing wrong; Jordan was better than Chamberlain because the competition was better during Jordan’s time.

    So I ask, what teams did Chamberlain lose to and what teams did Jordan beat?

    Chamberlain played against, arguably, the greatest teams ever and got two rings.

    Jordan’s Bulls beat the Blazers, Sonics, the Jazz that never got past a healthy Laker team, and a Laker team that was all but finished.

    None of those teams will ever be looked at as great, or even close to great.

    If Chamberlain’s stats are unworthy because of inferior players (which is not the case i.e. Russell, Jabber, etc…) then Jordan’s rings are unworthy because of inferior teams (which was the case…).

    The Lakers of West and Baylor would have wiped the floor in four with the teams that Jordan’s Bull beat and West and Baylor always lost to Russell’s Celtics.

    I have nothing against individual players such as Jordan, Malone, Drexler, Stockton, but one or two players cannot win a championship, and the people that think that champions are won by one person’s greatness, do not understand the game.

    Posted by Fred | March 20, 2012, 1:54 am
    • “Jordan’s Bulls beat the Blazers, Sonics, the Jazz that never got past a healthy Laker team, and a Laker team that was all but finished.

      None of those teams will ever be looked at as great, or even close to great.”

      This is a pure ignorant statement. Let’s have a look at the teams that the Bulls faced in the finals, shall we?

      91 – Lakers (58-24): Magic (32), Worthy (30), Byron Scott (30), Sam Perkins (30), Vlade Divac (23) – plenty of experience & NBA champions and looking at their age (in brackets) it’s obvious they were far from finished

      92 – Blazers (57-25): Drexler, Terry Porter, Jerome Kersey, Clifford Robinson, Buck Williams, Kevin Duckworth, Danny Ainge – their record in 2 seasons prior to 91/92 was 59-23 & 63-19 including a trip to the finals in 1990; not a great team?

      93 – Suns (62-20): Barkley, Kevin Johnson, Ceballos, Dan Majerle, Richard Dumas, Tom Chambers, Danny Ainge – between 89-95 each year the Suns won at least 52 games -> maybe not an elite team, but definitely a very good team

      96 – Sonics (64-18): Kemp, Payton, Schrempf, Hersey Hawkins, Ervin Johnson, Sam Perkins, Nate McMillan – between 93 & 98 they won at least 55 games each year topping 60 wins 3 times (they were perrenial title contender) -> not to mention they played defense that would make Kobe Bryant cry

      97/98 – Jazz (64-18 & 62-20): Malone, Stockton, Hornacek, Greg Ostertag, Bryon Russell – between 94-2001 they won (or would have) at least 53 games each season -> they had one of three greatest PFs ever; best pure point guard ever and a very effective shooting guard in Hornacek (they sort of had a big three of their own) -> in 97 they dismantled a stacked Laker team (4-1) and in 98 they swept even more stacked Laker team (that featured 4 All-Stars in Shaq, Kobe, E.Jones & N.Van Exel).

      We may argue about the Blazers and the Suns, but LAL / SEA / UTA all were great teams no doubt.

      Posted by doosiolek | June 13, 2012, 11:46 pm
      • when the bulls beat the Lakers in the finals the Lakers were running on fumes. I watched the whole series and Worthy and Scott had ankle and shoulder injuries and sat out games. Magic was also injured and if it was during the regular season he would not have played.

        None of the other teams that the bulls beat could get past the Lakers. only after the laker were done could they reach the finals. so yes, none of those teams that Jordan’s Bulls beat would ever be looked at as great.

        Now, if the Bulls beat the Lakers in their prime or the Celtics in their prime then you have a point but the Bulls could not beat the Lakers or Celtics (or even the Pistons) when they were in their prime. You could say that Jordan was not in his prime when the Lakers and Celtics and Pistons were, but he was.

        If you go to a “best teams ever” list you will never see any of the teams that Jordan beat in the finals on any of those lists.

        And remember, I didn’t say they were bad teams, after all they were in the finals. But they, like Jordan’s Bulls could never get past the Celtics, Lakers and Pistons until they were done.

        “a pure ignorant statement” It is funny that you say this!!!!

        Posted by Fred | July 21, 2012, 12:20 am
  47. How great was Wilt? Great enough to make statistics irrelevant due to his dominance.
    A frequent distinguisher between Wilt and Jordan are the number of champioiships. Wilt won championships. That’s all you need to do to.
    Wilt could take a team to an NBA championship final game with a supporting cast that would include me and any three other posters on this blog.
    Think about this, any player today that would have a game where they scored 50 points, had 27 rebounds, blocked 13 shots and had 11 assists would be immortalized on ESPN. Those numbers are just half of Wilt’s single game achievements.
    One final thought, if a spaceship makes it’s way to planet Earth after our civilization ends in another 10,000 years and the only recorded evidence left is an NBA record book, those visitors will think that Wilt was a god.

    Posted by jk | March 27, 2012, 12:25 pm
  48. Biggest problem with this other than adding 2 inches to a guy that was 7’2″ in the 50′s is you are forgetting the fact that double teams were alot softer and the refs were a lot faster with the whistle. During Wilt’s heyday they actually tried to make basketball a non contact sport. Add the pace to the equation everbody had ballooned stats. They had rules that made it hard to double team a guy so it was basically all one on one ball all over the court. 30 ppg but not 42

    Posted by Lorrance | May 14, 2012, 12:48 pm
    • You have no idea what your talking about. When Wilt came in the NBA it was Mostly white and dirty.
      They let thugs maim Wilt.Just look at the number of fouls shots he was taking his first 9 years.
      He was going to retire after his rookie season.
      Now in the NBA you cant even hand check a guy.

      Posted by dr len gilman | December 5, 2012, 2:16 am
    • Wilt was mauled every time he touched the ball. Today’s game is more a non-contact sport than back then. Did you ever watch any of those games on television. Back then teams had maulers who didn’t even play ball they came into a game to beat up the other team’s best player.Times have changed.

      Posted by michael lord | February 16, 2013, 12:42 am
  49. also not just the height and weight advantage contributed to his dominance, but the overall lack of athleticism. Wilt would still average alot of rebounds and points but not atthe same level. especially scoring. 35ppg at the most, plus with the fact you can zone now no way teams allow him to score 42ppg

    Posted by Lorrance | May 14, 2012, 12:55 pm
  50. Not sure that the change in average height is do to much more than increased nutrition. The same happened in Japan in the decades after WWII. That change affected the average height but did not make the tallest people taller. Remember, the tallest person ever measured died in 1940. Extremely tall people are outliers, and not necessarily part of general trends. As tall as Yao Ming is, he’s more than a foot shorter than the tallest person ever measured. The good news is Wilt would be devastating today because he was both tall and extraordinarily coordinated. He was a bigger, stronger Dwight Howard. It’s not just height and weight, or Roy Hibbert would be as good as Wilt. The best ever? That will forever be debated by fans, and that’s what fans are for. Too appreciate their heroes’ coomplishments.

    Posted by Carlos | June 3, 2012, 7:43 am
  51. Wilt was the greates athlete of our time.

    Had Wilt been born in 1986 rather than 1936 he would be even more devastating.

    Blessed with advanced training, better coaching, far better equipment, there is no limit ti what Wilt may have accomplished.

    Gold Medal in the high jump? Wilt was setting marks long before the physics marvel of the Fosberry Flop cam about.

    How about the Triple Jump?

    Wilt would not have been the pencil thin stick, but the hugely muscled and chiseled specimen like Dwight Howard.

    Wilt would have just been bigger and stronger than even Howard.

    Or the 220 High Hurdles?

    Posted by Paulie Walnuts | June 3, 2012, 12:34 pm
  52. I have and will always believe Wilt played in a time period of inferior basketball. The sport was not popular yet, therefore it did not attract quality athletes. Although he did ultimately boost its popularity, he never saw any real competition. You mentioned that there was no defense, which is true, because team owners back then favored high scoring games to attract fans because basketball was NOT POPULAR YET. Baseball players back then, however, could go toe-to-toe with modern players because baseball has attracted amazing talent all through the ages. The majority of the NBA league back then would be in today’s D-League or worse. And the note about how modernized Wilt would be 7’5″ 300+lbs etc. is just plain silly. Overall, Wilt was good, and if he played today, he’d be a starter, but his stats would never make records.

    Posted by Bballzz | June 13, 2012, 6:55 pm
  53. Bballzz,

    That is really an ignorant statement.

    Please, either do some research and offer enlightend or informative substantive posts or simply cease.

    Wilt was probably the greatest athlete we have ever seen, he would be a dominate force in any time.

    The players of Wilt’s time were also great athletes. True, that the league was still a little racist when Wilt began, but Wilt was playing into the 1970′s.

    There may have been a few guys at the end of benches that couldn’t play today, but anyone that started then would absolutely play today, if not start.

    Posted by Paulie Walnuts | June 13, 2012, 9:25 pm
    • Let’s look at one milestone of Wilt’s, probably his most famous, the 100 point game. Although there is no surviving footage of this game, there are plenty of eye witness testimonials. If this game had happened in today’s age, in the same manner, David Stern would have to make a public speech, apologizing for such a farcical game and promising to make NBA a more legitimate sport. Wilt stood by the basket in this game and received pass after pass from his teammates, even when he was triple/quadruple teamed. He would then easily score over the pathetic talent and miniscule Knicks players. The game was as silly as a Harlem Globetrotter’s game. However, all that’s remembered is his 100 points. So if I go to special education school and drop 100 points, am I the greatest b-ball player of all time? I am serious, his competition in the day was that awful. Sure he had some good and memorable match-ups with the few other greats players of that era, but the average player was a gimp.

      Posted by BBallzz | June 14, 2012, 6:28 pm
      • That’s just not true. Wilt that season was truly unstoppable. He averaged fifty points a game. During the 100 point game, of course he got great position. But he got great position against anybody. He was faster and stronger than anyone he played against. He scored against triple and quadruple teams for that same reason. As to the Knicks players being miniscule, that’s not true either. Darrell Imhoff, against whom Wilt played much of that night, was 6’10″, three inches shorter than Wilt.

        By the way, the NBA did have a similar game fairly recently, when David Robinson on the last day of the season became virtually the sole scorer against the Clippers to win the scoring title. He took a ridiculous number of shots and scored 71 points, still 29 shy of Wilt’s total. Nobody from the commissioner’s office said anything. Getting great position and taking a large number of shots is well within the rules, and if the other team can’t stop you from doing it, that’s just too bad.

        Wilt would be unstoppable in today’s game, though he probably wouldn’t average as many points because of game pace. The three point line would have helped him, as teams could not surround him with players, as happened in college and the pros. If you look at Wilt’s strength, speed, quickness, overall athleticism, and size, there’s nobody in today’s game that would be anything close to him physically.

        Wilt also got hacked and hammered without fouls being called, so this myth that in those days there was no physical play has no basis in fact. Tom Heinsohn has commented on this several times. In fact, I’d say that the rules favor the offensive player much more so than they did in Wilt’s day. Shaq’s lower the shoulder and knock the defender out of the way would have been a charge every time when Wilt played.

        Posted by pbuttah | September 9, 2012, 7:41 pm
      • I would say your retarded but its an insult to Retards.

        Posted by dr len gilman | December 5, 2012, 2:18 am
  54. You cannot use a single game of a players 1045 regular season games and the 165 playoff games to determine that the average players were gimps.

    Wilt led the league in rebounding in 1972-73 at age 36 and played 3542 minutes; was it due to the average players being gimps in 1973?

    Do some better research and reach better conclusions or just tip out.

    Posted by Paulie Walnuts | June 14, 2012, 7:26 pm
    • I came here to debate how Wilt’s absurdly good stats wouldn’t hold up in a modern game today (the article waaay up at the top). And especially the records he is known for that still exist, most 40 point games, most 50 point games, most points scored in a game etc. I will concede that he could dominate in rebounding today, but who cares about rebounding? It’s all about the scoring titles and scoring records. He was able to pad his scoring stats based on the limitations of the rules of that time and weak competition. He would not have those stats and those records if he played today. So maybe you should tip out because your not even arguing on the topic here.

      Posted by BBallzz | June 14, 2012, 7:58 pm
      • who cares about rebounding??

        Anyone else want to stab at that poor choice of words?

        Ask any coach that wins, I reckon HE would care very much about rebounding.

        Ask Tom Izzo, of Michigan State University, about his feelings about rebounding.

        Posted by Paulie Walnuts | June 14, 2012, 8:44 pm
      • Bill Russell was the games best defense player and number 2 rebounder. Not even close.
        Wilt scored 63 points against him and got 55 boards off him.
        The league never liked Wilt because he was outspoken. He said the NBA was a Bush league.
        He still was AllPro over Russell 7 times. By the by the Celts were so good Russell wasn’t Rookie of the Year. Heinsohn was.

        Posted by dr len gilman | December 5, 2012, 2:23 am
  55. Limitations of the rules?

    You realize that they had to alter some rules because of Wilt, right?

    Wilt scored a lot because he shot a lot.

    Any player that shoots 40 times a game would average 50 points per game.

    Posted by Paulie Walnuts | June 14, 2012, 8:40 pm
  56. You do also realize that Wilt averaged 45.8 minutes per game FOR HIS CAREER!!!

    But, I suppose we don’t really care about how much a guy can be on the floor either, right?

    Posted by Paulie Walnuts | June 14, 2012, 8:57 pm
    • What I mean by limitation of rules is their inability to STOP abusive plays and avoid loopholes, sorry that wasn’t clear to you. Who cares about who led rebounds in 1972 (Tom Izzo doesn’t), Wilt is always remembered by his SCORING RECORDS. Anyways, stop regurgitating his stats, I am well aware of them. Let’s remember Wilt as a great player for his era and for the game in general, but take his records with a BIG grain of salt. They won’t be broken because they can’t be broken in the modern NBA’s competition.

      Posted by BBallz | June 14, 2012, 10:02 pm
  57. You;re wrong about both. Wilt was and is known for his rebounding as much as the scoring.

    Only a mouth breather would not care about his rebounding.

    And there is no way that the NBA is 10 times better today. That is an application of math that simply deifies all logic and reason.

    Do you think Michael Westbrook or Derek Fisher would look and play like they do had they been born in 1950? Without the benefits of training, salary, diet, nutrition and equipment they would be like Dave Bing.

    The talent was there, the refinement was not.

    Posted by Paulie Walnuts | June 14, 2012, 10:30 pm
  58. Isn’t Michael Westbrook a football player?

    Posted by Gil Meriken | June 15, 2012, 12:33 am
  59. Dude, face it. the NBA was not popular back then and had a huge lack of parity. Many of those players were scrubs who would never play no matter how well they trained in the modern game. Chalk it up to racism, lack of diversity, lack of decent player salaries etc. You are obviously a huge Wilt fan, but ask any generic basketball fan and they will say Wilt is known for his ridiculous scoring records that are unbeatable. His records really need an asterisk, just as many baseball records take note of the deadball-liveball era. Pre-merger records in NBA/ABA are just clown stats.

    Posted by BBallz | June 15, 2012, 1:50 am
    • You are so off base BBALLZ. And rebounding is HUGE. Anybody who says “Who cares about who led rebounds in 1972″ or “I will concede that he could dominate in rebounding today, but who cares about rebounding?” doesn’t belong anywhere near a basketball discussion board. I agree that Wilt’s competition may not have been on par with that of today, but to argue it the way you have makes it clear you are VERY ignorant of the history of the NBA/ABA.

      Posted by pointguard40 | June 15, 2012, 7:36 am
      • Your lame ad hominem arguments and complete lack of appropriate rebuttals to the subject at hand- Wilt C. and how he would fare today- have declared me the winner of this argument. His records are clown stats and he would not dominate the modern game. You trolls can continue to worship Wilt, I’m done here. Peace

        *And Michael Westbrook is an NFL player, Paulie Peanuts is a clown

        Posted by BBallz | June 15, 2012, 1:00 pm
        • If you’re going to accuse others of logical fallacies, try not to use the exact same fallacy in your post. Try especially hard not to use the same fallacy again in the same post.

          David Stern didn’t apologize for Kobe’s 81 point game. Wilt scored 100 with the help of a faster paced game-more points were scored overall on a regular basis. What’s the problem here?

          Wilt won the Kansas state track and field competition 3 years in a row, ran a 10.9 100 yard dash, could bench more than Shaq or Dwight Howard, and could touch the top of the backboard from a standing jump. He was an athlete unlike any the league has seen. There’s no reason he wouldn’t dominate today’s supposedly superior athletes.

          Dwight Howard, an inferior athlete and inferior talent to Wilt, dominates an incredibly weak center position in today’s NBA, and he frequently encounters “midgets” like the 6’10 Darrall Imhoff, the Knicks’ center when Wilt went off for 100.

          Nothing more pathetic than a guy claiming himself a victor anonymously on an internet forum.

          Posted by lochpster | June 16, 2012, 12:44 am
          • Loch,

            I tire so much of the silly arguments that attempt to rationalize what Wilt accomplished.

            It is very true tht the NBA was in its formative years and still far from being a reliable paycheck for players. This is why Wilt played for the Globetrotters after college and NOT the NBA. this is why players STAYED in college rather than leave early; the mony was not great and certainly not gauanteed.

            That said, Wilt is one of, if not THE greatest athlete of the 20th century.

            If we use the “Time Machine” argument and bring Wilt forward, we have to likewise give Wilt ALL the advantages that the modern athlete has: huge contracts that allow for year round conditioning and training, better knowledge and understanding of nutrition, diet, and kinesiology, better equipment specifically tailored to the individual athlete, and coaches with less racism and far better understanding of strategy and tactics.

            I especially tire of the constant circular argument that Wilt’s teammates were good enough to win. Truth is, if Wilt played with really great players capable of winning, THEY WOULD HAVE WON!! How can we reasonably believe that any “great” player would allow another player to dominate the ball and push back? I ain’t buyin’ that. The best and most logical reason that Wilt’s teams “ONLY” won TWO championships is that the Celtics had an equally great force in Russell, an entire ROSTER dedicated to team play and winning, AND the best coach (by light years) in Red Auerbach.

            The best thing I can say about team results is this: The best teas usually win. The NBA in Wilt’s days were no different. Can we at last acknowledge that the best player does not necessarily make the best team?

            Though I place Wilt at #5 or #6 on my all time Hierarchy, I have difficulty doing so. I am constantly in awe of Wilt’s achievements that are far beyond point totals (45.8 minutes per game!!).

            Posted by Paulie Walnuts | June 16, 2012, 9:59 am
          • I still don’t understand why you ring count with Russell and nobody else.

            Posted by lochpster | June 17, 2012, 12:14 pm
          • It’s not really “ring counting”. I have accepted that Russell’s relatively low offensive totals were more a result of a really balanced offense and not a deficiency on Russ’s part.

            The only part of the ring counting that I feel must be acknowledge is that EVERY time the Celts needed to get the breaks, they did. (Except when Russ was injured)

            I just don’t think it is co-incidence.

            Posted by Paulie Walnuts | June 17, 2012, 12:33 pm
          • “It’s not really “ring counting”

            So what’s your argument for Bill Russell being the second best player ever, or better than Wilt, that doesn’t rely exclusively on his 11 rings and team results. This statement is false.

            “Can we at last acknowledge that the best player does not necessarily make the best team?”

            Yet that’s the entirety of your pro-Russell argument. The Celtics were better, so Russell must be as well. Nothing else. Zero. Zilch. Nada. Just team results.

            “Russell’s relatively low offensive totals were more a result of a really balanced offense and not a deficiency on Russ’s part”

            Kobe may have gone 6-24 and shot 40% for the series, but you know what, and he did all the little things that help a team win.

            You can’t pick and choose which deficiencies you’re going to shrug off because a player’s team won. You’ve compared Russell to Hakeem in the past, yet there’s absolutely no reason to believe, based on his body of work, that Russell could have been an elite scorer. No part of his offensive game was particularly refined. His normalized peak offensive numbers are worse than Rodman’s. Again, I ask you, where is your proof? Other than, you know, team results.

            “EVERY time the Celts needed to get the breaks, they did”

            And every time Kobe was surrounded by elite talent, he won multiple titles.

            Yet just like the Lakers with Kobe, Russell was bailed out numerous times. By Sam Jones in 1962 (he of the 10 titles), Hondo in 1965, Philly’s ice cold shooting in 1968 and Wilt’s controversial knee injury a year later. All things out of Russ’s control, yet your argument gives him credit for them. Each of these times, Russ got eviscerated by Wilt, and each of these times, the Celtics won in large part because of something not at all related to Russell.

            I know we’ve had this argument ad nauseum, but it really bothers me that you can be over on the Kobe boards saying one thing and then over here using almost identical arguments for Russell. As much as I loathe ring counting, I hate inconsistency even more-and this is both.

            Posted by lochpster | June 18, 2012, 1:17 pm
          • I am not being inconsisten on this.

            Let me put it to you this way:

            What else could Russell have done to help his teams win?

            Do you think if he scored more the Celtics would have won more? Nobody seemed to lessen the impact or greatness of Magic when he was scoring 17 or 18 ppg; why do we lessen Russell?

            It is difficult, I understand, to assume that Russ COULD have scored more had his team needed it, but there was really only one other player in the league that was a better athlete and that was Wilt.

            the difference, to me, that keeps Bryant from ascending into the top ten of all time is his polarizing and divisive nature.

            Has any player or coach EVER offered criticism of Russell? Do we have any record of Russell ever publicly calling out ANY of his teammates for failures?

            This is not inconsistent to consider the entirety of Russel’s game and have him #2.

            Russell was the greatest defender of all time.

            Russell was no worse than the third or fourth best (if not higher) rebounder of all time. Where would we rank Rodman if he averaged 15 or more ppg on the Bulls or Pistons combined with his rebounds?

            Russell was an incredible passer and undoubtedly the best (or 2nd best) shot blocker in the history of the game.

            True, that my argument for Russell seems to lay solely upon the team accomplishment, but isn’t that part and parcel to what Russell truly was?

            So, I will ask again: What would you want Russell to achieve that he did not otherwise?

            Posted by Paulie Walnuts | June 18, 2012, 9:17 pm
          • Loch,

            I want to explain that I do NOT extend a disproportionate amount of weight upon team result.

            The question that really can prove this would be: Why would we rank Jordan ahead of Wilt? Or anyone else?

            The team result has to be a part of the equation. It is the reason that the games are played: to win.

            I have written previously that had Wilt and Russ changed teams and circumstance that Wilt would have scored less, but the Celtics still win at least 7 titles. We would consider ANY player with 7 titles and a 20 ppg and 20 rpg as the greatest ever, wouldn’t we?

            Unlike Kobe, Russell’s biggest contribution was on the defensive end and helping to create scoring chances for his teammates (kinda like Magic or Bird?). the Celtics were never dependent upon Russ dropping 38 points or even 28 or even 18. They needed Russ to play a ton of minutes (which he did), defend the rim and the paint (which he did) and to create scoring opportunities for his teammates (which he did). In fact, Russell’s career PLAYOFF numbers are superior to his career Regular season numbers. Is it not fair to say that Russ played even BETTER when the stakes were higher? Is there an example of a game or games in which the Celtics needed Russ to perform and he failed in that regard?

            Should we not, then, give a player that is remarkably consistent with his offensive production, transcendent in his defensive production, is recognized as the MVP of the league 5 times, AND plays at his BEST when the games mean the most, consideration as the greatest of all time?

            I have Jordan as the top player of all time and I rank Bird and Magic ahead of Wilt as well, but you don’t seem to mind those picks. Why? The consensus regarding Jordan seems to be, in addition to the incredible individual play that, ultimately he took otherwise indifferent talent to 6 championships? Doesn’t Magic also receive similar kudos for his contributions, other than scoring, to a really talented Lakers roster that won? Don’t we elevate Bird for his taking a foundering Celtics franchise and restoring them to elite status? If not, then why don’t we rank Dominique Wilkins ahead of all of them?

            The team result is PART of the equation, because it has to be. But, it is not the ONLY part of the equation.

            The evidence for Russ, then,

            Being the single greatest defensive force in NBA history.

            Being the no worse than the 2nd greatest rebounder of his day or arguably of all time.

            A fantastic facilitator of the offense with his passing and creating scoring opportunities for his team.

            Being recognized as the MVP if the league 5 times.

            Averaging 16.2/24.9/4.7 in the PLAYOFFS

            Averaging 42.8 minutes per game (and all time!) for a team that won 11 titles. This is significant because it is far EASIER for a singular talent to play big minutes on mediocre teams, it is far different and difficult to do so for an elite team. That has to translate into the perceived value of said player.

            As to Kobe, Russell has more black ink, more award shares, and averaged nearly as many assists as Bryant WHILE OCCUPYING THE BALL FAR FAR LESS!!

            Posted by Paulie Walnuts | June 19, 2012, 8:19 am
          • The key difference between Russ and Bryant (or Bryant and the other players I rank ahead of him) is that Bryant had opportunities to help his team and was unable to do so.

            The 2004 Finals are the greatest example of when Bryant could have led his team to a championship over an otherwise good, but far form great Pistons team and failed to do so.

            When you occupy the ball far more than the other players on the floor, you need to make greater use of those opportunities than Bryant has.

            Had Kobe contributed more assists or gotten more rebounds or shown some other qualities that he was contribution to his team winning OTHER than his scoring, then we would have to consider his achievements greater than the sum of its parts. Kobe has had individual games where he has contributed other than scoring, but they are sporadic and thus I conclude that he was not really interested in driving his team to win UNLESS he was scoring. That does NOT mean that Kobe would NOT defend or rebound or pass, it means that even on the nights that he was struggling or well defended that Kobe was still determined to get his. And, I conclude that his team suffered for this, both short term and long term.

            Posted by Paulie Walnuts | June 19, 2012, 8:27 am
          • “What else could Russell have done to help his teams win?”

            Not getting crushed by Wilt every time they played would have been a nice start. Wilt’s scoring actually went up when the two played, while Russell’s went down. Not getting outrebounded by 5 per game would have been nice, too, since Russ didn’t have to carry Wilt’s offensive load. But since his team won, that’s all water under the bridge. Right, Kobe fans?

            If you meant to ask if they would have won more rings, the answer is no.

            “Do you think if he scored more the Celtics would have won more? Nobody seemed to lessen the impact or greatness of Magic when he was scoring 17 or 18 ppg; why do we lessen Russell?”

            The worst part of this argument is that you know exactly why it’s so misleading on so many levels.

            Magic’s career scoring average was higher than Russell’s peak, and his true shooting percentage was 14 points higher. Each Magic field goal attempt (career) was worth .28 points more than each Russell FGA, and Russell was a freaking center.

            And that’s failing to normalize for era. Russell’s offensive impact, if you normalized him to today, would be 12.7 PPG on 50.8 % TS. Shannon Brown has the same scoring efficiency and a higher per minute scoring rate over the course of his career.

            “It is difficult, I understand, to assume that Russ COULD have scored more had his team needed it, but there was really only one other player in the league that was a better athlete and that was Wilt.”

            If he was capable of so much, why was he such an underachiever? Why didn’t he unleash the beast? If he could have helped his team more on offense but didn’t, isn’t that a major mark against him?

            Of course, I don’t think there was a beast. The most likely explanation for the fact that he was a shaky post player with a mediocre shot is that he was a shaky post player with a mediocre shot.

            “Where would we rank Rodman if he averaged 15 or more ppg on the Bulls or Pistons combined with his rebounds?”

            Most wouldn’t rank Rodman any higher if he were a 15 PPG scorer, since those were MJ and Isiah’s teams. I personally rank him in my top 20 and as the #2 all time power forward.

            “In fact, Russell’s career PLAYOFF numbers are superior to his career Regular season numbers. Is it not fair to say that Russ played even BETTER when the stakes were higher? ”

            The only individual statistic that justify’s Russell’s elite status is rebounding, and we all know that’s hugely inflated by era.

            If you normalize his numbers, you get 12.7 PPG, 13 RPG, and 4 APG on 51% TS. The scoring is again below average, and you can get a similar rebound rate (rate, not total) from Demarcus Cousins, Kris Humphries, or Andrew Bynum. The assists would be impressive for a center. Even at his peak he’s no better than Kevin Love on the boards if you remember to adjust for era. He’s certainly no Rodman.

            The fact that he got better during the playoffs is true, but he’s still well behind the elite in terms of individual production.

            “Is there an example of a game or games in which the Celtics needed Russ to perform and he failed in that regard?”

            Without a doubt. The most obvious example is that Russ almost singlehandedly lost the 1965 Eastern Conference Finals for Boston. Fortunately he had a team around to bail him out.

            “Russell was no worse than the third or fourth best (if not higher) rebounder of all time. ”

            No matter where you rank him, Wilt was better.

            “A fantastic facilitator of the offense with his passing and creating scoring opportunities for his team.”

            Word. Wilt was still better.

            “Averaging 42.8 minutes per game (and all time!)…”

            Again, Wilt was better.

            “for a team that won 11 titles. ”

            Gil made an identical argument for Kobe’s value to the Lakers. Most minutes for a championship team.

            “As for Kobe, Russell has more black ink”

            Black ink is your category, not mine. But Wilt has more than Russell. A lot more. More scoring titles, rebounding titles (more than double), assist titles, first team All-NBAs, and was rookie of the year. Russ has one more MVP.

            “Being the single greatest defensive force in NBA history.”

            What’s funny about this is that it’s largely based on his perceived ability to slow down Wilt, which is pure myth. Wilt was actually better when playing the Celtics over the course of his career.

            If Russ was the #1 defender of his day, Wilt was #2, and #3 was so far in the rearview it doesn’t bear mentioning. Furthermore, I find it really hard to say with much certainty that Russ was that much better than, for instance, Hakeem Olajuwon.

            “True, that my argument for Russell seems to lay solely upon the team accomplishment, but isn’t that part and parcel to what Russell truly was?”

            Isn’t that what Kobe’s about too? Winning? Or is that different? I’m confused.

            “The key difference between Russ and Bryant (or Bryant and the other players I rank ahead of him) is that Bryant had opportunities to help his team and was unable to do so.”

            Now, you’re onto something. I agree, this is a major flaw with Bryant and with Wilt as well. Nonetheless, even Russell and MJ have underperformed at times and needed their teammates to bail them out. The historical contributions of Hondo and Sam Jones in particular (as well as Red Auerbach) are really under appreciated in this regard. The idea that Russell never failed in a big moment is a myth.

            Lebron and Kobe play the same position at the same time, just like Russell and Wilt, and the debate is the same-rings, or absolutely everything else. That’s why I’m so befuddled by your arguments here.

            Every statistical measure of worth, Wilt always wins. Scoring, rebounding, assists, efficiency. He even wins the advanced statistics, +/-es, win shares, PER, basically every measure of impact possible. The only time I’ve ever seen Wilt not come out on top was Defensive Win Shares, where Wilt rates a lowly 4th all time. Basically everything points to Wilt except rings and team accomplishments. Which is the entire argument Kobe fans have too. And as great as an individual player can be, I thought that you and I agreed that teams win championships. Apparently not.

            I hope I don’t come off as rude or disrespectful-I enjoy the debate and respect your basketball knowledge. I don’t expect there’s a middle ground to be reached here.

            Posted by lochpster | June 20, 2012, 11:51 am
          • Loch,

            No disrespect take. Essentially, we agree on all points.

            At one time, I had Wilt as #1. I re-evaluated based upon some other things (MVP voting and team results) and I altered my list.

            I cannot and will not disagree with any pro Wilt argument. The amount of statistical data to Wilt;s favor is overwhelming.

            Even if I put Wilt ahead of Russell, Russ would still be no worse than #6.

            Perhaps, I may place Russell there when I can find compelling enough evident to do so. As of now, I clearly put far more faith into the anecdotal evidence of his defensive superiority and his ability as a facilitator than you.
            This is why I cited Magic. True that his FG% was very very good, but his defense was AWFUL. We have to use the totality of the package not just the shiny wrapper. I am making an adjustment for Russ defense that more than offsets Magic’s better offense; it may be too large of an adjustment, but we don’t really know. This is a leap of faith.

            I like the direction that metrics as PER and WS and TS% can give us, but I have not yet concluded that they are de facto in what they reveal. As you said, Black INK is mine, not yours” Well, what makes leading the league in something not significant?

            For now, I am comfortable that I am not alone in regarding Russell so high. Russell certainly has not done anything since he retired to lessen his achievements (nor has Wilt or the others in my top 10)

            What I am skeptical of is that there seems to be a new and better understanding of result data and there seems to be a rush to downgrade those that played in Russ’ day.

            Posted by Paulie Walnuts | June 20, 2012, 1:34 pm
          • Paulie,
            “What I am skeptical of is that there seems to be a new and better understanding of result data and there seems to be a rush to downgrade those that played in Russ’ day.”

            How is comparing Wilt to Russell downgrading the players of Russ’s day? It’s not.

            “Black INK is mine, not yours” Well, what makes leading the league in something not significant?”

            Wilt led the league in rebounding 11 times, assists once, scoring 7 times, and has 4 MVPs. Russ led the league in rebounding 5 times and has 5 MVPs. My argument was not that it was insignificant, but that if you’re going to use it as a category, Wilt won it by a country mile.

            And as for this:

            “I like the direction that metrics as PER and WS and TS% can give us, but I have not yet concluded that they are de facto in what they reveal. ”

            That sounds eerily close to the eyeball test or the “do you even watch the games” argument. I can’t argue with anecdotal evidence and expert opinion, clearly, so if you decide to rely on that, then that is your choice. But it sounds eerily familiar.

            http://chasing23.com/the-myth-of-playoff-kobe/

            Posted by lochpster | June 20, 2012, 4:33 pm
          • You should full well know by now that I do not rely upon any singular data but rather a combination of data.

            I wasn’t comparing Russ to Wilt, I was comparing Russ to KObe, whom you cited as an example of perceived double standrad.

            Please, if you use my quotes, use the ones like this one as well:

            That said, Wilt is one of, if not THE greatest athlete of the 20th century.

            Though I place Wilt at #5 or #6 on my all time Hierarchy, I have difficulty doing so. I am constantly in awe of Wilt’s achievements that are far beyond point totals (45.8 minutes per game!!).

            Have I not established that I regard Wilt VERY highly?

            I understand that you do not wish to accept my having Russell as ranking higher than Wilt and I can be easily convinced that is, in fact, the case.

            Yet, thorough the collage of data, team results, award shares, anecdotes, etc. . .using ALL of it, I have concluded that Russell had the more successful NBA career.

            It does seem rather silly against ALL of the accomplishments and pure domination of Wilt and perhaps it is at long last ONLY the ring counting that decides it for me.

            Having said that, I wiil stick with my BELIEF that Russell ahd the better NBA career. I may be very wrong about that.

            If I am wrong, then is Wilt better than MJ? What do we use to elevate MJ ahead of Wilt? And, then where does Wilt rank? MJ? Magic? Bird?

            I made my rankings, they seem logical to me. They are also in line with a general consensus. That doesn’t mean that they are absolute.

            Posted by Paulie Walnuts | June 20, 2012, 5:31 pm
          • Fair enough. I just like to argue. Hope you get to watch the game tomorrow :)

            Posted by lochpster | June 20, 2012, 9:08 pm
  60. Bballz,

    You may wish to look up “ad hominem” again.

    I was not making an emotional appeal but rather an intellectual one.

    And, yes, I did err when I wrote “Michael” rather than “Russell” Westbrook.

    Posted by Paulie Walnuts | June 15, 2012, 9:59 pm
  61. I’ve got a very simple thesis for determining who is better as a basketball ‘player’: not just talent, but intelligent and fruitful APPLICATION of that talent. This is what favors Russ over Wilt, Jordan over Kobe (although he was just flat out better anyway), Magic over LeBron (so far), etc. etc..

    It is not just “what you can do”. Ain’t enough. I usually confound people with this question about my favorite ABA guys: if George Gervin was a better ball handler, better shooter, equally good passer than Julius Erving, why is Doc considered a much greater player?

    Posted by bringbackmalcolm | June 21, 2012, 5:45 am
    • For Loch,

      After checking the box scores of the 1969 NBA Finals.

      Game #1 Wilt 15
      Russ 16
      Game #2 Wilt 4
      Russ 9
      Game #3 Wilt 16
      Russ 11
      Game #4 Wilt 8
      Russ 6
      Game #5 Wilt 13
      Russ 7
      Game #6 Wilt 8
      Russ 9
      Game #7 Wilt 18
      Russ 6

      Sadly, there is no data other than scoring, but we can assume that these tow guys really spent a lot of energy not only negating each other, but also creating opportunities for their team mates.

      It also shows how Van Brenda Kolff foolishly and arrogantly thought the Lakers would win with Wilt on the floor.

      Posted by Paulie Walnuts | June 21, 2012, 8:51 am
      • Love the data, Paulie! Agree on Van Breda Kollff ,but I can only imagine how difficult it would have been to coach Wilt. Alex Hannum’s taming of Wilt, among other reasons, is one reason I think he can make a legitimate claim as the greatest coach of all time (another point on which, as often happens, I’m in left field all by myself :)

        As always, appreciate the discussion.

        To Malcolm-I’m pretty sure Gervin couldn’t defend my shoe.

        Posted by lochpster | June 21, 2012, 2:06 pm
  62. I TOTALLY agree about Hannum. A great great coach.

    It’s not that Ice COULDN’T guard your shoe, it’s that Ice WOULDN’T guard your shoe. That’s if he showed up! LOL

    Posted by Paulie Walnuts | June 21, 2012, 9:25 pm
  63. I went to UNC at the same time as Michael Jordan. I have followed his career about as closely as anyone could. The greatest moment in my life watching sports was when he hit the shot to beat Georgetown in 1982.

    I think that it is an utter joke to compare him to Wilt Chamberlain, If you want to do that, then go ahead and say that Yogi Berra and Joe Dimaggio were better than Babe Ruth. They won more titles didn’t they?

    I saw Wilt’s last two years and he was a force unlike anyone else. I love the way all the stats heads normalize his stats down, but refuse to deal with the differential between his stats and the guys he was playing with.

    Under those parameters, Bill Russell probably averages 8 points a game.

    Ultimately, what the stats heads refuse to do, because they don’t like the repercussions, is to deal with the essentially random effects of life.

    Yes, a coin has a fifty-fifty chance of being a heads or tales. But what is overlooked by the stats heads, who ignore their own mathematics is that it is not unusually at all, not in the least, for a coin to land on heads 11 times in 13 flips (that is for you, Bill Russell).

    So, you so-called stats heads who think you can normalize all the statistics, you need to do some normalizing for statistical anomalies.

    Michael Jordan made the big shot in 1982 and that was great for me and him and UNC fans, but he admits his eyes were closed. It was a fortunate shot.

    I have kept this thread bookmarked for a while to consider these issues, but it is time to lay down the gauntlet to the stats heads. Either bring the math entirely or don’t.

    But if you are not going to deal with random probability, you are basically bullies who are full of hot air.

    Basketball Reference has Wilt currently listed, based upon its garbage voting poll as inferior to Isiah Thomas (who can’t even spell his own name right, according to the Bible or English phonetics), John Stockton, clyde Drexler, and Kevin Garnett.

    Anyone who seriously believes this is not worth even debating. Wilt, Jabbar, Russell, Jordan and maybe Shaq. If you add anyone else, than you are not a serious scholar of basketball or statistics.

    Posted by wodl | June 28, 2012, 3:34 pm
    • I guess no one really know what you were trying to say. Thanks for the effort though!

      Posted by doosiolek | June 28, 2012, 5:14 pm
    • To which stat heads are you referring? I think on this site, most people agree with you that Wilt crushed everybody he played with. I have him at #2 all-time on my personal list.

      I also agree that the variance in a player making a single shot or a team winning even a single championship is way too high to make strong conclusions from.

      That said, it’s extremely unusual for a coin to land on heads 11 times in 13 flips. There’s a less than 1 percent chance of it happening if the odds are truly 50/50. In a league with 8-14 teams, the odds of one team randomly coming out on top 11 times in 13 chances are less than one in a billion, or roughly the same chance you have of being struck by lightning in the next few hours. No doubt the Celts were benefactors of some extremely lucky breaks, but there’s virtually no mathematical doubt about their dominance.

      Posted by lochpster | June 28, 2012, 5:43 pm
    • You wouldn’t have Bird or Magic in that discussion?

      They were far more impactful than Shaq was.

      If you were at UNC in 1982 then you remember that the NBA Finals were still TAPE DELAYED when Magic came up big in game #6 vs. Philly in 1980.

      You don’t think that Bird and Magic wrought huge changes to the NBA?

      Posted by Paulie Walnuts | June 28, 2012, 9:34 pm
  64. Wow! I can’t believe that you folks are still at it. Did you read the article on Anthony Davis on this site, “Searching for Bill Russell?
    I’m still confused by those who say “rings don’t count.” I can’t think of any sports legend, con-
    sidered the greatest, who does not
    have the gold. I wonder if we would be having this discussion if Wilt had 11 rings and Russell had 2?
    How could one player transform a below average team into the great-
    est dynasty ever in US sports his-
    tory? To make it more amazing,that team gave up one of the best play-
    ers in the league, Ed Macauley, to get that one player. The greatest of all time. Viva Bill Russell.

    Posted by vincent | July 2, 2012, 9:55 pm
  65. I think that rings count, but the question is what weight do we place upon tier acquisition?

    The one thing that seems generally true is that ALL of the greatest players ALL played for the title (though not all have won).

    A lot of factors are in the fomula for a title; it should not be summarily dismissed nor should it be given too much weight.

    Posted by Paulie Walnuts | July 2, 2012, 10:02 pm
    • I like most of your postings. They tend to be very thoughtful.I don’t take any of this very seri-
      ously, it’s just a way to pass time
      All of the “great” players might have played for titles, I’m not sure about that,but this discus-
      sion is about who is the greatest of the great.
      I still argue that Russell joined an “average” team, coached by the “great” Red Auerbach and somehow they became a dynasty for 13 years His college teams and olympic team
      had the same result.Not so with Wilt. I do not understand. I know some players have rings and their contribution was little or nothing
      But let’s be serious, the so-called
      great players under consideration
      played a significant role in get-
      ting the gold.

      Posted by vincent | July 3, 2012, 4:17 am
      • I agree with you about Russell in the regard that the winning followed him everywhere. Probably not a coincidence.

        The Celtics were a good team with a great coach; they just became a great team after they got Russell.

        Red and Russell were a perfect fit in terms of mental make up.

        Posted by Paulie Walnuts | July 3, 2012, 6:18 am
        • The most interesting thing is when you review the NBA, perhaps from its inception, and certainly from 1980 to the present, you will find that arguably the best player is on the championship team. That “might” not be the case with Philly and Detroit in the 1980s. Bird, Magic,Olajuwon,
          Jordan, Duncan Shaq, Kobe,Nowitski,
          Garnett and James, all champions and all arguably the best. There tends to be little argument when multiple championships are won. But,for some reason when it comes
          to Russell it’s always someone other than Russell.

          Posted by vincent | July 3, 2012, 8:08 am
          • Nobody on the Celtics thought otherwise.

            There is also a logical reason why Russell won 5 MVP awards.

            Posted by Paulie Walnuts | July 3, 2012, 9:32 pm
  66. Not sure where to put this, but I was finally able to get all the box scores form the 1970 Finals.

    Though very rudimentary (no rebounding or assists tallied), it is pretty clear WHY Willis Reed is seen as the legend from that series. Reed tore the Lakers (and presumably, Wilt) up through the first 4 games, got injured in game 5 and sat out game 6. He only scored the two buckets in game 7, and the press clearly ignored the GREAT performance by Frazier (12 for 12 at the line and 36 points).

    The one that gets lost is the performance of Mr. Clutch, Jerry West. West scored 33, 34, 34, 37, 20, 33, 28 points and shot 75 of 90 from the line. Yeah, West surely could NOT play today!

    Interestingly, Elgin Baylor only attempted 27 free throws in the 7 games; intuitively, one would conjure in their mind that Baylor would be the one attempting the greater number of free throws. The image of West is that of a “catch and shoot” player and Baylor as an “attacker of the rim” player. The number of FTA’s by West, not just in this series, but for his career (only backcourt player to have 900 FTA TWICE in a season) indicates that he was much better off the dribble than many would give him credit for.

    Incidentally, Wilt had three horrendous games from the line in this series (1-3, 1-11, 1-10). The two really bad games, the Lakers lost by 12 and 14 points.

    Posted by Paulie Walnuts | July 2, 2012, 10:18 pm
    • Paulie – I still cannot understand how you can believe that the individual stats generated by Jerry West indicate that he could play today. They don’t tell you anything about whether he could play today or not.

      I mean, I can tell he would probably shoot free throws about the same, but listing off the number of points he scored doesn’t say anything about his ability to play in the NBA today.

      Posted by Gil Meriken | July 3, 2012, 11:51 pm
    • Just to present some evidence that the 1970 Finals was not an aberration for West; Here is the data from the 1969 Finals. Free throw in parenthesis.

      Game #1 53 (11-13)
      Game #2 41 (17-20)
      Game #3 24 (6-7)
      Game #4 40 (10-10)
      Game #5 39 (7-8)
      Game #6 26 (8-11)
      Game #7 42 (14-18)

      So, that is 37.9 and 31.3 ppg in the FINALS!

      Posted by Paulie Walnuts | July 5, 2012, 1:10 pm
  67. Gil,

    The question I have for you is:

    Do you believe that the players that play today are that significantly better than those that played in 1970?

    If West could not play today than neither could Wilt, Reed, Frazier, DeBuschere, etc. West was not some last guy on the bench, he was an ALL STAR; the best of the league.

    I simply do not think that is true. Do you really think that Devon Harris can play in the NBA and Jerry west could not?

    The Knicks are thinking about re-signing Jeremy Linn to a big contract; You think that Jeremy Linn can play, but NOT Jerry West?

    Posted by Paulie Walnuts | July 4, 2012, 8:26 am
    • When I watch video of Jerry West, I tend to believe the answer would be “no”, because of his upright dribble, his complete dependence upon his dominant hand in dribbling (this is much worse than say Lamar Odom or Beno Udrih), and the set shooting style he used.

      Now, remember, I’m talking about a hypothetical time transport of Jerry West to today, not about Jerry West growing up in the 1980s or 1990s, and then playing in the NBA, which is a very different scenario.

      Posted by Gil Meriken | July 4, 2012, 3:09 pm
      • West would probably make the nba today, but highly doubtful he would be an AS caliber player. I don’t care when you played, how could you not learn to dribble well with your off hand when you’re a guard? He’s a small guard and would have to play PG today to be successful, since he didn’t possess great athleticism.

        All we can say is that West was great during his era. Paulie is often confused and biased towards the old timers and against Kobe. His ppg during West’s era don’t suggest that he could the same today.

        Posted by boyer | July 5, 2012, 6:57 am
        • I doubt that anyone else that posts or reds these would interpret my conclusions as “confused” or “biased” towards anything.

          I am certain that they would conclude that about you, though.

          Posted by Paulie Walnuts | July 5, 2012, 7:12 am
        • Jeez, do you really think that dribbling with your off hand is something that was just developed in the last 40 years? And Jerry West “didn’t possess great athleticism”???? Wtf? (a) JW was a very good dribbler with either hand. (b) JW was not an “upright” dribbler when he was guarded. (c) JW was fast, quick, had long arms and could jump through the roof (e.g., he famously knocked himself out once hitting his head on the underside of a backboard). He was on the first five all-NBA DEFENSIVE teams (1 2nd, then 4 firsts) and was a volume shooter who got his shots by being athletic as hell. You’re a buffoon.

          Posted by Andy Phillips | October 14, 2012, 7:17 am
  68. The video is irrelevant as it depicts what an althelete needed at that time to compete.

    What I find more compelling is the result data.

    Again, West led the league in scoring in 1970 and then averaged 31.7 ppg in the Finals against an excellent defensive team. West was at the top of the leaqgue, not the bottom or even the middle.

    If the result data numbers have no weight, then what does? Should, then, your interpretation of what West’s skills were against his peers carried forward be the crux of debate? I just can’t see how that can be translated across generations and applied realistically.

    Unlike Mikan, West was a shooter that would have benefited from the rules changes in today’s game. west was not a player that depended upon a size disparity to accrue his points. West was also a great passer, ball handler and rebounder. West was also a great great defender; his long arms and low center of gravity would certainly have still served him well in any generation. At age 35, West averaged 2.6 steals a game. None of the players who have better steals averages had a total that high past age 29. Had steals been counted prior to 1973, it is likely that West would be the career leader in both total
    steals and also rate of steals.

    I am willing to give West the benefit of the doubt baaed upon the broadness of his resume that he would have been able to adjust and excel to not only compete, but thrive in today’s game.

    Posted by Paulie Walnuts | July 4, 2012, 3:29 pm
    • Jerry West was among the best relative to his competition. This is virtually indisputable.

      To say that his relative standing would carry forward to today is much more debatable, in light of the increased speed, power, and overall evolution of the game today, which has grown by leaps and bounds in popularity since West’s playing days, generating players from a massively increased pool who are schooled and trained in basketball from their formative years. The AVERAGE player of the 60s vs the 70s vs the 80s vs the 90s has continued to improve with something of plateau by the 00s and the 10s, but a huge increase from 60s to the 90s. Of course, this is my opinion, not backed by any research.

      As far as the results data – have you considered this example: comparing past or present high school players using their individual box score results. Can you really say that you can compare players using those results and any awards they’ve garnered? The historical record is littered with examples of high school players with great “result” data that is very misleading as to what their actual skill was relative to their peers, and I don’t mean potential skill, I mean that many a player showed they beyond a shadow of a doubt that they were better than multiple players who had better “result” data, as exhibited in their performance in high school all-star games, or other games in which they were matched up face-to-face.

      Posted by Gil Meriken | July 5, 2012, 7:47 am
      • Gil,

        With Jerry West, we are talking about easily one of the greatest players to ever play in the NBA; we are not talking about Robert Traylor, Erik Anderson or Steve Scheffler, or players that did excel in HS and were even very good in college.

        The trouble with using lower level competition is that the median talent pool that they are competing against is wildly inconsistent. The NBA has a consistent pool of talent that not only does not lose talent to graduation, but rather replaces fading talent with fresh and better talent. Thus, the NBA has and always will have the highest level of competition.

        A HS player in Anchorage will NOT face the same competition as one that plays in Flnt, MI or Chicago, IL.

        As to Boyers “point”,

        Why would a played deem it necessary to develop his off hand dribble when said player is ALREADY amongst the leaders in the league in scoring and FG%?

        That’s like saying Barry Sanders was not a great rusher because he didn’t throw the option pass.

        Posted by Paulie Walnuts | July 5, 2012, 8:08 am
        • Sanders’ job isn’t to throw passes. However, West needed to dribble the ball on nearly every possession, and he never was able to accomplish this skill with his off hand. If he was winning titles left and right, pun intended, then that’s one thing, but he wasn’t. One could say that he didn’t need to, as with Jordan and 3 pt. shooting(which jordan never developed), since he was the best of his era. However, West was never the best player in the nba, and he only won 1 title, so one would think that he should’ve continued to try to develop his game, which he did not. “Amongst league leaders” and being the best player in the league is a huge difference.

          Also, you’re right that West is indisputably better than Traylor, etc. for their respective eras that is, however, if Traylor played in the 60s/70s, he would’ve been a perennial AS at the very least

          West was a great athlete in his era, but that would not be the case today, even if he grew up in the 80s. He was a small guard, and size matters. Take Isiah Thomas, if he was jordan’s size, he might’ve been nearly as good as jordan, but he wasn’t jordan’s size, and that’s the main reason why he was nowhere near as good as jordan. And even midsize players have it tougher, too. We’ve only seen erving, jordan, and kobe as midsize players being able to carry their teams to multiple teams.

          Posted by boyer | July 5, 2012, 9:50 am
          • Boyer,

            You really are ignorant. Beyond that, really stupid.

            Please, stop posting and allow those with better ideas to voice them.

            Posted by Paulie Walnuts | July 5, 2012, 12:31 pm
          • Boyer,

            You do realize that you just claimed that a guy that dropped dead PRIOR to his 35th birthday is a better athlete than Jerry West, right?

            Posted by Paulie Walnuts | July 5, 2012, 2:30 pm
  69. IMHO, Wilt did not reached his full potential. If he is in this generation, he would benefit from today’s advanced training, medicine, coaching, etc, etc.

    Posted by Ian15 | July 5, 2012, 4:22 am
  70. For any of those that agree or wish to indulge the beliefs of Boyer and to a lesser degree, Gil,

    Why would we believe that the curve of talent is so sharp that a player that is clearly regarded as no worse than the third best #2 guard of all time by the majority of people, could not even play today?

    It cannot simply be size; West was 6′ 3″ (with long arms) and Steve Nash is 6′ 1″; Steve Nash won 2 MVP’s. How is Steve Nash able to EXCEL and Jerry West not even able to COMPETE?

    Is not Babe Ruth still regarded as the greatest player in baseball along with Cobb , Mays and Bonds?

    Posted by Paulie Walnuts | July 5, 2012, 12:54 pm
    • It’s not that West could not compete, it’s that he would most likely not be among the elite players – isn’t that who were are comparing him to?

      Even an excellent athlete like Danny Ainge was not one of elite players of his era, but I believe he would have been a big star in the 60s.

      Steve Nash is an amazing athlete, and would have been even more dominant in Jerry West’s era.

      But this is no fault of Jerry West’s. He was above almost all relative to his competition, and that says a lot.

      But to try to compare in an absolute sense is a very difficult thing to do, and prove who’s better. I only have the eye test to compare, and as I said, the video evidence is quite clear that the skills he had would not cut it in today’s game, if the 27 year old West were to somehow be magically transported to today.

      Posted by Gil Meriken | July 5, 2012, 7:33 pm
      • Nobody is saying West couldn’t compete today. All we’re saying is that just by looking at video from west compared to video of today’s players, west wouldn’t be anywhere near as great today as he was in his era. Can you really not see that. Nash didn’t excel anymore than West did, actually much less. Nash has played with multiple AS for most of his entire career and never made even 1 finals.

        And nash is listed at 6-3, 195 while West is listed at 6-2, 175. Nash is a runt in the nba, and west was smaller. Nash may have gotten the most out of his natural talent, but he’s hardly one of the all-time greats, primarily because he’s small and doesn’t have a lot of natural athleticism compared to the current average nba player. The same would go for west, too. In west’s day, his natural athleticism was high for nba players, but today it would be well above average. That doesn’t mean he couldn’t compete well. Bird didn’t have great athleticism, but was able to play at an elite level, but then again, he was 6-9, and west was 6-2, huge difference. Size matters

        Posted by boyer | July 6, 2012, 1:03 pm
        • West had a 42 inch vertical leap. Just because he is white don’t assume he was not athlete. Also he could defend against any guard today. He was tough as nails. -broke his nose 9 times while playing.

          Posted by Fred | July 20, 2012, 10:57 pm
          • 5 out of the last high jumper record holders were white so yes, even white guys can jump. )))

            Posted by Fred | July 24, 2012, 9:38 pm
        • and if you think a 42 inch vertical leap is nothing because “now days they jump much higher”, do some research on goggle.

          By today’s standards West would be a nightmare to guard. He was quick, athletic, had a quick release, long arms, unselfish passer, good finisher around the basket, and most importantly, a dead eye from 23 feet, 9 inches.

          They didn’t call him “Mr. Outside” for nothing.

          Oh, you only know him as Mr. Clutch? Well, before he was Mr. Clutch he was known as “Mr. Outside”.

          I ran track in high school. I had a vertical leap pushing 40 inches. I was always able to high jump over my height. The coaches told me I had Olympic potential in the 440 or 880. I never listened to them and never tried because I had no desire. Jerry West had the desire.

          He lost to Bill Russell and played with and against Chamberlain. But they played in the 1960s so they must have not been athletic. Right?

          Regarding their Jumping ability:

          It was common knowledge in the NBA that Chamberlain was able to touch the top of the backboard (It is said that he could “make change” ie. put a dollar bill on the backboard and take a quarter off, in one jump) and with Russell’s world class leaping ability and vertical leap of around 47 inches could most likely do it as well.

          Chamberlain was only a few inches off the world record in high jump at the time, (Russell high jumped even higher…) and they both could have been in the Olympics in track and field.

          Tell me, which NBA players of today can match Bill Russell’s or Wilt Chamberlain’s track and field times. Guards, forwards, centers, all are included. And then, if they are fast and quick enough, are they big and strong enough?

          West played against these guys and scored. Lebon (if he had put in the effort in the off season) has the physical ability and skills to compete against Russell or Chamberlain but who else? Maybe Kobe in his prime.

          There is video where Chamberlain is blocking a shot with no running jump, just a standing there, jumping vertical. He comes close to 12 ft. He was 34 years old, 300 plus lbs, with a surgically repaired knee at the time.

          Chamberlain is the only one I know of who blocked Kareem’s sky-hook. He blocked it 15 times in the ’72 Western Conference Finals. I am sure Russell could have done the same except Russell retired as Jabbar came into the league.

          Jerry West played with and against “these un-athletic” players of the 60s and he was dominant.

          When West played it was the golden age of the nba regarding a handful of players. Chamberlain, Russell, Cousy, Baylor, Oscar Robertson, Nate Thurmond, etc. There weren’t a lot of them but the few that were, were the best of all time. Or at least Chamberlain, Russell, Baylor, and Oscar Robertson were. )))

          The big problem in comparing shooting guards and their greatness are the rings. But how many rings would Jordan or Kobe have if they had to play Russell’s Celtics? Jordan’s Bulls couldn’t get passed Bird’s Celtics, Magic’s Lakers, and Laimbeer’s Pistons (sorry Thomas but I hate you!!!) until they were passed their prime. So I do not think Jordan would have all that many rings if his team played against the best. And what great teams did Kobe beat to get his rings? No team that is memorable. Nothing against Jordan or Kobe but if you if think about it in those terms, West is not that bad.

          Pistil Pete Maravich was the best ball handler ever, by far, no comparison, Magic included. And the greatest ball handler in the NBA has no rings and was never even close to a championship.

          Championships are won by teams. The powers that were, knew this and in ’69 they gave West the finals MVP. He lost the championship but was given the MVP. It was not different back then. They just wanted to give him the trophy but couldn’t so they gave him the MVP. He played against some of the greatest players ever and was given the MVP. He played against, and lost to the greatest team in professional sports and was given the MVP. He played against a team that would crush the teams of today and was given the MVP for a loosing effort. But of course, back then, they couldn’t jump.

          and if you think a 42 inch vertical leap is nothing because “now days they jump much higher”, do some research on goggle.

          By today’s standards West would be a nightmare to guard. He was quick, athletic, had a quick release, long arms, unselfish passer, good finisher around the basket, and most importantly, a dead eye from 23 feet, 9 inches.

          They didn’t call him “Mr. Outside” for nothing.

          Oh, you only know him as Mr. Clutch? Well, before he was Mr. Clutch he was known as “Mr. Outside”.

          I ran track in high school. I had a vertical leap pushing 40 inches. I was always able to high jump over my height. The coaches told me I had Olympic potential in the 440 or 880. I never listened to them and never tried because I had no desire. Jerry West had the desire.

          He lost to Bill Russell and played with and against Chamberlain. But they played in the 1960s so they must have not been athletic. Right?

          Regarding their Jumping ability:

          It was common knowledge in the NBA that Chamberlain was able to touch the top of the backboard (It is said that he could “make change” ie. put a dollar bill on the backboard and take a quarter off, in one jump) and with Russell’s world class leaping ability and vertical leap of around 47 inches could most likely do it as well.

          Chamberlain was only a few inches off the world record in high jump at the time, (Russell high jumped even higher…) and they both could have been in the Olympics in track and field.

          Tell me, which NBA players of today can match Bill Russell’s or Wilt Chamberlain’s track and field times. Guards, forwards, centers, all are included. And then, if they are fast and quick enough, are they big and strong enough?

          West played against these guys and scored. Lebon (if he had put in the effort in the off season) has the physical ability and skills to compete against Russell or Chamberlain but who else? Maybe Kobe in his prime.

          There is video where Chamberlain is blocking a shot with no running jump, just a standing there, jumping vertical. He comes close to 12 ft. He was 34 years old, 300 plus lbs, with a surgically repaired knee at the time.

          Chamberlain is the only one I know of who blocked Kareem’s sky-hook. He blocked it 15 times in the ’72 Western Conference Finals. I am sure Russell could have done the same except Russell retired as Jabbar came into the league.

          Jerry West played with and against “these un-athletic” players of the 60s and he was dominant.

          When West played it was the golden age of the nba regarding a handful of players. Chamberlain, Russell, Cousy, Baylor, Oscar Robertson, Nate Thurmond, etc. There weren’t a lot of them but the few that were, were the best of all time. Or at least Chamberlain, Russell, Baylor, and Oscar Robertson were. )))

          The big problem in comparing shooting guards and their greatness are the rings. But how many rings would Jordan or Kobe have if they had to play Russell’s Celtics? Jordan’s Bulls couldn’t get passed Bird’s Celtics, Magic’s Lakers, and Laimbeer’s Pistons (sorry Thomas but I hate you!!!) until they were passed their prime. So I do not think Jordan would have all that many rings if his team played against the best. And what great teams did Kobe beat to get his rings? No team that is memorable. Nothing against Jordan or Kobe but if you if think about it in those terms, West is not that bad.

          Pistil Pete Maravich was the best ball handler ever, by far, no comparison, Magic included. And the greatest ball handler in the NBA has no rings and was never even close to a championship.

          Championships are won by teams. The powers that were, knew this and in ’69 they gave West the finals MVP. He lost the championship but was given the MVP. It was not different back then. They just wanted to give him the trophy but couldn’t so they gave him the MVP. He played against some of the greatest players ever and was given the MVP. He played against, and lost to the greatest team in professional sports and was given the MVP. He played against a team that would crush the teams of today and was given the MVP for a loosing effort. But of course, back then, they couldn’t jump.

          Posted by Fred | July 22, 2012, 3:58 am
          • I will reiterate: Does anyone really believe that a player that scores the following points in the NBA Finals (1969 and 1970) could NOT play today?

            53, 41, 24, 40, 39, 26, 42, 33, 34, 34, 37, 20, 33, 28.

            If we believe that, then why would we not believe that Jordan could likewise NOT play today?

            Posted by Paulie Walnuts | July 22, 2012, 11:16 am
  71. Gil,

    I understand your position and while I do not agree with all of it, there are some elements that I will agree with you on.

    Posted by Paulie Walnuts | July 5, 2012, 7:54 pm
  72. Just because they played in the 60s doesn’t mean they were not as good as today’s players. when you hear Oscar Robinson talk about the great players of the past you can see the frustration that he has trying to get across how great they were. Wilt and Russell easily could have gone to the Olympics in track and field. West was very athletic and quick. I would pick him over any shooting guard of any era. On many top ten lists he is number 3 in shooting guard category and I would pick him over the other 2 because of his ability to play well with others and not hog the ball. Chemistry matter and he could play well with anyone.

    Baylor was also incredibly good. If he were playing today we would all be comparing him to Jordan. BTW he was a little less athletic than Jordan but a much better at rebounding, much better passer and had a wider variety of shots. He was, like Jordan, unstoppable.

    So before you write about West being not athletic or not a good defender, or someone that would be just another star player in today’s game, read about him.

    “If the Lakers could have just gotten past the dreaded Celtics a few more times in the Finals, then we might be arguing who is the best basketball player of all-time, Jerry West or Michael Jordan?” – Jeff Fox

    Posted by Fred | July 20, 2012, 11:34 pm
    • So you would take West over Jordan? Just looking for some extra clarity.

      Posted by pointguard40 | July 23, 2012, 8:26 am
      • My center would be Chamberlain, my PF would be Russell, (yes, I know he played center but I think he could manage playing PF) and my SF would be Bird.

        Baylor was better at SF but he bumped heads with Chamberlain so in the interest of peace in the locker room and on the floor, Bird is my pick. Also Bird will spread the floor.

        I would love to pick Pete Maravich for PG, it would be taking a change picking him over Oscar Robinson or Magic but it would be a great experiment!! I think that if you gave Maravich the job to dish first, dish second, dish third, and shoot at last resort, he would excel.

        And to get to your question I would put West at SG. Jordan and Kobe are better but neither narcissistic Jordan nor narcissistic Kobe would play well with the narcissistic Chamberlain.

        Kobe is so narcissistic that even as the only dominant guy on the team, he messes up the chemistry. BTW I am a life long Lakers Fan.

        You can only have one A-hole on the team and if I had to pick, it would be Chamberlain, not Jordan.

        On this team you would have 3 players to spread the floor one player to play the post and one player to focus on rebounding, defense, setting picks, etc., and doing the thankless dirty work I cannot think of anyone better than the humble and great, team first player that is Russell.

        On defense you cannot get any better than Chamberlain and Russell 10 feet or closer to the basket. West was quick and tough enough to guard anyone and Bird could play great team defense. Maravich would be another weak link but with the two greatest shot blockers backing him up he should do as well as Magic would.

        If I had Jordan on my dream team then I would go with Jabbar as center. Jabbar could play with a jackass. He able to put the good of the team before himself.

        When Baylor left the Lakers, West and Chamberlain went on a 33 game winning streak and won the chamionship. On paper they were so much better with him than without, but chemistry matters.

        Chamberlain was self-centered and Baylor wouldn’t put up with it so they lost.

        Bird might not put up with it either so maybe Dr. J. should be my choice as SF but in hopes that Bird would put the team before himself, I pick Bird.

        Make sense?

        Also, sorry for the previous double post!! I wish I could edit. Maybe the Webmaster will help out!!!

        Posted by Fred | July 24, 2012, 9:23 pm
        • Lol so your calling Jordan a jackass? I see. You do make fair points about chemistry, and perhaps West would fit better with Chamberlain in the middle, although we never really got to see Jordan play with a dominant center. It’d be interesting to see. Personally I’d still prefer Mike’s athleticism and overall skills to West’s offensive and defensively, but to each his own I suppose. What I’m wondering is, why put Maravich on the team if you want chemistry so bad offensively? Just as a mix up? Maravich was a shoot-first player offensively and I would much rather have Magic or even John Stockton to share the ball if that is the major concern with having Wilt in there.

          Posted by pointguard40 | July 25, 2012, 7:11 pm
          • I think it is unfair to say that Maravich was a “shoot first” player. The sad part of his career is that his college and NBA teams were so bad that he rarely could utilize his great natural passing abilities.

            Concerning Jordan and great centers: I had discussed with a friend this strange phenomenon of holding Scottie Pippen in a higher regard than we really should. You hear many from the Kobe Nation say “Jordan never won without Pippen”, which is true, but irrelevant.

            They then say “Pippen ALMOST led the Bulls to the ECF!!” as if ALMOST making the Conference Finals is a badge of achievement.

            This same group would then have us believe that David Robinson was “soft” and couldn’t close or win the big games.

            They would likewise have us believe that a player averaging close to 40 ppg in the FINALS was “undersized”, “nonathletic” and under developed in his skills” (West)

            I wonder. . . how do the Bulls and Jordan fare WITH Robinson yet without Pippen? I wager they do just fine. If you were Jerry Krause, would you have traded Pippen and Grant for Robinson? I bet you would have. (though you would try to trade less, certainly)

            Jordan probably wouldn’t have ever retired! LOL!!

            Posted by Paulie Walnuts | July 25, 2012, 7:29 pm
          • With all due respect, I think you greatly underestimate Pippen. In many ways, Pippen showed a superior basketball IQ to Jordan and had much greater success without MJ than MJ did without Pip.

            We all know the Pippen-led Bulls were effective despite Jordan’s absence, but it’s easy to forget Pip’s career arc post Jordan. When Pip left the Bulls, he joined an aging .500 Rockets team that lost both Kevin Willis and Clyde Drexler from the prior year and was dealing with what appeared to be a fairly rapid decline from both Olajuwon and Barkley in their mid-30s. Pippen stepped in, took over primary ball handling duties and averaged over 40 minutes per game at 33. He played a large part in resuscitating Hakeem and Chuck’s offensive games as the Rockets went 31-19.

            The next season, he went to the Blazers, and a similar thing happened-a very talented Portland team got better despite losing some key pieces. They came within a quarter of making the finals, and I strongly believe that Portland was robbed of the title that year by crooked refs. While the team never recovered from the crushing defeat, but Pip continued to play smart, team-focused basketball well into his late 30s, adapting his game to his diminished physical abilities and his team’s needs.

            Jordan’s unrelenting gunner act, conversely, is much the opposite story. Jordan stepped right back into his role as the primary gunner, despite having lost the physical tools to do so effectively. Rip Hamilton and Jerry Stackhouse were much more efficient options at this point, but MJ refused to take a step back and let the younger, more athletic players do what he couldn’t anymore. While Jordan’s addition to the team certainly made them better, it was far from a graceful final act.

            I don’t think many people would argue with your assertion that David Robinson was at least as good as Pippen, though. I don’t understand what you’re driving at there-I think it’s a little bit of a straw man.

            Posted by lochpster | July 25, 2012, 11:20 pm
          • What I was referring to specifically was Bill Simmons’ list having Pippen at #24 and Robinson at #29.

            I had previously ranked Pippen ahead of Admiral, but when I asked the questions “would I rather have Robinson or Pippen?” the answer was emphatically, Robinson.

            That is why I elevated Robinson in my previous post of the top 30 players; he was simply too low and I had bought too deeply into the “Admiral is soft” BS.

            I still have Pippen in the top 30 and there is no doubt that he was a huge factor in the Bulls winning, but as we all know so were Grant, Kucoc, Harper, Kerr, Harper and Phil Jackson.

            If I left the impression that I didn’t hold Pippen in high regard then I was no adept at communicating my point.

            Thus, I will be clear now. Pippen was a great player, David Robinson was a better one.

            Posted by Paulie Walnuts | July 26, 2012, 12:01 am
          • Loch,

            Here is the post to which I refer:

            After further review, I have to move David Robinson ahead of Pippen and Garnett and the three point guards.

            So, 20-30 should be.

            20) Erving
            21) David Robinson
            22) Thomas
            23) Cousy
            24) Stockton
            25) Garnett
            26) Pippen
            27) Wade
            28) Nowitzki
            29) Frazier
            30) Rick Barry

            Posted by Paulie Walnuts | July 19, 2012, 7:11 pm

            Posted by Paulie Walnuts | July 26, 2012, 12:19 am
          • If you heard his hall of fame speech and heard how he treated some of his teammates you would see how difficult it would be for Jordan to play second fiddle. And on a “greatest team ever” team he’d be playing second fiddle on many nights. He and Kobe are a lot alike.

            Regarding Maravich; His role from collage to the last team he played on was a shooter but if you gave him the role of a passer I think he would be incredible. He was tall but so is Magic. On defense West could guard the smaller faster point guards and Maravich could guard the SG.

            Google him on youtube and you will see why I’m big on him.

            As far as sharing the ball; Chamberlain could do that. But it was more than sharing a ball, Chamberlain could be a real horse’s ass. I can’t image him playing a season with Jordan or Kobe and not having a murder!!!

            Both Russell and Jabbar could play with anyone. Russell is famous for playing well with his teammate and Jabbar is overlooked in this department. Can you image one of the greatest centers of all time letting a rookie point guard take over the team? Well, that is what Jabbar did in LA. And he won five rings, in part, because of that. If he fought with Magic, Bird and company would have a hand full of rings.

            Jordan could play with Jabbar but with Shaq? With Chamberlain? The older one would be traded after only 3 rings. ))))

            There can be only one psychopath per team, max!

            Posted by Fred | July 27, 2012, 3:06 am
          • I cannot completely agree with the assessment of Jordan.

            MJ subjugated himself very well at UNC and I am certain with other great players around him , MJ would share the ball much more.

            Having said that, I do believe that if you took an already developed NBA ego that the adjustment and subjugation of scoring becomes far more difficult. Wilt adjusted incredibly well to that, as did Kareem (Kareem’s rebounding also suffered, but it was needed to avoid the pounding he would take to extend his career).

            Allen Iverson was incapable of adjusting as I would wager Kobe would have difficulty or Carmelo Anthony.

            Posted by Paulie Walnuts | July 27, 2012, 8:47 am
  73. I have West at #8 all time.

    Jordan at #1.

    Posted by Paulie Walnuts | July 23, 2012, 3:05 pm
  74. “so wouldn’t it be reasonable to believe that a more skilled Wilt could have kept with the times and offered counters to today’s defenses?”

    No, because the scale of improvements is on a curve, not linear. Defenses got bigger, longer, more diverse and quicker, but so did offenses, yet defenses managed to improve regardless.

    Wilt was definitely ahead of the curve, but he’s operating at the point on the curve where it flattens out. It’s not just that players in the modern era are going against Marcus Camby instead of Dolph Schayes,it’s that he’s going against Marcus Camby but has backside help from an athletic 6-8 wing.

    Posted by realist | July 25, 2012, 7:53 am
    • I would agree that Wilt would not average 50 ppg a game today or even 40; I just slightly disagree with the reasons.

      I believe that NO player today would take the volume of FGA to maintain that average.

      The statements regarding Wilt as the elite athlete of his day and the NBA are absolutely true; I likewise believe that the athletes today have much greater commitment to their careers than in Wilt’s day. NOTE: I do NOT say that the athletes are better, but the commitment is better, the money is better, the dedication is better.

      Wilt would still be the BEST athlete, but the INDIFFERENCE of his competition would be removed or largely marginalized.

      Wilt would likely be a better version of Dwight Howard; a transformative defensive force that would also supply 19-26 points a game.

      In my opinion, if Wilt were playing today, he would be Shaq on offense and Howard on defense.

      I suppose we would hold a player with those combined skills in very high regard.

      Posted by Paulie Walnuts | July 25, 2012, 8:54 am
      • strong as Shaq on offense but a wider range of shots, could shoot further from the basket, quicker in the post, faster up and down the floor, could play at a fast pace for 48 plus minutes every game of the season, never fouled out, jumped much higher,… I might have missed something but non of the above is disputed. If you think Shaq was a nightmare match-up think about Chamberlain in today’s game. When the pistons beat LA in the finals I was amazing at how the quickness of Ben Wallace overwhelmed Shaq. Now put that same quickness in a bigger, stronger body and see what happens.

        I do not have the energy to compare howard to Chamberlain but I think you get the idea.

        I watched the guy play on TV way back when and he was amazing. He was a freak of nature. Everyone that played against him calls him the center ever, including Jabbar. Russell beat him a third of the time, got beat by him a third of the time and was utterly destroyed by him a third of the time.

        Oscar called him the best player ever.

        Yes, Shaq was strong, athletic and quick but he was no chamerlain.

        Paulie, have you spent much time reading about Chamberlain or watching him on old video? Or reading about what the players that played against him say?

        Posted by Fred | July 27, 2012, 4:24 pm
        • I never one time have said that Shaq was better than Wilt, nor did I say that Howard was better than Wilt. I have often vehemently argued that Wilt was far far more graceful than Shaq (or anyone) and far more athletic.

          What I presented was to provide a mental visual image of what Wilt would be like today.

          Do I think Wilt COULD average 50 ppg today? Yes, I do, but there is NO WAY that ANY player today would shoot 40 times a game , as Wilt did.

          What we would see today is more likely what Wilt became by the 1970′s, a really high percentage scorer that was the BEST rebounder and shot blocker in the league that, oh by the way, also would be the best PASSER out of the post.

          It is difficult for me to rank Wilt at #6, and I could easily be convinced to move him ahead of Magic, BUT based upon the TOTAL COMBINED SUMS of the results (including the TEAM results), I believe that I have Wilt placed correctly.

          Wilt was the single greatest physical force the NBA (or pick your sport) has ever seen. That is not in debate.

          Posted by Paulie Walnuts | July 27, 2012, 10:34 pm
        • I suppose that those that played against Russell or Jordan or Bird or Magic or Kareem DON’T speak glowingly or in awe of them?

          Yes, I have seen them play. I grew up in the same town as Magic; I watched him since HS. He was an amazing transformative presence that basketball had yet to see; not quite Oscar, as Magic (and Bird) had this contagious positive impact upon the rest of the roster.

          I once asked former MSU basketball coach, Jud Heathcoate, to select his all time team and his reply: “Magic and any four of my ball boys”

          Posted by Paulie Walnuts | July 27, 2012, 10:38 pm
        • In short, I woudl predict that Wilt playing today would be somehting like this:

          26 ppg, 21 rpg, 7 apg, 6 bpg (maybe more) .690 FG% (maybe higher in peak years)

          Posted by Paulie Walnuts | July 27, 2012, 10:45 pm
      • About as good as Hakeem or Kareem, but not as fluid.

        Posted by Bill Morrison | September 30, 2012, 11:16 pm
  75. Paulie, I don’t mean you any disrespect, but one of the people that is higher than chamberlain on your list considers chamberlain to be the best ever by far. Scottie Pippin was asked to compare Lebron to Jordan and Pippin said that Lebron has the potential to pass Jordan and become the greatest player ever. When Jabbar heard this, this was his response in an open letter to Pippin.

    “You obviously never saw Wilt Chamberlain play who undoubtedly was the greatest scorer this game has ever known. When did MJ ever average 50.4 points per game plus 25.7 rebounds? (Wilt in the 1962 season when blocked shot statistics were not kept). We will never accurately know how many shots Wilt blocked. Oh, by the way in 1967 and 68, Wilt was a league leader in assists. Did MJ ever score 100 points in a game? How many times did MJ score more than 60 points in a game? MJ led the league in scoring in consecutive seasons for 10 years but he did this in an NBA that eventually expanded into 30 teams vs. when Wilt played and there were only 8 teams.”

    He is obviously frustrated, just like Oscar Robinson is when this stuff gets brought up. These guys know the game, played the game and played against some of the people that we are talking about. And yes, Oscar and Jabbar know that the game was play different in the 60s and still they roll their eyes when they hear this argument.

    Really I do not mean anyone on this board any disrespect but spend 8 or 10 hours reading about these guys that we are all talking about and then see why Oscar Robinson and Jabbar get so frustrated regarding this topic.

    The only thing I see as “a good point” regarding Chamberlain not being the greatest is he was not an easy person to play with because he was a bit narcissistic. This affects the chemistry of the team. And that is a good point and strong point but the rest of it…

    Posted by Fred | July 27, 2012, 5:30 pm
    • what, exactly, would the collective opinion of Kareem be if he said “Hell, I’m the best ever!”?

      Why we ever listen to the opinions of former players boggles my mind.

      Does anyone think some muscle head like Rob Dibble has something insightful to say?

      Posted by Paulie Walnuts | July 27, 2012, 10:41 pm
      • But who do you think would be a better judge? People that never played against him in the NBA? People that never coached in the NBA? People that never saw him play? People that grew up viewing Nike adds?

        If it was just Jabbar then yes, but so many other players, coaches, sportscasters, fans, fans that played etc, etc, etc. There are pages and pages that were written regarding Chamberlain, all backing up Jabbar. Then go to the old video, then go to his vertical leap and other numbers that can be compared to the athletes of today.

        It all backs up what Jabbar, who played in both time periods said – and there was no love loose between them.

        This subject is getting silly!!

        Posted by Fred | July 29, 2012, 12:59 am
        • Fred,

          I cannot and will not disagree that Wilt was the single greatest physical force in NBA history.

          What my hierarchic reflects is more than just the SINGULAR impact that a player had.

          I have argued that had Wilt played for the Celtics rather than Russell then Wilt would almost certainly be regarded as the greatest player ever. But that is NOT what happened.

          The simple conclusion is that Wilt gets “penalized” for having a lesser impact upon his teams; that may not be completely Wilt’s doing, but the results are the results.

          Let me ask it this way: Is there some deficiency that Jordan, Russell, Kareem, Magic or Bird had that would absolutely keep them out of the top 5 spots?

          Is it such an insult to “only” be considered the 6th greatest NBA player of all time?

          Posted by Paulie Walnuts | July 29, 2012, 8:20 am
          • I agree with you regarding the “team success” thing.

            Being able to put your ego aside and play as a team is not always an easy thing to do when you are a superstar.

            The problem with rating individual players by how their team did can be problematic. Jordan got his rings beating teams that will never be considered great. The teams he beat in the finals could never get passed Magic’s Lakes until the Lakers were over the hill. And the time they did play the Lakers in the finals the Lakes were running on fumes.

            But Jordan has 6 rings that in most minds are as good as the rings that Magic got when he beat Bird’s Celtics, a team that Jordan could never get passed.

            Do not get me wrong, I am not a Jordan hater, and I do not think anything less of him because he never was able to beat Bird’s Celtics or Magic’s (healthy) Lakers. I still have him as one of the greatest players ever but to judge him by those rings and his team’s success and compare him to others is like comparing apples to oranges.

            And it is not just the ability to work with your teammates; it has a lot to do with the coach. How well would Kobe have done without Phil Jackson coaching? Jackson was so good at getting players to put aside their ego and to look at the bigger picture.

            And then there are injuries that happen to you and your teammates at the wrong time of the year, i.e. right before the finals!!

            But you are right, success and being able to mesh with others on your team is so important. It’s just so hard to measure correctly because there are so many moving parts.

            For me, both Jordan and Chamberlain were bad at putting aside their egos for the greatest good. Jordan has more rings only because of easier competition. Also the players on his teams were able to “let Jordan be Jordan” and didn’t go after him for being an ass. Only Phil Jackson was able talk to him about his narcissistic ways.

            As for Chamberlain I will give you one example that shows all; Once he went to the coach and said that he likes to sleep in and wants the team to practice in the late afternoon. The coach said no. The end result was they changed practice time to the late afternoon.

            But for me, it does not does not knock Chamberlain or Jordan down from the 1 and 2 spot that I have them on because they both were so much better than the rest – ever with their self centeredness.

            If Baylor and West’s Lakers played at a different time both of them would be in this discussion.

            I never saw Baylor play but many have put him up with or higher than Jordan. They say that he was close to being as athlete as Jordan, he had a wider variety of shots, was a much better rebounder than Jordan and was a much better passer. But zero rings.

            Back in the day the discussion was, “who is the greatest ever? Baylor or Chamberlain”!!!!!

            Posted by Fred | July 30, 2012, 12:03 am
          • Baylor was a great player, but he was not better than Jordan. Or West.

            Baylor had a career FG% of .431 with a peak of .486 and only one other season over .450.

            Jordan had a career .497 and that includes him sitting out a year and half in his prime and then RETURNING after sitting out three years AFTER he RETIRED!!

            I don’t really agree with the “self centerdness” label for Wilt and MJ either. Jordan shared the ball very well as did Wilt.

            I am not very supportive of the “Jordan couldn’t get past Magic’s Lakers or Birds Celtics” argument either. This just in: Those Lakers and Celtics teams in the 1980′s were probably the best TEAMS we will ever see. (The Celtics had Walton on the bench, the Lakers had Bob McAdoo!!)

            What we can glean from Jordan’s non title teams is how far they actually pushed thier otherwise great competition.

            The Bulls took the Pistons to 6 and 7 games in 1989 and 1990. It is a testament to Jordan and Phil Jackson that they got even that close.

            Had Jordan played on the Lakers or Celtics or even the Pistons he still would have been an efficient scorer, but probably doesn’t lead the league 10 times.

            Posted by Paulie Walnuts | July 30, 2012, 10:10 am
  76. If Kobe Bryant 6’6 217lbs can average 35.4ppg, why can’t Wilt Chamberlain 7’2 285lbs average 50ppg. If Dennis Rodman 6’6 220lbs can average 15rpg at AGE 36, why can’t Wilt average 25rpg. Allen Iverson was 6’0 185lbs and average 33ppg. Centers are not dominate like Wilt no more. Shaq said he was the last one and there will never be another dominating center like him. Wilt was averaging 57 points a game and he scored less so people don’t continue to expect outrage numbers from him. He could score at will but chose not to. He had a 48″ vertical, far higher than most of the NBA’s best leapers today. with the improved training techniques today it is literally scary to think what Wilt would have done. Plus he was a basketball player who never got tired in that fast pace league of the 60s so imagine with tv timeouts and all the stopping we have in todays game. 48 minutes again. Let’s not speak foolishness about him averaging less rebounds than the rebounding great of the 90s Dennis Rodman.

    PEACE

    Posted by IDoMeDotCom | July 27, 2012, 6:29 pm
  77. I don’t disagree with any of the evidence of Wilt’s individual greatness and for a very long time I was ridig in the position that Wilt was the greatest NBA plaer ever.

    BUT, do the individual aacts of athletisicm alter what happened?

    Does Wilt’s ability to out jump, outrun, out score outrebound any other SINGLE player make him the player with greatest NBA career?

    Basketball is a team game; the components have to work in combination. I use data in combination.

    Jordan led the league in scoring 10 times AND won 5 MVPs AND was DPOTY AND won 6 titles AND won 6 Finals MVPs.

    Russell was second only to Wilt in rebounding AND won 5 MVPS and his teams won 11 titles in 13 years, AND Russell won as a coach.

    Kareem is the all time scoring leader AND won 6 rings AND won 6 MVPs

    Bird played on 3 title teams AND won 3 MVPs AND was Finals MVP twice AND has a higher ranking in more statistical categories (points, rebounds, assists, steals, etc) than any other player.

    Magic has 3 MVPS AND two Finals MVPS AND, played on 5 title teams AND with Bird and Russell were the driving force behind the two winningest teams in NBA history.

    Wilt is second all time scorer, leading rebounder, And played more minutes per game than anyone, let alone big men, won 4 MVPS, and two titles and was a Finals MVP once.

    Wilt may indeed have a lot more individual data that was not tallied in his day (blocks, DOPTY, steals, Finals MVP), BUT. . .would the record showing that Wilt average 7 blocks a game CHANGE the results of wins and losses? Did Wilt’s leaping ability give his teams 10 extra wins that the others id not have?

    I do not blame Wilt for his team ONLY winning two titles.

    I ABSOLUTELY do NOT buy that Wilt had teams that were the equal of Russell’s.

    But, I am not trying to re-write history, only interpret and categorize it.

    Posted by Paulie Walnuts | July 31, 2012, 9:41 am
    • I truly don’t understand what’s so complex about your rankings-your criteria seem very confusing. Are you trying to rank what happened, or who is best in a vacuum, or who you’d take in an all-time draft?

      As always, you continue to push Russell for the 2nd best rebounder of all time, behind Wilt, when this is clearly not the case. The GOAT rebounder is Rodman, and it is not close. If you truly believe that Russell was the 2nd best rebounder of all time, we can have that debate right here and right no, but it seems apparent to me that a simple adjustment for era puts Russell well behind Rodman, and possibly others as well.

      I don’t know what you mean by Bird having a higher ranking in more statistical categories than any other player. What is the cutoff for what qualifies as high and what doesn’t? Sounds kinda arbitrary to me. After all, Wilt lead all centers historically in points per game, rebounds per game, assists per game, and possibly blocks per game as well.

      Posted by lochpster | July 31, 2012, 12:01 pm
  78. Bird’s total game is well represented in the numbers

    Here is Bird’s rank among the Career Leaders with Wilts ranking in parenthesis

    Total Points 34 (4)
    Points per game: 17 (2)
    Total Rebounds: 52 (1)
    Rebounds per game: 51 (1)
    Total Assists: 34 (66)
    Assists per game: 43 (137)
    Steals: 29 (n/a)
    Steals Per game: 31 (n/a)
    Minutes per game: 13 (1)
    Win Shares: 24 (2)
    Win Shares per 48: 19 (3)

    Is there another player that ranks that highly across that many categories? Then add in the caveats of at least 3 MVPs and three titles.

    When I speak of leading rebounder, I am not making any adjustments. I am using the leader boards. I understand full well that style of play and league shooting percentages factor into the raw totals and I would certainly consider Rodman in the discussion of top rebounders of all time.

    However, I cannot agree that dispersal of rebounds would be uniform when adjusted down.

    Look at the numerical differences between Russ and Worm

    Russell 963 games
    Rodman 911 games
    Wilt 1045 games

    Russell 40726 minutes 42.3 per game
    Rodman 28829 minutes 31.7 per game
    Wilt 47859 minutes 45.8 per game

    Russell 21620 rebounds 22.5 rpg
    Rodman 11954 rebounds 13.1 rpg
    Wilt 23924 rebounds 24.5 rpg

    Russell 4100 assists 4.3 apg
    Rodman 1600 assists 1.8 apg
    Wilt 4643 assists 4.4 apg

    Russell 14522 points 15.1 ppg
    Rodman 6683 points 7.3 ppg
    Wilt 31419 points 30.1 ppg

    Post season results

    Russell 165 games played
    Rodman 169 games played
    Wilt 160 games played

    Russell 4104 rebounds 24.9 per game
    Rodman 1676 rebounds 9.9 per game
    Wilt 3913 rebounds 24.5 per game

    Russell 770 assists 4.7 apg
    Rodman 205 assists 1.2 apg
    Wilt 673 assists 4.2 apg

    Russell 2673 points 16.2 ppg
    Rodman 1081 points 6.4 ppg
    Wilt 3607 points 22.5 ppg

    Russell 7497 minutes 45.4 per game
    Rodman 4789 minutes 28.3 per game
    Wilt 7559 minutes 47.2 per game!

    Perhaps there is some formula that can prove that Rodman is a superior rebounder to Russell (or Wilt), but there is a difference of 9,666 rebounds roughly the same number of games.

    Don’t you think that is a really large difference? Is there really an single adjustment that can juxtapose that total?

    What then about the additional minutes, scoring and assists that Russell added to the superior rebounding? You think that Wilt and Russell would only accrue HALF their totals?

    Is it all just an illusion?

    Posted by Paulie Walnuts | July 31, 2012, 10:05 pm
    • This is the best argument that I know of making the case that Dennis Rodman was the best rebounder.

      http://skepticalsports.com/?page_id=1222

      Although he uses individual box stats, I think he’s got a good amount of skepticism for them as well.

      Posted by Gil Meriken | July 31, 2012, 11:15 pm
      • That is a large difference, but raw totals are much less meaningful than the percentage of available rebounds a player gathers. The guy who gets 15 of 50 available rebounds is a better rebounder than the guy who gets 20 of 100 because he grabbed 30% of the available rebounds vs 20%.

        Gil linked the same article I would have. Part 1C compares Rodman to Wilt and Bill. Rodman had a much higher total rebound percentage. In fact, Rodman has 10 seasons in which his total rebound percentage is higher than Bill or Wilt project in their best seasons. Rodman has the top 7 seasons of all time, and his best season is 24% better than the best non-Rodman season.

        Dwight Howard is second, and his career rebound percentage is also better than Wilt and Bill’s best year. There’s a group of about 10 other players who project to a better total rebound % than Wilt and Bill. However, giving Wilt and Bill credit for the extra minutes they played (deservedly) gives them some distance from everyone but Howard in this pack, and I suspect Howard won’t keep it up.

        Rodman, on the other hand, was so far ahead of everyone else in terms of rebounding pace that he is the best rebounder in NBA history on a per game basis despite the difference in minutes-Wilt and Russ are #2 and #3. And on a per minute basis, Rodman laps the field while Wilt and Russ would be in the teens.

        Meeting in the middle, I’d probably put them at 3 and 4 on my personal list, behind Rodman and Moses Malone and waiting on Howard to finish his career. I don’t feel strongly about Moses, but I do about Rodman.

        Scoring and assists are irrelevant to the discussion of who is the best rebounder.

        Posted by lochpster | August 1, 2012, 8:34 pm
  79. I understand the percentage of available rebounds, but that assumes that the distribution of rebounds would be equally spread amongst all players.

    I contend that it would not; that a player like Russell or Chamberlain would still get very high rebound totals.

    I think players like Baylor and Pettit would see a decline in their totals, however.

    I do not consider scoring or assist irrelevant to rebounding. Rodman clearly focused on rebounds and subjugated all scoring opportunities to do so. Likewise with a Ben Wallace. The assists totals can also tell us that Rodman’s rebounds were not directly leading to baskets for his team. Now, that is a conclusion that is largely assumptive, but it is difficult to disregard the differences in assists as meaningless.

    I may even go as far as to say that on a per minute basis, Rodman may well be the best, but the higher minutes that Russ and Wilt put in are only more testament to their overall value.

    To give it a baseball analogy, Rodman was a specialist; like Mariano Rivera. Extremely effective and a wonderful component to winning. Russell and Wilt are more like Greg Maddux and Roger Clemens; guys who are still very effective but rather than pitch 70 innings in 60 games,t hey pitch 240 innings in 35 games.

    The greater number of minutes on the floor will reduce the per minute average, but the team needs 19,680 minutes per season and the allotment of minutes does tell a big story. A championship team needs those guys that can produce while playing big minutes.

    I would thus ask is Rodman’s superiority a reflection of his true value or is it a convolution of “voodoo” stat metrics?

    Do you really believe that Wilt or Russell would be out rebounded by Rodman?

    Posted by Paulie Walnuts | August 1, 2012, 9:27 pm
    • Rodman won 5 rings with 2 different teams and a member of the winningest team in NBA history and yet you condescend to talk about championship guys as if he’s not one? Since 1986, his absence in the lineup had a bigger negative impact on his team’s chances of winning than anyone in the league except for 3 players-Jordan, Magic, Bird. That’s impact, no matter how many minutes he played.

      From whence do you pull this assertion about distribution of rebounds? Do you have any evidence to back it up? Contend what you will, but in my book, an opinion without evidence is a waste of time.

      Likewise, do you have evidence that being involved in the offense harms one’s rebounding totals? I suspect there is actually a fairly strong positive correlation between usage and rebounding, given that history’s great rebounders tend to also be the great post scorers and passers, but I admit I don’t know for sure.

      Playing a lot of minutes is great. I will always take the guy who produces more in fewer minutes, though. Minutes do mean something, but production matters more.

      Do I believe Wilt or Russell would be out rebounded by Rodman? In Russell’s case, yes-I believe he was a defensive and rebounding specialist, like Rodman, and I believe he came very close to maximizing his ability as a rebounder. The gap between them is large. In Wilt’s case, I’m not sure.

      Posted by lochpster | August 1, 2012, 10:43 pm
      • Russell was a “defensive specialist”. . . that averaged 15.1 pointes per game and increased that to 16.2 in the post season, and was routinely the 2nd leading scorer on a championship team.

        Again, what would your impression be if Russell’s points and rebounds were reversed; if Russell averaged 22.5 PPG and 15.1 RPG while collecting 5 MVP awards and playing on 11 championships teams?

        Would it be the same as a player that averaged 13.1 points per game and 7.3 rebounds? How does that separate that far from a player like Ron Harper who won 5 rings on two different teams and averaged 13.8 ppg and 4.3 rpg?

        I get that Rodman was a great rebounder and defender, but he offered NOTHING on the offensive end. To use the baseball analogy again, Mariano Rivera CANNOT get a save UNLESS his team gets the lead into the 9th for him. That requires dependence upon many other factors outside of Rivera’s focused contribution.

        Rodman was a big part of the Pistons and the Bulls, but Russell was a huge part (if not the central part) of the Celtics.

        Posted by Paulie Walnuts | August 2, 2012, 10:03 am
  80. Rodman Rebounding totals from 1986-87 to 1997-98: 11525

    total rebounds available in those games: 84264

    11525/84264=13.7%

    Bill Russell reboudning totals from 1956-57 to 1968-69: 21620

    Total available rebounds* in those games: 142091

    21620/142091=15.2%

    *No official data is available for opponents rebounds until 1970-71. Thus I used the league total less the Celtics total to derive a median and then added the Celtics total back. It not be 100% accurate, but probably in the 95% range.

    Chamberlian’s rebounding totals 1970-71 to 1972-73: 4591

    Total available rebounds in those games: 26402

    4591/26402=17.4%

    Would you care to argue Russell’s value to his teams against Rodman’s? Who’s trying to ring count now?

    Can Rodman best 11 in 13?

    Production does mean more, but I think you fail to understand or acknowledge that more playing time will only pull most players closer to the mean. Rodman played limited minutes because he had limited ability.

    Posted by Paulie Walnuts | August 1, 2012, 11:48 pm
    • Interesting. I guess I came to the conclusion about per game averages based on data from peak seasons rather than career averages. I may have been wrong in my assertion that Rodman is the best total per game rebounder over the course of his career, although there’s no question he is still #1 in terms of rate.

      Nonetheless, I believe a vastly higher rebounding rate is indicative of being a better rebounder. You clearly don’t. That’s fine-but we’re not going to agree.

      I also agree with you that more minutes will decrease production-what we disagree on is orders of magnitude. The gap between the two in rebounding rate is massive, and I’m not willing to chuck the entire difference because of a difference in minutes. To me, that’s very lazy analysis.

      If you continue to toss around rings like they carry some weight in the argument of who is the best rebounder, I’m going to mercilessly mock you for sounding like a Kobe fanboy. Because you really, really do. 11 rings means Russell’s the GOAT rebounder? Really? Is Sam Jones the second best rebounder of all time, then?

      Total value is a completely different discussion. To be clear-you are arguing that Russell is better than Rodman. I agree. Nonetheless, the linked article makes very strong arguments about Rodman’s value based on MOVs and win percentage differentials, not rings. Harper can’t touch him. This is in no way ring counting. I do not ring count. Yet it upsets me when you talk about championship guys as if Rodman’s not one when he clearly is, by definition, a championship guy.

      Since you continue to use unadjusted offensive numbers to argue that Russell was something he wasn’t, I will once again attempt to refute it. We’ve had this same discussion numerous times. Do you not believe numbers should be adjusted for era, or not? If you do believe you should, then why do you not do it when making this argument? Please be clear and consistent in this.

      As we have discussed ad nauseum, merely adjusting Russell’s offensive numbers for era gives you values of 12.7 PPG, 3.9 APG and a TS% of 50.8. Note the below average efficiency. Note that he was never higher than 6th on his team in scoring per 36 minutes even at his peak, and some years he was last on the team. So we’re looking at a below average scorer in terms of both rate and efficiency. The passing is great for a center, obviously, but that’s a VERY different from the picture you paint, and it’s much more accurate.

      Compare to Rodman’s 7.3 PPG, 1.8 APG and .546% TS. Low volume, but at least the efficiency was high. To get from scoring 7.3 PPG on 54.6% TS to 12.7 PPG on 50.8%, you’d score the remaining 5.4 at a clip of 45.6% TS%, which is pretty terrible. Given the difference, I’d actually rather have Rodman’s scoring that Russell’s. Obviously Russell was a better passer, but I don’t think 2 additional assists per game and 5 additional extremely low efficiency points is the difference between a massively talented offensive player and an offensive nothing. Simply put, Russell and Rodman were defensive and rebounding specialists. It is a GROSS misrepresentation to suggest otherwise. I don’t see why it’s so hard to agree on this point.

      If Russell flipped his rebounding and points numbers, I’d be much less impressed with him. Rebounding is a much more valuable skill.

      Posted by lochpster | August 4, 2012, 4:52 pm
      • I have no problem acknowledging that Rodman is the top rebounder per minute played, but I am looking at a broader picture.

        Rodman averaged 28 minutes per game in his career’ Russell averaged 42 per game. That is a huge difference. The NBA game is 48 minutes long; Rodamn only plays 28. Who is then REPLACING Rodman for the remaining 20 minutes? Is it a player that is as good as Russell?

        this tangent began when you stated:

        As always, you continue to push Russell for the 2nd best rebounder of all time, behind Wilt, when this is clearly not the case. The GOAT rebounder is Rodman, and it is not close. If you truly believe that Russell was the 2nd best rebounder of all time,

        As Always, my assertion that Russell is the 2nd leading rebounder is that he has the 2nd highest rebounding total. I am not attempting to split some semantic hair. The issue of rate is a different and far more interpretive discussion.

        My overall point, as it pertains to this thread, is that the records clearly tell me that the belief of Wilt having equally talented teammates to Russell is a myth born out of a need to rationalize how someone of such dominating physical abilities that dropped huge chunks of Black INK “only” won two titles.

        I don’t think that Wilt had particularity good talent around him until he got to the 76er’s and then the Lakers. The records of Jerry West and Baylor’s time with the Lakers support this; they weren’t as deep or as talented #1-12 as the Celtics. Nobody was.

        You have a predilection for the effective production, but to win in the NBA you have to have BOTH efficiency and VOLUME. You won’t win with guys that play a ton but shoot low percentages’ likewise you won’t win with guys that are really effective for 18 minutes a game. It takes a lot of effort and energy to grind out 42 minutes a night fro 80+ games at a high level.

        Ultimately, that has more value than the a higher rate for 2/3 of the game.

        Exactly, what am I arguing that Russell was that he was not?

        Posted by Paulie Walnuts | August 4, 2012, 11:33 pm
      • Lochpster,

        As to the Russell/Rodamn rebounding/rings, you wrote:

        Rodman won 5 rings with 2 different teams and a member of the winningest team in NBA history and yet you condescend to talk about championship guys as if he’s not one? Since 1986, his absence in the lineup had a bigger negative impact on his team’s chances of winning than anyone in the league except for 3 players-Jordan, Magic, Bird. That’s impact, no matter how many minutes he played.

        Who bought up the rings for the Rodman/Russell rebounding discussion?

        It wasn’t I. The data I used was minutes played, total rebounds, total rebounds available.

        Russell came out ahead on all counts.

        What confuses me is that Wilt and Russell’s totals are very close, yet you are emphatic that Rodman was superior to Russell and not Wilt.

        That seems inconsistent and illogical.

        Why would Rodman be better than one but not the other?

        Posted by Paulie Walnuts | August 4, 2012, 11:43 pm
      • I never characterized Russell as a “massively talented offensive player”.

        NEVER.

        What I characterized Russell as was a player that was still a part of a very high scoring offense.

        Rodman was never part of the offense on any team he played on.

        More to the point Rodman in his most effective rebounding days was playing “hot potato” with the ball. His teams were never running the ball through Rodman to score.

        That is the reason that I cite Russell’s offensive numbers.

        Put it this way:

        Could Bill Russell have done what Rodamn did for the Bulls? Yes. There is ZERO evidence that contradicts this. Moreover, there is ample evidence that Russell would have contributed even MORE to those Bulls teams than Rodman ever could have.

        By that point in his career, Rodman was not longer an active defender, especially on the perimeter. True, that he still had the ability when needed to defend a big body, but mostly he was hanging on the low block waiting for rebounds.

        Take Russell’s skill set and his desire and his intelligence combined with Jordan, Pippen, Kucoc, Harper and you have easily the greatest defensive team EVER assembled.

        Exactly what would Rodman bring to that equation that Russ would not?

        What would Russ bring that Rodman would not? Ejections? Random hair coloring? What about more wins?

        Posted by Paulie Walnuts | August 5, 2012, 11:07 am
        • First off, I apologize if I hurt feelings or misrepresented what you said. I may disagree quite strongly with your opinions, and I do, but it is not a sign of disrespect.

          You compared Russell’s offensive game to Olajuwon’s in the past and said you had no doubt he could have upped his game given the need. Sounds like you’re saying he had some pretty major offensive talent if you’re comparing his offensive game to Hakeem. Did I misunderstand this? Russell brought neither efficiency nor volume to his offensive game-he was below average on both counts. Believe what you will, but I just don’t think he helped his team on offense with his scoring.

          When you say that Rodman was never a part of any offense he ever played on, you are mistaken. He was a very effective piece for the Pistons in the late 80s-his 87-88 season shames anything Russell ever did on offense. It’s true that in Chicago his offense had fallen into disrepair, but this is not a fair reflection of his career in total.

          You’ve clearly stated you think that the difference in Russell’s offensive game and additional minutes make up for a huge difference in rebounding rate. I don’t think Russell was really much better on offense, and I see no evidence why Russell’s additional minutes make up for the fact that Rodman’s career total rebound % is roughly 20% better than Russell’s and his peak TRB% is 50% better than Russell in his best season. That’s a massive gap in production-put in a replacement level player or Rodman at 50% for those last 10 minutes and you’ll still be ahead on the boards. But again, we’re going to have to agree to disagree here :)

          As to your point about me not being as emphatic about Rodman being a superior rebounder to Wilt, well, I was just trying to answer your question. The fact that he’d sold out other parts of his game to lead the league in assists hints that he could potentially have done the same to up his rebounding, as well, if he were challenged. He had a very malleable skill set and was overall much more productive statistically than any of the other guys in the discussion. Russell more or less brought what he brought consistently throughout his career, so I don’t see much evidence that he could have upped his game that much. I don’t think this is inconsistent.

          As for the ring counting thing, I responded to your comment that championship teams need guys who can play big minutes. To me that seemed a slur on Rodman, as if he were somehow deficient of whatever it is to be a championship guy, despite the fact that he won a lot of rings playing a very respectable number of minutes while ranking incredibly highly in terms of value by multiple very robust metrics. If I misunderstood what you were trying to say, then I retract the statement.

          I am NOT arguing for Rodman’s superiority over Russell as a player, just as a rebounder.

          As is often the case, I don’t suspect we’re going to reach middle ground. Thanks for the discussion-I’m going to try to bow out before somebody gets hurt.

          Posted by lochpster | August 6, 2012, 3:52 am
          • Loch,

            No hurt feelings. Misrepresentation are an unfortunate by-product of communicating through back and forth writings.

            You are correct in that previously I had likened Russell to Hakeem; that was a gross overstatement on my part that I never corrected.

            We can certainly agree on Russell’s overall NBA career; we likewise agree on the fact that Wilt was an absolute monster that could have done anything (and usually did).

            The issue I had is that when I stated that Russell is the 2nd greatest rebounder ever I was referring to the total. The differences in our positions come in our perceived values of efficiency to volume ratios.

            As a Pistons fan, I absolutely cheered Rodman, he was invaluable to those title teams. Though, I would still maintain that the team never ran offense through him, but he was far more willing to score the bunnies that he passed up later in his career.

            Rodman may have been a better rebounder per minute played, but by how much? When I looked at the context of total available rebounds against percentage of individuals, Rodman had higher peaks, but Russell had greater career.

            There is great value in a high peak player, (Bill Walton), but when I present my hierarchy of all time players, it is weighted to the career value side.

            I hope that clarifies things.

            Posted by Paulie Walnuts | August 6, 2012, 9:56 am
  81. I had misplaced my data for this, so I want to post it now.

    Here are the team results for some of the top players:

    Regular season

    Magic: 732-283 .721
    Russell: 716-299 .705
    Bird: 751-315 .704
    Duncan: 830-352 .702
    Kareem: 1118-522 .681
    Jordan: 643-336 .657
    Bryant: 833-439 .655
    Shaq: 986-519 .655
    Wilt: 676-364 .650
    West: 692-442 .610

    Post season

    Jordan: 105-55 .656
    Russell: 108-59 .647
    Magic: 123-68 .644
    Bryant: 137-86 .614
    Duncan: 118-77 .605
    Kareem: 187-131 .588
    Bird: 104-70 .588
    Shaq: 126-93 .575
    West: 92-75 .551
    Wilt: 83-71 .539

    Shaq: 986-519

    Posted by Paulie Walnuts | August 3, 2012, 8:58 am
  82. FTR:

    Robertson

    regular season: 633-419, .602

    Post season: 45-40, .529

    Posted by Paulie Walnuts | August 3, 2012, 11:58 am
  83. Awesome discussion. I can’t see Chamberlain outperforming Hakeem had they played in the same era. Bill Walton insists that Kareem was the greatest ever. I can see Wilt scoring 35 ppg and pulling in 18+ RPG in the more modern game. Wilt, Hakeem and Kareem’s stats would be comparable if they all played at the same time–both were more skilled than Chamberlain and more focused when it came to winning. Russell would have a more versatile offensive game, perhaps something like Amare Stoudamire’s, and would maintain his defensive dominance. The relatively unskilled Shaq or Dwight Howard do not belong in the conversation.
    First pick in a pickup game? Magic Johnson.

    Posted by Bill Morrison | September 30, 2012, 11:12 pm
  84. You are so wrong about Kareem being more skilled than Wilt.

    Wilt had all the athleticism of Hakeem (perhaps more) and was bigger, faster and stronger.

    Kareem was a beast, but after 1979 or so Kareem started playing less minutes and effectively stopped rebounding to extend his career. Though this was a very smart maneuver to keep that great offensive production in the line-up longer, Wilt continued to play the most minutes in the league up until his retirement. Wilt was also still leading the league in rebounding, though he chose to subjugate his scoring after joining the Lakers.

    Posted by Paulie Walnuts | October 1, 2012, 9:23 am
  85. I have gone through many articles about Wilt Chamberlain and his stats and the NBA of the sixties. First of all, he was 7′-1″, not 7′-2″.

    You are one of many that believe the myth that Chamberlain only had 6’7″ centers for competition. The truth is that most were 6’9″ or taller. (just check the rosters of the 8 or 9 NBA teams of the 1959-1962 era). Ray Felix at 6′-11″, Chuck Share 6′-11″, Walt Bellamy 6′-11″, Walter Dukes 7′-0″, Wade Halbrook 7′-3″, and several centers at 6′-10″. Later he played against many more 6-11 and 7-foot centers as well. In the early days of the NBA, a player’s height was measured when he was barefoot, not in shoes. Bill Russell admits that in college he was listed at 6′-10″, and wanted to be listed at 6′-9″ in the NBA.

    Let’s just get to the point. If it was just superior height, why didn’t any of these others (Ray Felix at 6′-11″, Chuck Share 6′-11″, Walt Bellamy 6′-11″, Walter Dukes 7′-0″) put up the crazy stats like Chamberlain? Answer: shear amazing talent and athleticism beyond anyone.

    Oh, by the way, Wilt is accused of being a selfish ball-hog. How do you explain that Wilt is 4th on the all-time list of triple doubles, behind 3 guards (Oscar Robertson, Magic Johnson, Jason Kidd) and his career assists per game is higher than any other center (including Russell and Jabbar)? If you diminish his stats, well, you might as well diminish all the players of his era as well (Bill Russell, Elgin, Oscar, Bob Petit).

    Posted by chris_n_sd1001 | October 5, 2012, 12:31 pm
  86. I could cry.

    This is a must-read for anyone serious about basketball analytics.

    http://www.grantland.com/story/_/id/8719297/how-kobe-bryant-missed-shots-translate-new-nba-statistic-kobe-assist

    The final outcomes (did they end up scoring because of the type of shot attempt?) of a players’s shots are more important than indicated by the player’s individual FG%.

    Also, basketball is not like baseball, and improvements in measuring spatial data will drive basketball analysis forward.

    “Basketball achievements do not occur in a vacuum; just as it is rare for one player to be solely responsible for a made basket, it is similarly rare for one player to be solely responsible for other types of events, including rebounds and put-backs”.

    Posted by Gil Meriken | December 6, 2012, 9:49 am
    • “However, while Nash was busy playmaking and while Kobe was busy jump shooting, Dwight Howard had taken about seven steps toward his happy place — the restricted area — fought off the gigantic DeMarcus Cousins, and gained optimal rebounding position. Kobe’s miss ricocheted upward from the rim before descending back down into the hands of Howard, who quickly put the ball in the basket; the Staples crowd went wild (in the dark). Kobe just miss a shot or did he just inadvertently set up Dwight Howard for an easy score? Are some of Kobe’s missed shots actually good for the Lakers? Are some of his misses kind of like assists?” -Kirk Goldsberry from “The Kobe Assist”

      This is one of the most horrifying pieces of garbage I have ever read on any website. If a player misses a shot and another player fights to recover the miss and subsequently scores themselves, how is that a positive for the player who missed the shot? It’s great effort by the second player (tallied in the stat sheet as an offensive rebound, then basket). The only person who gets the shaft in this sequence Nash for Kobe not converting the open look he was set up for. I could cry too, knowing that there are people out there who believe the crap like the paragraph I quoted from that article is reasonable.

      Posted by pointguard40 | December 6, 2012, 12:44 pm
      • It’s based on real statistical evidence, using shot location data, not simply box score data.

        Kobe’s misses are better than any other players misses, because when he has the ball or shoots, the defense gets distorted and moved into poor rebounding positions, allowing a teammate a better opportunity to put-back shots that don’t go in.

        This effect was not exhibited by any other Lakers, so it can’t simply be who he is playing with, or else other wing players would also have more easily reboundable misses. It also accounts for volume, so it’s not due to Kobe shooting more.

        Posted by Gil Meriken | December 6, 2012, 3:06 pm
        • “Kobe’s misses are better than any other players misses, because when he has the ball or shoots, the defense gets distorted and moved into poor rebounding positions”

          Lol, I’m dying.

          Posted by pointguard40 | December 6, 2012, 7:12 pm
          • The data is interesting. The rush to conclusions not supported by the data is appalling.

            Posted by lochpster | December 6, 2012, 9:52 pm
          • I agree Loch, it’s definitely interesting data. But the article overlooks the fact that Kobe has had two 7 footers in the paint the last 4-5 seasons. They have been a great offensive rebounding team, regardless of who shoots! And now that Howard, the most athletic center in the game, is added in the mix it further benefits the offensive rebounding.

            Posted by pointguard40 | December 7, 2012, 7:55 am
          • PG40,

            Both you and Lochpster are biased. You fail to understand that the box-score data does NOT support my beliefs, therefore is unreliable. However, this new theoretical data DOES support my beliefs, thus it is far more illuminating.

            Get with the program!

            The best way to find the truth of anything is to choose your outcome and then work backward to prove it. You also need to dismiss ANY and ALL evidence that contradicts your chosen outcome.

            Posted by Paulie Walnuts | December 7, 2012, 8:44 am
          • Wait, paulie calling out someone for bias. How ironic.

            PG, as Gil mentioned above, the same fact wasn’t shown with other Lakers’ wing players, so if you think it’s just because the Lakers supposedly have great off. rebounders, then why isn’t this affect shown with every other Laker?

            It’s an interesting article, one of the very few from that website, but this should’ve been obvious from watching the lakers play sometime during the past decade or so.

            Posted by boyer | December 7, 2012, 2:39 pm
          • @Boyer,

            I can make the case that “from watching the Lakers over the past decade or so” Kobe’s teammate’s know he is about to chuck up a shot so they get into position, much more than any of the other Laker players. Same could be said for D-Rose (my current favorite player in the league). Yes they draw attention, but I don’t see how you can pat a player on the back for drawing attention and chucking up a bad, low percentage shot and being bailed out by his teammates. You should give the credit to his teammates for bailing him out, not for the player for drawing attention away for the rebounders.

            And correct me if I’m wrong, but I thought Paulie’s post was sarcasm…

            Posted by pointguard40 | December 7, 2012, 3:58 pm
          • PG40,

            you are right again.

            Posted by Paulie Walnuts | December 7, 2012, 10:11 pm
          • “The best way to find the truth of anything is to choose your outcome and then work backward to prove it. You also need to dismiss ANY and ALL evidence that contradicts your chosen outcome.”

            LOL! So true :)

            Posted by lochpster | December 8, 2012, 1:13 pm
          • You fail to understand that the box-score data does NOT support meaningful basketball analysis, therefore is unreliable.

            Posted by Gil Meriken | December 10, 2012, 12:08 pm
          • One of the best ways to find the truth of anything is the scientific method.

            One of the best ways to start is to make sure you are measuring the right things to begin with.

            Posted by Gil Meriken | December 10, 2012, 12:12 pm
          • And since I do not think that measuring a players MISSES is the right thing to measure, perhaps you should heed your own advice.

            Posted by Paulie Walnuts | December 10, 2012, 9:37 pm
          • “You fail to understand that the box-score data does NOT support meaningful basketball analysis, therefore is unreliable”

            My eyes are bleeding. Seriously, basketball ain’t that complicated. Put ball in basket more than your opponent, win game. What’s measured in the box score? Basically, that. Wages of wins believes they can predict 95% of wins from the box score and have the data to back it up. Now I, personally, don’t believe that 95% can be explained by box scores, yet your assertion is so far in left field that it cannot go unchallenged on this board. Bring your evidence to the table or, mercifully, please quit tossing around this ridiculous statement. Please, don’t waste my time with rhetorical sleight of hand and arguments of assertion-bring the goods if you got ‘em.

            If you actually believe in using the scientific method to support your arguments, this is a great opportunity to do so. Why, exactly, are box score arguments so unworthy that they can’t be used for analysis?

            Posted by lochpster | December 12, 2012, 3:14 pm
          • Posted by Ken | December 12, 2012, 3:28 pm
          • [ crickets ] …

            Posted by Ken | December 12, 2012, 3:30 pm
          • @Lochpster

            I’ll simply cut and paste because it is written so eloquently:

            “Most basketball statistics refer to discrete events such as shots, steals, and rebounds that occur within the continuous context of a flowing game. Basketball is very different from baseball, but in the basketball analytics world, too often we treat our sport as if it were baseball; we kid ourselves and say a rebound or a corner 3 is akin to a strikeout or a home run, a singular accomplishment achieved by a player that’s fit for tallying and displaying in a cell on some spreadsheet on some website.

            But, unfortunately, it’s not that simple. In reality we all know crediting a wide-open corner 3 solely to Matt Bonner, Kawhi Leonard, or Danny Green is akin to giving Javier Bardem sole credit for No Country for Old Men. Bonner, Leonard, and Green get great looks because of the splendidly directed, infinitely complex ecosystem that is the San Antonio Spurs offense. Over the last two seasons Matt Bonner has made 210 out of 480 3-point attempts (44 percent), which is incredible. However, how would these numbers differ if he played for the Wizards? Corner 3s are more like touchdowns than they are like strikeouts. They are punctuation marks at the end of complex strategic sentences. We may be really good at tallying those punctuation marks, but we are not so good at diagramming or even understanding those sentences; within our box scores and spreadsheets we are failing to give credit where it is due.”

            Posted by Gil Meriken | December 13, 2012, 3:00 pm
          • Yet, no makes any claim that Matt Bonner is great. Or even very good.

            I would really doubt anyone that has posted on here believes that Matt Bonner is a guy you build a team around.

            If we were having this discussion 25 years ago, the names Kiki Vandeweghe, Craig Hodges, Trent Tucker and Ricky Pierce would be tossed out.

            I am sure that those same people would tell you that Matt Bonner is a valuable asset to have on your team provided that you can get him so open looks at the basket and limit how often he dribbles and then hope to hell he doesn’t need to guard anyone.

            NO, the box scores won’t tell that, but again that is why we use data in context and in combination.

            Chess not checkers.

            Posted by Paulie Walnuts | December 13, 2012, 9:26 pm
          • So what you’re telling me is you don’t have any science to back up your assertion? Just some rhetorical flourishes that are irrelevant to the question I asked? Got it.

            Posted by lochpster | December 13, 2012, 9:35 pm
          • More Copy and paste from http://courtvisionanalytics.com/the-kobe-assist-deleted-scenes/

            “Before I do that, many have noticed that the piece was more “philosophical” than my normal stuff, which is exactly right. There are very rigorous analytics behind the story, that will come to light in a few months at the Sloan Conference. I appreciate your patience. I hope to see many of you there. Feel free to skewer my soft science in the mean time.

            Also, I believe Kobe Assists are fascinating, and an important component to offensive basketball. I do not believe they will revolutionize basketball analytics. As I explain in the piece, I do believe they expose – albeit in an admittedly silly way – a critical limitation of basketball metrics. We chop up the game too much. I also want to clarify something about “crediting” the jump shooter for the Kobe Assist. In no way do I believe that people miss shots on purpose in a way that create second chance points. I do however absolutely believe that teams are units, and good schemes that align shot timing, shot locations, and rebounding positioning can increase second chance points.”

            Posted by Gil Meriken | December 14, 2012, 9:55 am
          • I’d even argue against Goldberry a bit when he says we “chop the game up too much”. In a lot of ways we don’t chop it up ENOUGH. The observations used are too “chunky” to be meaningful.

            But new technology is changing that

            http://espn.go.com/blog/playbook/tech/post/_/id/492/492

            Posted by Gil Meriken | December 14, 2012, 10:30 am
          • The king of misdirection at it again.

            I have no problem with the new statistics. I like them a lot. They’re fascinating and they’re useful and they’re affecting the league right in front of our eyes. My problem is with misuse of and distortion of statistics to prove a point you want to make. Such as this:

            “Kobe’s misses are better than any other players misses, because when he has the ball or shoots, the defense gets distorted and moved into poor rebounding positions, allowing a teammate a better opportunity to put-back shots that don’t go in.”

            In no way does Goldsberry’s data support this conclusion. This is what YOU want the data to mean. It’s funny how you talk about the beautiful complexity of basketball and offensive sets, ecosystems and what have you, yet when the opportunity strikes you shift all the praise on your favorite player. Fortunately, it’s too transparent a ploy to be taken seriously.

            Your argument may even prove to be true. It’s not a large leap of faith to believe that the defense collapses on a shooting Kobe more than it does on, say, Steve Blake or MWP. They’d be foolish not to. But how does this compare to other players of Kobe’s stature? We don’t know yet-we don’t have the data. Goldsberry does, but he hasn’t shared it yet. He may know this to be true, but you do not, and cannot, based on the data available to us.

            Again, my problem is not with the data. It is with you jumping to conclusions not supported by the data and repeating them over and over despite a lack of evidence to back up your talking points. No matter how many times you vigorously assert something, that doesn’t make it right.

            http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Argument_by_assertion

            Posted by lochpster | December 14, 2012, 12:49 pm
          • “No matter how many times you vigorously assert something, that doesn’t make it right.”

            No, that’s not what makes it right.

            Statistical evidence that includes shot location data gives Goldsberry’s analysis more credence than one based only on the common box score.

            And it’s funny how you think this is all about proving how great Kobe is and how bad everyone else is.

            I fully support analysis like this excellent one by Goldsberry that shows how Lebron’s game has improved:

            http://courtvisionanalytics.com/the-evolution-of-lebron/

            Posted by Gil Meriken | December 14, 2012, 1:39 pm
          • “And it’s funny how you think this is all about proving how great Kobe is and how bad everyone else is.” -Gil

            “Kobe’s misses are better than any other players misses” -Gil

            I’ll rest my case on this issue.

            As far as the statistics you are bringing in to the argument, I find them very interesting. However, I think the statisticians need to focus much more on improving the available defensive data. Why is it that we know a player’s shooting percentage from each spot on the floor, but don’t have a stat about shots contested, tipped passes, turnovers forced, etc. A classic example: During the NYK-LA game the other night, the ball was lobbed into Howard. Chandler leaped and knocked the ball away, directly to Carmelo. Melo gets credit with the steal, and every one else relies on finding team defensive statistics or the ever-inconsistent “Eye Test” to decide whether or not Chandler is an effective defender. It’s sad we only focus on one side of the ball.

            Posted by pointguard40 | December 14, 2012, 10:51 pm
          • odd that the name is “Kobe assist”

            Did Bryant invent or create missed shots?

            I doubt that Kobe was the first to miss and have teammates get rebounds.

            If we believe that Kobe’s misses throughout his career led to easier rebounds and put-backs, why then, did Shaq not get MORE rebounds during his Laker tenure?

            Near as I can guess, Kobe has likely led or been very near the league lead in missed FGA the past three years; why hasn’t any of the Lakers led the league in RBA?

            It seems logical to me that if you are contending the connectivity of the team unit that “Kobe’s Assits” would lead to more of the already measurable data like rebounds, points, FG%, etc.

            Posted by Paulie Walnuts | December 14, 2012, 11:28 pm
          • Pointguard40 – Sportvu is going to enhance data on both sides of the ball

            using missle tracking technology, they can tell you how fast a player closes out, they can tell you how many miles they’ve run in a game, many data points of individual players that influence the TEAM outcomes of points for or points against.

            http://www.foxsportsnorth.com/12/05/12/Will-these-cameras-make-box-scores-obsol/landing_timberwolves.html?blockID=830647&feedID=3697

            Posted by Gil Meriken | December 17, 2012, 12:39 am
          • I can see where that data would help coaches and trainers better understand the physical limits of players, but I have a difficult time seeing how it affects the abilities of the players except for the area of fatigue.

            Posted by Paulie Walnuts | December 17, 2012, 7:07 am
          • Paulie

            putting aside the “Kobe assist” debate for a second …

            If you agree with the premise that mcuh of the current box score outcomes are more analagous to “touchdowns” than “hits”, meaning for example that it take a series of dependent events to occur to generate a point, what this technology does is allow us to break down the game into smaller components because it can tell us who was where when a play happened, how many dribbles they took (again, just for example) not just who ended scoring the basket … I’ve been saying that the box score is not sufficient for true analysis, because of this misallocation of the end result (would be like giving the running back who runs in for the touchdown 100% credit for the whole drive).

            Posted by Gil Meriken | December 17, 2012, 10:11 am
          • And I agree with the fact that it will illuminate components of the game that are at this point unmeasurable.

            My point is that I cannot see how this data can elevate a player’s stature after 43000 minutes. I am pretty convinced that after that amount of volume, we have a really good idea of what that player did.

            I would wager that the data you talk about could easily tell us that a Jason Kidd, Nate McMillian, and likely players from the 1950′s and 1960′s were actually better contextually than what we perceive.

            In other words, I believe that this data will NOT, in fact, confirm a player like Bryant’s greatness, YET may show us that indeed West, Russell, Wilt or Cousy brought more to the game than their rudimentary numbers show (especially without All Defense and steals and blocks). It may also revel that David Robinson, Hakeem and Rodman were far more valuable than we had even thought.

            It may also show that really diverse players like Magic, Bird, Pippen, Jordan, James and CP3 are even better than we thought.

            I cannot see how this data can show us the Kobe is somehow greater than he already is. I have Bryant #13 all time and could go as high as #11; that is hardly an insult to be the #11 player in a league that has seen literally thousands of players.

            Posted by Paulie Walnuts | December 17, 2012, 10:35 am
          • Paulie – that is fair enough, for ME the box score has never been sufficient and some of the other contextual info you said you use (awards and the like) are also lacking. Even my favorite – other players’ opinions and coaches opinion is only a call to authority (albeit pretty good authorities).

            To have a statistically sound model using inputs THAT MAKE SENSE is #1 to me in making statistical claims. Correlation and p-values do not make a sound model.

            These new data points, when place in their proper context, may very well show Lebron to be even better than you think. It may show Kobe to be a non-factor. But at least it will be based on something more than the chunky data of today’s box score.

            Posted by Gil Meriken | December 17, 2012, 10:51 am
          • And to that end I would agree that box score data (like any other data) can be easily misconstrued if you only want the data to affirm something.

            As with everything, the best way to find the truth is to actually seek it and accept what the data tells us rather than to twist it to prove what we want.

            Posted by Paulie Walnuts | December 17, 2012, 1:17 pm
          • I think I disagree with every point that was just made on this board. I must just love to argue. LOL!

            @PG40-Spot on. Better defensive stats are a must, and as Gil points out, they are probably in the pipeline.

            @Paulie-Why couldn’t the new data show that Kobe is a better player than we believed? New data comes along all the time that better helps us understand. We should be open to whatever it has to say to us.

            @Gil-In no way do I have any problem with Goldsberry or his data, as I have stated very clearly in prior posts. The fact that you would respond to a post where I stated this:

            “I have no problem with the new statistics. I like them a lot. They’re fascinating and they’re useful and they’re affecting the league right in front of our eyes. My problem is with misuse of and distortion of statistics to prove a point you want to make. ”

            with a comment like this

            “And it’s funny how you think this is all about proving how great Kobe is and how bad everyone else is”

            shows that you are blatantly misrepresenting my argument. Whether this is willful or not I have no idea.

            It’s hard to imagine an increase in precision of data of any kind being a bad thing. And as for the Kobe assist, it may be a real phenomenon and it may show something special about Kobe. But we don’t know yet-we don’t have enough data, and there are multiple possible explanations that haven’t been explored. It could be a Kobe effect. It could be an effect of the Lakers’ perennially massive front court. It could be a superstar effect in general. It could be an effect of the triangle offense. It could be all of the above, or something else completely. And Goldsberry’s article, while it did not give a complete dataset, certainly shed light on an interesting phenomenon (and brilliantly increased his exposure as well as that of spatial analytics, both of which are good things).

            My problem is with YOUR interpretation of the data. You are fighting tooth and nail to defend the idea of Kobe’s specialness, just as you’ve always been trying to sprinkle him with magic dust. And the data we have been shown just does not support your assertion.

            Furthermore, your argument about the value of these new statistics is incredibly bizarre. If you want to just say they’re better because they’re more precise, I have no problem with that. However, when you say box scores don’t support meaningful analysis but this new data does, I just scratch my head. Ultimately, data is still data, with plenty of flaws, and we do the best we can with it until better data comes along. You’ve been denigrating the best data out there for a long time, but suddenly you’re a believer when it says what you want it to mean? Convenient, to say the least. Hmmm. Your contempt for things like p-values and correlations in favor of a model that “makes sense,” whatever that means, certainly does not help your credibility.

            I expect you’ll be standing in this argument long after I’ve given up. That will likely happen after this post.

            Posted by lochpster | December 17, 2012, 9:31 pm
          • @Paulie-Your last post was perfect.

            Posted by lochpster | December 17, 2012, 9:32 pm
          • Loch,

            The reason that I believe that new data has a greater chance of detracting from Bryant’s established value is that it may reveal that he was NOT an elite defender for the past several seasons as many believe.

            I doubt that offensively, given Bryant’s really high number of FGA (meaning that he is unlikely to have made the pass that led to the pass that led to a goal) that a “hidden” part of his game is present; thus I can only conclude that any hidden value would be defensive.

            I may be entirely wrong, it is just my ESTIMATION at this time given the really high number of minutes that Bryant has played and the tremendous amount of energy he surely would have used to generate his offense.

            It just seems that do both at the level Bryant is assumed to be at would be unlikely.

            Yet, it may turn out that I am incorrect. . . we will have to wait and see.

            Posted by Paulie Walnuts | December 17, 2012, 10:42 pm
          • Lochp – to say the new data is more precise than the box score is accurate. But then you’re assuming the box score was even good to begin with. I’ve never said data was bad, only that the box score was such a mess that it would be difficult to create any meaningful analysis. How is it possible to be meaningful when you consider the counter-proof that it’s very possible that two players for their career could have the exact same box score stats, yet have completely different impacts on winning in both style and magnitude?

            Posted by Gil Meriken | December 18, 2012, 9:25 am
          • Gil,

            I can field that one.

            That is why you look BEYOND the box score and use other data in COMBINATION with the box scores.

            This what nearly EVERYONE that posts here (with some exceptions) has basically said over and over and over and over.

            Posted by Paulie Walnuts | December 18, 2012, 8:11 pm
          • Paulie – why even use the box score if it’s a mess?

            That’s like saying I’ll use this wet noodle AND a hammer to pound this nail.

            Posted by Gil Meriken | December 19, 2012, 1:20 am
          • Because the box score is NOT a mess; it just has limits.

            To arrive at a greater truth, you need to expand upon what that rudimentary piece of evidence offers.

            That is why new data will augment what we already have; not replace.

            Posted by Paulie Walnuts | December 19, 2012, 6:51 am
          • And now we are where we started – I too believe the box score is limited, and is limited in delivering any value beyond the most rudimentary analysis (i.e., nothing meaningful).

            You and others acknowledge its limits, but still believe despite those limits, it can be used for meaningful analysis.

            Only difference is that when we started, I did not have an alternative model/data to suggest. I once wrote that as soon as they can make a model that uses data to help value soccer players, they will be on their way to the same with basketball. Appropriately enough, the Sportvu technology was made with soccer in mind.

            So no, I don’t think this newer-type data is an “add-on”, and if it is, it’s making something useful (the box score) that wasn’t before.

            Posted by Gil Meriken | December 19, 2012, 1:21 pm
          • It is foolish and mistaken to simply dismiss the data derived from the box score.

            Without that information, how would any of the rest of it have any value?

            Posted by Paulie Walnuts | December 19, 2012, 5:50 pm
          • It would be foolish and mistaken not to have any spatial context in your data when the thing it is modelling is highly dependent on spatial context.

            Of course, there will be some overlap with the current box score, but it’s becomes a completely new data set when you associated spatial context to each event, as well as break down the “outcomes” like point into smaller parts that create those outcomes.

            Posted by Gil Meriken | December 20, 2012, 9:53 am
          • Gil, your arguments just get worse and worse.

            “How is it possible to be meaningful when you consider the counter-proof that it’s very possible that two players for their career could have the exact same box score stats, yet have completely different impacts on winning in both style and magnitude?”

            Counterproof? That’s so unlikely it’s almost inconceivable. Find me an example of two players with a non-trivial amount of minutes who have identical box score numbers. Hint-don’t waste your time, you’ll fail. We probably have a better chance of being invaded by aliens or having the sun explode in the next few minutes.

            “Paulie – why even use the box score if it’s a mess?”

            A mess? It’s an orderly presentation of data that would otherwise be spread out over 48 minutes of chaos. Seriously, dude, you’re killing me.

            “So no, I don’t think this newer-type data is an “add-on”, and if it is, it’s making something useful (the box score) that wasn’t before.”

            This, really, is just so flat out wrong, it’s embarrassing. Box score analysis wasn’t useful? It’s helped many teams alter strategy and has helped analysts understand the game better for many years. You are wrong. There is no reasonable counterargument to be made.

            Oh, don’t get me wrong, you can say something that disagrees with my statements and you probably will. But being the last man standing in a debate proves nothing other than your own stubbornness. Stubbornness without reason is not a virtue.

            Again, I am not knocking spatial analytics. I am knocking your repeated absurd arguments, going all the way back to the start of this thread (“Kobe’s misses are better than any other players misses, because when he has the ball or shoots, the defense gets distorted and moved into poor rebounding positions”) and building from there.

            Posted by lochpster | December 21, 2012, 4:58 pm
          • Just to indulge Gil’s delusion, I will use a comparison that I have used before: Kobe Bryant to Dominique Wilkins.

            If you ONLY look at the most rudimentary stats, they seem pretty similar

            Wilkins: 24.8/6.7/2.5
            Bryant: 25.6/5.3/4.7

            and for the rates

            Wilkins: .461/.319/.811
            Bryant: .454/.338/.838

            And even the advanced metrics

            Wilkins: .536 TS%/21.6 PER
            Bryant: .555 TS%/23.5 PER

            But, when you then factor in the volume

            Wilkins: 995 Games Started
            38113 Minutes played

            Bryant: 1039 Games Started
            43375 Minutes played

            AND then add in the post season differences with Bryant playing in 173 MORE games and 6469 MORE minutes AND with differences in TS% and PER (.541 to .510 and 22.4 to 18.7), we conclude Bryant having greater impact.

            THEN, when we factor in the Black Ink test we see

            Wilkins: 0 (with FGA 2x)
            Bryant: 10 (with FGA 5x)

            THEN we further add in awards shares and we see that Wilkins was NEVER an MVP, NEVER 1st team all Defense and ONCE 1st team All NBA. Contrasted with Bryant and his MVP, 9x 1st team all defense and 10x 1st team All NBA.

            It’s pretty clear, that even using the “mess” that is the box score data combined with the other “meaningless” data and awards given by “biased” writers, that Bryant is clearly superior to Wilkins even though the BASIC information of PPG< RPG and APG has them has pretty good comps.

            This is WHY we use data in COMBINATION and do not summarily dismiss anything simply because, by itself, does not reveal the ENTIRE truth.

            Posted by Paulie Walnuts | December 22, 2012, 10:22 am
          • “Box score analysis wasn’t useful? It’s helped many teams alter strategy and has helped analysts understand the game better for many years. You are wrong. There is no reasonable counterargument to be made.”

            How’s this for a counterargument?

            First, you have no evidence to back-up your statement. Please tell me which teams have altered their strategy based on analysis derived from the box score. Not Houston. Not Dallas. The box score records some events from the game, but it doesn’t record significant events that drive those outcomes.

            Here’s a powerful appeal to authority: Mark Cuban at the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics conference that the stats that you read in the box scores for NBA games “are pretty useless.”

            http://experiencematters.wordpress.com/2012/03/09/analytics-from-mark-cuban-to-text-mining/

            This is a man all about scientific methods of improvement.

            “Counterproof? That’s so unlikely it’s almost inconceivable. Find me an example of two players with a non-trivial amount of minutes who have identical box score numbers. Hint-don’t waste your time, you’ll fail. We probably have a better chance of being invaded by aliens or having the sun explode in the next few minutes.”

            This is called a hypothetical. Of course it’s near impossible that it will happen. But that’s it’s not necessary for it to happen. The point of the question is : do you agree or disagree that if this were to occur, the players would have to have had the same impact on winning? Because I assert that you have to believe that if you believe in any pure box score models.

            Don’t base your analysis and arguments on the box score, it won’t get you very far.

            Posted by Gil Meriken | December 26, 2012, 1:14 am
          • Gil,

            How, then, can you prove all the assertions that you make regarding Bryant (or anyone else)?

            Specifically, the claim that the Cavs would have won the title with Bryant from 2008-2010?

            If the box score data is meaningless, how then are YOU able to determine anything meaningful about anyone?

            Posted by Paulie Walnuts | December 26, 2012, 7:44 am
          • Paulie, it’s a completely futile tilting @ windmills exercise trying to tease critical, rational thought from this rounding error … it really is …

            using the immortal logic of denny green, he is who we thought he was …

            Posted by Ken | December 26, 2012, 4:28 pm
          • “The box score records some events from the game, but it doesn’t record significant events that drive those outcomes.”

            This, from the guy who said this?

            “The person who plays the most minutes should get the most credit.

            Also the person who scores the most points in one regular season game is the best. That would be Wilt Chamberlain.

            POSTED BY GIL MERIKEN | MAY 8, 2011, 11:07 AM”

            ………awkward……..

            Now as for this:
            “Please tell me which teams have altered their strategy based on analysis derived from the box score. Not Houston. Not Dallas. ”

            Every single team in the league, ever. You’re telling me you don’t think that every team in league history does things like feed their leading scorer when they need points, or get the ball to their best free throw shooter in an obvious foul shooting situation? You don’t think Dallas knows to feed Dirk because he’s an insanely efficient high volume scorer? You don’t think that any part of Houston’s acquisition and utilization of James Harden had to do with either his incredible efficient scoring or his otherworldly advanced stats, or that Omer Asik’s impressive rebounding percentage numbers had anything to do with his acquisition and current role?

            Umm, ok then.

            I guess I don’t have 100% proof, so I’ll let your retort stand. However, I ask that you stick to your guns and be consistent. When discussing Kobe, please never bring up the following points-his scoring averages, his minutes, his 15 rebounds in the 2010 finals, any sort of advanced stat, or anything else that is box score derived. KThanks :)

            “do you agree or disagree that if this were to occur, the players would have to have had the same impact on winning? Because I assert that you have to believe that if you believe in any pure box score models.”

            No, I do not agree at all. And why would I have to believe that? This is known as a straw man argument. Nobody ever asserted that box scores explained 100% of everything, yet that’s the position you’ve chosen to refute, and it’s a totally absurd one. Do you believe that spatial analytics explain 100% of basketball? I certainly hope not.

            “Don’t base your analysis and arguments on the box score, it won’t get you very far.”

            Point A-Based on your prior statements, you’re a massively stubborn cherry picking hypocrite.

            Point B-The best arguments involve all data available. To ignore any of it is foolish.

            You’re trying to manufacture an argument that doesn’t exist. I’m officially going to quit letting myself be trolled in this thread. I’m out.

            Posted by lochpster | December 26, 2012, 6:55 pm
          • also off-limits should be:

            1. 30,000 points …
            2. 81 points vs. Toronto …
            3. 63 points in 3Q vs. Dallas …
            4. Ten 30 point games in a row …
            5. Five rings …
            6. Four 50 point games in a row …
            7. Two Finals MVPs …
            1. One Regular Season MVP …

            The foregoing, as well as anything similar, are now meaningless tidbits … all analysis is now reduced to the “opinion test” …

            I’ll go first … I think Smush Parker is the greatest of all time … prove me wrong without using data, individual or team accomplishments, or any other discrete data points …

            Posted by Ken | December 27, 2012, 5:23 pm
      • And as far as attacking the author’s work, take a look at his other excellent pieces here:

        http://courtvisionanalytics.com/

        There is a great one that beautifully illustrateds how Lebron’s shot selection has changed for the better.

        http://courtvisionanalytics.com/the-evolution-of-lebron/

        Posted by Gil Meriken | December 6, 2012, 3:16 pm
  87. I had to endure Mike and Mike (or dumb and dumber) on the radio today celebrating Bryant reaching 30k points and then mulling whether Kobe is a “top 5 player”. Bob Ryan even got involved and offered what amounted to a very poorly constructed opinion.

    Kobe is not a top 5 player. Never will be.

    Kobe is a great player. He has played a ton of minutes and that has a lot of value. He is a terrific scorer and was an elite defender. He was an integral part of 5 NBA Championships. He will also likely finish 2012-13 in 12th place all time in minutes played.

    Yet, this rush to celebrate comes at the cost of ignoring the totality and the context of said players performance.

    True that Kobe is the youngest to reach 30k points, but he is also likely the third youngest to reach 3500 turnovers. Bryant is presently 11th all time and will likely finish 2012-13 in 6th or 7th place. (This is without assuming that Robertson or Elvin Hayes did not have more than 3800, which is possible).

    Bryant did NOT have a greater impact on winning than did Jordan, Russell, Kareem, Wilt, Magic, Bird, Duncan, Moses Malone, Hakeem, Shaq, West or Robertson.

    Total points are only ONE unit of measurement; it is not the only one.

    Posted by Paulie Walnuts | December 6, 2012, 10:41 pm
    • thank you, and lochpster and PG40, too, for providing some much needed perspective here …

      i could cry, but i think i’ll save my tears for the rims in OKC tonight … there’s no telling how much abuse they will take tonight as Kobe masterfully and precisely vectors his intentionally missed shots to enable an offensive rebound or putback from his otherwise hapless teammates …

      Posted by Ken | December 7, 2012, 10:17 am
    • “Bryant did NOT have a greater impact on winning than did Jordan, Russell, Kareem, Wilt, Magic, Bird, Duncan, Moses Malone, Hakeem, Shaq, West or Robertson.”

      Perhaps this might be more precisely stated as:

      “Bryant did NOT have a greater impact on HIS TEAM’S RATE OF winning than did Jordan, Russell, Kareem, Wilt, Magic, Bird, Duncan, Moses Malone, Hakeem, Shaq, West or Robertson.”

      He seems to do a marvelous job of buttressing the prospects of winning for Lakers opponents …

      9 – and – 13, boys and girls … 9 – and – 13 …

      Posted by Ken | December 12, 2012, 11:24 am
      • I think your (Ken) last statement is grossly overstated.

        Bryant was and still is a great player that a team needs to win a title.

        He just isn’t as great as some others that have also played the game.

        But it is a pretty short list.

        Posted by Paulie Walnuts | December 12, 2012, 12:09 pm
        • Well, at least we are in accord that he is fanatically overrated by many …

          Posted by Ken | December 12, 2012, 2:24 pm
          • It’s the idea that Kobe is the “as good as Jordan” because he was “the next Jordan” and that he is also “the closet thing to Jordan since Jordan”

            Bryant may be the closest embodiment to Jordan, but that doesn’t mean that Bryant is anywhere close to having Jordan’s impact.

            Posted by Paulie Walnuts | December 12, 2012, 3:32 pm
          • I agree with you on that point, too … but his overrating is more than just in regards to the comparisons to MJ … as I often point out, those persisting with the intellectual dishonesty that LBJ isn’t vectoring well beyond Kobe’s career arc are staking out even more egregious, outlandish territory …

            Posted by Ken | December 12, 2012, 3:49 pm
          • I think that has to do with the mentality of, as I wrote elsewhere in this thread, reaching your conclusion and then working backwards to prove it correct.

            I would wager that many know the truth, yet will fight to the death to deny it. That is why you see the egregious and largely unprovable arguments.

            When your apples don’t compare, use oranges and then claim the OTHER person was using the wrong item for comparison.

            Posted by Paulie Walnuts | December 12, 2012, 4:12 pm
  88. I also have a hard time thinking that a player with ONE MVP award is greater than a player with THREE; let alone 5 or 6.

    Posted by Paulie Walnuts | December 6, 2012, 10:44 pm
    • testify!

      most of my top 10 (MJ, Magic, Wilt, Kareem, Bill Russell, Bird, Timmy D., et al.) all have regular season and Finals MVP award rates (excl. Bill Russell and Wilt, who didn’t enjoy playing their entire careers in the era of Finals MVP awards) that obliterate a record of one regular season MVP and two Finals MVPs in 16+ seasons …

      Posted by Ken | December 7, 2012, 10:27 am
      • “most of my top 10 (MJ, Magic, Wilt, Kareem, Bill Russell, Bird, Timmy D., et al.) all have regular season and Finals MVP award rates (excl. Bill Russell and Wilt, who didn’t enjoy playing their entire careers in the era of Finals MVP awards) that obliterate a record of one regular season MVP and two Finals MVPs in 16+ seasons …”

        All this talk of Awards, and yet, All-defense selections are considered a joke. Talk about cherry-picking your data …

        Posted by Gil Meriken | December 10, 2012, 11:56 pm
        • All Defense is not a joke, but they didn’t start those awards until 1968-69 and DPOTY not until 1982-83.

          As of now, Bryant has not won that award, yet Jame swill likely win the ward this year or next.

          Posted by Paulie Walnuts | December 11, 2012, 5:07 pm
          • I also find it odd that Jerry West was a 1st team all defender from 1969-70 until his last full season in 1972-73 and 2nd team the first year they handed the award out in 1968-69.

            This means that West played 8 seasons (his prime) when there was no award and STILL regarded highly enough to be 1st team his last four full seasons.

            Yet, that somehow doesn’t seem to make Jerry West at least the equal of or greater than Bryant to some.

            Posted by Paulie Walnuts | December 11, 2012, 5:15 pm
  89. I wonder how great Kobe’s misses would be if he had say. . . Kwame Brown in the post as opposed to Dwight Howard, Shaq, or Pau Gasol.

    Wait. . . I think we have that answer.

    Posted by Paulie Walnuts | December 7, 2012, 11:44 am
    • ‘xactly …

      nevertheless, it still manages to confound the hell out of me how the Kobe mythologists, without fail, uniformly characterize that very significant sample (2004/2005 to 2006/2007) in his prime as the “Kobe saddled with Smush, Kwame and Luke” era …

      it’s almost as if the nickname “Smush” made Parker’s game less legitimate (check the data … his averages over two seasons in LA would have made him the second best player on the Cavs team that LeBron, as a 22 year old, was actually “saddled” with in carrying the Cavs to the Finals following the 2006/2007 season) …

      and it’s almost as if the much more prominent Lamar Odom, Caron Butler, young Andrew Bynum, and other professionals on those teams never even existed …

      Posted by Ken | December 7, 2012, 12:05 pm
      • Kobe Bryant in his prime would have won the title with Lebron’s 06-07 team.

        Testify.

        Posted by Gil Meriken | December 10, 2012, 11:58 pm
        • I disagree. You can’t prove otherwise, either.

          Posted by pointguard40 | December 11, 2012, 6:49 am
          • The argument that Kobe would have won a ring with the ’07 Cavs is so far off the reservation, it doesn’t even warrant much attention …

            But here’s the bottom line on the attention I’d be willing to give it … Kobe got his way for three seasons in his prime (WITH a boatload of individual experience and a franchise coming off four Finals appearances and three rings in the previous five seasons) and played exactly .500 basketball with nary a single playoff series win to show for his efforts (with Lamar Odom, Caron Butler, etc.) …

            If that’s not bad enough, consider his aggregate effect on the franchise over the years … the Lakers win %age during his 16+ year career WITH HIM PLAYING is now 65.8%; WHEN HE DOESN’T EVEN PLAY (statistically significant with 100+ games missed over his career), it’s still 62.1% … thus, the “Kobe effect” translates into an extra THREE wins per 82 game season …

            For context, the “MJ effect” and the “LBJ effect” are both 25+ games …

            Posted by Ken | December 12, 2012, 10:37 am
        • Then why couldn’t Bryan t win with the 2004-05 Lakers or the 2005-06 Lakers or the 2002-03 or ’04 or ’08 or 2010? 2011?

          I doubt the Lakers will win this year.

          Please explain, if Bryant’s misses are indeed better than anyone else’s AND Bryant is likely to LEAD THE LEAGUE in MISSED FGA this year, why the Lakers aren’t winning now and likely will not win the title?

          Posted by Paulie Walnuts | December 11, 2012, 5:02 pm
          • self-correction: the “LBJ effect” translates over his 9+ year career into an extra 23 wins per 82 game season …

            an extra 3 wins (Kobe) vs. an extra 23 wins (LBJ) …

            But, of course … it totally makes sense that Kobe would undoubtedly have led the hapless Cavs to a ring in 2007 over the eventual champion, the Spurs; instead, he was ACTUALLY guiding a more talented Lakers squad to yet another first-round flameout loss vs. the Suns that year …

            Posted by Ken | December 12, 2012, 11:20 am
          • Ken, from where does this data come? Could you link to it?

            Posted by lochpster | December 12, 2012, 1:38 pm
          • The data is sourced from http://www.basketball-reference.com … the models and derived analytics are mine …

            I’m old school, though the same data is available elsewhere … and there are probably many ways of finding the same data parsed by someone else …

            The simple data sought is overall team record in relevant years vs. record when the player in question wasn’t a DNP …

            Posted by Ken | December 12, 2012, 2:04 pm
          • Obviously, the results are as much about the talent that the three players in questioned were lucky or unlucky enough to play with, as much as they are about cutting through the ESPN highlight package b.s. and the mythology nonsense to distill a much more accurate sense of whether a player ACTUALLY makes his team better (Kobe = not as much as many seem to think) …

            Posted by Ken | December 12, 2012, 2:11 pm
  90. ” his averages over two seasons in LA would have made him the second best player on the Cavs team that LeBron, as a 22 year old, was actually “saddled” with in carrying the Cavs to the Finals following the 2006/2007 season”

    What a complete display of lack of understanding of statistics and how to apply/analyze them. As if you could simply “carry over” those statistics from team to team … you are a moron, I have no qualms characterizing you as such since you have proven it time and time again.

    Posted by Gil Meriken | December 10, 2012, 11:53 pm
  91. LoL @ “gynormous ass”

    Posted by CHARLES D | December 23, 2012, 7:00 am
  92. Yes I do agree Wilt would have been a great player in any era.

    However, I’ve done alot of research into Wilt’s era and have found the following – without question his MONSTER STATS WERE A PRODUCT OF HIS ERA.

    Back then there were far more shot att per game, and because teams shot low percentages there were far more rebounds per game.

    Because W

    Posted by Mitch | February 13, 2013, 7:22 am
  93. Not sure what happened but I’ll continue here.

    Because Wilt was the best rebounder of his era, how many times do you think he got easy offensive rebounds with easy baskets to follow on rebounds that simply would not be available today because teams shoot much higher percentages.

    Dennis Rodman in his best season actaully got a higher percentage of all the rebounds available in each game than Wilt did in the season he set the rebounding record by a fairly good amount.

    This tells us Wilts monster rebound numbers were a product of his era, more rebounds available = more rebounds gotten.

    Same can be said about points scored.

    I track M. Jordans best scoring year, had the Bulls had the same number of shot atts per game as Wilts team did, same free throw atts and Jordan played the same minutes Wilt did, Jordan would of scored something like 58 points a game.

    Far surpassing Wilt’s ave of 50 points per game.

    Kind of puts Wilts monster stats in perspective based on an era of far more shot att, far more rebounds and far more of everything.

    It is also why and how the big O ave a triple double, he could not do it today because there is simply not enough rebounds to go around today for him to do it.

    Posted by Mitch | February 13, 2013, 7:33 am
    • The one thing to consider about that mind set is that opportunity is not evenly disperesed in basketball.

      The better players always will have more opportunity.

      I can certainly agree that the raw numbers would change, I am not so willing to say that the disparity would change.

      If we concede that the raw totals dip, could it not also be argued that the effectiveness would rise for the best players?

      In the three seasons from 1970-71-1972-73 that Wilt led the league in total rebounds (which he did 11x), Wilt pulled 17.6, 17.6 and 16.9% of all rebounds available. This from the ages of 34-36!!

      In Rodman’s years where he led the league in total rebounds (4x), he had percentages of total rebounds of 21.9, 15.8, 19.4, and 17.3.

      Both players were clearly great rebounders, but when you add in that Wilt was also adding 13.2, 14.8 and 20.7 points per game (on .616 shooting) AND adding over 4 assists a game, we must ask how much of Rodman was derived form singular focus as opposed to greatness?

      Hopefully, we will get more team data so that we can better determine Wilt’s rebounding percentage in his younger days.

      Posted by Paulie Walnuts | February 13, 2013, 8:49 am
      • Rodman holds the league record for a single season with 29.73 TRB%. The next best guy is Marcus Camby with 24.06. That’s a vast gulf from Wilt’s 20.08. There are multiple estimates for the number of possessions in th 60s. I haven’t seen even one estimate that would give Wilt a better TRB% than he had in 71/72, which makes sense, because he focused on rebounding in his Laker days even more so then before.
        It’s just a fact that when you play 48 minutes per game and there is almost double the amount of rebounds per game available, you’re rebound numbers will look incredible.

        Posted by Chris | February 13, 2013, 9:38 am
  94. It’s not a “fact”; it would be a “logical assumption”

    Posted by Paulie Walnuts | February 13, 2013, 9:48 am
  95. If we take Wilt’s 1960-61 season when he had 2152 total rebounds and see that the warriors had 5938 rebounds in their games and that the league average total was 5789 we can estimate that Wilt pulled 2149 of 11727 for 18.3%.

    of course, that is just a raw estimate, but I imagine it to be closer to the truth than further.

    Then add in that Wilt was also scoring 38 points per game.. .

    The next year, when Wilt averaged the 50 per game, he pulled 2052 rebounds of an estimated 11652 for
    17.6% while scoring 40% of his teams points!!

    Posted by Paulie Walnuts | February 13, 2013, 10:00 am
  96. The thing to draw form this is:

    If Babe Ruth played today, he wouldn’t be hitting more home runs than any other TEAM, but he would still probably be the best player in the league (or amongst the best)

    We do have to give some credit for originality.

    Posted by Paulie Walnuts | February 13, 2013, 10:02 am
  97. Great post Chris.

    I’m going off memory here, I have the data and would have to go find it but I’m sure I’ll be in the ballpark with these numbers.

    When Wilt set the record there were something like 146 rebounds per game.

    In Rodmans best year there were only like 88 rebounds per game, now, anyone who thinks Wilt could get 29 rebounds a game or whatever he set the record at when there are only 88 rebounbds available in the game is living in a monster fanatasy world.

    Rodman got I think 18.7 rebs going off memory, which is 21.25%.

    To get 29 rebs would reguire one to grab 33%of the rebs, impossible to do.

    Considering Wilt could only get 29 (19.9%) rebs with 146 available how on earth could anyone believe he would get 29 (33%) with only 88 available ?

    It is silly to suggest such a thing !!

    Posted by Mitch | February 13, 2013, 7:31 pm
  98. I do agree, that Wilt was scoring and rebounding of coarse that is much harder to do both things well VS a guy doing only 1 thing well.

    My point is/was Wilt without question would have been one of the best players in the league in any era, but his monster numbers that are so much higher than other players are a PRODUCT OF HIS ERA…………………..

    Posted by Mitch | February 13, 2013, 7:38 pm
  99. It is the same thing with the big O averaging a triple double, with 146 rebounds available he could just get to 10 rebs a game, that is 6.8%.

    To get 10 rebs with 88 rebs per game would rguire him to get 11.4%, highly, highly unlikely he could pull down 11.4% of all rebs in a game, A PRODUCT OF HIS ERA………………..

    Posted by Mitch | February 13, 2013, 7:41 pm
    • Oscar Robertson wasn’t a particular good rebounder given his height relative to his era. He was an amazing passer and scorer, but I always have to roll my eyes when people gasp about those dreamy triple double averages. I mean how is Robertson’s average a greater achievement than what Magic, Bird, Jordan, Grant Hill and LeBron have done?
      The early 60s are the best example why per game numbers are utterly useless to intelligently discuss basketball history as a whole.

      Posted by Chris | February 13, 2013, 8:18 pm
  100. I miss having new posts from this site to read. By and large I find this to be one of the better basketball sites. Whats up with the lack of updates?

    Posted by nightbladehunter | February 23, 2013, 9:54 pm
  101. How to drive a Boston Fan Crazy;
    1. Say Wilt was the greatest basketball player and best center ever.
    2. Wait til they bring up the disparity between Celtics titles and Wilts’.
    3. Bring up Ted Williams,his titles, and by comparison, um, Paul O’Neill, for example.
    4. Wait for answer. Watch them closely. It’s fun.

    Posted by Ed Feldman | March 31, 2013, 11:05 am
  102. wilt is the best of all time

    Posted by brendinho | May 3, 2013, 5:40 am
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    Posted by Chelsea Wales | May 18, 2013, 3:18 am
  104. In 61-62 the year Wilt averaged 50.4 points per game his team the 76ers shot 43.9% from the field, a low % by todays standard, but it was good for 2cd best in the league back then and despite shooting such a low % the 76ers scored 125.4 pts per game.

    WOW, HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE ? To shot such a low % with no 3 pt shot and manage to score a whopping 125.4 pts per game ?

    HERE-IN LIES THE SECRETS TO THOSE BIG NUMBERS PUT-UP IN WILT’S ERA.

    It was not easy competition as some pundits will try to suggest, it was simply mathmatics.

    There was a different brand of basketball being played in Wilts era, it’s called…………. RUN AND GUN BASKETBALL.

    Teams took far more shot atts per game, in 61-62 Wilts team the 76ers took a whopping 111.6 shot atts per game.

    In 86-87 the year Jordan averaged 37.1 pts per game his team the Bulls took 87.3 shot atts per game.

    Wilt’s team also took 40.1 free throws per game compared to Jordan’s team taking just 27.5 per game.

    Now how would any reasonable person expect Jordan to score more points than Wilt when Jordan’s Bulls took 24.3 fewer shot atts PER GAME and 12.6 fewer free throws PER GAME ?

    That’s right, Wilt had the advantage of his team taking a whopping 24.3 more shot atts per game and 12.6 more free throws per game, that folks is called……RUN AND GUN BASKETBALL.

    Who do you suppose would score more points if Jordan’s Bulls had 111.6 shot atts per game and Wilts 76ers had only 87.3 shot atts per game and Jordan’s Bulls took 12.6 more free throw atts per game ?

    You don’t need to be a brain surgeon to answer that question.

    …………IT’S ALL MATHMATICS FOLKS !!

    In 61-62 the ave team took 107.74 shot atts per game and 37.06 free throws per game, Wilts team took MORE than the ave team back then, and that’s exactly what was needed for Wilt to increase his already lofty numbers was getting more shot atts on top of the already inflated shot atts of his era.

    Posted by mitch | July 14, 2013, 8:07 am
  105. Now I will show you mathmatically why Jordan’s 37.1 pts per game was better than Wilt’s 50.4 pts per game.

    Here’s the question……how many points would Jordan score if eveything had been equal, same shot atts per game and same minutes played ?

    There’s a number of ways one can do this. We could look at points scored per possesion, or the % of team shots Wilt and Jordan took, they all reach about the same result.

    The easiest and simpliest way is to detrermine how many points Jordan scored per every Bulls shot att.

    37.1 (Jordans pts scored) divided by 87.3 (Bulls shot atts) = .42497

    Jordan scored .42497 pts per every Bulls shot att, if given the same shot atts as Wilt, 111.6 we multiply Jordan’s .42497 pts by 111.6 = 47.43 pts per game was the pace Jordan was on if given an equal number of shot atts.

    This clearly puts Wilts 50.4 pts per game into much better persecptive.

    Jordan played 40 minutes per game, Wilt played every minute of every game including all the overtimes and averaged 48.5 minutes per game.

    HOW MANY POINTS WOULD JORDAN HAVE SCORED PLAYING 48.5 MINUTES PER GAMES ?

    WELL, Jordan would have scored 47.43 pts divided by his minutes of 40 = 1.18575

    Now multiply Jordan’s pts per minute by 48.5 = 57.51 pts per game.

    Jordan was on pace, if given a equal number of shot atts and minutes played to score 57.51 pts per game.

    NOW WE CAN CLEARLY SEE THE EFFECT OF WILT’S ERA HAD ON THOSE BIG NUMBERS.

    Now, one could argue that Jordan could not maintain that pace for all those additional shot atts per game and all those additional minutes played per game and you’d likely be right.

    But remember this, Wilt was the best rebounder of his era, as such he had another huge advantage of his era.

    When we take Wilts stats out of his team stats we find his teammates shot just about 40% from the field, in other words Wilt’s teammates missed 60% of their shots, WOW FOLKS, HOW MANY OFFENSIVE REBOUNDS DO YOU SUPPOSE WILT TURN INTO EASY PUT-BACK BASKETS ?

    OFFENSIVE REBOUNDS THAT SIMPLY WOULD NOT BE AVAILABLE IN TODAYS GAME BECAUSE TEAMS TAKE FAR FEWER SHOT ATTS AND SHOT MUCH HIGHER %’S.

    Remember, there were about 146 rebounds available per game in those days compared to just 88 when Jordan scored 37.1 pts.

    So now we combined that fact that in Wilt’s era teams took far more shot atts per game, Wilt’s team took even more shot atts than the ave team, Wilts teammates shot a very poor % from the field leaving many, many offensive rebounds for Wilt, the best rebounder of his era to collect and turn into baskets.

    We could also add that Wilt was known to play for big stats, if you watch some old games of Wilt he got lazy at times not getting back on defense likely because of playing all those minutes which is somewhat understandable, but how many times did he recieve long lob passes for easy baskets simply because he was to lazy/tired to get back on defense ?

    WILT WAS THE PERFECT PLAYER, A GREAT SCORING BIG MAN WHO HAPPENED TO BE THE LEAGUE’S BEST REBOUNDER TO COME-ALONG AT THE PERFECT TIME OF INFLATED SHOT ATTS AND POOR SHOOTING FROM THE FIELD TO ACCOMPLISH SUCH GREAT FEATS OF SCORING.

    This is not meant to take anything away from Wilt, it just puts in persective his big numbers which are so much bigger than anyone else has done.

    Wilt is, and remains one of the greatest players to ever play the game, and he would have been great in any era bar-none !!!

    Posted by mitch | July 14, 2013, 8:55 am
  106. I am from Greece, former player and still involved in bball thru my kids. I always wondered if all the people who write these comments and make these analysis have ever played bball or any game at any level! They seem to me that they are just members of fan clubs of MJ, Wilt, Lebron etc and their sole purpose is to support their guy over everybody else. There are arguments to support each of the top ten players of being the GOAT but most of the ones I have read lack any practical knowledge of the game or how the sports evolved in the last 50 years, with a few exceptions. In the real world imo Wilt Chamberlain is the most dominant player to ever play the game. He would be very successful today, maybe not with the numbers of the early sixties but still the top center in the league and most dominating force. The two main reasons are his physique bust most important his intelligence and ability to understand the game. Wilt himself admitted that modern 80′s, 90′s players are overall more athletic, but this doesn’t make them better players. I coach junior teams and I try to explain to them that a bball is not weightlifting or wrestling. Having enormous biceps, or dunk a foot above the rim maybe good for exhibition but has little effect in the game. Two examples.
    1. Google Dimitris Diamantides.
    He is the Panathinaikos Greece pguard, the best in Europe. He stands 6,5 with long arms and that’s about it. He smokes, doesn’t work out heavily with weights, cannot jump high, cannot take a super jump shot, cannot run faster than most guards in the world. Still he is top defender, top rebounder, top assist man, top in steals, at any level he played and best clutch player Europe produced the last 15 years. The main reason is his brain!!!
    2. In 2006 world championship games Greece scored 102 points against a USA team that included LBJ, Dwight Howard, Chris Paul and many others, and kicked them out of the finals!!! Naturally the American players were by far superior athletically to the Greeks. Why did they loose?

    Athleticism on its own doesn’t make someone great. It helps but will take u so far. Reading and understanding the game is much more important. This is Wilts and some of the other greats big advantage that makes them all time stars. The same stands for Lebron when he will be compared with players from the future. Everybody can jump and dunk in the NBA, but there is only one Lebron!
    I read the argument that Wilt played against much shorter players. This is another wrong assumption mainly because most of the people don’t know how the game was in the 60′s , 70′s . In those days everybody above 6,7 was trained to play center! All players had to learn how to play with their back to the basket, take hook shots, pivot and have a post play. A 6,8 center was many times much more effective and dominant than a slow 6,11 guy. Even in modern era players like Barkley or Wade dominate near the basket although they lack in height.
    For a center to score many points is extremely difficult unless he gets the ball often enough. In many occasions Wilt didn’t have this luxury as his teammates admitted ,still he managed to put enough points on the stat sheet.
    Wilt was a top all round player, the best all around center I have seen. None of the videos ive seen verify that he was selfish. You have to know that in those days the global trend was to play as much as possible with their centers, and at the same time protect them from fouls in defense. A dominant center would make the opponents a jump shooting team, and this is one of the reasons Wilt was such a top rebounder. Scared people away from the paint! Height has nothing to do with rebounding! Moses Malone is the perfect example. Big but not that big, still dominated the boards.
    Great players develop as the game develops. Wilt would probably do the same. He had the physique, talent and brains to dominate any era, regardless of statistics. There are things that u do in a game that u cant put in a sheet. And Wilt was a top guy in doing these things, that only his team mates and opponents understand. As Bill Russell said ” Wilt, I am the only one who knows how good you are”.
    I hate to make any comparisons between modern centers and Wilt or other greats like Shaquille. These guys are tall forwards, they are not centers. The position is dying, modern marketing is more interested in peripheral players and in my opinion it is one of the reasons that the NBA is not at each best.
    Maybe if Wilt was around in his 20′s he would remind us of a lost art.
    RIP Wilt.

    Posted by Pete | October 1, 2013, 5:10 am
  107. One little thing to remember also is that Kevin Love is 6.7′.5″ but listed at 6-10, michael beasley is 6’7 but listed at 6-10, Dwight Howard was measured at 6-9 but listed at 6-11 and then you have T-Mac who was 6′-9.25″ without shoes but listed at 6-8. Today most listed heights seem to add 2-3 inches to barefoot height

    Posted by michael | November 12, 2013, 1:31 pm
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