Baseball blog by a Red Sox fan
to pick Chamberlain over Russell is to misunderstand the nature of the game. It's a team game and the point is to win.
u are right,it's a team's game and it was boston who won san frascisco or philadelphia,not russell won wilt!this is the reason why is wrong saying russell won 11 and wilt so,so bul is better!as much i am russell's huge fan but as idividual player wilt was better,maybe as great dafender,blocker and rebounder plus much better scorer and also better passer!wilt had to lead his team in every categorie to win but russell had great HOF teamates who could score,pass,take rebounds,defend...wilt's best teamate was guy rodgers in his half career!
The Celtics still would have been a dynasty without Russell--obviously not 11 championships in 13 years but probably would've won at least five or six. Chamberlains Warriors would've been nothing without him!
@ThaddeusI am pretty sure if Wilt had played with 8 other Hall of Famers, he would have won a bunch of championships as well. One of Russel's teams had 4 HOF's coming off the bench! In head to head matchups Wilt doubled the points of Russell and outrebounded him by 5. The H2H win total was in Russell's favor 88 to 74. Wilt lost 4 game sevens to Russell by a total of 9 points. Russell's career best fg% was 46.7%. I am not sure he would even make it in today's NBA or especially in the 90's. Physically he would be a slim SF with no scoring ability. Even if he could make it, he might not get the chance as no team would draft him unless they knew who he was. At best in the modern NBA, Russell would be a skinny Ben Wallace or Dennis Rodman.
I always feel that Russell has been slightly overrated because of his 11 championships, a feat that almost certainly will never be seen again in the NBA. While he was an elite rebounder and possibly the greatest defender in the history of the game, his offensive production (15.1 points per game on 44 percent shooting) is very pedestrian for that era. He never led the league in win shares, never led the league in PER (or finished in the top 3), and shot just 44 percent from the floor despite averaging only 13.4 field goal attempts per game and playing close to the rim. Chamberlain averaged ten more shots per game and still made 54 percent of his shots.Check out their numbers from 1959-1969, when their careers overlapped, and it's no contest.Chamb: 34.4 pts 24.3 reb 4.5 ast 198.3 WS 28.1 PER .539 TS .530 eFGRuss: 14.8 pts 22.6 reb 4.6 ast 133.1 WS 18.3 PER .471 TS .439 eFG
The Celtics style of play resulted in no individual player getting lots of win shares... they spread the ball around and had a fairly even-handed attack. And they won 11 titles in 13 years. Wilt had more win shares, and won far less.There are only so many win shares to go around on any given team... if those win shares have to be split up between Russell, Sam Jones, Havlicek, etc. no single player will have a huge amount. Russell could have had many more win shares if he had played in a system focused only on him, but he would have actually won much less. If you look at the all-time top win share seasons in NBA history, they all are the result of a team that relied very heavily on a single player (Jordan, Kareem, Wilt, etc.)... none of the leaders are players on teams that played a system with lots of shared responsibility (like the 60s Celtics or 80s Lakers or 80s Celtics). That's one reason I think the whole concept of win shares is pretty weak, in general.And... yeah, the point of basketball is to win. I'm not just all "RINGZ OMG!" but Russell's impact was huge and Wilt's wasn't nearly as significant as his stats would suggest. Wilt even played on a team with a losing record one year in his prime. (I think that's a really big deal... can you picture prime Russell, Bird, Magic, Jordan, etc. ever playing on a losing team?... I sure can't -- and none of them were ever even close to that in their primes. But it actually happened with Wilt.) As far as the Celtics winning multiple titles without Russell, obviously we can't say for sure either way, but I doubt it. They had some very good Cousy-led Auerbach-coached teams before Russell and never even made the finals. Everything can't be measured in stats.
Do you think Russell's fg% would have gone up if he was the focal point of the offense with the defense keying on him? Also, if he was the focal point of the offense that would have taken away energy to play defense and rebound.Great players have played on losing teams many times. Kareem did it twice in the mid 70's, Oscar Robertson did it 3 times, Kobe did it once(twice if you count this year), and Olajuwon played on a 500 team when he was 27. This reminds me a lot of the brash statements made against Lebron when he was swept in the Finals by San Antonio. Many in the media said that no great player could ever get swept in the Finals and some even suggested that he could never be considered a great player because of this failure that no other great player had suffered. He would have been a senior in college if he hadn't went pro early and his second option was a 35% shooting Larry Hughes, and the statement wasn't true to begin with. Both Magic and Kareem, playing on the same team, were swept twice in the Finals.
Regarding shared responsibility and its influence on Win Shares we have an interesting experiment going on in Miami right now. Bosh's WS are basically the same at his Toronto days. Wade's were nearly identical regardless of going solo, with Shaq or with Lebron until this season the third in the current system. Lebron has seen a small dropoff in WS while playing at an incredible level. This drop is mainly due to not winning as much in the regular season as his old Cavaliers did. Man, did Mike Brown's one size fits all coaching style kill them in the playoffs every year.
I consider Wilt the greatest of all time. He not only holds dozens of NBA records but some (points in a season, season and career rebounds, minutes per game) I would put into the never to be broken category. Especially most career games without ever fouling out.In head to head with Russell he dominated having better points and rebound averages than his overall career averages. The Celtics won but it was not because of Russell stopping Wilt.On a side note, no matter who you think is the GOAT you must agree that Wilt and Abdul-Jabber belong in the top ten. Yet users of Basketball Reference (to which this site is linked) have not even voted those two in the top 20. They have the likes of Clyde Drexler and Chis Paul ahead of Kareem and Wilt. Hopefully more knowledgable voters will correct that problem soon.
I think that you flipped West and Robertson: despite their respective sizes, West was mostly a shooting guard and Robertson was mostly a (Magic Hohnson-style) point guard.
Chamberlain and Russell both had great players around them. Chamberlain versus Russell is not close. Russell is Affirmed. If we are keeping score and I believe they still do Russell wins. If we are just looking at stats, how about Oscar Robertson!