1. Welcome! Please take a few seconds to create your free account to post threads, make some friends, remove a few ads while surfing and much more. ClutchFans has been bringing fans together to talk Houston Sports since 1996. Join us!

Why is he considered the best ever?

Discussion in 'NBA Dish' started by primtim24, Aug 22, 2012.

  1. SamFisher

    SamFisher Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2003
    Messages:
    58,858
    Likes Received:
    36,387
    Nobody compares because he played in that ridiculous era of the late 50's early 60's which the game was played at a silly pace with tons and tons of bad shooting.

    Basically it's like saying since Cy Young had 511 wins, he's the greatest pitcher of all time in baseball bar none, since no modern pitcher comes close.
     
  2. juanm34

    juanm34 Member

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2009
    Messages:
    6,723
    Likes Received:
    7,787
    Because he killed the jazz with his 38pt flu playoff performance.
     
  3. albuster

    albuster Member

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2009
    Messages:
    1,889
    Likes Received:
    465
    Really really great post. This should end all arguments. But this is getting to be a boring period in Rockets history so any topic that can be argued is good, I guess.
     
  4. albuster

    albuster Member

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2009
    Messages:
    1,889
    Likes Received:
    465
    Good post. Doug Collins kept saying this. Many people always look at Jordan's athletic abilities with awe, but what was great about him too was that he was fundamentally sound. His athleticism had a solid foundation.
     
  5. OremLK

    OremLK Member

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2010
    Messages:
    16,057
    Likes Received:
    10,235
    Cy Young is definitely strongly in the conversation for "greatest pitcher of all time"--he has the highest career WAR of any pitcher in baseball history, for one thing. But even CY didn't exhibit statistical dominance in nearly as many categories as Wilt did in basketball.

    IMO it's more like saying Babe Ruth is the best baseball player of all time--few would dispute the Babe is a heavy favorite despite playing in a different era and a different offensive environment.
     
  6. SamFisher

    SamFisher Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2003
    Messages:
    58,858
    Likes Received:
    36,387
    He really did though. 300 wins (about the most anybody can get in the modern era) is to 500 wins as 30 points is to 50 points.

    The early 60's was qualitatively different in the way the game is played - when you attempt to control for those factors the numbers from that era get brought back down to earth. They are still great, but not otherworldy.....

    ....and that's not even contemplating the *documented* fact that he played agaisnt lesser competition.

    I know many rational people would dispute somebody comparing something that happened nearly a century ago in a completely different context that none of us have ever seen and declaring it indisputably superior on its merits, especially given that the trend in most athletic pursuits is for the standard of performance to rise over time, rahter than diminish.
     
  7. SamFisher

    SamFisher Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2003
    Messages:
    58,858
    Likes Received:
    36,387
    The best way to get a sense of Wilt's 50 PPG season is to watch any NBA all star game from the last 15 years.

    Take out the dunks, and make 80% of the players white and less athletic, and lower the field goal %, and you have the way basketball was played back then.
     
  8. Icehouse

    Icehouse Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2000
    Messages:
    13,383
    Likes Received:
    3,724
    When Wilt avg 50 ppg he was in the same division as Bill Russell, who was definately not white or less athletic (well technically everyone was probably less athletic than Wilt, even centers today...but Russell was an elite athlete). He saw a great defensive center more nights that season than Howard or Bynum will see combined this season.
     
  9. Easy

    Easy Boban Only Fan
    Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2002
    Messages:
    35,152
    Likes Received:
    24,177
    What you said is true only on offense. Hakeem was a better defensive player through out their careers.

    I'd say it is debatable who was the better all-around player. Too bad they played different positions so statistics aren't straightly comparable. The only disadvantage career-wise for Hakeem is that he fell off pretty quickly in his last three seasons. Jordan remained at a super productive level until he retired for good.
     
  10. SamFisher

    SamFisher Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2003
    Messages:
    58,858
    Likes Received:
    36,387
    That's not even remotely true.

    First, Bill Russell's got to be among hte most overrated players in history (along with Wilt, Oscar and Wes Unseld who makes Chuck Hayes look skilled..)

    His ceiling in today's NBA is basically Ben Wallace or Dennis Rodman, and I'm being generous. He was 6-9 215 pounds. If he played todya, the concern would be whether he could add enough weight to be a PF (he'd probalby be on the Rockets....lol).

    Second, the reason why Russell was even notable at all was that he was the first guy who actually bothered to play defense and contests shots. he was basically throwing the forward pass whereas everybody else was tossign laterals - of course he looked amazing doing it. He gets credit for being a disruptive innovator, but saying that he's the best defender ever as a result has an element of "The Wright Brothers Flyer I was the greatest plane ever"....it's probalby not true as things tend to advance over time.

    Look no further than the horrible highlights from that era. Ever see Bob Pettit or Dolph Schayes protect the rim? of course not....because nobody bothered.

    Second, even a great night for Russell during that riduculous era equated to holding Wilt to about 20-30 points due ot the obscene pacing and the endless trips to the free throw line. Doesn't really look all that impressive or translatable, and it's not enough to impact his jokey average in the arena ball era overall.

    Third the problem is that the antiquated (not to mention segregated) defenses back then were terrible and physically overmatched as a whole, not just one on one...

    ....If you honestly think that going against the 1962 celtics big men (6-9 215 lb Russell, 6-7 218 lb Tommy Heinsohn and 6-5 220 lb Jim Loscutoff ) is even remotely comparable on a pure physical/athletic basis than the 2012 variant, Garnett, Brandon Bass, Paul Pierce) - it's not even remotely in the same ballpark....Russell though undersized, woudl have played in today's NBA. THe other 2 would probably be D-leaugers or deep backups at best.

    Look, today you have 6-9 wing players now playing the passing lanes, guards (most of whom would have been stars back then due ) floating in to slap the ball away - things like that were unheard of back then, and the athletes were vastly inferior to boot.
     
    #110 SamFisher, Aug 24, 2012
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2012
  11. MrRoboto

    MrRoboto Member

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2009
    Messages:
    801
    Likes Received:
    61
    Bill Russell is now one of the most overrated players of all time?

    I disagree.
     
  12. SamFisher

    SamFisher Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2003
    Messages:
    58,858
    Likes Received:
    36,387
    Then you tell me why a Center who never was able to shoot over 45% from the field ever and who never broke 19 ppg despite playing in the greatest offensive bonanza era ever is considered great, not just great, but among the greatest players of all time...:confused:....does it all honestly break down to "rings rings rings" - that's just a lazy argument IMO.

    Again, he was great as an innovator...and great for his era, but his performance in retrospect isn't that impressive with all the evidence we have today.

    The original NES was a greater invention and more successful than the PS3.


    But the PS3 is a far more impressive, capable and difficult piece of technology to compete against today.
     
    #112 SamFisher, Aug 24, 2012
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2012
  13. juicystream

    juicystream Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2001
    Messages:
    29,280
    Likes Received:
    5,394
    He was 30-6-6 guy while playing great defense, hitting clutch shots and winning 6 titles in an era of parity. He was very efficient scoring the ball. About the only thing he wasn't one of the best at (for his position) was 3pt shooting.
     
  14. MrRoboto

    MrRoboto Member

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2009
    Messages:
    801
    Likes Received:
    61

    Yes, the eleven rings have something to do with it. And his field goal percentage and points per game were not his greatest strengths. His strengths were intelligence, defense and rebounding while providing enough offense to keep teams honest; especially when it counted. Hence the rings.

    While I agree he is ranked too high on most lists of the greatest of all time, I do not agree that he is one of the most over-rated players in basketball history.
     
  15. Icehouse

    Icehouse Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2000
    Messages:
    13,383
    Likes Received:
    3,724
    Even if you think Russell was overrated overall, I have never heard anyone utter that he was overrated defensively. If you don't think Bill Russell was a great defender then you are entitled to your opinion, but we both know you are in a very small minority on that one. The point was that when Wilt dropped 50 a game, he saw a great defender at the C position more times (that season) than Howard/Bynum will see today because he and Russell were in the same division and the league only had 9 teams. Yeah Russell was listed at 6-9 and 215 pounds. The 6-9 was barefoot as that's how they were measured then (hey, Dream really wasn't 6-10 ya know) and IIRC the weight listed was his college weight.

    So please, let's not try to act like:

    - Russell was small compared to C's today

    - Russell wasn't athletic compared to C's today

    - Russell wasn't arguably better defensively than any big today
     
  16. SamFisher

    SamFisher Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2003
    Messages:
    58,858
    Likes Received:
    36,387
    Maybe i"m a pioneer then, but the same qualifiers that exist about that era (inflated stats, including rebounding, poor competition) exist on defense as well as offense.

    First off, I did some perusal of the box scores and wilt dropped 30-50 on most of the Celtics games I saw.

    Second, who cares if he's a relatively great defender in an era of horrific defnders and more importantly awful/nonexistent defenses overall? You're very focused on the gap between Russell those 5-10 games they played - what about the gap between the rest of the detritus manning the C position those days, the Dolph Schayes and the Darrel Imhoffs Wilt saw (unathletic, short, slow, and didn't defend), the unathetic, non-help defending wings, and the generally passive defensive style of the day? That's a far bigger hindrance.


    What about that while Russell may have been a great defender (for his time on a relative basis), the 1962 celtics big men would be physically overmatched by Luis Scola, Chuck Hayes, and Sam Dalembert...?


    Actually Dream was 6-10 3/4, listed at 7 feet. But yeah, wow the barefoot argument. Unless Wilt and Bill had to play the game barefoot it doesn't really matter. The recorded heights and weights, even if you subtract an inch for that, are still incredibly disparate across the entire league.

    So please, let's not try to act like:
    He was.


    He's not *unathletic* compared to them, but when you compare him to Darrell Imhoff, Dolph Schayes, and Willie Naulls, the gap is a lot greater than comparing him to Samuel Dalembert or Omer Asik, let alone Dwight Howard, Tyson Chandler, or ANdrew Bynum.

    Put Tyson Chandler in the 1960's and I have no doubt he'd average 15-20 boards and 10 blocks.

    He does everything Bill Russell can do, and he's bigger and stronger. Hell, I think Anthony Davis could do it too.

    I just don't understand why anybody *wouldn't* think this. Russell was the first player to play defense in the aggressive "modern" style. Guys today have taken that, and built onto it and refined it - further they are bigger and stronger across the board, and again, they have to play far more difficult competition. Jesse Owens would lose a race to Usain Bolt. Russell would have a much harder tiime with Dwight Howard than he did with All star C Neil Johnston.


    Things advance over time. Especially as the NBA talent pool has expanded exponentially over the last 50 years, with the first wave of it being the end of segregation (which included Wilt & Russell) continuing up through the professionalization and modernization of the game today.
     
    #116 SamFisher, Aug 24, 2012
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2012
  17. tolerance

    tolerance Member

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2012
    Messages:
    26
    Likes Received:
    1
    I don't think you can make the argument that what separates Jordan from anyone else is that he was a "consummate winner" or he "wouldn't let his team lose" or he was the most "intense" or "willed" his team to victory more than anyone else. Every single argument applies equally if not more accurately to Bill Russell.

    I think a lot of people on here have romanticized basketball in the 90s as being the best era because that was what they grew up with. I also think a lot of people have understated the athleticism of players from earlier eras.
     
  18. tolerance

    tolerance Member

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2012
    Messages:
    26
    Likes Received:
    1
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4seN0mugh1k

    Here's a vid of some dunks from the 60s. I hope it helps to dispel some of the myths I've read on here such as that the league was full of unathletic white guys who played below the rim and the utterly absurd claim that no one but Russell played "aggressive defense"
     
  19. johnstarks

    johnstarks Member

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2008
    Messages:
    1,505
    Likes Received:
    65
    This. MJ was the GOAT. He could dominate a game by himself and no one could stop him. Russell also apparently had a killer instinct--there's a reason why his teams always beat Wilt's teams--Wilt was into stats, Russell was into winning. But the league was still not nearly as competitive and developed in terms of talent when Russell played as it was when Jordan played. Jordan dominated when the talent level was at its peak.

    Magic is the guy to start a team with though, because he made everyone else better and made everyone work as a team. Plus, Magic could play every position so he'd be great to have if someone gets injured.
     
  20. SamFisher

    SamFisher Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2003
    Messages:
    58,858
    Likes Received:
    36,387
    Here's a video of cherry picked highlights. Look for a Bob Petit video to see how weak sauce the slower smaller defenders of the era were.
     

Share This Page

  • About ClutchFans

    Since 1996, ClutchFans has been loud and proud covering the Houston Rockets, helping set an industry standard for team fan sites. The forums have been a home for Houston sports fans as well as basketball fanatics around the globe.

  • Support ClutchFans!

    If you find that ClutchFans is a valuable resource for you, please consider becoming a Supporting Member. Supporting Members can upload photos and attachments directly to their posts, customize their user title and more. Gold Supporters see zero ads!


    Upgrade Now