Ok...first off im a celtics fan as you can tell...
Ive done some research and i'd like too hear opinions. Im just curious as too why hes not usually ranked in peoples top 3 centers of all time, when i think he has a case for GOAT.
And I'd rather here opinions in this forum first..
Now, call me a moron all you want, but read what i have typed, and than decide for yourself. Also, im not saying Russell would be the best player RIGHT NOW. im saying Russell dominated his era more than anyone has dominated there's, even more so than MJ/Wilt/Kareem, read on..
Russells Defense is beyond legendary and was the Reason he captured back to back NCAA titles and after won 11 NBA titles in a 13 yr stretch (13 titles in 15 yrs) and if you want too go back too hs, he won 18 titles in 21 yrs..this is how good his defense is..
YR Drtg Rank Diff from League Avg. Diff from 2nd place
1956 90.4 6/8 -1.5
1957 82.4 1/8 4.8 2.5
1958 82.0 1/8 5.2 3.9
1959 83.0 1/8 5.8 4.4
1960 83.9 1/8 6.2 1.8
1961 83.0 1/8 8.2 4.6
1962 84.3 1/8 8.7 6.3
1963 86.6 1/9 9.0 6.1
1964 82.7 1/9 11.5 5.6
1965 83.1 1/9 9.9 8.1
1966 87.3 1/9 7.1 4.0
1967 90.8 1/10 4.9 1.7
1968 92.0 2/12 4.6 -
1969 88.4 1/14 6.8 2.8
1970 98.5 7/16 0.6 -
*1956 (the yr before Russell)
* 1957 (the yr after Russell)
(1) The Celtics led the league in defense in 12 of Russells' 13 years
(2) From 1958-1966 they dominated the league defensively like no team I can find for a 9 year period
(3) From 1961-1965 the ran off 5 consecutive historically dominant seasons. Look at those numbers.
(4) Before Russell they were a bottom defensive team and immediately jumped 6.3 relative points and 8.0 raw points to the top.
(5) After Russell they dropped to the middle of the pack, losing 6.2 relative points and 10.1 raw points.
According to Neil's method at B-R, who is slightly underestimating Boston's pace relative to the simple method (because he's assuming fewer turnovers are in play), those uber-dominant Celtics teams are the 3rd, 5th, 6th, 8th and 14th best defensive teams of all time, relative to competition. And there's nothing remotely comparable in NBA history for such sustained defensive dominance.
Basically where im getting at is the 50's-60's celtics won on defense and the driving force behind the defense was Bill Russell, He was by far the biggest part of this defense as you can see. The defense outside of Russell? it was meh, nothing special, as The graph shows.
Now, on too my next point.
The myth Russell had Great offensive support to cover up his one weakness (scoring)
now, Talking about the Celtics offense. it's a mistruth that Russell had all-world offensive support. first of all, Celtics were most years below average on offense, sometimes just downright league's bottom IIRC. (that's if you look at their ORTG, not PPG inflated by pace) if those stars were really as good as advertised then Celtics would be at least above average, and more likely, one of the league leaders in that regard. that was just... not what happened.
The Celtics offense was OBVIOUSLY good enough, but it wasn't average in some of those years, nevermind all-world offense some claim he had.
Most of those hof'ers are in becaus They were apart of a team that won 11 titles in a 13 yr stretch, not becaus they were actual legit hof'ers. Guys like KC Jones are in the hof for god sakes.
Now, you may be saying great, he dominated on defense, but guys like MJ could do it on BOTH SIDES, well thats flawed when Russells defense makes a Bigger Impact than even MJ had on offense. Russell made a decent group of defenders a dominating force that is like 2 ballparks above everyone else. Russell led a bunch of average defenders, into Historically GREAT defenses. Could MJ/Magic with average offense around them, Make them into Historically GREAT offenses? I don't think so...
Now, To my next topic, advanced stats (win shares/per.)
Years, such as 1969 People like too point out Russell was sometimes 3rd-4th in some of these numbers. Well this is EXTREMLY missleading for someone who Mastered All of the little things, that don't show up in box scores.
Examples in '69, Russell was behind Nelson/Havlick i believe in playoff win shares/per 48. These stats don't do Russell justice as he was the main reason for opponents poor shooting. Also..
*the Celtics without Russell and WITH Havlicek, Nelson, etc., went 0-5. Happened again in '62. Russell misses a stretch of games due to injury, Celtics can't win. Russell comes back to the lineup, Celtics win again. We saw it in '58. Russell gets injured in the Finals, Celtics don't win title. With a healthy Russell, they win eight straight. This is not a coincidence
*Don't forget that Russell was also coaching in addition to playing 46 minutes a game at 35 years old. It baffles me that people suggesting that he would rank behind a couple of teammates because they say they had better numbers, when Russell is the one player whose contributions to winning are unquantifiable.
Also, Too the people who like to Say wilt> Russell becaus of numbers, you need to do some serious research on each career. Its also a myth that Russell only won becaus he had better teammates. For example in '69' When the celtics were the last seed to make it in, and he led a bunch of old vets and he beat 2 better teams on paper that yr (knicks/lakers.) Including beating LA IN Game 7 ON THE ROAD, against a trio led by Wilt himself, West, and Baylor.
Here's a great quote that sums up the competitor Wilt was
"In a way, I like it better when we lose. It’s over and I can look forward to the next game. If we win, it builds up the tension and I start worrying about the next game.”- Wilt Chamberlain
Which brings me to my last point
* Russell is the ONLY member of those 11 title teams during that 13 yr stretch
* The 2 longest losing streaks of that whole era, was when Russell went down with injury
* The Celtics went from Winning there 11th title in 13 yrs in '69 to missing the playoffs the following year and failing to make the playoffs
Also, What did Russell do when it mattered? He was a perfect 11-0 In deciding games (10-0 in game 7's, 1-0 in game 5)
In conclusion, His stats don't look all time great, But he made his teammates better than they looked, and knew how too win, and he won ALOT. To say guys like MJ/Wilt are better based on stats imo is unfair when you can CLEARLY see Russells impact on his teams, and his impact was HUGE. So, do state tell the whole strory? Not even close...