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View Full Version : Old School Question of the Day: How would Bill Russell's Game Translate today?



JasonJohnHorn
02-12-2014, 05:31 PM
It is Bill Russell's birthday! HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO THE GREATEST WINNER IN SPORTS HISTORY!!!


That said... it is clear that Russell's rebounding would be good enough to lead the league in any generation that didn't feature Wilt Chamberlain or Dennis Rodman, but that said, how would his game translate to today? I'm old (37 this year), but not old enough to have had the privileged to watch Russell play (though I've seen segments of games on NBA TV).

Defensive specialists who was famous for converting blocks into steals and hauling in the lion's share of rebounds. Would his game translate well to today's game? Would he be like Ben Wallace? Or Dwight with a high BBIQ? What kind of numbers do you think he would post? And what kind of impact would he have if he were thrown onto a roster like NY or Cleveland, or Toronto or Phoenix? (those are just random non-contenders).


Thoughts?

Hellcrooner
02-12-2014, 06:06 PM
He would never leave the bench because he is slow and cant shoot threes and thus does not fit the stupid small ball fever :rolleyes:

mightybosstone
02-12-2014, 07:02 PM
I'd see him as a Ben Wallace or Dennis Rodman type with an offensive game that would translate as a mediocre No. 3 offensive threat. I'd see him averaging something like 14 points, 12 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 blocks per game. I don't know that he'd be an All NBA guy, but he'd be an All-Star caliber guy who was constantly earning defensive awards and every contender would want on his team.

slaker619
02-12-2014, 07:26 PM
Would be dominant big man in the post, but not explosive so he'd be a stat man this new generation and unnoticed sadly

albertajaysfan
02-12-2014, 07:31 PM
He would be a great defensive anchor. Be at the top/near of the league in rebounding and blocks most likely.

On New York and Cleveland he would make such a small difference it would go unnoticed. Those teams have so many problems to work out that a defensive anchor in the middle isn't the sole answer.

On Phoenix the combination of him and Plumlee manning the 5 would be relentless that team would probably get HCA this year.

On Toronto they would actually have an inside presence that would also speed along Valanciunas' development going against such a smart player in practice all the time.

tredigs
02-12-2014, 07:42 PM
I'd see him as a Ben Wallace or Dennis Rodman type with an offensive game that would translate as a mediocre No. 3 offensive threat. I'd see him averaging something like 14 points, 12 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 blocks per game. I don't know that he'd be an All NBA guy, but he'd be an All-Star caliber guy who was constantly earning defensive awards and every contender would want on his team.

I'd see it closer to 11/16/3 + 3 blocks as a defensive anchor to a contender and the guy looked to as the leader of literally whatever team he was on in this NBA. He was a bit taller and more athletic than a guy like K Love, for comparison.

In scenarios like this I think of it rather then the guy just jumping straight from his era to this one, he gets a year to adapt to some modern training methods, rule changes and styles of the game.

By the way I like these JohnHorn, good work. Keep 'em up.


Would be dominant big man in the post, but not explosive so he'd be a stat man this new generation and unnoticed sadly
Much more explosive than some might realize.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j2AlFrOj5Mc

JasonJohnHorn
02-12-2014, 07:46 PM
Much more explosive than some might realize.

COAST TO COAST!!! WOW! He was like an unstoppable training running straight through everybody.

DreamShaker
02-12-2014, 08:22 PM
Ben Wallace as a better passer and better athlete. He would have to leave that hook alone, though. Lol.

smith&wesson
02-12-2014, 08:49 PM
Today ?? bill russel would dominate. why ? because we no longer have true C's in the league.

But I do think in the 90's and 80's he would have had trouble against guys like kaj, hakeem, shaq, etc.

Jamiecballer
02-12-2014, 09:31 PM
Amir Johnson++

tredigs
02-13-2014, 01:39 AM
Amir Johnson++

Lmfao. Disrespectful, man. I don't care how many +'s you throw there.

FlashBolt
02-13-2014, 02:12 AM
Ehhh.. Will he outrebound Dwight, Love? Don't think so.

asandhu23
02-13-2014, 03:00 AM
People don't realize that a lot of the players from back in the day were track athletes.

here's a picture of Bill Russell doing the high jump.

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/multimedia/photo_gallery/1105/bill.russell.rare.photos/content.3.html



here are some pictures of Wilt's athleticism.

http://i111.photobucket.com/albums/n155/nombreesizzyt/Wilt/50322679_40.jpg

http://i111.photobucket.com/albums/n155/nombreesizzyt/zelmo.jpg

http://i111.photobucket.com/albums/n155/nombreesizzyt/kareemblk.jpg

Chrisclover
02-13-2014, 03:22 AM
A perfect fit for the Heat. With him, Heat is unstoppable. Pacers' Hibbert and Bynum will have a tough time

Hawkeye15
02-13-2014, 03:51 AM
elite defender who struggled on offense. A 12/14/3 type center who protected the rim.

He is the most overrated ranking player in history for me, simply because many put him top 5. But, he was still a fantastic player.

ewing
02-13-2014, 03:55 AM
he'd be a kind of allstar whose folky story telling cobimed with a career year might win him an MVP

DreamShaker
02-13-2014, 03:58 AM
Ehhh.. Will he outrebound Dwight, Love? Don't think so.

Ben Wallace and Dennis Rodman have been probably the two best rebounders in the NBA in the past twenty years. Both 6'7 scrappers with average athletic ability. Russell was a better athlete than both of those guys. Also easily a better athlete than Love. Russell did so well because he had a basketball IQ that was off the charts. He would get 14 a game at least.

Hawkeye15
02-13-2014, 04:07 AM
Ben Wallace and Dennis Rodman have been probably the two best rebounders in the NBA in the past twenty years. Both 6'7 scrappers with average athletic ability. Russell was a better athlete than both of those guys. Also easily a better athlete than Love. Russell did so well because he had a basketball IQ that was off the charts. He would get 14 a game at least.

every rebounder in history is a better "athlete" than Love. So, explain how he has a few hits in the all time rebound rate ever....

Rodman is his own class. But to discredit Love and his ridiculous skillset is funny to me. It's why he keeps getting voted by GM's as, "makes the most out of the least" bs or whatever it is.

John Walls Era
02-13-2014, 04:32 AM
wasn't he an awesome athlete? in some of his videos, hes so fast.

DreamShaker
02-13-2014, 04:50 AM
every rebounder in history is a better "athlete" than Love. So, explain how he has a few hits in the all time rebound rate ever....

Rodman is his own class. But to discredit Love and his ridiculous skillset is funny to me. It's why he keeps getting voted by GM's as, "makes the most out of the least" bs or whatever it is.

Trust me, I would never discredit Kevin Love. I have been a fan since UCLA and he continues to be one of my favorites. I was stating, in probably a poor way, that hops and physical advantages don't always make someone a better rebounder, but Russell was not even a bad athlete. Does that make more sense? I just spent 5 hours in the ER, so I'm a little discombobulated! I'm fine...btw. Lol.

Chronz
02-13-2014, 05:05 AM
I like to think he would have an impact similar to KG in Boston, giving you less offensively but more defensively. Best anchor, alongside Hakeem.

Chronz
02-13-2014, 05:08 AM
Ben Wallace and Dennis Rodman have been probably the two best rebounders in the NBA in the past twenty years. Both 6'7 scrappers with average athletic ability. Russell was a better athlete than both of those guys. Also easily a better athlete than Love. Russell did so well because he had a basketball IQ that was off the charts. He would get 14 a game at least.
Russ was 6"10 235 at his peak, that in an era devoid of todays advances.

thenaj17
02-13-2014, 05:27 AM
elite defender who struggled on offense. A 12/14/3 type center who protected the rim.

He is the most overrated ranking player in history for me, simply because many put him top 5. But, he was still a fantastic player.

This! Sick of Russell being ahead of the likes of Shaq, Kareem, Kobe, Duncan and i've even seen some put him ahead of Bird & Magic & even Wilt who dominated that era like we've never seen, which is disgraceful

Drummond#1
02-13-2014, 05:45 AM
He would destroy everyone not named Hibbert or Drummond... He would just hurt them.

DreamShaker
02-13-2014, 05:48 AM
This! Sick of Russell being ahead of the likes of Shaq, Kareem, Kobe, Duncan and i've even seen some put him ahead of Bird & Magic & even Wilt who dominated that era like we've never seen, which is disgraceful

Any guy with 11 championships and 5 MVP's is going to get ranked high. Not saying I disagree with you on some of those names, but he was an amazing player. I won't hate on anyone putting him top 5 if you ask the question "what more could he have done?" He almost had a perfect career.

Drummond#1
02-13-2014, 05:55 AM
I can't see the league naming any award after Ben Wallace or Rodman... And I'm a Pistons fan. Same goes for Love and some of the other players you are talking about. He is a living legend get over it. Top 5 GOAT. Arguing for today's advances should be as valuable as arguing against the pussification of the NBA today.

KingstonHawke
02-13-2014, 06:48 AM
Y'all are over-rating him big time. His offense was trash. He was like a 50% free throw shooter, had limited moves, and was skinny (6-9 220). He'd be able to rebound and play some d, but he wouldn't lead the league in either category.

He's more like the Manimal than Ben. But with less athleticism. Good starter, but that's it. Maybe a 10-10 guy.

Jamiecballer
02-13-2014, 10:09 AM
elite defender who struggled on offense. A 12/14/3 type center who protected the rim.

He is the most overrated ranking player in history for me, simply because many put him top 5. But, he was still a fantastic player.

i think what you mean to say is Amir Johnson+++ :)

D-Leethal
02-13-2014, 10:52 AM
Anthony Davis.

KnicksorBust
02-13-2014, 11:14 AM
A better Joakim Noah.

bagwell368
02-13-2014, 12:01 PM
Ben Wallace as a better passer and better athlete. He would have to leave that hook alone, though. Lol.

Russell was a superb passing center in particular after Cousy retired, better than Wallace.

He'd be an 8/12/3/3 player today with very poor 2pt and FT percentages by today's standards.

bagwell368
02-13-2014, 12:15 PM
Any guy with 11 championships and 5 MVP's is going to get ranked high. Not saying I disagree with you on some of those names, but he was an amazing player. I won't hate on anyone putting him top 5 if you ask the question "what more could he have done?" He almost had a perfect career.

In his time he played most years in team with 7 or 8 other teams, with two rounds of playoffs, against no other dynasty team playing for the best GM, Coach, and alongside up to 7 other HOF's. His team was #1 in SRS I think it was 9 years straight. No other player ever had it so easy. If he was drafted by the Pistons he'd have zero rings.

Historically he's impossible to ignore, but when u isolate on just him, best case he just makes into the top 20 all time. If I was making 5 man teams to play each other he wouldn't make it into my top 8 at center. BTW, I saw him play live and on TV a number of times. Hakeem, KG, TD, Jabbar, Malone, Wilt, DRob, Ewing, all easily better as they were than he was, give me some rosters and I can name at least 5 more if not 10.

FlashBolt
02-13-2014, 01:51 PM
Overrated. Put him against peak competition. He's not going to dominate Ewing, Robinson, Shaq, Hakeem, or even Howard. Sorry. Top 20 center, not even top 10.

Chronz
02-13-2014, 03:39 PM
Overrated. Put him against peak competition. He's not going to dominate Ewing, Robinson, Shaq, Hakeem, or even Howard. Sorry. Top 20 center, not even top 10.
Why not?


Y'all are over-rating him big time. His offense was trash. He was like a 50% free throw shooter, had limited moves, and was skinny (6-9 220). He'd be able to rebound and play some d, but he wouldn't lead the league in either category.

He's more like the Manimal than Ben. But with less athleticism. Good starter, but that's it. Maybe a 10-10 guy.
He was a legit 6"10, he just preferred to be perceived as smaller, and you listed his rookie weight, he got up to around 235-240 in his later years, and you would be wrong to think Russel doesn't get any stronger with modern advances.

His offense was trash tho, but hes still the 2nd greatest defensive player of all time, behind only Dream.

Chronz
02-13-2014, 03:41 PM
In his time he played most years in team with 7 or 8 other teams, with two rounds of playoffs, against no other dynasty team playing for the best GM, Coach, and alongside up to 7 other HOF's. His team was #1 in SRS I think it was 9 years straight. No other player ever had it so easy. If he was drafted by the Pistons he'd have zero rings.

Historically he's impossible to ignore, but when u isolate on just him, best case he just makes into the top 20 all time. If I was making 5 man teams to play each other he wouldn't make it into my top 8 at center. BTW, I saw him play live and on TV a number of times. Hakeem, KG, TD, Jabbar, Malone, Wilt, DRob, Ewing, all easily better as they were than he was, give me some rosters and I can name at least 5 more if not 10.
At their apex, plenty were better than Russ, but his consistency/longevity (for an old guy no less) sets him apart from a few of those guys.

AntiG
02-13-2014, 03:44 PM
he's one of the greatest athletes ever at 6'9 and above in NBA history, combined with tremendous rebounding, defensive instincts and passing skills. He'd probably be a heckuva PF with his mentality and effort, like a much faster Ibaka.

KnicksorBust
02-13-2014, 04:08 PM
Ben Wallace as a better passer and better athlete. He would have to leave that hook alone, though. Lol.

Russell was a superb passing center in particular after Cousy retired, better than Wallace.

He'd be an 8/12/3/3 player today with very poor 2pt and FT percentages by today's standards.

What do you think of a better version of Noah?

Hawkeye15
02-13-2014, 04:45 PM
Trust me, I would never discredit Kevin Love. I have been a fan since UCLA and he continues to be one of my favorites. I was stating, in probably a poor way, that hops and physical advantages don't always make someone a better rebounder, but Russell was not even a bad athlete. Does that make more sense? I just spent 5 hours in the ER, so I'm a little discombobulated! I'm fine...btw. Lol.

jesus, what happened?

Russell was an excellent athlete. Not in the Rodman mold, but a very good one.

DreamShaker
02-13-2014, 07:08 PM
Russell was a superb passing center in particular after Cousy retired, better than Wallace.

He'd be an 8/12/3/3 player today with very poor 2pt and FT percentages by today's standards.

I worded it poorly, I was saying he would be a better passer than Wallace. "Ben Wallace with better passing" is my comp for him.


jesus, what happened?

Russell was an excellent athlete. Not in the Rodman mold, but a very good one.

Panic attack. Thought my heart was having trouble, but it's fine. I'm only 30, so that's good! But my BP and heart rate took forever to go down, so they kept me forever. My wife was sitting there asking me basketball trivia to relax me. They gave me valuum, so I was loopy.

tredigs
02-13-2014, 08:04 PM
He would without question average more than 12 rpg.

THE MTL
02-13-2014, 08:10 PM
He would be a better version of Ben Wallace.

tredigs
02-13-2014, 09:10 PM
From everything I have read, seen and listened to from or about Russell, it just doesn't make sense to only compare him physically and stat wise to guys like Ben Wallace. The guy had a mind for competition and the game itself that those who studied him or played with or against him consider 2nd to none. Ever. He was much, much more than just the stats. I literally have zero doubt that if he was placed on any team in the league today, he would be their captain and leader by the end of the first season there. Likely improving their team defense dramatically along the way.

KnicksorBust
02-13-2014, 09:58 PM
From everything I have read, seen and listened to from or about Russell, it just doesn't make sense to only compare him physically and stat wise to guys like Ben Wallace. The guy had a mind for competition and the game itself that those who studied him or played with or against him consider 2nd to none. Ever. He was much, much more than just the stats. I literally have zero doubt that if he was placed on any team in the league today, he would be their captain and leader by the end of the first season there. Likely improving their team defense dramatically along the way.

Ben Wallace is the mindless comparison bc of the simple "all D no O" stereotype. It ignores Russell's ball handling-passing-length. The impact Noah provides with the Bulls is the closest comparison to me.

NYSpirit1
02-14-2014, 12:59 AM
elite defender who struggled on offense. A 12/14/3 type center who protected the rim.

He is the most overrated ranking player in history for me, simply because many put him top 5. But, he was still a fantastic player.

Unless you're like 75 years old and were an avid basketball fan growing up, seeing all of Russell's game, then your comments mean nothing.

No one speaking here saw Russell play and those who are old enough that did, probably forget the details of his game.

People are calling him 'slow', should just watch that clip posted above, which pretty much validates that he would be the most athletic center in today's game. No center today can run like that. Guards do.

I don't get when people say that today's players are the most athletic they're ever been. The players in Russell's time played at a MUCH faster pace and played nearly the whole game, every game. Players aren't built like that today.

Russell clearly wasn't the best offensive player, but if he could average 24 rebounds a game then, he could probably average 16-18 a game now along with 15-18 points. Combine that with great defense, he'd be the best center easily in the game.

Again, I never saw him play, but sheer facts of someone who played nearly all 48 minutes, every game and can run like a deer even though you're a center AND win 11 titles.

C'mon, man. 12 and 14?

NYSpirit1
02-14-2014, 01:08 AM
Overrated. Put him against peak competition. He's not going to dominate Ewing, Robinson, Shaq, Hakeem, or even Howard. Sorry. Top 20 center, not even top 10.

Seriously?

This thread should just be locked considering no one here should be talking about an era that they never saw. Considering Bill Russell played against Chamberlain, the best center ever, you're saying he couldn't dominate the above?

Right. Chamberlain scored 100 points in a game once.

People are so set on today and forget about yesterday, quickly. The only immortal figure in basketball is Jordan and his myth/legend will continue to live on, even with 15 year old boys talking about him even though he retired before they were born.

If anything, today's players are vaginas, to put it lightly. In Russell's era, you had a fast, FAST pace game and even with that, those guys played the whole game. How else would Robertson score 30 PPG and still grab 12 rebounds and hand out 11 assists? Because they were constantly moving. Chamberlain averaged OVER 48 minutes a game one year, meaning he played every minute of the season. No one could physically do that now.

Fast forward to the Magic/Jordan era and those guys got hammered on the way to the rim. Less fouls were called and it was a much more physical game.

Players are babied today. LeBron is babied. He's an amazing player, but no way he shoots 58% in 1990. He'd be rattled from all the physicality and officials wouldn't give him the benefit of the doubt.

So I don't see what the discussion is here. Russell is an all-time great. He'd fare well against any other era an would still be an all-time great. There's nothing special about players in the 21st century. If anything, they're weak.

alexander_37
02-14-2014, 12:42 PM
I'd see it closer to 11/16/3 + 3 blocks as a defensive anchor to a contender and the guy looked to as the leader of literally whatever team he was on in this NBA. He was a bit taller and more athletic than a guy like K Love, for comparison.

In scenarios like this I think of it rather then the guy just jumping straight from his era to this one, he gets a year to adapt to some modern training methods, rule changes and styles of the game.

By the way I like these JohnHorn, good work. Keep 'em up.


Much more explosive than some might realize.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j2AlFrOj5Mc

The guy he jumped over was probably not even 6'0.

Jamiecballer
02-14-2014, 01:39 PM
I'd see it closer to 11/16/3 + 3 blocks as a defensive anchor to a contender and the guy looked to as the leader of literally whatever team he was on in this NBA. He was a bit taller and more athletic than a guy like K Love, for comparison.

In scenarios like this I think of it rather then the guy just jumping straight from his era to this one, he gets a year to adapt to some modern training methods, rule changes and styles of the game.

By the way I like these JohnHorn, good work. Keep 'em up.


Much more explosive than some might realize.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j2AlFrOj5Mc

am i the only one who thinks that video seems a little too quick to be legit?

b@llhog24
02-14-2014, 04:46 PM
A suped up Big Ben.

tredigs
02-14-2014, 04:51 PM
am i the only one who thinks that video seems a little too quick to be legit?
I see what you mean, but looking at the other players nah.



The guy he jumped over was probably not even 6'0.
Well, yeah, he probably was. But regardless does that change his skill/athleticism at all? The guy was a track athlete growing up and did high jump. He could fly. Average center in '62 was 6'11" btw. Russell was on the shorter end.

D-Leethal
02-14-2014, 05:11 PM
Joakim Noah?

KnicksorBust
02-14-2014, 10:13 PM
If someone quotes D-Leethal and says "great comparison" after I've said Noah like 3 times I'm going to be furious. :laugh:

b@llhog24
02-14-2014, 10:30 PM
Joakim Noah?

Great comparison.

KnicksorBust
02-14-2014, 10:35 PM
Great comparison.

Reported for baiting.

b@llhog24
02-14-2014, 10:40 PM
Reported for baiting.

:(