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View Full Version : Chamberlain vs Russell... one of the most one-sided rivalries of all-time.



Lionel20
11-22-2014, 11:50 AM
Ok, so Russell's Celtics team won 60% of the head-to-head match ups (post & reg Season) against Chamberlain's teams. During the period when Russell and Chamberlain were both active in the NBA, Russell's Celtics won 9 Championship, Chamberlains teams 1. Of course Russell fans want to stop there but if we take a more complete and objective analysis: Russell btw 1959-'69 was responsible for approximate 20% of his teams wins, Chamberlain 41% (Regular Season, Post Seasons Win Shares/Overall Wins).

Out of the 143 head to head match up's between Chamberlain and Russell, Russell's Celtics won 86, Chamberlain's squads only 57. But since this is an individualist comparison, we have to attempt to divide credit throughout their regular season and post season play.

So Wilt gets credit for approximately 41% of his team's 57 wins, while Russell gets approximately 20% of his teams 86.

In their 143 combined postseason and regular season match ups

Chamberlain contributes the equivalent of 23 victories, Russell only 17.


A difference of 5 wins may not seem like much, but if you take away Russell's biggest claim over Chamberlain, which is the "Celtics were better than most teams Chamberlain played on", then you're left with the statistical domination of Chamberlain across the board really (Points, Rebounds, Assists, and likely even Blocks). Even in head to head match ups, Chamberlain averaged 28.1 PPG against Russell (29.4 in the Regular Season, 25.6 in the playoffs) pretty much his league average during that period. Russell, averaged 14.5 (14.2, 14.9), against Chamberlain, slightly lower than his league averages, but likely off set some by age.

In short, Chamberlain was simply the much more dominant player in the league at that time, and in head to head match ups. I not so sure that Russell v Chamberlain qualifies as a rivalry anymore than the 60s Celtics vs Warriors/Sixers qualifies as one.

Andrew32
12-15-2014, 09:52 AM
Chamberlain is overrated.
Had two playoff runs in his entire career (64, 67) where he volume scored on good effiency.

This guy was consistently being turned into Iverson in the playoffs when facing decent competition.

Russell had a far better understanding of the team game and what it took to win.
He didn't care about stats and he stepped up rather then down in pivotal moments.

Wilt was definitly a greater "talent" then Russell but a better player with better impact on average? I am not so sure.

JordansBulls
12-24-2014, 03:39 PM
Chamberlain got shut down. He averaged 11.7 ppg in the finals

Lionel20
12-27-2014, 04:36 PM
Chamberlain is overrated.
Had two playoff runs in his entire career (64, 67) where he volume scored on good effiency.

This guy was consistently being turned into Iverson in the playoffs when facing decent competition.

Russell had a far better understanding of the team game and what it took to win.
He didn't care about stats and he stepped up rather then down in pivotal moments.

Wilt was definitly a greater "talent" then Russell but a better player with better impact on average? I am not so sure.

Chamberlain dominated Russell individually, as much or more than Russell's teammates dominated Chamberlains teammates.

Andrew32
12-29-2014, 02:58 PM
Chamberlain dominated Russell individually, as much or more than Russell's teammates dominated Chamberlains teammates.

That is your opinion.
Wilt may have generally outscored Russell but when he was doing so on terrible efficiency and while hogging the ball it may not have actually given him much of an edge over Russell in terms of team impact.

One must also factor in Russell's superior defense, his better leadership, understanding of the team game and other positive intangibles he had over Wilt.

I also know their were numerous playoff games where Russell badly outplayed and even outscored Chamberlain in key first halves and then once the game was firmly out of reach he backed off and let Chamberlain pad his stats big time.

Also while Russ had better teammates in the early 60's by the mid to late 60's Chamberlain had very strong casts which were probably better then Russells at times.

bagwell368
01-17-2015, 01:54 PM
That is your opinion.
Wilt may have generally outscored Russell but when he was doing so on terrible efficiency and while hogging the ball it may not have actually given him much of an edge over Russell in terms of team impact.

One must also factor in Russell's superior defense, his better leadership, understanding of the team game and other positive intangibles he had over Wilt.

I also know their were numerous playoff games where Russell badly outplayed and even outscored Chamberlain in key first halves and then once the game was firmly out of reach he backed off and let Chamberlain pad his stats big time.

Also while Russ had better teammates in the early 60's by the mid to late 60's Chamberlain had very strong casts which were probably better then Russells at times.

Wilt's best teams except for the 33 win streak Lakers teams were the last 3 Philly teams he was on. One year they won and decimated the Celts, one year they were young and everybody but Wilt turtled, the other year a couple of guys stunk and they had injuries.

Before Wilt was asked to play D he didn't, he scored, once he started to amass assists and play D he wiped the floor with Russell overall (if not the final Russell finals).

Wilt was an erratic player and person that never could have won 11 rings on the Celts. Russell and Red together along with a very strong team (through the end of '65) had the formula for winning and they were willing to sacrifice personal stats to do it. With an average coach on a poor franchise like the Pistons for instance Russell would have won zero rings, he just wasn't great enough on his own to do it.

bagwell368
01-17-2015, 02:15 PM
Ok, so Russell's Celtics team won 60% of the head-to-head match ups (post & reg Season) against Chamberlain's teams. During the period when Russell and Chamberlain were both active in the NBA, Russell's Celtics won 9 Championship, Chamberlains teams 1. Of course Russell fans want to stop there but if we take a more complete and objective analysis: Russell btw 1959-'69 was responsible for approximate 20% of his teams wins, Chamberlain 41% (Regular Season, Post Seasons Win Shares/Overall Wins).

Out of the 143 head to head match up's between Chamberlain and Russell, Russell's Celtics won 86, Chamberlain's squads only 57. But since this is an individualist comparison, we have to attempt to divide credit throughout their regular season and post season play.

So Wilt gets credit for approximately 41% of his team's 57 wins, while Russell gets approximately 20% of his teams 86.

In their 143 combined postseason and regular season match ups

Chamberlain contributes the equivalent of 23 victories, Russell only 17.


A difference of 5 wins may not seem like much, but if you take away Russell's biggest claim over Chamberlain, which is the "Celtics were better than most teams Chamberlain played on", then you're left with the statistical domination of Chamberlain across the board really (Points, Rebounds, Assists, and likely even Blocks). Even in head to head match ups, Chamberlain averaged 28.1 PPG against Russell (29.4 in the Regular Season, 25.6 in the playoffs) pretty much his league average during that period. Russell, averaged 14.5 (14.2, 14.9), against Chamberlain, slightly lower than his league averages, but likely off set some by age.

In short, Chamberlain was simply the much more dominant player in the league at that time, and in head to head match ups. I not so sure that Russell v Chamberlain qualifies as a rivalry anymore than the 60s Celtics vs Warriors/Sixers qualifies as one.

Team wins? Yeah I've argued with those stats. Too bad they didn't have USG% because Wilt was a pig, and it hurt the flow of their offense and even the interest of the players since it was like a schoolyard game with a bully that always gets the ball. Jordan dominated too, but won. AI dominated but sucked and didn't win. Believe me the feelings of Wilt (away from Boston) was a lot closer to AI (away from Philly) than they were for Jordan.

In his time Russell (a few extra years tagged on either side) was the fifth best player in the league IMO (and the numbers bear me out). He had the best Coach, and his team was #1 in SRS most years, I think two 2nds and a 3rd at the end of his career. Russell focused on winning - which included getting into Wilt's head about 5-8 times a year when Wilt would come over for dinner at Bill's. That's what you do when you're physically outmatched, you look for everything and anything else to win. He seemed to find that. Both of these guys were legends in their time, they are practically mythic now complete with the labels that they carry.

Head to head which I witnessed all of them on TV (that were broadcast, or then the radio) after the Fall of 1965. It was like Ali fighting Foreman, everyone thought Ali was dead. Wilt focused often on his game, or one "posterizing" Bill - but not so much on the winning. Bill went for winning, and the stupid Laker trick of the ballons in the rafter for game 7 '69 might have lost them the game/series in itself. But those last two years Bill was on fumes, they needed retread tough guy cum HOF'er Bailey Howell to do the dirty work down low.

The sweet spot of their careers did not overlap. 1964-65 for Bill and 1966-67 for Wilt. Wilt's FGA rate before '63-'64 was moronic - so sponge those away. Wilt's indifference to his FT% given how often he got fouled is plain brutal. Bill was far from good, but at .050 better than Wilt and always working it was a stark contrast.

If you're making teams you have to consider the negative influence of some players on the locker room, Wilt has too many. I'd take Hakeem over both of them, a few others too.