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Shammyguy3
09-27-2015, 04:26 PM
If you think someone should be added to the poll PLEASE don't ***** about it. Just mention in the thread that he should be added to the next poll and if the player's all-time standing is relatively close to the number we're at there shouldn't be a problem adding him to the poll.


So, who does everyone have?

1. Michael Jordan
2. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
3. Wilt Chamberlain
4. Shaquille O'Neal
5. Tim Duncan
6. Hakeem Olajuwon
7. Lebron James
8. Magic Johnson
9. Larry Bird
10. Kobe Bryant
11. ?

KnicksorBust
09-27-2015, 05:24 PM
The top 10 best basketball players of all-time has reached a point where whoever comes in 11th is an absolute outrage. Well here we go...

Bill Russell is the greatest defensive player of all-time. He absolutely controlled the game on that end of the floor and he won more NBA titles than any player in history. He also was league MVP 5x which is the 2nd most in NBA History. How can a player with so profound am impact be left out of the top 10? It's outrageous. You want Hakeem Olajuwon over him? Congrats. But Hakeem can't touch what Russell did.

5ass
09-27-2015, 06:59 PM
The top 10 best basketball players of all-time has reached a point where whoever comes in 11th is an absolute outrage. Well here we go...

Bill Russell is the greatest defensive player of all-time. He absolutely controlled the game on that end of the floor and he won more NBA titles than any player in history. He also was league MVP 5x which is the 2nd most in NBA History. How can a player with so profound am impact be left out of the top 10? It's outrageous. You want Hakeem Olajuwon over him? Congrats. But Hakeem can't touch what Russell did.

The only reason Russell accomplished what he did was because of the era he played in. In terms of how good they were as basketball players, Russell can't touch Hakeem.

That being said, I'm going with Russell here.

FlashBolt
09-27-2015, 10:41 PM
Bill Russell ain't a better defender than Hakeem... unless you consider guarding complete bums great offensive players... Hakeem had to go against the elite of the elite. Bill went up against the best center of his time and was beaten by him in a h2h matchup.

Tony_Starks
09-28-2015, 10:36 AM
Between probably Russell or Dr J....

valade16
09-28-2015, 11:29 AM
Bill Russell ain't a better defender than Hakeem... unless you consider guarding complete bums great offensive players... Hakeem had to go against the elite of the elite. Bill went up against the best center of his time and was beaten by him in a h2h matchup.

Interesting... That would undoubtedly be why Wilt has 11 titles and Russell 2.

If you want to talk about Wilt statistically bettering Russell go ahead, but that doesn't necessarily indicate who outplayed who in a matchup.

Shaq's Finals stats were every bit as good if not better than Hakeem's when they went head to head, but people say Hakeem dominated Shaq because he stepped his game up in the 4th quarter and made all the plays at the end.

Also, can we stop pointing to the number of Hall of Famers Russell played with, a fair few of them are only in the HOF because they played on those Celtics teams. If they had played for any other team of that era and thus didn't get handfuls of rings they wouldn't be HOFers.

You're telling me Tom Sanders, K.C. Jones and Frank Ramsey would be Hall of Famers if they hadn't played with Russell and won all those rings? They have a combined 0 All-Star Games and 0 All-NBA teams. They are Hall of Famers because they have rings.

I also find it curious that people are so quick to downgrade Russell because "he came to a team that had the league MVP in Cousy" on it and yet completely dismiss that exact same fact for Magic.

Magic played with Kareem, who won MVP Magic's rookie year and then the Lakers, fresh of a Championship, got to select James Worthy with the 1st overall pick. Yet Russell gets knocked because of his supporting cast...

KoB was right, whoever we left out of the Top 10 would be a travesty, but I think the anti-Russell sentiment on this site has swung far enough in the opposite direction it's time we bring it back to Center. Russell should go here and it should be unanimous. He should have been in the Top 10.

SLY WILLIAMS
09-28-2015, 12:07 PM
I'm not a huge stat guy but I would like one stat question answered. Do people like Bill Russell get short changed with stats like PER since he was a huge shot blocker? Some people from that time say he blocked 5-7 shots a game. Shot blocks and steals were not counted when Bill played but are part of the PER formula.

Chronz
09-28-2015, 01:06 PM
I'm not a huge stat guy but I would like one stat question answered. Do people like Bill Russell get short changed with stats like PER since he was a huge shot blocker? Some people from that time say he blocked 5-7 shots a game. Shot blocks and steals were not counted when Bill played but are part of the PER formula.

Short answer. Yes. But so do quite a few of his contemporaries. Russ stats will never impress save for a few seasons but he was as influential as Wilt was. He's definitely underrated for being the blue print

SLY WILLIAMS
09-28-2015, 01:15 PM
Short answer. Yes. But so do quite a few of his contemporaries. Russ stats will never impress save for a few seasons but he was as influential as Wilt was. He's definitely underrated for being the blue print

Then Wilts, Bills, and Clydes PER numbers would be higher. How significantly higher (estimate) would they be if their blocks and steals were added to their PERs?

Hawkeye15
09-28-2015, 01:30 PM
No way on earth Russell has the team success he had in that limited era on a super team in today's game.

That being said, he was a freak athlete, who would have grown up with the game being taught different, and would probably still be living on all NBA teams through his prime. He gets my vote here.

He is either very overrated, or very underrated generally. His stats show no way should he be ranked top 20. His team success, and defensive reputation, and IQ, puts him top 5. So in reality, he falls somewhere in between.

FlashBolt
09-28-2015, 02:36 PM
Interesting... That would undoubtedly be why Wilt has 11 titles and Russell 2.

If you want to talk about Wilt statistically bettering Russell go ahead, but that doesn't necessarily indicate who outplayed who in a matchup.

Shaq's Finals stats were every bit as good if not better than Hakeem's when they went head to head, but people say Hakeem dominated Shaq because he stepped his game up in the 4th quarter and made all the plays at the end.

Also, can we stop pointing to the number of Hall of Famers Russell played with, a fair few of them are only in the HOF because they played on those Celtics teams. If they had played for any other team of that era and thus didn't get handfuls of rings they wouldn't be HOFers.

You're telling me Tom Sanders, K.C. Jones and Frank Ramsey would be Hall of Famers if they hadn't played with Russell and won all those rings? They have a combined 0 All-Star Games and 0 All-NBA teams. They are Hall of Famers because they have rings.

I also find it curious that people are so quick to downgrade Russell because "he came to a team that had the league MVP in Cousy" on it and yet completely dismiss that exact same fact for Magic.

Magic played with Kareem, who won MVP Magic's rookie year and then the Lakers, fresh of a Championship, got to select James Worthy with the 1st overall pick. Yet Russell gets knocked because of his supporting cast...

KoB was right, whoever we left out of the Top 10 would be a travesty, but I think the anti-Russell sentiment on this site has swung far enough in the opposite direction it's time we bring it back to Center. Russell should go here and it should be unanimous. He should have been in the Top 10.

I said h2h matchup. Statistically and impactfully, Wilt always played better than Russell did. He had over 70+ 30 point games against Bill. Bill only had one against Wilt.. But you're telling me Bill is better because he has rings? Haha, how many people here are taking Bill Russell over MJ? Only senile people would agree to that. And my assessment was that Hakeem was a better defender because he's widely known as an all-time great NBA defender and he did it against the best opposition from his own position.

valade16
09-28-2015, 02:39 PM
No way on earth Russell has the team success he had in that limited era on a super team in today's game.

That being said, he was a freak athlete, who would have grown up with the game being taught different, and would probably still be living on all NBA teams through his prime. He gets my vote here.

He is either very overrated, or very underrated generally. His stats show no way should he be ranked top 20. His team success, and defensive reputation, and IQ, puts him top 5. So in reality, he falls somewhere in between.

Did you ever see this article?

http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/bill-russells-celtics-were-great-tim-duncans-spurs-have-been-better/

It basically splits the NBA into 3 leagues since the merger to simulate the size and playoff runs Russell's Celtics had to go through in an effort to gauge how many titles other great teams would win in those circumstances.

According to how they split it (and I'm sure you could manipulate the split to make some teams win more/less), the 80's Lakers won 10 in a 12 year period. The current Spurs won 10 but over like 16 seasons.

So you're right in that no way the Celtics would get as many titles in todays NBA, but at least according to this (admittedly, very inexact simulation) they wouldn't fall drastically behind any of the other modern dynasties of the modern era.

And when we talk about the greatest dynasties of all-time (The 00's Spurs, 00's Lakers, 90's Bulls, 80's Lakers, 80's Celtics) every single one of their star players is in the Top 10. I find it very hard to think that if Russell's Celtics played in todays NBA and racked up 3-5 Titles that he wouldn't be considered a Top 10 player.

valade16
09-28-2015, 03:05 PM
I said h2h matchup. Statistically and impactfully, Wilt always played better than Russell did. He had over 70+ 30 point games against Bill. Bill only had one against Wilt.. But you're telling me Bill is better because he has rings? Haha, how many people here are taking Bill Russell over MJ? Only senile people would agree to that. And my assessment was that Hakeem was a better defender because he's widely known as an all-time great NBA defender and he did it against the best opposition from his own position.

To address the Bolded, Russell is widely known as the greatest defender ever...

But as for the Wilt part, it's called context. Scoring isn't the only way to contribute. Heck, even if we look at your 30 pt number and realize, Wilt averaged more than that for his first 7 seasons in the league (many years by a lot more), then what you're really saying is Russell held Chamberlain to less than his average a bunch of times. Sounds a lot better for Russell that way.

Then we look at the specific series. In the 1969 Finals, After the Celtics went down 3-2 in game 6 Russell held Wilt to 8 points and then in game 7 Wilt went 4/13 on FTs and the Lakers lost by 2. Deciding games and Russell outplays Wilt.

Or look at the 1968 Finals. Celtics went down 3-1. Game 6 he holds Wilt to 20 points on 8/22. Game 7 Russell holds Wilt to 14 points on 6/15. When it matters Russell again outplays Wilt.

Or go back to 1965 Finals. Game 7 Wilt scores 30 but goes 6/13 on FTs. Celtics win by 1.

Or the 1964 Finals. That season Wilt averaged 38 PPG and Russell held him to 29 PPG.

Or 1962 when the Warriors lost 4-3 to the Celtics. That series Wilt outscored Russell 33.6 to 22.0, which seems like a clear win for Wilt... until you realize that season Wilt averaged 50 PPG and Russell 19, so Wilt averaged 17 PPG less than his season average and Russell 3 PPG more. Not only that but Game 7 Russell holds Wilt to 22 Points and scores 19 of his own and the Celtics win.

By the time we get back to the 1960 Finals is it any surprise to discover that Russell held Wilt to 26 points and scored 25 of his own as the Celtics won game 7?


So if you go just by your numbers it looks like Wilt was dominating Russell yet you see every time it mattered most in a deciding game 7 Russell outplayed Wilt (even if he didn't score as many points) and beat him.

Just let that chronology sink in man. That's 5 Game 7's Russell outplayed Wilt in. That's half of Russell's titles.

Imagine how different their legacies would be if Russell had 6 rings and Wilt had 7? But Wilt didn't get 7, because 5 times when it mattered he was outplayed by Russell.

Chronz
09-28-2015, 03:08 PM
Then Wilts, Bills, and Clydes PER numbers would be higher. How significantly higher (estimate) would they be if their blocks and steals were added to their PERs?
It really depends on league averages and how much higher they stand above their peers. I cant give an accurate estimate because Im not that smart but IIRC, if you imagine a league average player in every respect, each block is worth about .36-.40 of a PER point, that could vary in Russ's era tho.


Im using an old PER calculator right now, I honestly dont remember how its suppose to work or if its even up to date anymore but I input Duncans per game averages from 06 and came out with an estimate of 21.9 PER, his actual PER was 23.1. This is prolly due to his teams slow pace and me not correcting it and Im sure Im suppose to input his own per minute rates but I dont want to put in that much effort just to be wrong anyways.

So using that same model as our example, Duncan averaged 2 BLKS that season, if you remove those 2blks his PER dips to 19.6. If you add 2 blocks it raises to 24.1. Hope that gives you a decent visual of the weights. If not, I can ask around, see if someone can give me an updated excel file.

Chronz
09-28-2015, 03:22 PM
ManRam put it best last time we got to this spot, Russ falling out of the top11 would be getting to the point where the list becomes a mockery of itself. Im all for recognizing hes not the 2nd best player in history as many lists have him, but we may have gone too far.

flea
09-28-2015, 03:31 PM
I value winning over stats. Yes the league was weaker, yes he had a very good team most of the time, but he also won over a long period of time. Only 3 of his rings I believe you could say he wasn't certainly the best player on his team, and even then he was at worst a very good 3rd best player. I didn't watch in that era but he did enough for me to think of him as greater than Wilt - which is blasphemy to some fans.

So for me, if it's between Russell and someone like Robinson or Ewing - no question, even given the era. Big O, I can't help but feel he's the one that gets overrated because of era. Am I willing to say he's better than Dirk or either Malone? Probably not even if he was unique.

SLY WILLIAMS
09-28-2015, 05:57 PM
It really depends on league averages and how much higher they stand above their peers. I cant give an accurate estimate because Im not that smart but IIRC, if you imagine a league average player in every respect, each block is worth about .36-.40 of a PER point, that could vary in Russ's era tho.


Im using an old PER calculator right now, I honestly dont remember how its suppose to work or if its even up to date anymore but I input Duncans per game averages from 06 and came out with an estimate of 21.9 PER, his actual PER was 23.1. This is prolly due to his teams slow pace and me not correcting it and Im sure Im suppose to input his own per minute rates but I dont want to put in that much effort just to be wrong anyways.

So using that same model as our example, Duncan averaged 2 BLKS that season, if you remove those 2blks his PER dips to 19.6. If you add 2 blocks it raises to 24.1. Hope that gives you a decent visual of the weights. If not, I can ask around, see if someone can give me an updated excel file.


I do not need exact. I appreciate the estimate. Seems like guys like Russell, Wilt, and Clyde might get more votes in polls if their PER ratings were calculated the same way (including steals/blocks) as other guys. I personally never feel comfortable voting for guys I did not see play in their primes which is also unfair to them.

andy2518
09-28-2015, 07:01 PM
No way on earth Russell has the team success he had in that limited era on a super team in today's game.

That being said, he was a freak athlete, who would have grown up with the game being taught different, and would probably still be living on all NBA teams through his prime. He gets my vote here.

He is either very overrated, or very underrated generally. His stats show no way should he be ranked top 20. His team success, and defensive reputation, and IQ, puts him top 5. So in reality, he falls somewhere in between.

What does it really matter though if there were less teams? I mean, the real competition doesn't start until the later playoff rounds anyways even in todays game. How many teams are actually contenders currently? Maybe five. His teams still had to play the best teams and go through them in the conference finals and finals. So the league added some expansion teams along the way to sell more tickets and generate more revenue. Who even cares because none of them are actually relevant.

Chronz
09-28-2015, 07:09 PM
What does it really matter though if there were less teams? I mean, the real competition doesn't start until the later playoff rounds anyways even in todays game. How many teams are actually contenders currently? Maybe five. His teams still had to play the best teams and go through them in the conference finals and finals. So the league added some expansion teams along the way to sell more tickets and generate more revenue. Who even cares because none of them are actually relevant.
Because thats more contenders than back then. They didn't even need 4 rounds to win in some of them and that means less opportunities for upsets.

andy2518
09-28-2015, 07:16 PM
I value winning over stats. Yes the league was weaker, yes he had a very good team most of the time, but he also won over a long period of time. Only 3 of his rings I believe you could say he wasn't certainly the best player on his team, and even then he was at worst a very good 3rd best player. I didn't watch in that era but he did enough for me to think of him as greater than Wilt - which is blasphemy to some fans.

So for me, if it's between Russell and someone like Robinson or Ewing - no question, even given the era. Big O, I can't help but feel he's the one that gets overrated because of era. Am I willing to say he's better than Dirk or either Malone? Probably not even if he was unique.

Same. Who even cares if you have a triple double or score 60 if your team loses badly and you get embarrassed. D-Rob had his chances and especially in 1993 with his team up in the series against Barkley going into the fourth quarter in game five. Yes, there is a luck factor for sure, but can you tell me in any aspect of sports or life in general where there is never a luck factor at all?

andy2518
09-28-2015, 07:19 PM
Because thats more contenders than back then. They didn't even need 4 rounds to win in some of them and that means less opportunities for upsets.

That's true, but the point I was making is that the best competition usually comes in the conference finals or the finals. That still holds true to this day and then as well. How many times did Russell have to go through Wilt's Warriors and West's and Baylor's Lakers? Or even West's and Wilt's Lakers for that matter?

Chronz
09-28-2015, 07:47 PM
That's true, but the point I was making is that the best competition usually comes in the conference finals or the finals. That still holds true to this day and then as well. How many times did Russell have to go through Wilt's Warriors and West's and Baylor's Lakers? Or even West's and Wilt's Lakers for that matter?
I understood the point, I disagree with its importance. I feel like Russell's Celtics had FAR and away more talent than their competition. Given the lack of free agency and player movement, their ability to draft and scout was such a greater advantage than it would be today. The lack of teams only enhances their dominance.

To answer your Q, I would say Wilt's Warriors were the most comparable and that was only for a 3 year stretch after having drafted Billy C (at most). The year Wilt definitely had better support (roster+coach) they obliterated the C's and in the rematch the following year they were well on their way to repeating that feat until injuries decimated their frontcourt.

I would say he never faced West and Wilt's Lakers for the simple fact that Butch never entrusted Wilt with the reigns of the team, it proved to be their downfall and its why the first thing his replacement did was make giving the ball to Wilt (and less to Baylor) such a priority. Butch held his team back and was never heard from again in the NBA. He would rather have a pretty offense than an effective one, he would rather listen to his gut than listen to the only guy on the team to have tasted championship success against this very same Boston team.

andy2518
09-28-2015, 08:28 PM
I understood the point, I disagree with its importance. I feel like Russell's Celtics had FAR and away more talent than their competition. Given the lack of free agency and player movement, their ability to draft and scout was such a greater advantage than it would be today. The lack of teams only enhances their dominance.

Yes, they were the deepest for sure. I am not denying that at all. I was just saying that they had to still go through the two best teams in the league a ton of times. How many times does that even happen now a days? Take this years Warriors for example... They didn't even have to play the Spurs or the Clippers who IMO had the best shot of beating them in the West. Then when they got to the finals, they went up against a depleted Cavs team. It's pick your poison I guess... For sure face the two best teams in the league with the most complete team in the NBA, or be on a more level playing field with the competition around you and not necessarily have to face the two best teams to win a title because the other competition is capable of taking them out for you. Not saying I prefer one or the other, both have their drawbacks, just that should be taken into consideration as well when people knock Russell for the mere fact that there were less teams in the NBA at his time which was the original point I was making.


To answer your Q, I would say Wilt's Warriors were the most comparable and that was only for a 3 year stretch after having drafted Billy C (at most). The year Wilt definitely had better support (roster+coach) they obliterated the C's and in the rematch the following year they were well on their way to repeating that feat until injuries decimated their frontcourt.

Yes, injuries are a bummer, but who knows what really would have happened the following year. I'm just going by the factual data in front of me. The fact that Russell's Celtics had to go through the best teams in the league every single year in the playoffs cannot be overlooked. How many times in the modern era did a team have to always play the best two teams in the league to win a title?


I would say he never faced West and Wilt's Lakers for the simple fact that Butch never entrusted Wilt with the reigns of the team, it proved to be their downfall and its why the first thing his replacement did was make giving the ball to Wilt (and less to Baylor) such a priority. Butch held his team back and was never heard from again in the NBA. He would rather have a pretty offense than an effective one, he would rather listen to his gut than listen to the only guy on the team to have tasted championship success against this very same Boston team.

Also, Wilt getting injured in game 7 in the 1969 finals was a huge factor as well. Butch refusing to put Wilt back in late in the game when Wilt wanted to come back in was most likely been their undoing though. Still, the Lakers did win the title in 1972 in the most dominating fashion ever with West leading the team in scoring and assists. Well, a close second in scoring next to Goodrich. IMHO, it was Baylor's need to have the ball in his hands to be effective that was holding them back. Once they got Goodrich on the team instead, he was a much better fit because he didn't have that score first mind set and was able to fit in the scheme of the team better as a result. Hard to say without being able to look up usage numbers for those years as to who truly had the ball in their hands most of the time compared to who. Definitely the success the Lakers had in 72 was more to do with everybody buying into the team concept more with Baylor injured and out than a conscious decision by the coach to let Wilt take over the reigns.

Chronz
09-29-2015, 01:51 AM
Yes, they were the deepest for sure. I am not denying that at all. I was just saying that they had to still go through the two best teams in the league a ton of times. How many times does that even happen now a days? Take this years Warriors for example... They didn't even have to play the Spurs or the Clippers who IMO had the best shot of beating them in the West. Then when they got to the finals, they went up against a depleted Cavs team. It's pick your poison I guess... For sure face the two best teams in the league with the most complete team in the NBA, or be on a more level playing field with the competition around you and not necessarily have to face the two best teams to win a title because the other competition is capable of taking them out for you. Not saying I prefer one or the other, both have their drawbacks, just that should be taken into consideration as well when people knock Russell for the mere fact that there were less teams in the NBA at his time which was the original point I was making.
Agreed, but imagine that, 2 of the best teams in the league couldn't even make the conference Finals. I think that signifies just how much harder it is now vs then. Back then you would cruise to the divisional finals, some teams (like the C's) even got a bye.




Yes, injuries are a bummer, but who knows what really would have happened the following year. I'm just going by the factual data in front of me. The fact that Russell's Celtics had to go through the best teams in the league every single year in the playoffs cannot be overlooked. How many times in the modern era did a team have to always play the best two teams in the league to win a title?

That its a gauntlet where even the best teams fail to qualify for a conference finals has been my point this entire time. There are simply too many good teams with much closer level of talent. Nothing like the C's having far and away the best roster while not having to face as many quality teams.


Also, Wilt getting injured in game 7 in the 1969 finals was a huge factor as well. Butch refusing to put Wilt back in late in the game when Wilt wanted to come back in was most likely been their undoing though. Still, the Lakers did win the title in 1972 in the most dominating fashion ever with West leading the team in scoring and assists. Well, a close second in scoring next to Goodrich. IMHO, it was Baylor's need to have the ball in his hands to be effective that was holding them back. Once they got Goodrich on the team instead, he was a much better fit because he didn't have that score first mind set and was able to fit in the scheme of the team better as a result. Hard to say without being able to look up usage numbers for those years as to who truly had the ball in their hands most of the time compared to who. Definitely the success the Lakers had in 72 was more to do with everybody buying into the team concept more with Baylor injured and out than a conscious decision by the coach to let Wilt take over the reigns.

Thats why whenever people mention latter stage Baylor, they are focusing more on the name than his actual game. He was holding the team back but it was far more severe when Butch was around because that was still prime Wilt he was ignoring. The year after they went to Wilt alot more but then he went down for the season and was never the same. By the time they won the title they had yet another entirely different coach. He installed a fast paced system (that nobody initially thought would be best for such an aging team but once Elgin retired, they were able to run more) that offense revolved around Wilt less than any other offense, allowing him to focus his energy entirely on defense. Baylor had the game of PF, but he liked the same areas that Wilt preferred. Goodrich was just as much of a scorer but he scored in ways that would make room for Wilt and West. His size deficiencies as an undersized combo-guard were masked by West and Wilt.

Hawkeye15
09-29-2015, 10:06 AM
ManRam put it best last time we got to this spot, Russ falling out of the top11 would be getting to the point where the list becomes a mockery of itself. Im all for recognizing hes not the 2nd best player in history as many lists have him, but we may have gone too far.

That is why I went to more of a tier system. I can live with Russell being anywhere from 8-11. He can't slide up or down from those slots with my personal tier system, but it at least allows some conversation in that group of 4 players I have there for instance.

FlashBolt
09-29-2015, 12:37 PM
To address the Bolded, Russell is widely known as the greatest defender ever...

But as for the Wilt part, it's called context. Scoring isn't the only way to contribute. Heck, even if we look at your 30 pt number and realize, Wilt averaged more than that for his first 7 seasons in the league (many years by a lot more), then what you're really saying is Russell held Chamberlain to less than his average a bunch of times. Sounds a lot better for Russell that way.

Then we look at the specific series. In the 1969 Finals, After the Celtics went down 3-2 in game 6 Russell held Wilt to 8 points and then in game 7 Wilt went 4/13 on FTs and the Lakers lost by 2. Deciding games and Russell outplays Wilt.

Or look at the 1968 Finals. Celtics went down 3-1. Game 6 he holds Wilt to 20 points on 8/22. Game 7 Russell holds Wilt to 14 points on 6/15. When it matters Russell again outplays Wilt.

Or go back to 1965 Finals. Game 7 Wilt scores 30 but goes 6/13 on FTs. Celtics win by 1.

Or the 1964 Finals. That season Wilt averaged 38 PPG and Russell held him to 29 PPG.

Or 1962 when the Warriors lost 4-3 to the Celtics. That series Wilt outscored Russell 33.6 to 22.0, which seems like a clear win for Wilt... until you realize that season Wilt averaged 50 PPG and Russell 19, so Wilt averaged 17 PPG less than his season average and Russell 3 PPG more. Not only that but Game 7 Russell holds Wilt to 22 Points and scores 19 of his own and the Celtics win.

By the time we get back to the 1960 Finals is it any surprise to discover that Russell held Wilt to 26 points and scored 25 of his own as the Celtics won game 7?


So if you go just by your numbers it looks like Wilt was dominating Russell yet you see every time it mattered most in a deciding game 7 Russell outplayed Wilt (even if he didn't score as many points) and beat him.

Just let that chronology sink in man. That's 5 Game 7's Russell outplayed Wilt in. That's half of Russell's titles.

Imagine how different their legacies would be if Russell had 6 rings and Wilt had 7? But Wilt didn't get 7, because 5 times when it mattered he was outplayed by Russell.

1) Scoring isn't the only way to contribute but you also said Russell is widely known as the greatest defender ever but he could never stop Wilt. It doesn't matter how many Wilt scored before that. Fact is, Bill couldn't stop Wilt from scoring 30 on him. Wilt on the other hand didn't even have to stop Bill -- he was never an offensive option.

2) Let this sink in: This isn't even about Wilt vs Russell. This is about COMPETITION. How many teams back then? How many players would actually be able to play in the D-League let alone the NBA right now? How many wins was needed to win a ring? So basically, you have a weaker NBA in a weaker league against Hakeem -- who MJ would take over any other C. Hakeem went up against the toughest C's ever and he put up monstrous numbers. What did Bill do again that was monstrous? We all know his entire statistical lineup is inflated based on how they played. 11 rings when there are only 8-14 teams and you only needed 8 wins to win a championship all while having the absolute best roster in the league? Yeah, that's really "impressive."

3) I didn't even want to mention this but you have your dates completely messed up. But let me address the one's that you didn't mess up:

1969 NBA Finals... Wilt was benched for the final six minutes. No one knew why even though he was playing great. Injury? IDK but he was benched. And this was far from the Wilt that was dominant. He was already on the road to retiring.

1968 NBA Finals. Uhm, what? Wilt wasn't even in the Lakers at that time. It was the ECF and again, Wilt was far from being the dominant player he was in his prime. And who won the game for the Celtics? More like Havlicek did.

1965 NBA Finals, again, it wasn't the Finals... and the fact that you blame Wilt for not scoring his FT's rather than what Bill couldn't do to stop Wilt from averaging his regular season PPG numbers shows you are just nitpicking arguments here. Blaming Wilt for not making his FT's when Russell was no better at it? And what about how the Celtics won? Pretty sure Havlicek and Jones were carrying them offensively.

1964 NBA Finals, Wilt may have scored less PPG but he did so in the SAME efficiency. He also grabbed 27.6 RPG -- enough to be his career best if it was a season. So you may try and shame Wilt for scoring less but under the same efficiency and still scoring 29 PPG? Plus, Wilt's team was garbage compared to Russell's. Besides Thurmond -- who was still learning the game, what options did he have that Russell did?

1962 NBA Finals, really? Blaming it on Wilt for not winning with what Bob Cousy/Russell claimed was the greatest Celtics squad in Celtics history? Blaming Wilt for tying the game only for someone other than Bill Russell to hit the game winning shot?

Just let this sink in: How is it five game 7's that Bill Russell outplayed Wilt? That makes NO sense considering your arguments completely contradict it by stating that "Wilt may have scored 37 but he only scored 29 vs Russell." All the while, Russell scored how many again? Oh, that's right.. the dude doesn't have to score cause he let Sam Jones and Havlicek do it.

Let's switch the teams around then tell me Russell would have stopped a team of Wilt+Jones+Havlicek going into the NBA Finals... Yeah, RIGHT.

So you have your dates mixed up and you can't seem to decipher how Russell has eleven rings but was never the greatest at his time for his position. When you put 1+1 together, you lead to the fact that Russell just had a much better team. Relative to competition, I don't think it's fair to put Russell's 11 rings vs anyone else and it's why very few mentions him as the GOAT like they do with MJ. I don't care how you twist and rearrange it, battling it out with 8 teams in which you only need 8 wins to win the ring while having the best roster, you have a better chance of winning it than losing.

And this isn't an argument for Russell not to be 11. He should be in this spot because 11 rings has to mean something and what he has done, it would be difficult to put anyone above those accolades. But when you're talking about the best centers at their prime, Russell would not be on a top five list. Hakeem, Wilt, Shaq, D-Rob, and Kareem are all better players. Any of those five guys would wreak havoc given the same conditions Bill had.

valade16
09-29-2015, 01:48 PM
1) Scoring isn't the only way to contribute but you also said Russell is widely known as the greatest defender ever but he could never stop Wilt. It doesn't matter how many Wilt scored before that. Fact is, Bill couldn't stop Wilt from scoring 30 on him. Wilt on the other hand didn't even have to stop Bill -- he was never an offensive option.

2) Let this sink in: This isn't even about Wilt vs Russell. This is about COMPETITION. How many teams back then? How many players would actually be able to play in the D-League let alone the NBA right now? How many wins was needed to win a ring? So basically, you have a weaker NBA in a weaker league against Hakeem -- who MJ would take over any other C. Hakeem went up against the toughest C's ever and he put up monstrous numbers. What did Bill do again that was monstrous? We all know his entire statistical lineup is inflated based on how they played. 11 rings when there are only 8-14 teams and you only needed 8 wins to win a championship all while having the absolute best roster in the league? Yeah, that's really "impressive."

3) I didn't even want to mention this but you have your dates completely messed up. But let me address the one's that you didn't mess up:

1969 NBA Finals... Wilt was benched for the final six minutes. No one knew why even though he was playing great. Injury? IDK but he was benched. And this was far from the Wilt that was dominant. He was already on the road to retiring.

1968 NBA Finals. Uhm, what? Wilt wasn't even in the Lakers at that time. It was the ECF and again, Wilt was far from being the dominant player he was in his prime. And who won the game for the Celtics? More like Havlicek did.

1965 NBA Finals, again, it wasn't the Finals... and the fact that you blame Wilt for not scoring his FT's rather than what Bill couldn't do to stop Wilt from averaging his regular season PPG numbers shows you are just nitpicking arguments here. Blaming Wilt for not making his FT's when Russell was no better at it? And what about how the Celtics won? Pretty sure Havlicek and Jones were carrying them offensively.

1964 NBA Finals, Wilt may have scored less PPG but he did so in the SAME efficiency. He also grabbed 27.6 RPG -- enough to be his career best if it was a season. So you may try and shame Wilt for scoring less but under the same efficiency and still scoring 29 PPG? Plus, Wilt's team was garbage compared to Russell's. Besides Thurmond -- who was still learning the game, what options did he have that Russell did?

1962 NBA Finals, really? Blaming it on Wilt for not winning with what Bob Cousy/Russell claimed was the greatest Celtics squad in Celtics history? Blaming Wilt for tying the game only for someone other than Bill Russell to hit the game winning shot?

Just let this sink in: How is it five game 7's that Bill Russell outplayed Wilt? That makes NO sense considering your arguments completely contradict it by stating that "Wilt may have scored 37 but he only scored 29 vs Russell." All the while, Russell scored how many again? Oh, that's right.. the dude doesn't have to score cause he let Sam Jones and Havlicek do it.

Let's switch the teams around then tell me Russell would have stopped a team of Wilt+Jones+Havlicek going into the NBA Finals... Yeah, RIGHT.

So you have your dates mixed up and you can't seem to decipher how Russell has eleven rings but was never the greatest at his time for his position. When you put 1+1 together, you lead to the fact that Russell just had a much better team. Relative to competition, I don't think it's fair to put Russell's 11 rings vs anyone else and it's why very few mentions him as the GOAT like they do with MJ. I don't care how you twist and rearrange it, battling it out with 8 teams in which you only need 8 wins to win the ring while having the best roster, you have a better chance of winning it than losing.

And this isn't an argument for Russell not to be 11. He should be in this spot because 11 rings has to mean something and what he has done, it would be difficult to put anyone above those accolades. But when you're talking about the best centers at their prime, Russell would not be on a top five list. Hakeem, Wilt, Shaq, D-Rob, and Kareem are all better players. Any of those five guys would wreak havoc given the same conditions Bill had.

1). When you average 50 or 44 Points per game and you get held to 30, you are stopped. Not only that, but I showed in several game 7's Russell actually scored over 20 points. So yeah, Wilt probably should have tried to stop Bill there.

3). You're main argument against Russell is he let Hondo and Jones score... well as everyone has mentioned, he's the greatest defender ever.

Also, if you switched teams and Russell was given a team of Hal Greer, Chet Walker and Billy Cunningham? Or when Wilt went to LA and had Baylor and West?

The idea that Wilt played with a bunch of scrubs is wrong. When he went to Philly he had a lot of talent, when he went to LA he had talent around him. He couldn't get it done, and a lot of that comes down to Game 7's vs. Russell where he significantly underperformed.

M.Bibby2.0
09-29-2015, 02:37 PM
In today's game, I think Bill Russel would have a similar impact to Deandre Jordan (maybe a bit better offensively).

I don't know a tremendous amount about basketball in the 60's, but from footage, its easy to see that the players Russel was up against are no where near the caliber of today's NBA players. One of the best of his generation no doubt.

Same rules apply to Wilt, there's no way he has a 50 ppg season in today's game.


For these rankings I always ask "who would I draft coming into the league, knowing what they'll turn into".
So I'd take Robinson, and both Malone's over Bill Russel - but that's a different approach to all time ranks than most people take.

Hawkeye15
09-29-2015, 02:58 PM
In today's game, I think Bill Russel would have a similar impact to Deandre Jordan (maybe a bit better offensively).

I don't know a tremendous amount about basketball in the 60's, but from footage, its easy to see that the players Russel was up against are no where near the caliber of today's NBA players. One of the best of his generation no doubt.

Same rules apply to Wilt, there's no way he has a 50 ppg season in today's game.


For these rankings I always ask "who would I draft coming into the league, knowing what they'll turn into".
So I'd take Robinson, and both Malone's over Bill Russel - but that's a different approach to all time ranks than most people take.

Difference is, both Russell and Wilt's athletic ability take a dump on DeAndre Jordan's. A huge steaming dump.

andy2518
09-29-2015, 05:47 PM
Agreed, but imagine that, 2 of the best teams in the league couldn't even make the conference Finals. I think that signifies just how much harder it is now vs then. Back then you would cruise to the divisional finals, some teams (like the C's) even got a bye.

As I said, it's pick your poison. Surely the coast to the conference finals is justified by having to play the two best teams. I'm not saying which is the more difficult task by any means, especially since we have to factor in the strength of Russell's stacked teams. Though I will say that in a good amount of those years in the 60's, the Warriors and Lakers had such good regular season records that they as well had their share of byes as well. While the C's had to play the first round those years.



That its a gauntlet where even the best teams fail to qualify for a conference finals has been my point this entire time. There are simply too many good teams with much closer level of talent. Nothing like the C's having far and away the best roster while not having to face as many quality teams.

Yes, I addressed this above. I do kinda think that the talent faced kinda evens out because in the 60's, you had to go through the two best teams while now a days, it's more of a gauntlet as you say. The main difference being Russell's teams being usually more stacked than his opponents despite usually facing the top level competition the league had to offer in the conference finals and finals.

Mainly I just think that Russell is getting shafted on this list honestly. Keeping him out of the top ten on an all-time great list is pretty bad. I gave my list based on solely greatness in another thread and had Russell at number 2. I said then that people who ask people to vote on these lists don't specify the criteria to vote on very well and as a result we end of with inconsistent rankings. Do we base in on greatness, or who we feel we would draft first. No one set any sort of guidelines and therefore we ended up with a mess of a list IMHO.


Thats why whenever people mention latter stage Baylor, they are focusing more on the name than his actual game. He was holding the team back but it was far more severe when Butch was around because that was still prime Wilt he was ignoring. The year after they went to Wilt alot more but then he went down for the season and was never the same. By the time they won the title they had yet another entirely different coach. He installed a fast paced system (that nobody initially thought would be best for such an aging team but once Elgin retired, they were able to run more) that offense revolved around Wilt less than any other offense, allowing him to focus his energy entirely on defense. Baylor had the game of PF, but he liked the same areas that Wilt preferred. Goodrich was just as much of a scorer but he scored in ways that would make room for Wilt and West. His size deficiencies as an undersized combo-guard were masked by West and Wilt.

Yes, a lot of times people forget this is a team sport and focus too much on the individual. Gimme that great blend of talent where everyone perfectly compliments each other any day over just throwing together a random super team with just the best players on it who don't know their roles.

andy2518
09-29-2015, 05:48 PM
In today's game, I think Bill Russel would have a similar impact to Deandre Jordan (maybe a bit better offensively).

I don't know a tremendous amount about basketball in the 60's, but from footage, its easy to see that the players Russel was up against are no where near the caliber of today's NBA players. One of the best of his generation no doubt.

Same rules apply to Wilt, there's no way he has a 50 ppg season in today's game.


For these rankings I always ask "who would I draft coming into the league, knowing what they'll turn into".
So I'd take Robinson, and both Malone's over Bill Russel - but that's a different approach to all time ranks than most people take.

I don't even know how to respond to this.

FlashBolt
09-29-2015, 11:16 PM
1). When you average 50 or 44 Points per game and you get held to 30, you are stopped. Not only that, but I showed in several game 7's Russell actually scored over 20 points. So yeah, Wilt probably should have tried to stop Bill there.

3). You're main argument against Russell is he let Hondo and Jones score... well as everyone has mentioned, he's the greatest defender ever.

Also, if you switched teams and Russell was given a team of Hal Greer, Chet Walker and Billy Cunningham? Or when Wilt went to LA and had Baylor and West?

The idea that Wilt played with a bunch of scrubs is wrong. When he went to Philly he had a lot of talent, when he went to LA he had talent around him. He couldn't get it done, and a lot of that comes down to Game 7's vs. Russell where he significantly underperformed.

1) But he scored on the SAME efficiency. I wouldn't say Bill stopped Wilt because he surely made things tougher. The argument is that Bill never beat Wilt individually. It was always his teammates that happened to make the bigger pack of the difference. Like I said, Bill didn't have to score while Wilt did. That type of assurance made it easier for Bill to focus on being a defensive behemoth. So you could say Bill made it tougher for Wilt but he certainly wasn't a better player. Bill scoring 20 points in game 7's doesn't discount the fact that Wilt scored 30+ on him more than 75 times. You're trying to nitpick arguments for Bill here and that doesn't show the entire story.

2) You ignore valuable facts such as Wilt being benched and was partly injured several times. For example, you say Wilt was 4-11 from the FT line or whatever but ignore that Bill was just as good as Wilt from the FT line. You say that Wilt lost the game when it was him who hit the tying bucket but Bill's teammate who hit the game winner. That context shows me that Bill Russell didn't win his team the game. All things being equal, Bill gets destroyed by Wilt.

3) My main argument is that Russell doesn't HAVE to score. Wilt does. I'm not going to say Russell is a better player than Hakeem when:

•Hakeem played against much tougher competition and was an insane defender while also being an elite offensive player. Hakeem played against REAL competition. Bill Russell played against Wilt and that was it. Everyone else was undeveloped in that regard.
•Bill Russell doesn't have to score. Simple as that. Give me the guy who is elite on both ends.

You mean when Wilt was already finished with his career? Are you really questioning who had the better roster? Bill Russell said it HIMSELF. I never said Wilt played with scrubs, did I? Relative to what Bill Russell had, it's not even close who had the better team. To claim Bill Russell could win 11 rings without having to score is just pure b.s. But again, even if Russell does have 11 rings, what was so special about them? Beat out eight teams with a stacked team and then win eight games in the playoffs. Does he win 11 rings in today's NBA? You tell me.

valade16
09-30-2015, 09:11 AM
1) But he scored on the SAME efficiency. I wouldn't say Bill stopped Wilt because he surely made things tougher. The argument is that Bill never beat Wilt individually. It was always his teammates that happened to make the bigger pack of the difference. Like I said, Bill didn't have to score while Wilt did. That type of assurance made it easier for Bill to focus on being a defensive behemoth. So you could say Bill made it tougher for Wilt but he certainly wasn't a better player. Bill scoring 20 points in game 7's doesn't discount the fact that Wilt scored 30+ on him more than 75 times. You're trying to nitpick arguments for Bill here and that doesn't show the entire story.

2) You ignore valuable facts such as Wilt being benched and was partly injured several times. For example, you say Wilt was 4-11 from the FT line or whatever but ignore that Bill was just as good as Wilt from the FT line. You say that Wilt lost the game when it was him who hit the tying bucket but Bill's teammate who hit the game winner. That context shows me that Bill Russell didn't win his team the game. All things being equal, Bill gets destroyed by Wilt.

3) My main argument is that Russell doesn't HAVE to score. Wilt does. I'm not going to say Russell is a better player than Hakeem when:

•Hakeem played against much tougher competition and was an insane defender while also being an elite offensive player. Hakeem played against REAL competition. Bill Russell played against Wilt and that was it. Everyone else was undeveloped in that regard.
•Bill Russell doesn't have to score. Simple as that. Give me the guy who is elite on both ends.

You mean when Wilt was already finished with his career? Are you really questioning who had the better roster? Bill Russell said it HIMSELF. I never said Wilt played with scrubs, did I? Relative to what Bill Russell had, it's not even close who had the better team. To claim Bill Russell could win 11 rings without having to score is just pure b.s. But again, even if Russell does have 11 rings, what was so special about them? Beat out eight teams with a stacked team and then win eight games in the playoffs. Does he win 11 rings in today's NBA? You tell me.

1). I could just as easily say the same to you. Saying Wilt scored 30 points on Russell doesn't tell the entire story. It'd be like saying MJ scored 20 PPG on someone. Well when his average points scored is over 30, that's not bad defense.

2). The last play isn't the only thing that determines who wins or loses a game. Bill Russell did a lot of the heavy lifting to get them to that point.

3). Wilt was 28 when he was traded to Philly, hardly the twilight of his career. Hal Greer had more All-NBA teams than either Heinsohn or Sam Jones. Heck, Billy Cunningham went to the ABA and won the MVP award.

Not to mention Russell was aging just as Chamberlain was. If you want to point out Wilt didn't have help until the end of his career, well it was the end of Russell's career too and he still beat Chamberlain.

I understand team has a lot to do with it, but we can't simply discount that in many game 7's Chamberlain played worse than his normal stats while Russell played better.

No, I'm not saying Russell would win 11 games in todays NBA. But could he have won 3? 4? 5? 6? Who really knows.

Look at the teams that have won 3 or more titles:

80's Lakers
80's Celtics
90's Bulls
00's Lakers
00's Spurs

You'll notice that those teams would all be directly behind (and some possibly ahead) of Russell's teams for "most stacked team of all-time", so I find it funny that people only want to criticize Russell's championships because of his team being so good but not anyone else's who had similarly stacked teams.

cahawk
10-05-2015, 03:14 AM
I like Russell but no way was he better than Wilt. Trade teams & Russell would have 0 rings.
I saw Wilt on our Celts home court set the alltime rebound record of 55 against Russell.
I liked Rodman too, but like Russell he could not carry a team, had little offense & a bad shooter.
but Rodman like Russell fit perfectly with the Bulls who like the Celts did not need more offense.