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Friday, October 28, 2005

Greatest Basketball Players of All-Time, Part II

Part II of my ongoing series about the greatest basketball players of all-time has just been posted. Part I discussed the three official NBA All-Time teams and cited Julius Erving's extraordinary performance in the 1975-76 season--particularly his dominance in that year's ABA Finals--as an example of peak value. Part II looks at the ultimate peak value effort, Wilt Chamberlain's astounding 1961-62 season, during which he set all-time records for single season scoring (50.4 ppg) and minutes played (48.5 mpg) that will never be broken--and no, that minutes played number is not a typographical error; a regulation NBA game lasts only 48 minutes, but due to some overtime games Chamberlain averaged more than 48 minutes per game. My "favorite" criticism of this accomplishment is that Chamberlain must have coasted for some of that time and that his team would have been better off with a substitute player using up 5 or 10 of those minutes. That reminds me of the late Ralph Wiley's defense of Rickey Henderson, who some critics felt did not exert maximum effort all the time; Wiley wrote that if Henderson--who broke major league baseball's career records for runs, steals and walks--was loafing and set all those records, he must have been the greatest player of all-time.

posted by David Friedman @ 2:49 AM

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