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Monday, April 02, 2007

The Pantheon, Part II

Wilt Chamberlain and Oscar Robertson are without question two of the greatest basketball players of all-time. Their careers are excellent examples of both peak value and durability: the numbers that they put up when they were at their best are incredible and they sustained a high level of production for a long period of time. The Pantheon: An Examination of Basketball Greatness, Part II takes a closer look at their accomplishments.

Part I was published a while ago, but if you missed it or would like to read it again, it can be found here:

NBA Pantheon: An Examination of Basketball Greatness

posted by David Friedman @ 8:41 PM

4 comments

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4 Comments:

At Tuesday, April 03, 2007 4:43:00 AM, Blogger vednam said...

Good article. I agree that a slower pace would not necessarily have hurt them. I'd like to see Shaq run up and down the court for 48 minutes at the 1962 pace.

I know you were focusing on whether stats should be standardized, but I wish you would have looked a bit more at Wilt's team/winning accomplishments, as I feel that's a very overlooked part of his career.

1962 was Wilt's statistical peak, but I'd argue that he played his best ball from 1965-1968, when he became a first-rate passer and started focusing more on defense. Wilt's always accused of underwhelming playoff play, but in the 1967 ECF against Boston, he averaged a triple double (including a 29/36/13 performance in the deciding game), and had a playoff record 41 rebounds in another game. All of this against the player who supposedly "owned" him.

I wish they had kept records of blocked shots during that era. According to Harvey Pollack, Wilt had several games where he blocked 25 or so shots.

 
At Tuesday, April 03, 2007 5:55:00 AM, Blogger David Friedman said...

You make some excellent additional points about Wilt's career. As I think you understand, I had a specific idea that I wanted to get across regarding standardization and that concept is best illustrated by discussing Wilt's 50 ppg season and Oscar's triple double campaigns. Clearly, what Wilt accomplished in the time period that you mentioned is also quite remarkable.

Most of us are able to understand that what Kobe has done in recent times is exceptional, so the fact that in virtually every instance Wilt did something even better sheds some light on how amazing Wilt was. I believe that Kobe said that Wilt's numbers look like they came out of a video game and that is a good way to put it.

 
At Thursday, April 05, 2007 9:22:00 AM, Blogger illest said...

Thats why the triple-double stat of today is irrelevant. Wilt probably averaged a triple-double for his career.
You always find a way to get Bryant in the discussion. 50 points a game at any level is unfathomable.

 
At Thursday, April 05, 2007 3:55:00 PM, Blogger David Friedman said...

Yes, it is a shame that blocked shots were not an official statistic when Wilt and Russell roamed the paint. I don't know if Wilt averaged a triple double for his entire career but he probably had some seasons in which he did or at least came close; the same may be true of Russell also.

 

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