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Thread: Looking Down The Road (Players Edition)

  1. #41
    Raptors Republic Superstar Puffer's Avatar
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    Quote Xixak wrote: View Post
    They are crazy numbers (I think he averaged 50-25 one year), but you have to remember what era he was playing in and how he was able to play.

    The year he averaged 50.4ppg, his true shooting percentage was only 53.6% which is pretty mediocre for a big man (Dwight comparatively is usually around 60% --- 59.8% for his career). Wilt was taking 39.5 shots per game, which is more than double what guys like Kevin Durant, James Harden and LeBron took this year.

    The pace of the league was also much different back then. For example, Wilt's Warriors averaged 125.4 points per game (Denver led the league with 106.1ppg this year). Also Chamberlain was a FREAK in terms of height. He was 7'1 and 275lbs, and the next tallest players on his team (Ruklick and Radovich) were 6'9 and 6'8 and played a combined total of less than 15 minutes per game (compared to Wilt's 48.5). The next biggest regular rotation player was Tom Meschery at 6'6 215lbs... so it's kinda easy to see how Wilt would be grabbing that many rebounds.

    Edit: Not sure how statistically useful this will be but, I'm gonna try and adjust Wilt's stats for current pace and regular playing time.

    So his raw stats in 1961-62 were:
    - 50.4ppg
    - 25.7rpg
    - 39.5 field goal attempts

    He did this in 48.5 minutes per game. If we adjust this to typical minutes for a top-flight center (36 or so --- Dwight played 35.8 last year), we have:
    - 37.4ppg
    - 19.1ppg
    - 29.3 field goal attempts

    Now this is the part that's kind of arbitrary, but the Warriors that year were the top scoring team with 125.4ppg and the Nuggets this year averaged 106.1ppg, so that's a ratio of 1.18. If we divide Wilt's stats by that ratio we have:
    - 31.6ppg
    - 16.2ppg
    - 24.8 field goal attempts

    Now obviously these numbers are still ridiculous. But if we take into account the number of shots he's taking and the fact that he was by far the biggest player on the court and basically decades ahead of his time athletically, it's not hard to see why he was able to do it.
    Certainly appreciate what you are trying to do here, but if we are trying to relate it to todays game, we need to consider other factors as well. For instance you mention he averaged 48.5 minutes a game, in an era when the scoring pace was significantly higher. That speaks to conditioning. And Wilt managed this during a time when off-season work was usually partying harder, because there were no no early morning bus rides to the next game. If Wilt had had access to current training regimens, coaching staffs, strength and conditioning coaches, it is hard to say what he would have accomplished. At age 36, his last year in the league he was still playing 43 minutes a game and pulled down 18.6 rebounds and scored 13.5 points. So he averaged a double double at 36, after 14 years in the league. Plus he made 4.5 assists. I wonder hw many point guards in the league that year didn't make 4.5 assists.

    His last year was in 1973 and he was playing against Kareem, Nate Thurmond, Dave Cowens and Wes Unseld. He still had the highest True Shooting % in the league. He had the third highest Offensive win Shares as well as the third highest Defensive Win Shares in the league.

    I have to agree with p00ka, that it is pretty hard to translate #'s from one era to another. It's just hat chamberlain was a total phenom. No player has dominated during his career the way that Wilt did, and so far, having watched him play (though infrequently given TV coverage limitations back then) I haven't seen a player come close; not Jordan, not Kobe, not James, no one. Taking nothing away from those three players, but there is no comparison.

    Having said all that, I doubt that Chamberlain would dominate as completely today, because the NBA draws form all over the world, and back then it was pretty much strictly a US of A party. Bigger talent pool in todays world. And I think Wilt was such a physical specimen that modern training and coaching would have only made incremental improvements in his game, whereas I think it can have a larger impact on people who aren't complete freaks of nature, so the performance gap between him and other players would have been less. But still...It sure would be interesting to see him in todays game, with current training methods and coaching. I wonder what Popovich could have done with a player like a modern version of Wilt.

  2. #42
    Raptors Republic Superstar Axel's Avatar
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    Quote S.R. wrote: View Post
    Bill Russell on the myth of the disappearing big man (April, 2013):

    NBA.com: When you look at the evolution of some of the positions now, do you agree with the suggestion of some people that the traditional big man is one that seems to have really changed with the stretch fours and 7-footers that don’t play on the low block?

    BR: That’s a fallacy. The way the game’s played, when you have a unique player, whatever his position is, that’s where the game is going. When I was a kid growing up there was a guy named Hank Luisetti played at Stanford and he’s the first player to shoot one-handed with great success. I remember reading something at that time where a coach said if he ever catches one of his players shooting with one hand, they’ll never play another minute. But things change. And if you get a great player at any position, the game is copycat. Nowadays, your star is always your shooting guard. But if you come with a center that can really play, the game will revolve around the center. Or if you have a [power forward] who can really play, the game revolves around him. So the game changes according to who is playing. I have this thought, you never get to a place where you ask a player to play against a ghost … past, present or future. You can only play against the people that show up when you play. And so how you dominate that era, that’s the only thing you can say. Now if you’re talking about scoring, you can’t get past Wilt Chamberlain, so what they do nowadays is they ignore what Wilt Chamberlain did. They don’t even bring it up. The fact that one season he averaged 50 points a game. His average. So you now you talk about guys scoring 30 points or 35 points. And that’s a long way from his average. You talk about assists, Oscar [Robertson] averaged a triple-double. And now they’re talking about a double-double. So what you are doing is choosing which stats you want to emphasize and make that most important. The people that decide that really don’t know what’s going on. You talk about rebounding. Wilt averaged 22.9 rebounds for 14 years. Averaging almost 23 if you round it off, for 14 seasons. Now the leading rebounder might have average 12 or 13. Wilt and myself had over 20,000 rebounds. That’s 20,000 one at a time. If you’re going to talk about numbers, it has nothing to do with anything. It’s about how you dominate your contemporaries in the game. People that say look at the numbers, that means they don’t know what they are looking at. A guy can play and almost never do his numbers indicate how good he is. You have to watch him and see what he does. Is he a positive part of the equation for your team?


    http://hangtime.blogs.nba.com/2013/0...-men-and-more/
    I don't think Bill Russell's comments really speak to the NBA trend what-so-ever. He really doesn't answer the question in a macro sense, but instead focuses on the unique player that changes everything. Wilt Chamberlain is not the norm, and there will likely never be another Wilt. So while teams are waiting on the chance of acquiring that unique, landscape changing unique talent, they are mostly going to follow the trend, and the NBA trend is shoot the 3, defend the 3. Traditional bigs can't cover corner to corner on help to prevent that 3, and unless the big is dominating offensively, rebounding, and rim protection, I think more and more teams are going to go smaller and more athletic to adjust their defence.
    The liability isn't worth it unless the production in other areas is significant enough to warrant the defensive risk. So teams will constantly be looking for the next big man to dominate the next era, but in the meantime, athleticism is going to be the number 1 criteria for the center position over the next 5-10 years.

    Here's a link via 82games.com showing that the corner 3 is the most productive shot in basketball, even more than right at the rim.
    http://www.82games.com/locations.htm
    Last edited by Axel; Mon Aug 26th, 2013 at 07:49 AM. Reason: Added link

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  4. #43
    Raptors Republic Superstar Puffer's Avatar
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    Quote Axel wrote: View Post
    ...He really doesn't answer the question in a macro sense, but instead focuses on the unique player that changes everything. Wilt Chamberlain is not the norm, and there will likely never be another Wilt. So while teams are waiting on the chance of acquiring that unique, landscape changing unique talent, they are mostly going to follow the trend, and the NBA trend is shoot the 3, defend the 3. Traditional bigs can't cover corner to corner on help to prevent that 3, and unless the big is dominating offensively, rebounding, and rim protection, I think more and more teams are going to go smaller and more athletic to adjust their defence....
    Right on. I wonder if real talent will get missed because teams get constructed certain ways and the trend is to play a certain way. I expect not. With the scouting and analysis out there, talent will be outed. As Russell alludes to, "...when you have a unique player, whatever his position is, that’s where the game is going."

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  6. #44
    Raptors Republic Superstar Axel's Avatar
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    Quote Puffer wrote: View Post
    Right on. I wonder if real talent will get missed because teams get constructed certain ways and the trend is to play a certain way. I expect not. With the scouting and analysis out there, talent will be outed. As Russell alludes to, "...when you have a unique player, whatever his position is, that’s where the game is going."
    I doubt any talent will get missed any more than it is today. Players are scouted from 14 years old sometimes, and international players are in camps from even earlier. As much as the mathematics is driving the 3pt trend, no one is going to be willing to miss out on the next big thing. Maybe the next trend is big guards (ala Magic Johnson) and using zone help behind them to negate the speed of smaller guards, while taking advantage of PG post-up. Who knows, but if LeBron came out an insisted he was a PG and not a SF, then maybe we'd be there. Superstar talent will change the game, but right now, the trend is the 3 & D.

  7. #45
    Raptors Republic All-Star JawsGT's Avatar
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    I agree that the superstar talent changes the game. There were many dominant centers back in the early 90's when I started watching basketball, and these guys (for the most part) were the focus of their teams systems. Robinson, Hakeem, Ewing, Sabonis, Divac, Mutombo, Mourning, Smits and then Shaq came along as well. In order for teams to deal with these big guys they had to load up on players that could defend them. Jordan's Bulls had the three headed monster, I can't remember their names, in order to deal with some of the dominant big guys in the league. GM's built their teams to either have a dominant C or to deal with one. That was the trend and was necessary because of the number of really good C's that could be the #1 or 2 guy on a team. However, more GM's probably should have just designed their clubs to deal with Jordan's Bulls, who despite not having a dominant C, dominated the league. Just think of all the big men back in the '90's that got a shot but never really should have, and probably only did so because of Shaq's dominance (Jim McIlvaine, spelling is wrong I'm sure, of the Sonics stands out the most in my mind).

    These days there are fewer dominant C's (although there are still quite a few good C's) but the guys that tend to dominate the game and thus set the trend for team building are Lebron and Durant types. These guys are taller and more athletic than the norm (for their position), and thus teams have to be built to deal with these types of players and the systems they employ. That doesn't necessarily mean you have to have a dominant C to compete with them. However, that being said, the presence of a dominant C would certainly provide an advantage over both the Heat and the Thunder, and no doubt Miami recognized this and is now taking a chance on Oden for the upcoming season. If there were more Dwight Howard types in the league right now, there would be more of priority at finding players that can match him, or at least, deal with him on the defensive end. Of course, if there were more of those types of players, we wouldn't be having this conversation.

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  9. #46
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    Man, there are some great intelligent discussions that take place in these forums, even popping up now and then during the dog days of August. Everyone's right, nobody's wrong!

    For whatever it's worth, my opinion is that Russell is dead right about the game fluctuating around adjustments to the once in a generation type players that come along. When they dominate, like LeBron is now, like MJ did, and like Wilt did, it's natural that teams/coaches try everything to answer that, but those guys are rare. As this game, like all others, evolves over time, there are always other factors as well. More prolific 3P shooters is certainly having it's affect in the evolution, as are the analytics that tell you how effective that corner 3 is. The recent influx of high quality PGs is having it's affect currently. Point being is that there's quite a number of things affecting the constant evolution of the game, and it shall go on like that forever.

    Unless you have one of those transcendent athletes (LeBron's a freak that you may not see another like him for decades), coaches have to try and put together a team, and both offensive and defensive schemes, that can adjust, not only to whatever current trends are, but to a different style of team every night. Just ask Popovich. Depending on match-ups, if you can only score and defend inside, or only score and defend outside, some teams are going to kill you every night. Again, short of having a LeBron, you need both, a la the Spurs who are built to be able to adjust at both ends, to whatever opponent they face. It was easier in Wilt's time to dominate with one strong suit, but not anymore. As there are so many great athletes, at various positions, It's all about balance now,,,,,, and containing the odd LeBron talent that are so rare. Even KD, as great as he is, OKC went nowhere without Westbrook. You need a variety of weapons, and need to be able to defend a variety as well.
    Last edited by p00ka; Mon Aug 26th, 2013 at 10:54 AM.

  10. #47
    Raptors Republic Superstar Axel's Avatar
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    Quote p00ka wrote: View Post
    Man, there are some great intelligent discussions that take place in these forums, even popping up now and then during the dog days of August. Everyone's right, nobody's wrong!

    For whatever it's worth, my opinion is that Russell is dead right about the game fluctuating around adjustments to the once in a generation type players that come along. When they dominate, like LeBron is now, like MJ did, and like Wilt did, it's natural that teams/coaches try everything to answer that, but those guys are rare. As this game, like all others, evolves over time, there are always other factors as well. More prolific 3P shooters is certainly having it's affect in the evolution, as are the analytics that tell you how effective that corner 3 is. The recent influx of high quality PGs is having it's affect currently. Point being is that there's quite a number of things affecting the constant evolution of the game, and it shall go on like that forever.

    Unless you have one of those transcendent athletes (LeBron's a freak that you may not see another like him for decades), coaches have to try and put together a team, and both offensive and defensive schemes, that can adjust, not only to whatever current trends are, but to a different style of team every night. Just ask Popovich. Depending on match-ups, if you can only score and defend inside, or only score and defend outside, some teams are going to kill you every night. Again, short of having a LeBron, you need both, a la the Spurs who are built to be able to adjust at both ends, to whatever opponent they face. It was easier in Wilt's time to dominate with one strong suit, but not anymore. As there are so many great athletes, at various positions, It's all about balance now,,,,,, and containing the odd LeBron talent that are so rare. Even KD, as great as he is, OKC went nowhere without Westbrook. You need a variety of weapons, and need to be able to defend a variety as well.
    Agreed, both sides have valid points.

    On the whole, I think it is easier to find players that can hit the 3 than it is to find two-way talented bigs. That likely has as much to do with the trend as the mathematics of scoring. When you think of roster construction, you see that a guy like Martell Webster makes $5.1M-$5.8M over the next 4 years compared to JaVale McGee $10M-$12M over the next 3. Who would you honestly rather have? If you can build a team with 2 Webster's for every McGee then you'll have a more versatile team for half the price (even with 2 Websters per McGee, you can only have so many players per team, so 15 Websters will cost half of 15 McGee's).

    When you combine the supply of 3 pt shooters vs bigs, and the statistically benefits of the corner 3, to me, it really pushes home the idea that the league will continue down this trend until something drastic comes to change the landscape.

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