Originally Posted by dankok8
From 64-65 to 68-69 there was no considerable gap in talent between Wilt's and Russell's teams. From 66-67 yo 68-69 it was Wilt with the stronger rosters. In the '69 Finals, the Lakers were overwhelming favorites over the Celtics. That's my point.
When Russell came in the league he was traded for Ed McCauley and Cliff Hagan (two perennial all-stars) and yet the Celtics won a title the first year he came in after never making the finals before that. The Celtics' DRtg went from from 91.7 (6th) to 84.0 (1st), a dramatic improvement to say the least. Many articles called the Russell the best player in the league from the time he set his foot on the court... a game-changer on defense that was blocking shots and covering areas no one else could.
When Russell retired (and Sam Jones) Celtics immediately drafted JoJo White for 69-70 and kept the entire rest of their title roster including an improving Havlicek. With Russell gone they finished 34-48 and their DRtg declined from 89.1 (1st) to 98.9 (8th). That's a huge decline! In 70-71 they already had Cowens but they missed the playoffs again and their DRtg was still just 95.3. Offensively Boston didn't miss a beat when Russ retired but defensively they took a nosedive showing his enormous impact.
By 72-73 all of their old guard from 68-69 except Hondo were gone/3rd stringers so to compare those 70's championship teams to Russell's teams is pretty short-sighted. Boston had to completely rebuild and missed the playoffs two straight years after Bill retired.
Again, the 64-65 Sixers were NOWHERE near as talented as the 64-65 Celtics. The Sixers had been 34-46 the year before, and it's not like they just acquired Wilt. They traded THREE players to get him (and over 21 ppg in the process.) They were still relatively young, had not drafted Cunningham yet, and were clearly outmatched, player-for-player, by a 62-18 Celtic team at the peak of their dynasty. The reality was, Chamberlain almost single-handedly beat Boston by himself in that series with the most incredible beatdown by a prime GOAT center administered on another prime GOAT center in NBA history.
And, I already explained why the 65-66 Sixers just edged out Boston by one game in the regular season. Boston's roster was littered with their best players missing games that year. They were the seven time defending champions, as well. And, of course, they completely shelled Chamberlain's teammates in the EDF's.
In the 68-69 season, Boston was much deeper, had far more weapons, and the Lakers were saddled with an incompetent coach whose hatred for Wilt cost them the Finals. Still, had the idiotic VBK had West handling the ball at the end of game four, instead of the nomadic Egan, LA would have won that game, and with their solid win in game five, would have won that series, 4-1.
As for 66-67 and 67-68...agreed. Philly was the better team, although not by a large margin. The 66-67 Celtics went 60-21, and yet were completely destroyed by the 68-13 Sixers in the EDF's. And as we ALL know by now, the 67-68 Sixers were just decimated with injuries, including Chamberlain, himself, and Boston still barely eked out a game seven win. The reality was, (and the newspaper articles by PHILA confirmed it), that Sixer team had no business even making this a series, much less barely losing it. Clearly, a healthy Sixer team would have repeated their carpet-bombing from the 66-67 EDF's.
Had Wilt been given equal rosters in his entire career, and he likely would have won nearly all of their H2H's. And futhermore, had Wilt enjoyed the one-sided margin in talent that Russell had in their first six seasons in the league together, and there is little doubt that Chamberlain would have had a resounding 6-0 margin in rings.