Originally Posted by dankok8
You look at Wilt's and his teammates' performance in a vacuum. It doesn't work that way. One AFFECTS the other... Wilt is partly responsible for his teammates performing poorly. Taking too many shots, not passing the ball effectively/willingly, discouraging his teammates with his crazy antics like living in NYC and skipping practices...
Is it a coincidence that the 66-67 Sixers with basically the same players as the year prior suddenly became a powerhouse? NO... Wilt changed his style of play and his team blossomed.
Even if Wilt doesn't deserve to get ripped so much then Russell should be praised. Do you not believe in intangibles or you just pretend they don't exist?
I look at Wilt's teammates perfomances in their regular seasons, and then in their post-seasons. And in nearly every post-season, they declined, and quite often, dramatically. And if anything, Chamberlain shot LESS in his post-season play, which explains his scoring "decline" in the playoffs, as well.
Again, a great example, the 65-66 Sixers. In the regular season, Wilt's teammates collectively shot .416 from the field (Wilt was at .540.) In the EDF's against Boston...they collectively shot .352 (Wilt was at .509.)
Furthermore, during their regular season H2H's with Boston, the Sixers went 6-3. And in those nine games, Chamberlain averaged 28.3 ppg, 30.7 rpg, and shot an est. .525 from the floor. In the EDF's, Chamberlain put up a 28.0 ppg, 30.2 rpg, and .509 series. Wilt played almost exactly the same, and yet the results were far different.
Of course, the 65-66 Sixers were a young, up-and-coming team, and they exploded behind Wilt in 66-67. Early in the season they annihilated Boston by a 138-96 margin, and never looked back. At one point they were 46-4, and then coasted down the stretch.
True, Chamberlain shot less, and passed more, but in the 65-66 season, he averaged 5.2 apg with his 33.5 ppg. In 66-67 he averaged 7.8 apg to go along with his 24.1 ppg. But he still lit up any center any time he wanted to in 66-67, and even Rick Barry, who led the league at 35.6 ppg remarked that the only reason he (Barry) won the scoring title, was because Chamberlain didn't care about winning it.
The reality was, Chamberlain did whatever was asked of him his entire career. The Wilt-bashers love to point out his 50 ppg season as an example of a "selfish" Wilt, but the fact was, it was Wilt's COACH who asked Chamberlain to score that much. Why? Because in the 60-61 playoffs, while Wilt scored 37 ppg, his teammates collectively shot .332 from the field (and Wilt's two HOF teammates that year, Arizin and Gola, shot .325 and .205 respectively in that series.) McGuire took one look at that old and crappy Warrior roster, and decided the only hope that they had, was for Chamberlain to shoot 40 times per game. And it worked. Wilt single-handedly carried that team to a 49-31 record, then thru the first round of the playoffs, and then to a game seven, two point loss against a HOF-laden 60-20 Celtic team.
Hannum asked Wilt to be a scorer, rebounder, and defensive anchor in 63-64, and the result was Chamberlain single-handedly took a rag-tag roster that had gone 31-49 the year before (and with Wilt having a mind-boggling Win-Share of 20.9 BTW..or a 70% share of the wins) to a 48-32 record. Then, in the first round of the playoffs, and against a Hawk team that was markedly better, players 2-6, Wilt put up a 39-23 .559 seven game series to get them into the Finals. That they lost the last two games of that series in the waning seconds, in a 4-1 series loss, against a Celtic team with EIGHT HOFers, was just a mind-numbing accomplishment. Again, a one-man wrecking crew. And he HAD to play that way.
And in that 66-67 season, while Wilt dramatically cut back his scoring and shooting (and still put up 24.1 ppg on an eye-popping .683 FG%), he would completely take over at the offensive end almost at will. I have mentioned the first Thurmond encounter. Wilt had been facilitating the offense in the first half, and had only scored six points. Hannum felt that the only way Philly could win that game, was for Wilt to take over at the offensive end. He had his teammates feed him the ball, and Chamberlain hung 24 points on Nate in the second half (and outscored him for the game, 30-13.)
And against Russell in the clinching game five win in the EDF's that year, Wilt kept Philly in the game in the first half, with 22 points, en route to a 29 point game, in a blowout win. Clearly, Chamberlain could have been hanging 40+ point games on both Russell and Nate had he been inclined. BUT, for the first time in his career, it wasn't necessary. He finally had teammates that weren't get trashed by their opponents.
And that philosophy worked in 67-68, too. It would have been an easy repeat had the Sixers remained healthy.