My fandom is up for sale Pt. 2, West candidates

What Western Conference teams should be in the conversation?

Example Phoenix uni from the era in discussion.

Rip City origin: 

Image result for wells blazers jersey

Denver to Wyoming or vice versa; Mike Lansing: Rawlins, WY 

Bill Bradley spoke to the Knicks this week: 

’03-’04 Timberwolves

 

Podcast #1: Hardly Harden

The first of what will hopefully be many podcasts focuses on Mike D’Antoni saying James Harden is the best offensive player he has ever seen. I am not a D’Antoni hater by any means, but I did take “offense” to this one.

Brandon Armstrong impersonating James Harden.

Armstrong on Kimmel.

James Harden basketball reference page.

ESPN basketball history is all about promotion like usual

http://www.espn.com/nba/story/_/page/nbarank22932314/nbarank-game-changers-25-most-influential-basketball-players-ever

It was painful to even re-open this page to look at this list because of how wrong it is. Rather than spend all day ripping on this without having created my own yet to show them how it’s done, let’s hit on the top 5 most egregious points of this and simply move on.

  1. Pistol Pete is not in the top 25. If you don’t understand how this is a big deal, simply stop reading here and instead brush up on that. Steve Nash is more influential? Clearly the people who did this article know nothing. And I love Nash but he’s not going down in the history of basketball lore like Pistol.
  2. Dr. J at #8. Wow. As a cultural icon, he is the primary reason the NBA was forced to merge with the ABA. And the merger saved the league. He caused the Afro to go in style and was an ambassador off the court. I don’t know how in either area, on or off the court he could be outside the top 5.
  3. George Mikan #25. He is the reason people realized tall people could actually be good and dominant at basketball. It took 50 years for that to happen, so what is more game-changing than that?
  4. Wilt Chamberlain at #5. On the court, there is no one other than MAYBE Mikan or Dr. J that you could even argue was close to as influential. No single player caused so many rule changes in NBA history. People showed up just to see the man.
  5. On the court, I’m not sure how LeBron James really would be in the top five for on court influence. If you say he’s Wilt but as a forward, then Wilt needs to be above him. Teams may have changed their offseason strategy to be able to sign him so I see some off court influence.  “The Decision” is your evidence? If Pat Riley is given credit for the superteam LeBron gets credit too?

Honorable mention: AI at #13. There is no player who had more kids wearing his jerseys at one time.

Davis breaks Wilt’s ASG scoring mark, wins MVP

Anthony Davis set an All-Star game record with 52 points — 10 more than Wilt Chamberlain’s All-Star mark that had stood for 55 years — and was named the game’s MVP in his home arena.

Source: Davis breaks Wilt’s ASG scoring mark, wins MVP

Anytime a record of Wilt’s falls, it is important to look at the context, whether it reflects well or badly on the Stilt (usually good).

First of all, I am happy for Anthony Davis. The kid comes out of nowhere as a high school senior where his only offer was Cleveland State before ending up the number 1 recruit in the country and subsequent #1 draft choice. Then he ends up in an organization trying to find itself that has in retrospect executed some of the worst trades in recent memory (not quite as bad as SAC, ORL, or a few others) despite having an all-world player to build around. He ends up getting perhaps the most talented player, though we can’t be sure yet, the same day he wins ASG MVP in his home city.

Let’s look at the performance though. Davis score a record 52 points on a record 39 shots in a 192-182 (combined record for points in any NBA game surpassing the 186-184 nuggets win in the 80s) all-star spectacle. Wilt’s record of 42 points held for 55 years though it was challenged several times. But Wilt’s 42 points came on 17 of 23 shooting (8-16 FT). Perhaps the Dipper could have hit a few more from the stripe, but that is incredible efficiency along with 24 rebounds.

On the other hand, The East lost 150-130 and Wilt was not even the rebound leader in the game as arguably most underrated NBA player of all-time Bob Pettit grabbed 27, while 6-11 Walt Bellamy added 17 even though his job was to just get in the way of Goliath. The West also got so many caroms because the Celtics stars Cousy, Heinsohn, Sam Jones, and Russell combined to shoot 14 of 44. That wasn’t even the worst on the team, Hal Greer 3 of 14 and Paul Arizin 2 of 12 were also bricking everything. In fact Wilt and Richie Guerin hit more field goals than the rest of the team combined (27 to 26) on only 30.7% of the shot attempts!

So for those who criticize Wilt for taking too many shots, here’s an example where he could have taken more as the opponent dared his teammates to shoot. His team lost though which is why I’ll entertain a comparison between AD and Wilt for greatest ASG performance of all-time, even though I’ll still err on the side of the Dipper.

Wilt Chamberlain vs. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Like many YouTube videos, this has a lot of excellent content. Sydney Myers also has a pretty good narrating voice/style you hear on all the Mixed Tape videos.

My personal assessment as you can guess by the name of the site I side with Wilt. That said, the more research John Blaze and I have done in compiling the lists of greatest of all-time, I like Kareem more than I did in the past. The blocks records in NBA history are a joke because any games they were ever kept that Wilt played in, he easily had 4 per game. If he knew they were being tracked, you could see him having EVEN more.

Hal Greer, Jerry West, and Gail Goodrich were good players, but not point guards. Had Wilt had a Hall of Fame point guard like Magic, Oscar, or Cousy, he wins more titles. Kareem’s total of six over such a long period of time is impressive. And even at his peak, Wilt is not blocking every sky hook (though some of them). He was stronger and had a longer reach.

As I mentioned in the 1967 playoff commentary recently, even Bill Russell had no chance these rebounds in Wilt’s area. Kareem, Shaq, and maybe Moses Malone are the only guys who would have ANY chance of getting those. Shaq did not have great rebounding stats, but notice that his man wouldn’t even try and just box him out. It would be interesting to see how Wilt would handle Shaq on those shots. Kareem had good jumping but was not as quick a jumper as Wilt so I think Wilt controlled more airspace than any other player in NBA history. Moses was such a bull and quick that he would have a chance to hustle and get some.

And the most underrated aspect of Wilt is that if he actually tried, he could have killed someone. The NBA was building it’s brand and he surely did his part. If he breaks some guy’s hand, skull, or rips down the baskets every game, there is no NBA! When he did face a guy who was also strong and fast he would take it up a notch. He was getting hacked but never fought back. His ability to not foul would be valued even more today since you aren’t even allowed to touch people.

1967 NBA Playoffs: Boston Celtics vs Philadelphia Sixers

The call by former Columbia University college, All-American Chet Forte …

1:40: Hall of Famer Russell rejected by Wilt on a dunk.

2:05: Hall of Fame swingman John Havlicek shot challenged by Chamberlain and then Wilt gets the rebound himself.

3:06: Hall of Famer K.C. Jones decides against going for a lay up against Wilt so he passes to Havlicek yet somehow Wilt recovers to potentially block another shot if Hondo got it toward the basket.

6:05: What 31 year old center can explode to a loose ball and take it down court at that speed? Ok maybe Russell and Wilt does pass it off to Guokas for an easy jumper, but had he missed, Wilt would have easily gotten the rebound as Don Nelson (a power forward) just bounces off Chamberlain underneath without Wilt even using his arms/hands.

6:24: Is there anyone else with even a chance at a rebound close to the basket with Wilt in the area?

6:44 clutch shot by Russell to cut the lead to one after Guokas hit one. Odd that Wilt did not challenge the shot here, but I guess Russ deserved that respect.

7:18 Don Nelson is clutch and always has a soft touch. Foreshadowing to Russell’s last game in 1969 perhaps with Breda Kolff keeping Wilt on the bench?

1967 Philadelphia 76ers Full Season Highlights

A great view of a great team from the people who were there and it was all fresh.

Takeaway 1: Don’t hang on the basket if you are a member of the crowd storming the court. (17:45)

Takeaway 2: Even as an old player coach, Russell was pretty good at hoops, this being his only loss EVER in an elimination game, being 11-1 in his career averaging 30 rebounds per game.

Takeaway 3: This version of Wilt may be the most impressive season of a center in NBA history. He even hits clutch free throws underhand (22:30 mark). Then at the 23:02 mark, HOFer Nate Thurmond who is a massive guy 6’11, 250+ goes sprawling away from Wilt just on contact with Wilt’s chest, not even a push. Wilt had his arm on Thurmond’s back a few seconds prior but clearly has both hands up when Thurmond falls.

Takeaway 4: Rick Barry is really, really hard to stop. Unless you force him into help from Wilt Chamberlain (23:12) mark which Wilt switches (not a double team). What other center in NBA history is going to be able to stop a small forward 16 feet from the hoop? Maybe Hakeem only or a young David Robinson/ Patrick Ewing, but no other 31 year old 300+ pounder!

Takeaway 5: Hal Greer, Wali Jones, and Chet Walker can get incredibly hot at any give time, and are perhaps the original “microwave”. But what is Bill Russell going to do, leave Wilt alone under the basket?