Wilt or Russell?
These two players are possibly the greatest centers of all time. One is a powerful giant focused on stats and scoring. The other one is an artist focused on defense and blocking shots. These two players are Wilt Chamberlain and Bill Russell. I will decide which one is better today by comparing them in scoring, defense, rebounding, passing, and the finale. The finale will be made up of mini categories. Please feel free to comment and follow me on twitter @CJ_H_12.
Scoring: This one easily goes to Wilt Chamberlain. Wilt Chamberlain is tied with Michael Jordan for all time highest PPG average with 30.1. Bill Russell never averaged 20 PPG in his career. Wilt once averaged 50 PPG! He also scored 100 points in one game! This one easily goes to Wilt.
Defense: This one is another landslide. Bill Russell is the greatest defensive force of all time. It’s too bad that they didn’t keep track of blocks. If they did, Hakeem would be third behind Wilt and Russell. Referee’s and teammates swear Russell and Chamberlain blocked opposing team’s about 8-12 times a game! Bill Russell blocked shots differently than Wilt and that gives him the advantage. Bill Russell would let you score through the first 3 quarters, and in the 4th quarter he would block everything. He would make you think you can shoot anything near the basket, and in the 4th quarter he would surprise you and swat everything. Russell also blocked shots toward his teammates (We will get to that later). Wilt tried to block everything and didn’t use any psychological thinking like Russell. Wilt also just swatted shots like a volleyball player into the stands. What good does that do!? The other team gets the ball right back! Russell definitely wins this category.
Passing: I used to hate when people said Russell was an extremely unselfish player. After reading books, blogs, articles, etc, I now agree he is an extremely unselfish player. Not only did Russell start fast breaks by passing the ball, he blocked the ball to his teammates who then started the break. When Russell blocked shots, he would block them towards teammate. Wilt would spike it into the stands (Like I mentioned before). This is a huge advantage for teammates. Let’s say Jerry West tried to shoot a layup, but was blocked by Russell. Russell would try to tip the ball to the person guarding West or himself. Now that can cause a 3 on 2, 2 on 1, 5 on 4, or any other fast breaks set possible for teammates. Wilt lovers bring up the fact that he led the league in assists one year. Do you also know he said he would do this before the season started? He was solely focused on his stats. Russell would have said WE (the Celtics) are going to win the championship. You see the difference?
Rebounding: This one goes to Wilt. Wilt and Russell both averaged 22 rebounds a game for their career. The statistic that separates them is head-to-head rebounding. In 142 games against each other Wilt averaged 28.7 RPG and Russell averaged 23.7 RPG. I really don’t have any other proof in this category, so if anyone has another statistic please post in the comment section below.
For the finale, I will separate everything into miniature categories. These categories are: Shooting Efficiency, MPG/GPS, leadership, clutch factor, and the more diverse player.
Shooting Efficiency: This one is all about field goal percentage. They both suck at free throws, so that doesn’t matter. The three point line also wasn’t invented until 1980. Wilt averaged a 54% FG% for his career while Russell only averaged a 44% FG% for his career. Wilt get’s this category.
MPG/GPS: (Minutes per game and games per season). This category is mainly about who will give their team the most amount of minutes in a season. To find this you have to multiply GPS by MPG. Let’s start with Wilt. Wilt averaged about 74 games per season and 45.8 MPG for his career. This averages out to be 3389.2 minutes on an average season. Now let’s do Russell. Russell averaged 74 games per season and 42. 3 MPG. This averages out to be 3130.2 minutes on an average season. Wilt averages 259 more minutes or about 5 games more than Russell. Wilt gets this category.
Leadership: This one has to go to Russell. A leader is one who makes people better. A leader is also one who sacrifices everything for the team/group. These two sentences all describe Russell. Russell makes great outlet passes and sets teammates up with perfect passes. Wilt would occasionally pass the ball. Russell sacrificed his body for the good of the Celtics. Wilt never did. Have you ever noticed that Wilt never fouled out of a game? He didn’t because he wanted to keep his pretty little record going. Russell didn’t care about these things. He wanted to win.
Clutch Factor: This one again goes to Russell. I have two points that prove my opinion. Russell is 10-0 in game 7’s. Bill Russell also won 11 championships. Wilt? 2 championships. Russell beat Wilt 7 times in playoff series. Wilt? 1. Russell’s PPG raised 2 points, his RPG raised by 2.5, and his defense became more intense. Wilt’s scoring dropped 8 points, his rebounding rose by 1.5, and his defense stayed the same. Russell has everything to back him up.
Diverse: This one is a tie. They both can do everything. They can both score, they can both rebound, they can both play defense, etc.
Final: 3-3 tie. I will take Russell over Wilt for one reason:
Offense wins games, but defense wins championships.
Winner: Bill Russell