• December 11, 2009 12:13 pm  |  78 Comments

    1984 NBA Draft Remix

    The mother lode of NBA draft classes.

    by Jeff Fox

    A fitting end to Draft 365’s NBA Draft Remixes series — last, but certainly not least — the draft class of 1984. Actually, all the cliches work — going out on a high note, saving the best for last, etc. The 1984 NBA draft was the greatest collection of NBA draft talent in history, but it was definitely a case of quality, not quantity.

    This class is the best due to the four players at the top of the list, who all ended up being top-5 all-time players at their respective positions on the court. It’s rare enough to have four Hall of Fame players enter the NBA in the same draft year — it’s astounding to have four of the greatest players of all time in the same draft class. But after those four transcendental talent, the pickings get fairly mediocre. This draft also had more than its share of busts, with the most publicized being snakebitten Sam Bowie, who Portland picked ahead of Michael Jordan. Sadly, it appears to be deja vu all over again in Portland with ongoing saga of Greg Oden.

    1984 NBA Draft

    Grade: A+

    All-Stars: 7 (Hakeem Olajuwon, Michael Jordan, Charles Barkley, Alvin Robertson, Otis Thorpe, Kevin Willis, John Stockton)

    Biggest Bust: Lancaster Gordon, Los Angeles Clippers, pick No. 8
    Late Round Steal: Jerome Kersey, Portland, pick No. 46 (second round)
    Winning Team (in the long run): Chicago (Michael Jordan)
    Career Scoring Leader: Michael Jordan
    Career Rebounding Leader: Hakeem Olajuwon
    Career Assist Leader: John Stockton

    Pick No. 1 | Houston Rockets
    Actual Selection: Hakeem Olajuwon
    Draft 365 Remix: Michael Jordan (3)

    No surprise here — Michael Jordan is not only the best player in this monumental draft class, he’s also arguably the best player of all time (with all due respect to Wilt and BMichael Jordanill). No real need to waste a whole lot of digital ink on an explanation on what made Jordan great — he was one of the greatest winners, greatest scorers and greatest defenders of all time (notice “greatest front office executive” wasn’t included in that list).

    Pick No. 2 | Portland Trailblazers
    Actual Selection: Sam Bowie
    Draft 365 Remix: Hakeem Olajuwon (1)

    You really can’t fault Houston for picking Hakeem (or as he was known as then — “Akeem”) Olajuwon ahead of Michael Jordan. Bigger is always better in NBA GMs’ minds when draft time rolls around, plus The Dream had himself a pretty good career in his own right. He got Houston two titles, revolutionized the center position with his fluidity and grace and is either the fourth or fifth best center of all time, depending on who is doing the ranking (behind Wilt, Bill, Kareem and maybe Shaq).

    Pick No. 3 | Chicago Bulls
    Actual Selection: Michael Jordan
    Draft 365 Remix: John Stockton (16)

    It’s also totally understandable that John Stockton lasted all the way to pick No. 16 in 1984.  He played for Gonzaga, which at that time wasn’t a big name school, he wasn’t overly quick or athletic (by NBA terms) nor did he possess good size. Despite all these obstacles, he managed to become the NBA’s all-time assist and steal leader. Plus he never once secreted a drop of sweat (call him the anti-Shaq).

    Pick No. 4 | Dallas Mavericks
    Actual Selection: Sam Perkins
    Draft 365 Remix: Charles Barkley (5)

    All NBA players are athletic marvels, but few are true freaks of nature like Charles Barkley was. Despite measuring in at under 6-5 (this author visually confirmed this when seeing Barkley in person), he was one of the fiercest power forwards of all time, good for 20 and 10 every night. And, even in retirement, his mouth keeps on roaring.

    Pick No. 5 | Philadelphia 76ers
    Actual Selection: Charles Barkley
    Draft 365 Remix: Kevin Wilis (11)

    This is the point in the draft remix where the talent level falls off drastically. This is taking nothing away from Kevin Willis — you don’t last 21 seasons in the NBA unless you bring something to the table. In fact, his 1,424 NBA games played is the fifth most of all time. In his prime he was a double-double machine for the Hawks who was especially adept at crashing the offensive glass (sixth most offensive boards all time).

    Pick No. 6 | Washington Bullets
    Actual Selection: Melvin Turpin
    Draft 365 Remix: Alvin Robertson (7)

    Perhaps known more for off-the-court issues (multiple arrests and jail terms due to domestic abuse; father of Minnesota Vikings safety Tyrell Johnson), Alvin Robertson was one of the best defensive guards of his generation. The 1986 Defensive Player of the Year, he made six All-Defensive teams and four All-Star teams in this 10-year career. His resume also boasts the extremely rare “quadruple double” (20 points, 11 boards, 10 assists, 10 steals).

    Pick No. 7 | San Antonio Spurs
    Actual Selection: Alvin Robertson
    Draft 365 Remix: Otis Thorpe (9)

    Further proof that we are talking real old school — Otis Thorpe was drafted by the Kansas City Kings. Overshadowed in his prime by teammate Olajuwon, Thorpe was a very dependable double-double man and is 13th all time in offensive rebounds. Plus his name sounded real cool when announced by the public address announcer.

    Pick No. 8 | Los Angeles Clippers
    Actual Selection:
    Lancaster Gordon
    Draft 365 Remix: Sam Perkins (4)

    Sleepy Sam Perkins played like he looked - calm, cool and collected.  Never a star in the NBA, he nonetheless was a key contributor to four teams in his career, and averaged double-digits points his first 13-years in the League.

    Pick No. 9 | Kansas City Kings
    Actual Selection:
    Otis Thorpe
    Draft 365 Remix: Jerome Kersey (46)

    The second round steal of the draft, Jerome Kersey was Clyde Drexler’s sidekick on the powerhouse Portland teams on the 1980s and 90s. A high-flying forward, his best year was 1988 when he posted averages of 19, 8 and 3.

    Pick No. 10 | Philadelphia 76ers
    Actual Selection: Leon Wood
    Draft 365 Remix: Michael Cage (14)

    The greatest Jheri curl in NBA history belonged to Michael Cage (as well as the greatest nickname — “John Shaft”). Cage was a tenacious rebounder whose 13.0 rpg led the NBA in 1988.

    Barely missed the Top 10 Remix: Vern Fleming, Jay Humphries, Tony Campbell, Sam Bowie

    Next from Draft 365: We go back to the future and give 2010 draft prospects like John Wall some love.

    Read more of Jeff Fox at The Hoops Manifesto.

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    • niQ Posted: Dec.11 at 12:19 pm
      John Stockton. His assists and steals are godly.

    • niQ Posted: Dec.11 at 12:20 pm
      I meant to say assists and steals TOTAL. But I guess what I said before is partially valid as well =.=

    • niQ Posted: Dec.11 at 12:24 pm
      And man, Alvin Robertson was pretty underrated. A crazy defender and you can’t knock on his quadruple double… damn.. is he the last person to get one?

    • Ken Posted: Dec.11 at 12:30 pm
      This was one of my fav features on the site in a long time. Great work over the course of it, thank you.

    • doom Posted: Dec.11 at 12:32 pm
      how is Sam Bowie not the biggest bust in this class? taken ahead of MJ, John Stockton, and Charles…

    • Jeff Fox Posted: Dec.11 at 12:35 pm
      Glad you enjoyed the feature - thanks Ken. Bowie wasn’t the biggest bust because he ended up playing over 500 games in the League and had decent stats. He ended up 14th on the remix, so he wasn’t a total bust-he just didn’t live up to potential.

    • Gerard Himself Posted: Dec.11 at 12:50 pm
      Niq: David Robinson and Hakeem Olajuwon both got one after Robertson.

    • Gerard Himself Posted: Dec.11 at 1:24 pm
      that’s true Jeff. He had some good seasons in New Jersey, but like you said: he just didn’t live up to the potential. If people call him the biggest bust ever, they are forgetting about Olowokandi, or Kwame.

    • price Posted: Dec.11 at 1:36 pm
      @doom…. Bowie wasn’t the biggest bust because he actually had a decent career. I dunno maybe a 13 and 8 guy. Lancaster Gordon is probably not even goog-able.

    • SLAM ONLINE | » Hot Topics Posted: Dec.11 at 1:42 pm
      [...] ‘84 Draft Remix [...]

    • tmw554 Posted: Dec.11 at 1:48 pm
      sad to see there will be no more remixes. ive been trying my best to predict them but if you went much further i probably wouldnt recognize the lesser players in the drafts of the early 80s etc

    • niQ Posted: Dec.11 at 2:18 pm
      @Gerard. Thanks! I can’t wait til the next person gets a quadruple-double!
      and @ tmw554. Well there’s going to be a remix for 2010 draft prospects. So go ahead and start predicting that. I’ll give you a hint on the first pick. His name is John Wall.

    • LeoneL Posted: Dec.11 at 2:21 pm
      @doom, don’t believe everything “experts” tell you…that Bowie is the biggest bust ever..At least he’s had a respectable career, unlike someone named Kwame…well, at least Kwame gave the Lakers their first ring after the Shaq era.And yeah, Hakeem is better than Shaq…a little better on the court and a whole lot better outside of it.As for Charles Barkley, if you’re in awe of Gerald Wallace leading the league in rebounds after a quarter of a season, then the 6′5″ Barkley should be God-like.

    • LeoneL Posted: Dec.11 at 2:24 pm
      @niQ, and Jeff Fox, you can’t actually call it a remix if we’re talking about the 2010 draft…

    • Ryne Nelson Posted: Dec.11 at 2:49 pm
      I don’t think Jeff said he was going to ‘remix’ 2010…

    • Dutch Rich Posted: Dec.11 at 2:59 pm
      In no way should Shaq be considered a better center than Hakeem. That would be blasphemy!!

    • tavoris Posted: Dec.11 at 3:43 pm
      who the heck is Lancaster Gordon?

    • nobody Posted: Dec.11 at 5:43 pm
      Lancaster Gordon is a made-up name.

    • Airswade Posted: Dec.11 at 5:59 pm
      @niq - I think the Admiral has had one since, but I might be trippin’.

    • M Cho Posted: Dec.11 at 6:02 pm
      Nice to see Michael Cage get some love. He was a glass cleaner supreme in his day.

    • Blue Posted: Dec.11 at 6:37 pm
      Sorry…I can’t bring myself to put Hakeem behind Shaq when talking all time great centers…

    • Jukai Posted: Dec.11 at 6:50 pm
      Considering there is photographic evidence of Charles Barkley next to a freaking height chart which shows him perfectly between 6′7/6′8, I’m not sure why people keep claiming otherwise.

    • Jukai Posted: Dec.11 at 6:51 pm
      Not sure why anyone would put Shaq over Hakeem. I mean, has anyone compared their stats?

    • Young C Posted: Dec.11 at 7:12 pm
      “I ball for real, yall n!&&@$ is Sam Bowie…”

    • tealish Posted: Dec.11 at 8:17 pm
      @Jukai: Agreed. And even if you watch him in studio, he does look larger than the 6′4-6′5 people say he is.
      @Jeff Fox: Even though 13 and 8, 500 games, is a respectable career…..if you were picked over Michael freaking Jordan and put out those numbers………you’re a bust. Lancaster Gordon. His career may have been nothing, but he was only taken over sleepy Sam. I guess we just have different interpretations of what a ‘bust’ is. For me, the players that are passed up to pick you, is very important part of it.

    • Jeff Fox Posted: Dec.11 at 9:06 pm
      I’m a shade under 6′6″ and I’ve walked past Barkley in person and I was taller than him. Hence, I stated he is 6′4″-6′5″. And I wasn’t wearing my stiletto heals at the time either.

    • Teddy-the-Bear Posted: Dec.11 at 10:29 pm
      OH MY GOSH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Teddy-the-Bear Posted: Dec.11 at 10:32 pm
      Jeff, I must say, this feature has also been one of my favorites on this site for quite some time. Great job man. A little basketball history is always nice.

    • Teddy-the-Bear Posted: Dec.11 at 10:33 pm
      I think the only questionable ranking here is Stockton over Barkley. Its tough, because Barkley might be the best power forward ever (unless you count Duncan); he’s at least top 3. Stockton is one of the best point guards ever, but its definitely arguable that Barkley should be placed ahead of him.

    • Jason the Jason Posted: Dec.11 at 11:09 pm
      I enjoyed these remixes.. I’ve got an idea for another blog. A play off an article I saw in a SLAM magazine a few years back. Do a series of Top Tens. Top ten players to never win a ring, active an inactive. Top ten players who’s careers got cut short. Top ten 2nd round steals. Top ten coaches. Top ten Gm’s. Top ten players who went crazy. I dunno. I had more. but now i’m tired.

    • Jason the Jason Posted: Dec.11 at 11:10 pm
      top ten players to never make an all star team. that was another.

    • str8 from samoa Posted: Dec.11 at 11:14 pm
      john stockton was gangsta!!!

    • J Posted: Dec.11 at 11:22 pm
      ^ no man, John Stockton was SLAM.

    • Dacre Posted: Dec.11 at 11:35 pm
      Stockton over Barkley. every.day.of.the.week.

    • Lucas Posted: Dec.11 at 11:55 pm
      Sam Bowie went from overrated to underrated

    • NigerianLaker Posted: Dec.12 at 1:32 am
      Shouldn’t that be “Mother Lode” of draft classes?
      Because I don’t see the pun in Motherload; call me Captain Oblivious or something.
      And sure, Stockton over Barkley. As clear as day

    • Dave Posted: Dec.12 at 2:58 am
      Stockton over Barkley, no question.
      Sam Perkins, predating Sheed’s “big man steps outside” playing style by a decade and a half.

    • Dave Posted: Dec.12 at 3:05 am
      @Jukai: Barkley’s shorter than Jordan. Google Image search “barkley jordan” and look.
      And Shaq has 4 rings. I’d probably draft Olajuwon over Shaq myself, but to answer your question, Shaq has 4 rings.

    • SAB Posted: Dec.12 at 6:04 am
      imagine if it had happened like that… Jordan on the Rockets, Dream at Portland and Stockton on the Bulls… crazy huh…

    • SAB Posted: Dec.12 at 6:05 am
      oh and thanks again Jeff, this has been a great series of articles!

    • Clark Posted: Dec.12 at 8:01 am
      Who would put Shaq over Hakeem?

    • Jeff Fox Posted: Dec.12 at 8:47 am
      NigerianLaker is correct - it should be mother lode. That’s why I love you guys - you never hesitate to point out my errors!

    • Teddy-the-Bear Posted: Dec.12 at 2:13 pm
      Shaq was most fun to watch in Orlando. When he got to LA, the amount of offensive fouls he had (that weren’t called) was just ridiculous.

    • Teddy-the-Bear Posted: Dec.12 at 7:30 pm
      Also, Sam Bowie was nowhere near the level of bust that Kwame Brown and Darko are on. People only say that because he was drafted ahead of Jordan, but come on now–any player short of Charles Barkley or John Stockton would have been labeled a “bust” had they been drafted before Jordan.
      Bowie put up very respectable seasons of 15 ppg and 8 rpg, as well as 14 ppg and 10 rpg. Obviously that doesn’t equate to 6 championships and a 37 ppg season, but nonetheless, those are not scrub numbers. His career probably suffered a lot and he didn’t play as well as he could have because of all the crap he had to take for being drafted before Jordan.

    • matt Posted: Dec.13 at 1:45 am
      With all due respect to Michael and Bill, the Big Dipper is NOT a top five player a top five of all time player doesn’t pull a ghost act the final ten minutes of the game so he doesn’t collect a 6th foul and lose his stupid, pointless record that just shows exactly how much you didn’t care.

    • Tzvi Twersky Posted: Dec.13 at 1:51 am
      Jeff, I can’t believe you made it all the way through these. It seems like you just started posting them yesterday. Been a nice series. Thanks.

    • Jukai Posted: Dec.13 at 4:30 am
      Jeff: I’m sorry, but it was your imagination, buddy. He’s been next to a height chart and he’s 6′7-6′8. I’ve walked next to people and thought I was taller and I wasn’t. Police height charts don’t lie. I mean, believe what you want, but it’s pretty hard to argue with NON-PHOTOSHOPPED PICTURE EVIDENCE.

    • Jukai Posted: Dec.13 at 4:33 am
      Also, I really don’t want this series to end. I don’t care if Jeff doesn’t know anything about the dudes in the 50s, I want this thing to keep going. It’s fun, thoughtful, and always brings back a lot of great memories.

    • Jukai Posted: Dec.13 at 4:40 am
      Matt: Uh… what GAME are you talking about?
      Chamberlain had a very famous game 4 against the New York Knicks in 1972 where he picked up five fouls early in the fourth… then asked his coach to not come out, played insanely aggressive defense on a tough-as-nails Jerry Lucas, blocking TWO of the dudes shots in overtime, and scored five points… WITH A BROKEN HAND!!!
      That is actually a very well known tale of Chamberlain which proved Chamberlain didn’t play for stats, but played for the win. So, I’m sort of mystified on what you’re talking about. They won that game then won the series with Chamberlain taking home Finals MVP honors, averaging 15 points and 20 rebounds… -at the age of 35-
      Chamberlain is da number 1 best center. For real.

    • Jukai Posted: Dec.13 at 4:46 am
      Dave: Uh, for every image that shows Jordan angled to be taller than Barkley, there are images that show Barkley being taller than Jordan… be wary of camera angles, dudes. But take a look at these:
      And, for the UNDENIABLE EVIDENCE:
      But I’m sure Barkley was standing on his tippy toes.

    • LCD screen cleaner Posted: Dec.13 at 7:33 am
      Jukai is NEVER WRONG. Ask him yourself. Also, Barkley over Stockton imo. and yay, Kevin Willis.

    • Jukai Posted: Dec.13 at 8:09 am
      LCD Screen Cleaner seems to get it.

    • matt Posted: Dec.13 at 5:30 pm
      Wilt’s record for the conference finals and NBA finals: 48-44 Russell’s record for conference finals and NBA finals: 90-53 Wilt’s record in Game 7’s: 4-5 Russell’s record for Game 7’s: 10-0 Wilt’s record in elimination games for his team:
      10-11 Russell’s record for elimination games for his team:
      16-2 The quality of their respective teams were equal. Wilt played with six members of the NBA top 50, Russell played with four. From 57′-69′ Russell’s teammates were selected to twenty six all star games; in the same time span Wilt’s were selected to 24. True, Russell had Red. But Red has also gone on record as saying he would never have been able to coach him. 1968 NBA finals Wilt takes TWO shots in the second half of game 7 in a loss to Boston. 1969 NBA finals game 7 Wilt ‘injures’ his knee in crunch time. !970 NBA finals game 7 Walt Frazier destroys Wilt’s Lakers. Wilt sucked in the clutch. The fear of losing overwhelmed him in big games. Terrified of getting fouled because of his dreadful free throw shooting he’d play hot potato or start hoisting fall away shots that left him out of rebounding position and his defense would disapear out of fear of collecting that dreaded 6th foul. You’re right, that 1972 game was special. There was also a consensus at the time that he’d play the overtime soft. I’m glad he finally put aside his petty statistical bs to help his team win a championship in his THIRTEENTH year in the NBA. Way to finally get it. Wilt played the game as if he had to prove his worth to someone had never seen basketball. 40 years later his name is getting mentioned alongside Russell here by some guy who only read Wilt’s stats; 40 years ago the consensus wasn’t even close that Wilt was the better player. No one from that era would have wanted Wilt as a teammate instead of Russell. No one. To be in the top five of all time, I don’t think you’re the kind of player who gets TRADED TWICE in his PRIME. Wilt was. So sure that game you talked about was dope. Keep in mind it became famous BECAUSE wilt brought it in the overtime after everyone said he would go soft. Greatest center of all time?!?! Since you’re a Wilt fan you most likely LOVE stats so here is another one for you that I’m guessing you already know. Russell: 11 rings Wilt: 2 rings 1. jordan 2. russell 3. kareem nuff said

    • Shem Posted: Dec.13 at 6:56 pm
      Michael Jordan was a bust.

    • Michael Scorn Posted: Dec.13 at 11:12 pm
      I agree with Shem. When you consider how Michael Jordan ruined the NBA by inspiring a bunch of ball hogging, glory seaking, me first, trick shot shooting, players who never realized that it was Jordan’s once in a lifetime gnetic make up that gave him his success. Now we have all these players all over the world who try to be like mike even though they can not jump as high, or have the big hands, or the natural strength and speed. This is why I like Darko. He knows he can never be the same as Jordan, so he doesn’t bother disgracing the league by trying to be. Lebron on the other hand….

    • Jukai Posted: Dec.14 at 1:30 am
      Obviously, I am in disagreement with several of your points here. While I can’t personally argue about this “consensus” of who the best basketball player was, I have multiple basketball fanatic family members who lived through the Wilt Chamberlain era who would vehemently disagree with you on Russell being number 1, so even if you are old enough to have seen Wilt play, please do not pull the “you only read his bio so you don’t know what people thought of him” routine. My father would always tell me that Russell, Gilmore, Thurmond, Issel, and Bellamy could only really dunk– Chamberlain could do everything.
      So let’s get to your points… You claim that the teams Wilt were on were on par with the Celtics… we are in disagreement here. You use the NBA Top 50 and all-stars to boost your evidence. This is a decent point, but if you took a look inside those numbers, you realize your evidence is shakier than originally mentioned:
      The first thing that isn’t necessarily correct is your notion of the number of all-stars between each team… Chamberlain played with a few all-stars on the warriors (Arizin for three years, Gola on and off, Rogers twice and Tom Meschery once). On his 76er days, he played with a few (Greer the entire time he was on the team, Chet Walker twice, and Luke Jackson once). Obviously, the one time that LA clashed with the Celtics, LA brought in two others outside of Chamberlain (West, and the unbelievably overrated Baylor).
      There is no arguing that these guys were the ONLY POSSIBLE ALL-STARS CHAMBERLAIN EVER PLAYED WITH. Maybe Gola deserved an extra all-star nod. Maybe Chet Walker once as well.
      The problem with YOUR notion on Russell was he only played with a few extra all-stars over chamberlain… but that notion is ridiculous, because there were loads of players on Boston who deserved to be all-stars but weren’t, simply because of how many they were sending to the all-star games already. Heinsohn went five times during Chamberlains bouts with the Celtics, Sharman went once, Cousy four times, Sam Jones five… not to mention the pre-mentioned Bill Russell and legendary John Havlicek, who when given the green light put up 29-9-7… but they also had tons of players who SHOULD have been all-stars but weren’t, because of the already high number of Celtic all-stars that were put on the team. KC Jones (in the NBA’s top 50) and Tom Sanders (all-defensive team stalwart) would definitely have made an all-star team elsewhere. Jim Loscutof and Don Nelson could have gotten looks as well (well.. okay, maybe not Nelson). Let’s not forget that Willie Naulls, Carl Braun, Wayne Embry, Clyde Lovellette, and ESPECIALLY Bailey Howe were all all-stars at least two years before joining the Celtics when Chamberlain faced them in the playoffs. They may have continued their streaks if they did not join the Celtics.
      The only two former all-stars that Chamberlain played with were a 35-year-old Redd Ker and Johnny Green. He played with a rookie Nate Thurmond and an early career Billy Cunningham, but they were no all-stars then.
      Let’s also not forget that a lot of the NBA Top 50 that Chamberlain played with (Arizin, West, Baylor) were already past their prime and were on that list because of past endeavors, and others (Billy Cunningham, Nate Thurmond) should not even be counted because they were rookies barely getting playing time! On the other hand, Russell played with KC Jones, Sam Jones, Bob Cousy, Bill Sharman, and John Havlicek in their primes. This can’t be overlooked!
      Plus, let’s not pretend Russell killed Chamberlain in all the games they fought… four of the eight times they played against each other were seven game series, one was a six game, and one Chamberlain actually won with the help of Greer and Walker. Many were decided by only a handful of baskets. During those times, Chamberlain lead his team in field goal percentage five times, scoring five times, and rebounds every time. Yet, even though he did all this, you believe that he apparently did nothing in the clutch. Okay.
      Your memory only seems to extend to 1969 (they played New York in 1970, so I assume you went back a year) when Chamberlain was on the Lakers.
      Yes, in 1969, Chamberlain got a lot of crap during his Finals series. Many believe he choked during a large portion of the playoffs. However, what you failed to mention was that Chamberlain severely hurt his knee with six minutes left in the game and his coach forced him out of the game. Chamberlain took a lot of crap for that, despite his knee swelling up twice the size and losing a lot of his mobility. Still, Chamberlain pretty much blew the series with his lack of play and got the media scrutiny he deserved.
      That’s really where it should have stopped. In the 1970 games against New York, Chamberlain was recovering from a SEVERE KNEE INJURY which limited him to twelve games and permanently damaged his mobility.. yet he still twice blocked Reed’s game winning shots and putting in 45 points in game five where he toppled the Knicks single handedly. Obviously, the Knicks, with their team of five HoFers won that won… but that’s mostly because Frazier obliterated West and Garrett, not because of Chamberlain.
      And yes, the next year, Chamberlain with limited mobility due to injury, took over that playoff series and won Finals MVP.
      So, I feel I’ve properly debated with you about how russell’s teams were SUPERIOR to Chamberlains (outside of 1969) and that Russell’s rings were mostly from the massive talent that was around him.
      Let’s argue about something not debatable… numbers!
      Russell was a chucker with limited offensive skill… only 15 points on 44% for his career! Absolutely incomparable to Chamberlain’s 30 on 54%. While Russell didn’t have the size advantages that Chamberlain had, Russell was a SUPERIOR athlete, being invited to compete in the the track and field event at the olympics… so don’t think there was anyone who could stop Russell back in the day. They were both great rebounders and passers, but Chamberlain probably takes the cake on both. Hell, help defense is the only tangible stat that would go to Russell. Obviously Russell was a superior leader and teammate, but he was also being coached by, as you mentioned, the legendary Red. He came out being taught by the best.
      I also find it aggravating that you mentioned Chamberlain got traded twice in his prime. Chamberlain, albeit unreasonably, demanded those trades. It wasn’t that Chamberlain was uncoachable: CHAMBERLAIN wanted out. I don’t care if you hold that against Chamberlain, but don’t try to make it sound as if Chamberlain was ousted by management.

    • Jukai Posted: Dec.14 at 1:32 am
      Longest post ever on SLAM? Possibly. I deserve a mention in the Links for this one. I actually started writing that, went to do something else, went back to writing that, played NBA 2K10, then finished that up.

    • Michael Scorn Posted: Dec.14 at 1:47 am
      Congratulations Jukai. What an accomplishment. I didn’t read it. But, congratualtions any way. Maybe I should take a shot at the longest post ever on SLAM. Let me head over to “Definition of Class” and do it =)

    • CLUTCHperformer Posted: Dec.14 at 10:56 am
      I was wondering when they would Remix 84
      I wouldnt call sam bowie the biggest bust
      I call him the biggest what was I thinking or was I drunk when I made that choice @Michael Scorn, I think shem was kidding, that said yeah theres a lot of ball hogging, Kobe anyone? or Pau complaining about not getting touches?

    • Joe King Posted: Dec.14 at 11:55 am
      shaq>Dream imo

    • Allenp Posted: Dec.14 at 4:21 pm
      Good argument Jukai.
      You underrated Russell a tad, I mean he pretty much created the block as a defensive weapon, but you made good points.
      I’m betting money that Matt is from Boston.

    • matt Posted: Dec.14 at 6:20 pm
      You look at stats and percentages and come to the conclusion that Russell wasn’t a good offensive player. Go back and watch the tapes. After cooze retired the celtics ran EVERY half court play through Russell (they had no true point guard or jordan/kobe like scorer). Watch the tapes, and you’ll see that his passing jumps out nearly as much as his defense. Not just his knack for finding cutters for layups but how EASILY he found streaking guards for fast breaks directly off blocks and rebounds. He made everyone on his team a better offensive player. His offensive abilities as a passer, a pick setter, and general surmiser of fast breaks …hah calling him a ‘chucker’ takes the cake for ridiculous things to come out of your mouth. I know its easier to regurgitate something you heard than to look at the tapes but take it from someone who saw him play night after night: four things stood out when watching Russell play. His passing (superb) his shot blocking (unparalleled) his speed getting down the court (breathtaking) and his knack for grabbing a rebound taking off with it and running the fast break like a point guard (has to be seen to be believed).

    • matt Posted: Dec.14 at 6:32 pm
      Wilt always pointed to his statistical achievements as specific measurements of his ability, and they were; but to someone who KNOWS basketball they are, if not irrelevant, certainly nonessential. The point of the game is not how well the individual does but whether the team wins. So, Wilt’s teams revolved around his offense, and Russell’s teams revolved around his defense. Wilt coexisted with his teammates; Russell made his teammates better. Wilt had to make a difficult effort to play unselfishly and act like a decent teammate; Russell’s very existence was predicated on unselfishness and team play. In the end Russell’s teams won championships and Wilt’s lost them. Heres some quotes from Wilt’s peers at the time since you said you had no way of finding out what players of that era thought of him. Jerry West- “I don’t want to rap Wilt beause I believe only Russell was better, and I really respect what Wilt did. But I have to say he wouldn’t adjust to you, you had to adjust to him.” Jerry Lucas- “Wilt was to consumed with records: being the first to lead the league in assists, or to set a record for FG percentage. He’d accomplish one goal, then go to another. Russell only asked one question: what can I do to make us win?” Rick Barry- “I’ll say what most players feel, which is that Wilt is a loser. He is terrible in big games. He knows he is going to lose and be blamed for the loss, so he dreads it, and you can see it in his eyes; and anyone who ever played with him will agree with me, regardless of whether or not they would admit it publicly. When it comes down to the closing minutes of a tough game, an important game, he doesn’t want the ball, he doesn’t want any part of the pressure. It is at these times that greatness is determined, and Wilt doesn’t have it. There is no way you can compare him to a pro like a Bill Russell or a Jerry West.”

    • matt Posted: Dec.14 at 6:40 pm
      Do I really have to go on? In that famous Lakers Knicks finals game when Willis limped out and drianed those first two jumpers did it ever occur to Chamberlain “WAIT! I have a one legged guy guarding me, maybe I should destroy him offensively!” And after Reed leaves, Wilt somehow gets shut down by a criminally undersized dave debusschere and ny’s pressure defense. You make it seem as if Frazier beat the lakers himself, but remember in that final game Wilt took only THREE shots in the second half. THREE SHOTS?!? If you had actually seen that game (one of many) you wouldn’t be defending Wilt as some sort of playoff hero. Wilt had FIVE chances to knock Russell out of the playoffs in 1968 and 1969 with a SUPERIOR team. Two of these games included Game 7’s AT HOME IN WILT’S FAVOR. Each time he only needed one monster performance to pull it off, and each time he couldn’t do it. Each time, Russell’s inferior team prevailed and each time Wilt whined about it afterward.

    • Matt Posted: Dec.14 at 7:02 pm
      is wilt the greatest regular season player of all time? Sure. Is he the greatest individual talent? Sure. If the NBA season ended after the 82 games and the playoffs were scrapped he’d go down as the GOAT because Russell and Jordan cemented their legend when it mattered.

    • freezy23 Posted: Dec.14 at 7:03 pm
      thats whatsup

    • Jukai Posted: Dec.15 at 12:44 am
      a) I’ve watched entire games of some of the legendary 60s Celtics, mostly without Cousy cause those are really the only ones you can find. You are correct: Russell was an INCREDIBLE passer, especially when finding backdoor cuts and starting off on the break (not necessarily lob passes.. but like, he starts running and throws a chest pass to a runner). So, yes, if you consider passing part of an offensive skillset, then you’re 100% right, Russell was a great offensive player.
      But Chamberlain was still better.
      You claim Russell had no true point guard, which is true– their best passers after Cousy left was Havlicek, who was relegated to a Ginobili role.
      Chamberlain was still a better passer. Chamberlain did have better point guards around him, yet he still passed like a pro, once leading the league in assists while averaging 8 a game! He is the only center to have a twenty assists game. Chamberlain couldn’t start the break like Russell could (mostly because of his lack of speed compared to Russell in the open court) but Chamberlain could pass just as well or better in every other way. A lot of his passes came from passing out of a triple team, but then again, he was put in that position because of Chamberlain’s awesome offensive skill, so you can’t really penalize him for that. Chamberlain was a better passer and a better offensive player.
      Of course, I’m sure you’ll tell me that all the games I’ve seen of Chamberlain are ‘flukes’ in terms of passing, and all the books I’ve read are overhyping him and certainly aren’t true. And my family is full of liars. And you’re the only one who knows the truth. But, from everything I have seen, Chamberlain is a better passer.
      And he wasn’t a chucker like Russell was (I’m using the term chucker a little bit too liberally. That was the style of play at the time– if you had some room, fling it up. Even Chamberlain played like that, but he was so unstoppable, most of it went in).
      b) First off, let me stop you immediately— Rick Barry and Wilt Chamberlain HATED each other. HATED. Have you heard some of the things Chamberlain said about Barry? When they’d play each other, they’d jack up as many shots as they could to try and outscore each other. So, that ultra long quote that Barry said is great and all, but utterly overblown.
      So here’s some quote to you:
      “Wilt is playing better than I used to — passing off, coming out to set up screens, picking up guys outside, and sacrificing himself for team play.” Bill Russell
      “Russell single-handedly revolutionized this game simply because he made defense so important.” Red Auerbach,
      “One-on-one he [Wilt] would’ve murdered Russell and everyone. But playing five-on-five, Wilt was consigned to a specific role because of his ability to score so easily, whereas the Celtics fit Russell into their team concept better.” Red Holzman.
      “If [the referee] is calling [the game] loose then everyone gets away with more. So, you have to handle your own man accordingly, unless it’s Wilt Chamberlain. Him, you just don’t handle. He’s too strong. The best you can do is make him work hard.” Bill Russell
      “Wilt was one of the greatest ever, and we will never see another one like him.” Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
      So, yeah, it’s great you can use quotes from different basketball players.. but Russell says he was better, Red said his defense was unstoppable..
      I don’t get why you talk about Wilt being a terrible teammate on the court. Wilt had massive off the court issue– he wouldn’t show up for practices, he’d stay up late to drink and party and try and convince his teammates to come, he’d be eating hot dogs on the bench and he’d blatantly ignore coaches advice. Specifically, early on in his career, one could certainly knock Chamberlain for his inability to be a leader as a role model… but on the court, Wilt was a perfectly complimentary player. When Greer proved he could score better than an aging Chamberlain, Chamberlain stopped shooting, and focused on passing and rebounding. When he went to the Lakers, Chamberlains stopped taking turnaround jump shots and hooks completely and focused on rebounding and getting garbage buckets. He was a GREAT teammate, and I have bookmarked several pages of quotes if you want them. I really will only post one for you, since I think it’s funny:
      “When I started to play with him, he helped make me a better player. We seemed to have a real good feel together, I think it translated into a confidence with him. All players are generally judged by the number of championships they won. Unfortunately, he only won two. His greatness as a basketball player can’t be questioned. He was fun, we used to laugh at him a lot, some of the things that would happen. I once told him, no one roots for Goliath.”
      Jerry West said that.
      Just thought that was funny, considering the quote you posted.
      C) Your last post is pointless to respond to since I’ve already responded to this previously… and you’ve decided to ignore it. Still, for the sake of a longer rebuttal: Wilt Chamberlain was double teamed while dealing with an injury that had left him only playing eight games before the post-season and had PERMANENTLY LIMITED HIS MOBILITY. Yes, he was still as strong as Hercules, but he didn’t have the speed or leaping abilities that he once had. This hampered him even for the next few seasons. Jerry West was also taking cortisone shots for his thigh. Really, it was up to Baylor to step it up, and of course he didn’t.
      And I don’t think anyone on this planet believes Chamberlain had a better team than the Celtics when he was on the Warriors and 76ers. Except for you. How’s your apartment in Boston doing?
      My final note is that you make it seem like Chamberlain is a Maravich or Iverson: a dude who did things ‘his way’ and never got a ring. Chamberlain has two rings, one where he pretty much carried his team singlehandedly against a team which was superior. Two rings, multiple seven game series against a team who every year had the -best record in the league- every year.
      He’s the almost-GOAT.
      He just didn’t have the greatest team of all time.
      I’ll never be able to convince you of this, and because this article is gonna disappear into the mists, I’ll let you get the final word in, I wont respond. But just turn on some NBA hardwood classics and watch some Chamberlain. Bring back some memories.

    • Allenp Posted: Dec.15 at 1:23 pm
      That quote from Rick Barry is funny.
      Jerry West lost CONSTANTLY. He has admitted he was a nervous wreck because of those constant losses. With Elgin Baylor as his sidekick, West consistently got his butt handed to him by the Celtics despite putting up insane numbers.
      Yet, you hold up West as a true pro, and Wilt as a selfish, choking giant.
      Wilt won MORE rings than West, did it without West, and had to go through Russell to get his ring, while West didn’t.
      Yet, West is the “real pro” according to Barry.
      Seriously, that’s really telling to me. West couldn’t win without Wilt, but Wilt is the one who failed.
      Does anybody else see the problem with this logic?
      No doubt Russell was the ultimate team player. But, let’s not pretend that he would have been as successful without being surrounded by a great team, that was constantly restockd thanks to crazy draft rules, a lack of a salary cap, and a lack of free agency. Without the reserve clause and territorial draft, the Celtics dynasty would have never existed. Period.

    • tavoris Posted: Dec.15 at 3:36 pm
      Allenp, who listens to Rick Barry’s opinion? He was a great player, but he pissed more people off in his career than Iverson, Artest, and JR Rider COMBINED.
      West put up great numbers, but wasn’t the transcendental player “the logo” would have u believe.

    • Allenp Posted: Dec.15 at 3:47 pm
      Oh yeah, on the topic of this post. I think Hakeem is only behind Wilt and Kareem, but I’m biased.
      I also think that it makes sense to draft Hakeem over Jordan, because in order for Jordan to win his six rings he needed another Top 50 player on his squad, while Hakeem didn’t. So, with a big man, you need less to succeed.

    • Matt Posted: Dec.15 at 5:58 pm
      Just to show I’m not biased against laker players I will tear Allenp comment about Jerry West apart. The logo was a CLUTCH player. His steal and buzzer beating layup to win Game 3 of the 62′ finals, or his game saving 60 footer in game 3 of the 70′ finals or his 53 point 10 assist explosion in game 1 of the 69′ finals. And Wilt won his second ring WITH west in 1972. Make no mistake, he was the best player on that squad. Correct me if I’m wrong but I think west is still the only player to win the Finals MVP on a losing squad. I’m not a big fan of all this revisionist history going around from punks who never saw these guys play.

    • Matt Posted: Dec.15 at 5:59 pm
      Hakeem only behind Kareem and Wilt? Hopefully even Jukai would put Russell ahead of Hakeem, as much as I loved his game.

    • Matt Posted: Dec.15 at 6:05 pm
      I enjoyed our back and forth Jukai, as defensive as I may have seemed it was enjoyable talking to a true student of the game. I think you are guilty of underestimating the impact Russell had on his teammates (something that can’t be tangibly quantified) in saying he was just lucky to be on a better squad than Wilt. But I am likely guilty as well of not giving Wilt more breaks. I consider Wilt to be a tragic figure, if they had kept track of blocks at the time I think he would have led the league in them and morphed into the greatest defensive player of all time, likely winning his teams an extra five championships or maybe even more. One on one he surely was greater than Russell no doubt about it. Maybe thats why I am so hard on him for not wanting it as bad as Russell did, for not making the sacrifices like Russell did in doing whatever he could to make his team better. If Wilt had wanted it as bad as Bill did, we wouldn’t even be having this conversation right now. We wouldn’t even be having this conversation between Wilt and MJ if Wilt had wanted it as bad as either of them.

    • Matt Posted: Dec.15 at 6:09 pm
      To get back to the topic of the draft, here’s some fun what if history for you guys. Back in 84′ the Blazers offered the Rockets their second pick PLUS Clyde Drexler for Ralph Sampson. Hakeem would still go first, but I don’t think the Rockets would have been taking Sam Bowie with that second pick. Imagine the 80’s Rockets if they kicked it with Hakeem at the 5, Jordan at the 3, and Clyde at the 2.

    • Pic Posted: Dec.15 at 6:17 pm
      Leon Wood the referee?

    • Matt Posted: Dec.15 at 6:25 pm
      and Allenp your quote… “I also think that it makes sense to draft Hakeem over Jordan, because in order for Jordan to win his six rings he needed another Top 50 player on his squad, while Hakeem didn’t. So, with a big man, you need less to succeed.” …is a little silly. Hakeem wouldn’t have won ANY of thise championships if Jordan hadn’t retired. Plus although he wasn’t the player he once was, Hakeem did win his second ring with an official top 50 player (Clyde Drexler) although he personally wouldn’t make my top 50.

    • Jukai Posted: Dec.15 at 8:23 pm
      Matt: I can definitely agree Russell could have padded his stats much more, been a 25-point player if he wanted to. Dude could dunk over anyone not named Chamberlain (just ask poor Bellamy) and his court vision was unparalleled.
      Which is also why, as much as Hakeem Olajuwon is one of my top five favorite players of all time, I still would put Russell over him. Centers, in my mind, are the easiest to place neatly on a list and ship: it’s Stilt, Cap, Ropes, Dream, Diesel, Admiral, Mo, Captain, Hoya Destroya, and Big Bill (throw Sabas in there too, if we’re allowed to use some imagination).
      I have enjoyed out back-and-fourth, Matt. You know your stuff, no doubt. You’re right about Hakeem only winning because Jordan didn’t want to win anymore.
      Still can’t blame the Rockets for taking him though. He was mint.

    • Jukai Posted: Dec.15 at 8:27 pm
      I realize my opinion of Rick Barry must be insanely unbiased because of my father. I was watching some 70s basketball documentary, and I jokingly asked my father who was better, Dr. J or Rick Barry… he told me the latter! That man shaped my basketball life right there, so I may wanna relook into Barry.
      I also can’t believe what an incredible douchebag Barry is, even to this day. He kept gloating about his championship ring, and honestly had PITY in his eye when Gervin was talking about not getting one. When Earl Monroe said he thought his NBA Top 50 ring was more important than his championship ring, Rick Barry looked like he wanted to call him a liar and hit him. He more or less did the former. What an ass.


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