Yesterday, I introduced my NBA All-50’s Team, part one in my six-part series of the NBA All-Decade Teams.
Today, I move to the 60’s. The era of the Celtics dynasty, Wilt’s 100-point game, and much more.
So, who were the best of the best from a so dominant decade?
Let’s take a look:
*Note: Wilt Chamberlain will be moved to Power Forward in order to make place for a frontcourt of he and Bill Russell*
Point Guard: Oscar Robertson, Cincinnati Royals
Stats (60’s only): 29.3 PPG, 10.3 APG, 8.5 RPG, 10-time NBA All-Star, 1963-64 NBA MVP
The “Big O” was what everyone envisions as the perfect all-around player, filling up stats in every category imaginable.
In the 1961-62 season, Robertson became the first, and is still the only, player to ever average a triple-double, racking up astounding numbers of 30.8 points, 12.5 rebounds, and 11.4 assists per game.
Robertson didn’t win his championship until the 1971 season, but that does not in any way take away from his dominance during the 60’s.
He was also part of the 1960 U.S. Men’s gold medal team in Rome.
Shooting Guard: Jerry West, Los Angeles Lakers
Stats (60’s only): 27.9 PPG, 6.3 RPG, 5.9 APG, 10-time NBA All-Star
West, oddly enough, was uncomfortable at first by being drafted by the Lakers. This is because West was from Chelyan, West Virginia, and was not used to being in a big city.
His teammates didn’t make it any easier for him, either. They gave him the nicknames “Tweety Bird” for his high-pitched voice, as well as “Zeke from Cabin Creek” for his thick Appalachian accent.
West soon found himself a niche, however, teaming with Elgin Baylor to form one of the best forward-guard combos in the league.
Now, West is known far and wide for being the man portrayed by the NBA Logo.
Small Forward: Elgin Baylor, L.A. Lakers
Stats (60’s only): 27.6 PPG, 13.2 RPG, 4.5 APG, Nine-time NBA All-Star
Elgin Baylor rebounded at the small forward position better than anyone in the history of the game. The only season in which Baylor did not average a double-double (1965-66) was the year directly after he suffered a severe knee injury during the 1965 playoffs.
One particularly astounding stat about Baylor is his 1961-62 season.
Baylor, a member of the U.S. Army Reserve, was called to active duty that year, and was allowed to play with his team only on a weekend pass.
Despite playing only 48 games that season, Baylor put up 1839 points and 892 rebounds (38.3 PPG, 18.6 RPG). His 38.3 PPG average that season is second only in NBA history to Wilt Chamberlain.
Power Forward: Wilt Chamberlain, Philadelphia/San Francisco Warriors/L.A. Lakers
Stats (60’s only): 34.1 PPG, 23.8 RPG, 4.6 APG, Eight-time NBA All-Star, Three-time NBA MVP, 1966-67 NBA Champion
Wilt “Big Dipper” Chamberlain will always and forever be remembered for his game on March 2, 1962.
It was that game in which Chamberlain, playing for the San Francisco Warriors at the time, scored a still unbelievable 100 points against the New York Knicks.
Chamberlain is the only player in NBA history to average 40 or 50 PPG in a season (50.4 in 1961-62, 44.8 in 1962-63).
There was also only one season during the 60’s where Chamberlain did not average over 20 rebounds per contest. In 1969-70, he averaged only a meager 18.4.
Center: Bill Russell, Boston Celtics
Stats (60’s only): 14.5 PPG, 22.4 RPG, 4.7 APG, Nine-time NBA All-Star, Four-time NBA MVP, Eight-time NBA Champion
Bill Russell. What can you say about a man who has more Championship rings than fingers? Of course, he only earned 8 of his 11 during the 60’s, but still, dominating 80 percent of a decade isn’t a bad feat.
Russell’s stats really do not do him justice, as this was all before blocks and steals started being recorded, so his defensive dominance can only be partially portrayed by his rebounding statistic.
Russell vs. Chamberlain is an argument that can be (and has been) made for years, but I really didn’t feel like getting into it, so I put both in the starting five.
In reality, it is very hard to compare the two because Russell was known for his defensive dominance; while Wilt’s unstoppable offense was his greatest gift.
Putting the two in the same frontcourt is like pairing Optimus Prime and Megatron together. Unstoppable.
Well, that wraps up part two. Next in line, the '70’s.