Sunday 23rd November 2014,
The Hoop Doctors

Top 10 Centers of the 1960’s

Rob September 19, 2011 Blogs, R.S. De France No Comments

September 16th, 2011 – R.S. De France

The Hoop Doctors continue looking back at the greatest centers in NBA history, decade by decade, with the 1960′s:

ABOUT STATISTICS NOTES
Drafted 1953 (Debut 1955)
Territorial Selection of the New York Knicks
In 1960’s:
Games: 350
Points: 3777 10.79 ppg
Rebounds: 4032 11.5 rpg
Assists: 463 1.3 apg
  • Career: 10.4 ppg, 11.3 rpg, and 70% FT’s
  • 2 Division Finals
  • 2x All-Star
    • Best Years: 1957-1961
  • Best Season: (1960) 15.2 ppg, 13.4 rpg, and 1.2 apg
  • All-time: 22nd in rpg
  • Avg. 10+ rpg for 6 consecutive seasons
  • 7x playoffs (5x in 1960’s)
  • 1-0 in playoffs v great centers (but lost to the Lakers basically every season)

According to “The Official NBA Encyclopedia,” Dukes still holds the record for most consecutive seasons leading the NBA in disqualifications resulting from personal fouls (4).

ABOUT STATISTICS NOTES
Drafted: 1958
St. Louis Hawks, 3rd round, 22nd overall

In 1960’s:
Games: 831
Points: 10380 12.5 ppg
Rebounds: 7544 9.1 rpg
Assists: 1194 1.4 apg

  • Career: 12.5 ppg, 9.1 rpg, and 1.4 apg
  • 1968 NBA Champion
  • 5x All-Star (consecutively)
  • Best Years: 1961-1964
  • Best Season: (1962) 19.8 ppg, 13.0 rpg, and 2.4 apg
  • 7x playoffs
  • Overall: 2-7 (1-2 v Chamberlain)

ABOUT STATISTICS NOTES
Drafted 1954
Syracuse Nationals, 1st round, 6th pick

In 1960’s:
Games: 617
Points: 8780 14.2 ppg
Rebounds: 7241 11.7 rpg
Assists: 1662 2.69 apg

  • Career: 13.8 ppg, 11.2 rpg, 2.2 apg, and 72.3% FT’s
  • 1955 NBA Champion
  • 3 Eastern Division Finals
  • 3x All-Star (2x in 1960’s)
  • Best Years: 1958-1964
  • Best Season: (1959) 17.8 ppg, 14.0 rpg, and 2.0 apg
  • All-time: 24th in rpg
  • 8x top 10 in rpg
  • 12x playoffs
  • 2-7 in playoffs v great centers (1-2 v Chamberlain)

Kerr retired as the All-time leader in consecutive games played, a record later broken. After his playing days, Kerr was also the Chicago Bulls’ commentator over the span of Michael Jordan’s six championships.

 

ABOUT STATISTICS NOTES
Drafted: 1952
Minneapolis Lakers, 1st round, 9th pick

In 1960’s:
Games: 351
Points: 5429 15.4 ppg
Rebounds: 2656 7.5 rpg
Assists: 577 1.6 apg

  • Career: 17.0 ppg, 9.5 rpg, 1.7 apg, and 75.7% FT’s
  • 3x NBA Champion (1954, 1963, and 1964)
  • 4x All-Star (2x in 1960’s)
  • Best Years: 1955-1962
  • Best Season: (1958) 23.4 ppg, 12.1 rpg, and 1.9 apg
  • All-time: 35th in PER (Player Efficiency Rating)
  • 10x playoffs (5x in 1960’s)
  • 4-2 in playoffs v great centers (1-0 v Chamberlain and Thurmond)

ABOUT STATISTICS NOTES
Drafted: 1964
New York Knicks, 8th overall

1960’s:
Games: 397
Points: 7784 19.6 ppg
Rebounds: 5458 13.7 rpg
Assists: 699 1.76 apg

  • Career: 18.7 ppg, 12.9 rpg, 1.8 apg, 1.1 bpg, and 74.7% FT’s
  • 2x NBA Champion (1970 and 1973)
  • 1965 ROY
  • 1969 All-Star Game MVP
  • 1969-1970 Finals MVP
  • 1969-1970 MVP
  • 1972-1973 Finals MVP
  • 7x All-Star (5x in 1960’s)
  • Best Years: 1965-1971
  • Best Season: (1969) 21.1, 14.5 rpg, and 2.3 apg
  • 7x top 10 in rpg
  • Scored 46 points in a game, 2nd among Knicks’ rookies
  • 7x playoffs (3x in 1960’s)
  • 1-3 v great centers (0-2 v Russell)

ABOUT STATISTICS NOTES
Drafted: 1963
San Francisco Warriors, 1st round, 3rd pick

In 1960’s:
Games: 413
Points: 6678 16.1 ppg
Rebounds: 7402 17.9 rpg
Assists: 988 2.39 apg

  • Career: 15 ppg, 15 rpg, 2.1 bpg, and 2.7 apg
  • 7x All-Star (3x in 1970’s)
  • Best Years: 1965-1974
  • Best Season: (1968) 20.5 ppg, 22.0 rpg, and 4.2 apg
  • All-time: 8th in rebounds and 5th in rpg
  • Finished 2nd to Chamberlain in MVP voting in 1967
  • First player to record a quadruple-double
  • 9x playoffs
  • 0-3 v great centers (0-2 v Chamberlain)

ABOUT STATISTICS NOTES
Drafted: 1962
Territorial Selection of the Cincinnati Royals

In 1960’s:
Games: 461
Points: 9066 19.6 ppg
Rebounds: 8831 19.1 rpg
Assists: 1399 3.0 apg

  • Career: 17.0, 15.6, 3.3 apg, and 78.3% FT’s
  • 1973 NBA Champion
  • 1 Eastern Division Finals
  • 7x All-Star (6x in 1960’s)
  • 1964 ROY
  • 1965 All-Star Game MVP
  • Best Years: 1964-1972
  • Best Season: (1966) 21.5 ppg, 21.1 rpg, and 2.7 apg
  • 8x playoffs (4x in 1960’s)
  • 1-4 v great centers

Lucas and then future teammate Oscar Robertson led the 1960 USA Basketball team to Olympic gold.

ABOUT STATISTICS NOTES
Drafted: 1961
Chicago Packers, 1st pick

In 1960’s:
Games: 648
Points: 15086 23.2 ppg
Rebounds: 9716 14.99 rpg
Assists: 1541 2.3 apg

  • Career: 20.1 ppg, 13.7 rpg, and 2.4 apg
  • Best Years: 1962-1973
  • Best Season: (1962) 31.6 ppg, 19.0 rpg, and 2.7 apg
  • 4x All-Star
  • 1962 ROY
  • All-time: 9th in rebounds and 31st in points
  • 7x playoffs (3x in 1960’s)
  • Overall: 0-3

Bellamy’s 19.0 rebounds per game (rpg) as a rookie is third all-time among rookies to only Wilt Chamberlain and Bill Russell.

ABOUT STATISTICS NOTES
Drafted: 1956
St. Louis Hawks, 1st round, 2nd pick overall

In 1960’s:
Games: 846
Points: 12674 14.98 ppg
Rebounds: 19113 22.59 rpg
Assists: 3810 4.5 apg

  • Career: 15.1 ppg, 22.5 rpg, and 4.3 apg
  • 11x NBA Champion (10x in 60’s)
  • 5x MVP’s (4x in 60’s)
  • 1963 NBA All-Star Game MVP
  • 12x All-Star (11x in 60’s)
  • Best Years: 1957-1969 (his whole career)
  • Best Season: (1964) 15 ppg, 24.7 rpg, and 4.7 apg
  • Avg. 29.9 rpg in the 1961 playoffs
  • Led NBA in rebounds 4x and rpg 5x
  • Avg. over 20+rpg for 10 consecutive seasons
  • All-time: 2nd in rpg
  • 13x playoffs (every year of the decade)
  • Overall: 18-1 (7-1 v Chamberlain)

Art of the Block :

 

Jerry Lucas, Clyde Lovellette, and Bill Russell are the only centers in NBA history to win an Olympic gold medal, an NCAA championship, and at least one NBA championship. Ironically, while Russell won 11 championships, he has no Finals MVP’s because the award did not exist until 1969. To honor Russell, in 2009, the NBA officially changed the name of that award to the Bill Russell NBA Finals Most Valuable Player Award. Further, Russell was the first African American Head Coach in the NBA, as he served as a player-coach with the Boston Celtics and later as a Head Coach with the Seattle Supersonics.

 

ABOUT STATISTICS NOTES
Drafted: 1959
Territorial Selection of the Philadelphia Warriors

In 1960’s:
Games: 787
Points: 27,098 34.4 ppg
Rebounds: 19,112 24.2 rpg
Assists: 3548 4.5 apg

  • Career: 30.1 ppg, 22.9 rpg, 4.4 apg, and 54% FG’s
  • 2x NBA Champion (1967 and 1972)
  • 5 NBA Finals
  • 1960 ROY
  • 1960 All-Star Game MVP
  • 4x MVP’s (1960, 1966, 1967, & 1968)
  • 1972 Finals MVP
  • 13x All-Star
  • Best Years: 1960-1968
  • Best Season: (1962) 50.4 ppg, 25.7 rpg, 2.4 apg, and 50.6% FG’s
  • 31,419 points
  • 23,924 rebounds
  • Led NBA in FG% 9x, rebounds 11x, points 7x, and PER 8x
  • All-time: 1st rebounds, 4th in points, 2nd in ppg, 1st in rpg, 5th in PER, and 3rd in FG’s
  • Records:
  • 7 consecutive seasons leading the NBA in ppg, a record shared by Michael Jordan
  • Most ppg in a season (50.4)
  • Most points in a game (100)
  • Most points in a half (59)
  • Most 50 point Games (45)
  • Most points by a rookie in a playoff game (53)
  • NBA All-Star Game record 42 points
  • Most rebounds in a playoff game (41)
  • 13x playoffs (every season in the 1960’s)
  • 8-8 in playoffs v great centers (1-7 v Russell)

When I first started thinking about great centers of the 1960’s, I figured that Bill Russell with his 11 titles would easily be my number one pick, and Wilt number two. Chamberlain lost to Russell repeatedly in the playoffs; the great Wilt was only 1-7 v Russell in playoff series. But, as I looked deeper into NBA history, I found more and more reasons to choose Chamberlain over Russell as an individual talent. They were both amazing rebounders, but Wilt Chamberlain was maybe the greatest offensive weapon in NBA history. And, of course, only Kobe Bryant’s 81-point game has come close to Chamberlain’s 100-point game. So, if we’re evaluating individual talents, not teams, Chamberlain is number one due to his freakish size, super-human strength, and his uncanny ability to dominate games.

Honorable Mention

Luke Jackson F/C,
Darrall Imhoff “Big D,”
Ray Scott F/C,
Jim “Bad News” Barnes,
Phil Jordan, John Block F/C,
Mel Counts “Goose,”
Mel Daniels,
Jim Fox “Foxy,”
Gus Johnson F/C,
Wes Unseld,
and Leroy Ellis

Rob S. De France is a College and University instructor of English Composition living in Los Angeles. He has a B.A. in English and an M.A. in Rhetoric, Composition, and Writing. De France has played, coached, and officiated competitive high school basketball in California for many years. Recently, De France, his wife, and another colleague started an internationally read magazine at Shwibly.com.

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