Top 10 Centers of All Time

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Re: Top 10 Centers of All Time 

Post#21 » by Sublime187 » Wed Apr 28, 2021 4:51 am

Mikan on these lists always surprises me. This is a guy who was going against primarily white guys because of a limit of black players.

Just imagine what Wilt or Shaq would do to that league. Even a guy like an Embiid would absolutely destroy that league whereas transporting Mikan to current day he would not be close to as dominant.
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Re: Top 10 Centers of All Time 

Post#22 » by HeartBreakKid » Wed Apr 28, 2021 5:07 am

Sublime187 wrote:Mikan on these lists always surprises me. This is a guy who was going against primarily white guys because of a limit of black players.

Just imagine what Wilt or Shaq would do to that league. Even a guy like an Embiid would absolutely destroy that league whereas transporting Mikan to current day he would not be close to as dominant.


I agree. I dont think people realize how insane it is to grant era dominance to a player who played in a league that had racial rules. It's not Mikan's fault per say, but I don't really get why we should give him credit. Many of the best basketball players were not allowed to play with him.
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Re: Top 10 Centers of All Time 

Post#23 » by NW BBALL » Wed Apr 28, 2021 6:12 am

I don’t think Thurmond would choose himself over Russell if he were starting a franchise. As stated above, all Russell did was win. Back to back state high school championships, two NCAA titles, Olympic gold, and 10 NBA titles. It wasn’t like he got lucky and happened to be drafted by the Celtics. He was the cornerstone to each of these teams.
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Re: Top 10 Centers of All Time 

Post#24 » by mdonnelly1989 » Wed Apr 28, 2021 6:15 am

SNPA wrote:Any list missing Duncan is invalid.

Also, repeating myself but Russell won at every level (high school/college/olympics/NBA) doing so with different teammates (including in the NBA), maybe -and hear me out here- maybe all those championships and medals have more to do with the single common denominator than anything else? Hell, he even won as the coach. All he did was win. And then win some more. The point is to win. No one has done it better. His name should always be listed first.


Duncan is most widely regarded as PF. Sure, he looks likey played C a lot, but look at just about any list online about anywhere and he will be rated with the PF's not the Centers.

David Robinson played Center while Duncan played PF. And also Tiago Splitter played C while Duncan played PF.
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Re: Top 10 Centers of All Time 

Post#25 » by Statlanta » Wed Apr 28, 2021 7:35 am

Russell
Abdul Jabbar
O'Neal
Chamberlain
Olajuwon
Robinson
Malone
Mikan
Gilmore
Ewing
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Re: Top 10 Centers of All Time 

Post#26 » by HeartBreakKid » Wed Apr 28, 2021 9:16 am

1) Russell
2) Chamberlain
3) Abdul-Jabar
4) O'Neal
5) Olajuwon

*Duncan*
*Walton*

6) Robinson
7) Malone
8) Ewing
9) Howard
10) Gilmore


Duncan is if we consider him a C. Walton is if someone was wondering where I'd place him based off his peak.

I think Jokic may have already peaked into the top ten last year - after this season him and Embiid would likely make it in my top ten.
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Re: Top 10 Centers of All Time 

Post#27 » by penbeast0 » Wed Apr 28, 2021 11:26 am

Prokorov wrote:
Yes. I think it makes them significantly less meaningless. especially when that talent is disproportionately stacked on 1 team and the talent overall was at an all-time low. They beat a terrible team in the finals. a team that likely goes like 12-70 in todays league.


Which terrible team? The one with Bob Pettit, Cliff Hagan and other HOF players Clyde Lovellette and Slater Martin? The one with Jerry West and Elgin Baylor? The one with Wilt? 11 titles, you might want to be a bit more specific.

And let's look at that talent. The early Celtics had Bob Cousy, Bill Sharman, Tom Heinsohn and 6th man Frank Ramsey as their top 4 outside of Russell. Big names but Cousy, Sharman and (better than Heinsohn) Ed Macauley had been a mediocre to above average team before Russell finishing 2nd, 3rd, 3rd, and 2nd OUT OF 4 teams in the East the 4 years prior. All are primarily offensive players (though Sharman had a good defensive rep, Cousy's was terrible and Heinsohn's wasn't good either) and yet that Celtics team was consistently in the bottom end of the league offensively every year (even while Russell was finishing top 5 in fg%). It seems that all that offensive "talent" isn't actually producing decent offense at all. That's the talent disproportionally stacked on one team? I'd take Philly's Arizin, Gola, Attles trio or St. Louis's Hagan, Lovellette, Martin trio around Pettit over the Cousy, Sharman, Heinsohn one though Boston had better depth. It just looks flashy because the Celtics played at the fastest pace in the league thus inflating the PPG.

Later, you get better talent, Sam Jones, the inefficient but high energy John Havlicek, and the defensive role players KC Jones and Satch Sanders . . . still hardly comparable to the Showtime Lakers. Adding Bailey Howell helped a lot, and Havlicek improved (and continued to do so into the 70s where he became a legit offensive star) but by then Boston was facing Wilt's supporting casts of Greer, Walker, Cunningham, etc. in Philly then West, Baylor, Hairston, etc. in LA. Again, hardly all the talent stacked on one team, I'd rather have either the 76er cast or the Lakers cast without their star center (and you see this when Russell retires and the Celtics still have Havlicek and Howell but are awful until they draft Dave Cowens, Jojo White, and Don Chaney for the next generation).

The idea that the Celtics were that stacked around Russell is a false statement; the actual talent level was not significantly stronger then other top teams and less so than teams like Magic's Lakers or Bird's Celtics who benefitted from years of expansion diluting the average talent level on other teams in addition.
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Re: Top 10 Centers of All Time 

Post#28 » by feyki » Wed Apr 28, 2021 12:30 pm

Regarding of peaks;

67 WC 99
72 KAJ 98
01 SHAQ 97
50 Mikan 97
94 Hakeem 96
62 Russell 95
77 Walton 95
03 Duncan 95
95 D-Rob 94
82 Moses 93
.
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Re: Top 10 Centers of All Time 

Post#29 » by BullsFan45 » Wed Apr 28, 2021 1:36 pm

1. Wilt Chamberlain
2. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
3. Shaquille O'Neal
4. Hakeem Olajuwon
5. David Robinson
6. Bill Russell
7. Ben Wallace
8. Moses Malone
9. Patrick Ewing
10. Nikola Jokic
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Re: Top 10 Centers of All Time 

Post#30 » by trex_8063 » Wed Apr 28, 2021 6:51 pm

imo...

1. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
2. Bill Russell
3. Wilt Chamberlain
4. Shaquille O'Neal [kinda 3b]
5. Hakeem Olajuwon
6. David Robinson
7. Moses Malone
8. Patrick Ewing
9. George Mikan
10. Artis Gilmore

I still count Duncan among PF's, though see the case to put him here; IF he's deemed a center, he'd by my #2 ahead of Russell.

As sort of a "positional compensation", I count Pau Gasol among my centers.
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Re: Top 10 Centers of All Time 

Post#31 » by BigShaq34 » Wed Apr 28, 2021 9:20 pm

coastalmarker99 wrote:1 Wilt
2 Kareem
3 Hakeem
4 Shaq
5 Russell
6 Moses Malone
7 David Robinson
8.Patrick Ewing
9.Artis Gilmore
10.George Mikan

george mikan? Gimme a break. Guys like Embiid or Jokic would eat him alive.
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Re: Top 10 Centers of All Time 

Post#32 » by TheBomb81 » Thu Apr 29, 2021 1:17 am

1. Wilt Chamberlain
2. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
3. Hakeem Olajuwon
4. Shaquille O'Neal
5. Bill Russell
6. David Robinson
7. Patrick Ewing
8. Moses Malone
9. George Mikan
10. Artis Gilmore
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Re: Top 10 Centers of All Time 

Post#33 » by ZeppelinPage » Thu Apr 29, 2021 4:01 am

penbeast0 wrote:Which terrible team? The one with Bob Pettit, Cliff Hagan and other HOF players Clyde Lovellette and Slater Martin? The one with Jerry West and Elgin Baylor? The one with Wilt? 11 titles, you might want to be a bit more specific.

And let's look at that talent. The early Celtics had Bob Cousy, Bill Sharman, Tom Heinsohn and 6th man Frank Ramsey as their top 4 outside of Russell. Big names but Cousy, Sharman and (better than Heinsohn) Ed Macauley had been a mediocre to above average team before Russell finishing 2nd, 3rd, 3rd, and 2nd OUT OF 4 teams in the East the 4 years prior. All are primarily offensive players (though Sharman had a good defensive rep, Cousy's was terrible and Heinsohn's wasn't good either) and yet that Celtics team was consistently in the bottom end of the league offensively every year (even while Russell was finishing top 5 in fg%). It seems that all that offensive "talent" isn't actually producing decent offense at all. That's the talent disproportionally stacked on one team? I'd take Philly's Arizin, Gola, Attles trio or St. Louis's Hagan, Lovellette, Martin trio around Pettit over the Cousy, Sharman, Heinsohn one though Boston had better depth. It just looks flashy because the Celtics played at the fastest pace in the league thus inflating the PPG.

Later, you get better talent, Sam Jones, the inefficient but high energy John Havlicek, and the defensive role players KC Jones and Satch Sanders . . . still hardly comparable to the Showtime Lakers. Adding Bailey Howell helped a lot, and Havlicek improved (and continued to do so into the 70s where he became a legit offensive star) but by then Boston was facing Wilt's supporting casts of Greer, Walker, Cunningham, etc. in Philly then West, Baylor, Hairston, etc. in LA. Again, hardly all the talent stacked on one team, I'd rather have either the 76er cast or the Lakers cast without their star center (and you see this when Russell retires and the Celtics still have Havlicek and Howell but are awful until they draft Dave Cowens, Jojo White, and Don Chaney for the next generation).

The idea that the Celtics were that stacked around Russell is a false statement; the actual talent level was not significantly stronger then other top teams and less so than teams like Magic's Lakers or Bird's Celtics who benefitted from years of expansion diluting the average talent level on other teams in addition.


I strongly disagree with downplaying Russell's teammates and think it is a discredit to what they achieved--because having the greatest defensive rating of all time takes a team, not just one player. The Celtics as a whole were very talented on defense.

To start, Heinsohn joined the team in '57 (after replacing Macauley) and they were the best team in the league--going on a 10-game winning streak, allowing 98.6 PPG, and most notably holding the Philadelphia Warriors (#1 offense in '57) to 83 and 78 point games. Before Sharman was injured, the Celtics were playing at a 58-win pace without Bill Russell and Frank Ramsey. Heinsohn was high impact from the beginning as one of the big additions to the start of the '57 season (him and Hall of Famer Andy Phillp). His rebounding was far superior to Macauley, and newspaper articles from that season speak to his abilities even as a rookie:

'57 Newspapers on Heinsohn's Defense
Spoiler:
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Image


Heinsohn excelled on defense, and the film backs this up. Often swiping at the ball, intercepting passes, playing his man tight, blocking shots, and taking offensive fouls. He was a ball hawk and had one of the highest steal rates of any Celtic at the time, based on film I've tracked via 70sFan, as well as trex's own full game stat tracking.

Heinsohn Steal on Jerry West in G6 '63 NBA Finals with 2 minutes left
Spoiler:
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Heinsohn Blocks Jerry West
Spoiler:
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Heinsohn Steal on Wilt
Spoiler:
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This isn't even factoring in how good Frank Ramsey was--an incredibly quick, Swiss-Army knife type player that probably would have been starting for every other team in the league. He also had a high steal rate in film I've tracked, picking off passes and stripping players.

Bob Cousy is another player underrated on the defensive side of the ball, and I personally (as well as Auerbach himself) wouldn't call him terrible. Auerbach and writers praised Cousy for "learning defense" early on:

Newspapers on Cousy's Defense
Spoiler:
Image

Image


The film shows an active defensive player who plays passing lanes and uses his vision that aids him when passing to figure out where the ball is going. He isn't perfect, but Auerbach taught Cousy to hustle and give effort when playing defense and I think this pays off in his ability to get steals and make it difficult for his man.

Cousy Steal on Slater Martin
Spoiler:
Image

Cousy Steal on Jack Coleman
Spoiler:
Image

Cousy Steal on Jerry West
Spoiler:
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Overall, the entire Celtic team was a talented squad. Other late 50s/early 60s players I left unmentioned like K.C. Jones, Tom Sanders, Andy Phillip, and Jim Loscutoff were all plus defenders that allowed the Celtics defense climb to greatness. Even top tier defensive centers need help on their way to anchoring all-time defenses.
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Re: Top 10 Centers of All Time 

Post#34 » by penbeast0 » Thu Apr 29, 2021 11:47 am

ZeppelinPage wrote:I strongly disagree with downplaying Russell's teammates and think it is a discredit to what they achieved--because having the greatest defensive rating of all time takes a team, not just one player. The Celtics as a whole were very talented on defense.

To start, Heinsohn .... His rebounding was far superior to Macauley, and newspaper articles from that season speak to his abilities even as a rookie:...

This isn't even factoring in how good Frank Ramsey was--an incredibly quick, Swiss-Army knife type player that probably would have been starting for every other team in the league. He also had a high steal rate in film I've tracked, picking off passes and stripping players.

Bob Cousy is another player underrated on the defensive side of the ball, and I personally (as well as Auerbach himself) wouldn't call him terrible. .... He isn't perfect, but Auerbach taught Cousy to hustle and give effort when playing defense and I think this pays off in his ability to get steals and make it difficult for his man.

...

Overall, the entire Celtic team was a talented squad. Other late 50s/early 60s players I left unmentioned like K.C. Jones, Tom Sanders, Andy Phillip, and Jim Loscutoff were all plus defenders that allowed the Celtics defense climb to greatness. Even top tier defensive centers need help on their way to anchoring all-time defenses.


Yes, they do. To be fair, the weak defenders on the Celtics (Cousy, Ramsey, Heinsohn, possibly even Bailey Howell though I don't remember him doing so) did generate steals. The system was built for playing people tight and gambling because they knew they had Russell to cover for their mistakes -- and Russell did a lot of swiping and knocking away loose balls too. When playing with energy (and Heinsohn was generally a high energy guy), this generated turnovers, though those like most stats were inflated by the Celtics' high pace.

But, to be fair, these were poor man defenders (and I didn't talk about rebounding which I treat as separate from defense, Heinsohn was an excellent rebounding 3, solid for a 4). Auerbach famously didn't even want Cousy on the Celtics because his defense was so poor early on. Ramsey played behind Jim Loscutoff, who was a poor offensive player at best, because they needed Loscutoff's defense to cover the stronger opposing forward (and Sharman to cover the strong guard). SImilarly, Heinsohn lost a lot of his minutes to Satch Sanders, a player with very limited offensive skills because, as you say, any team needs players who play defense around their anchor. Sander and KC Jones had defensive reps among the best in the league but they came in after the first few years where the Celtics high energy pressing gambling defense was already established and KC is the first to tell you that having Russell behind him allowed him to gamble and press a lot more comfortably.
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Re: Top 10 Centers of All Time 

Post#35 » by feyki » Thu Apr 29, 2021 12:22 pm

Relative to era, Mikan was Peak Shaq-level dominant almost the decade long.
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Re: Top 10 Centers of All Time 

Post#36 » by 70sFan » Thu Apr 29, 2021 3:39 pm

I have mixed feelings about Heinsohn and Cousy defense, but Ramsey always looks fantastic. He was very quick, quite athletic and versatile. Definitelt above average defender.
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Re: Top 10 Centers of All Time 

Post#37 » by penbeast0 » Fri Apr 30, 2021 12:03 am

From what I've seen, Ramsey wasn't a liability as a 2, but was a bit light and easily pushed around at the 3 in a day and age where a lot of the 3's were post-up scorers.
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Re: Top 10 Centers of All Time 

Post#38 » by Statlanta » Fri Apr 30, 2021 12:30 am

If we penalize Mikan for not playing African Americans we should penalize Wilt for not playing Lithuanian basketball players and Kareem for not playing ABA players
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Re: Top 10 Centers of All Time 

Post#39 » by penbeast0 » Fri Apr 30, 2021 2:22 am

Wilt does get penalized for playing in the 60s, probably more than he should . . . and Kareem probably less for playing in the 70s/early 80s when expansion watered down the league. But they are guys who would be great in ANY era.
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Re: Top 10 Centers of All Time 

Post#40 » by HeartBreakKid » Fri Apr 30, 2021 2:26 am

Statlanta wrote:If we penalize Mikan for not playing African Americans we should penalize Wilt for not playing Lithuanian basketball players and Kareem for not playing ABA players


There's a big difference between playing in a league that banned people for the color of their skin and someone simply choosing to play in one other league over another. It's troublesome that people somehow do not see the difference.

And Kareem played post merger, so that doesn't even work.


Got no clue what you're talking about in regards to Lithuanian basketball in the 60s. I hope you don't think that's actually the equivalent of not playing with any African-Americans in the 40s.

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