Do we underrate Wilt nowadays?

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Do we underrate Wilt nowadays? 

Post#1 » by ceiling raiser » Sun Jul 25, 2021 10:47 pm

I wonder if the pendulum has swung too far in the other direction. Speaking for myself personally, it's almost as if he's a broken player with myriad flaws, but I think this is overadjusting.

Legitimate Criticisms
• Limited post effectiveness (based on his efficiency, unless you assume he was poor at the rim/transition, had HC scoring issues)
• Potentially turnover-prone (some of this was based on a small tracking sample, but he seemed closer to Cousins than Shaq on the block)
• Unwilling to defend in space (this isn't unique to him, however in the modern NBA with switching/PnR spam would hurt)
• Supporting casts full of HOFs (his first few years his team was overrated due to pioneers, but with the Sixers/Lakers had talent)
• Middling scoring resiliency (had issues scoring at the same rate in the playoffs, some of this was due to pace, some due to C's D)

Positives Overlooked
• Durability (goes beyond stamina; 64 heart issues and 69 injury are the only red flag)
• Fairly coachable (i.e. McGuire, Hannum, Sharman - 68 playoffs a counterpoint, as is the VBK thing, but Baylor worsened fit RE:71-72)
• Ability to adjust (underrated portability, he probably can play an elite role alongside any other star)
• Longevity (Wilt signed a three year deal with the ABA in 73 and had a good feeling for his body; that's a long career)
• Obsession with stats (this sounds like a negative, but can you imagine Wilt, who loved to learn, with modern scouting/analytics?)

What do you all think? Should we give Wilt more benefit of the doubt? Should he be viewed as a top 10 lock? Or would he be a less-mobile (in terms of horizontal game), more durable David Robinson today?
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Re: Do we underrated Wilt nowadays? 

Post#2 » by Jaivl » Sun Jul 25, 2021 10:52 pm

I have him as a top 10 lock. A large chunk of the negative criticism towards Wilt seems legitimate, but probably not that impactful overall.
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Re: Do we underrated Wilt nowadays? 

Post#3 » by Colbinii » Sun Jul 25, 2021 10:55 pm

I think he is a top-10 lock.

I dont see strong (or any) arguments for players like Bird, Kobe, Hakeem, Dirk, Oscar, Robinson, Curry, Durant, Moses or Pettit ahead of him.

Even if you think Wilt would be a "less mobile, more durable" David Robinson, that doesn't take away anything he accomplished as a player.

I think the reason you hear negative things about Wilt is because he is often times mythologized and people need to talk him back to reality.
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Re: Do we underrated Wilt nowadays? 

Post#4 » by ceiling raiser » Sun Jul 25, 2021 10:56 pm

Jaivl wrote:I have him as a top 10 lock. A large chunk of the negative criticism towards Wilt seems legitimate, but probably not that impactful overall.

Who else is in your top 10 right now? I'm not sure if I can put him clearly over:

Jordan, Russell
LeBron, Kareem
Magic, Shaq, Hakeem, Duncan, Garnett, Curry

but he probably is a peer of that second group. That would make him top 11.

Colbinii wrote:I think he is a top-10 lock.

I dont see strong (or any) arguments for players like Bird, Kobe, Hakeem, Dirk, Oscar, Robinson, Curry, Durant, Moses or Pettit ahead of him.

Even if you think Wilt would be a "less mobile, more durable" David Robinson, that doesn't take away anything he accomplished as a player.

I think the reason you hear negative things about Wilt is because he is often times mythologized and people need to talk him back to reality.

Well it's interesting. When I joined this board, I was someone who championed Wilt, and was pushing for him as high as 3rd in the first Top 100 project to which I contributed (I believe in 2014). I wasn't so enamored with the box score figures, but I figured his warts could be smoothed out. I quickly became one of his bigger detractors.

I do think that Hakeem (peak, scoring resiliency and defensive ability) and Curry (peak, portability) have legitimate arguments over him, though.
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Re: Do we underrated Wilt nowadays? 

Post#5 » by HeartBreakKid » Sun Jul 25, 2021 11:00 pm

The overwhelming majority of people on here already have him as a top ten lock.
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Re: Do we underrated Wilt nowadays? 

Post#6 » by Jaivl » Sun Jul 25, 2021 11:02 pm

fpliii wrote:
Jaivl wrote:I have him as a top 10 lock. A large chunk of the negative criticism towards Wilt seems legitimate, but probably not that impactful overall.

Who else is in your top 10 right now? I'm not sure if I can put him clearly over:

Jordan, Russell
LeBron, Kareem
Magic, Shaq, Hakeem, Duncan, Garnett, Curry


I have him over Magic and Curry, and very clearly over Curry at that. Don't think it's close if we're ranking their whole careers.

And my top 10 would be exactly that, sans Curry and with Wilt.
Maf wrote:I'd undestand if anyone had KG outside top ten PF's. Having him top five all-time? Often I jokingly rank Kyle Korver as the GOAT but I never try to fake serious discussion about it.

ShawnKemp96 wrote:Infact he made a lot more steals than the statisticians think.
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Re: Do we underrated Wilt nowadays? 

Post#7 » by ceiling raiser » Sun Jul 25, 2021 11:03 pm

I forgot West. So there are 11 players in that top cluster exclusive of Wilt for me.

Also, edited the title. Embarrassing typo.
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Re: Do we underrated Wilt nowadays? 

Post#8 » by JulesWinnfield » Sun Jul 25, 2021 11:05 pm

Wilt question… I know nothing about this game other than what I read in the box score the other day while randomly looking into Wilt led teams…

So in 1968 the 76ers are the defending champions after winning in 67. They win 62 games and have the best record in the league by 6 games over the next closest team. They make it to the conference finals and take a 3-1 lead on the Celtics. They blow the lead and lose the series, and in game 7 Wilt only takes 9 shots in a 4 point loss? He played all 48 minutes, how does this happen? He had three teammates shoot over 20 attempts in that game (another with 17) and he took just 9 shots despite being the teams leading scorer. What the hell happened here?
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Re: Do we underrate Wilt nowadays? 

Post#9 » by 70sFan » Sun Jul 25, 2021 11:22 pm

Wilt doesn't seem to be specially turnover prone from limited sample we have. Trex made a new statsheet that gives us easy access to data he tracked in his project:

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1XMWrm7NOYomTY0Md6YE6l99ER2e7uHzu7vgfStCEBn0/edit#gid=0

Wilt's stats:

16.6 ppg, 19.0 rpg, 4.3 apg, 1.2 spg, 4.7 bpg and 3.1 tov in 7.65 games tracked so far (13 incomplete games). He also calculated Wilt's mTOV% at 11.0%, which isn't really worse than Shaq and certainly better than Cousins.

Trex still has 4 Wilt games left, so we'll get better sample soon but I don't think we have strong evidence to call him turnover prone.
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Re: Do we underrate Wilt nowadays? 

Post#10 » by ceiling raiser » Sun Jul 25, 2021 11:31 pm

70sFan wrote:Wilt doesn't seem to be specially turnover prone from limited sample we have. Trex made a new statsheet that gives us easy access to data he tracked in his project:

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1XMWrm7NOYomTY0Md6YE6l99ER2e7uHzu7vgfStCEBn0/edit#gid=0

Wilt's stats:

16.6 ppg, 19.0 rpg, 4.3 apg, 1.2 spg, 4.7 bpg and 3.1 tov in 7.65 games tracked so far (13 incomplete games). He also calculated Wilt's mTOV% at 11.0%, which isn't really worse than Shaq and certainly better than Cousins.

Trex still has 4 Wilt games left, so we'll get better sample soon but I don't think we have strong evidence to call him turnover prone.

This is fascinating. What are the remaining four games? TSA:TOV ratios though:

Shaq: (19457+.44*11252)/3310=7.37398187
Cousins: (9600+.44*4286)/2064=5.56484496
Wilt(sample): (86+.44*127)/24=5.91166667

Obviously Shaq was a complete career, Cousins had his career interrupted midway, and Wilt's sample is heavily skewed toward late career, so maybe not apples to apples.
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Re: Do we underrated Wilt nowadays? 

Post#11 » by ZeppelinPage » Sun Jul 25, 2021 11:39 pm

JulesWinnfield wrote:Wilt question… I know nothing about this game other than what I read in the box score the other day while randomly looking into Wilt led teams…

So in 1968 the 76ers are the defending champions after winning in 67. They win 62 games and have the best record in the league by 6 games over the next closest team. They make it to the conference finals and take a 3-1 lead on the Celtics. They blow the lead and lose the series, and in game 7 Wilt only takes 9 shots in a 4 point loss? He played all 48 minutes, how does this happen? He had three teammates shoot over 20 attempts in that game (another with 17) and he took just 9 shots despite being the teams leading scorer. What the hell happened here?


The entire starting line-up of the 76ers was injured (except Hal Greer, I think) and Billy Cunningham broke his wrist in the 1st round and was out. Wilt was already dealing with injury and in the middle of the series hurt his foot on top of that.
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Re: Do we underrate Wilt nowadays? 

Post#12 » by 70sFan » Sun Jul 25, 2021 11:40 pm

fpliii wrote:This is fascinating. What are the remaining four games?


Games 4 and 6 of 1970 Finals
Game 5 of 1973 Finals
1973 RS game vs Bucks

These are my most complete games I have in my collection so far. I also have around 10 1964-67 games captured on shorter 10-20 min long videos that don't show play by play, but show a lot of action.
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Re: Do we underrate Wilt nowadays? 

Post#13 » by ZeppelinPage » Mon Jul 26, 2021 12:15 am

fpliii wrote:Legitimate Criticisms
• Limited post effectiveness (based on his efficiency, unless you assume he was poor at the rim/transition, had HC scoring issues)

He had a variety of different ways to score in the halfcourt, I just think there is this idea that Wilt was scoring half his points around the rim when I really don't think that was the case. His FTr and FG% would have been sky high if he was taking a majority of his shots around the rim--I think he was more of a jump shooter earlier in his career. I've found quite a bit of quotes from players and head coaches on how deadly his fadeaway could be (and how often he used it)--even Red Auerbach calling Wilt a "super shooter" and putting him on the level of West, Oscar, Pettit, Baylor, and Twyman.


fpliii wrote:• Middling scoring resiliency (had issues scoring at the same rate in the playoffs, some of this was due to pace, some due to C's D)

Considering he played some of the greatest defensive teams ever yearly, his numbers against ATG defenses are actually very good in comparison to other players. He played five -7 or higher relDRtg defenses, most players might play a couple in their entire career.
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Re: Do we underrate Wilt nowadays? 

Post#14 » by penbeast0 » Mon Jul 26, 2021 1:13 am

I tend to be more impressed with Wilt than with Kareem, except for Kareem's longevity advantage (and admittedly that's a big one). I think he was more impactful in his prime (the 60s) than Kareem was in his (the 70s) but Kareem got those rings in the 80s as part of one of the most stacked teams in history that pump up his legacy. Kareem is still top 5 no question, but I can see Wilt ahead of him. Wilt definitely has more warts, just also has more dominant strengths, and my rating of Russell as arguably the GOAT makes his dominance of Wilt less of an issue most likely too.
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Re: Do we underrate Wilt nowadays? 

Post#15 » by Dutchball97 » Mon Jul 26, 2021 6:48 am

In the top 100 project he was ranked 6th and he's pretty universally seen as top 10. Besides that we get a pro-Wilt thread every other day from a certain poster as well. It is hard to call him underrated here unless you think he's the GOAT.
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Re: Do we underrate Wilt nowadays? 

Post#16 » by falcolombardi » Mon Jul 26, 2021 7:15 am

penbeast0 wrote:I tend to be more impressed with Wilt than with Kareem, except for Kareem's longevity advantage (and admittedly that's a big one). I think he was more impactful in his prime (the 60s) than Kareem was in his (the 70s) but Kareem got those rings in the 80s as part of one of the most stacked teams in history that pump up his legacy. Kareem is still top 5 no question, but I can see Wilt ahead of him. Wilt definitely has more warts, just also has more dominant strengths, and my rating of Russell as arguably the GOAT makes his dominance of Wilt less of an issue most likely too.


kareem longevity advantage is probably a bit less impressive considering how much further Medicine and sports training got in kareem era, among other thinghs that improved
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Re: Do we underrate Wilt nowadays? 

Post#17 » by frica » Mon Jul 26, 2021 7:24 am

I'd say Oscar Robertson is the most underrated of the bunch
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Re: Do we underrated Wilt nowadays? 

Post#18 » by Owly » Mon Jul 26, 2021 8:12 am

ZeppelinPage wrote:
JulesWinnfield wrote:Wilt question… I know nothing about this game other than what I read in the box score the other day while randomly looking into Wilt led teams…

So in 1968 the 76ers are the defending champions after winning in 67. They win 62 games and have the best record in the league by 6 games over the next closest team. They make it to the conference finals and take a 3-1 lead on the Celtics. They blow the lead and lose the series, and in game 7 Wilt only takes 9 shots in a 4 point loss? He played all 48 minutes, how does this happen? He had three teammates shoot over 20 attempts in that game (another with 17) and he took just 9 shots despite being the teams leading scorer. What the hell happened here?


The entire starting line-up of the 76ers was injured (except Hal Greer, I think) and Billy Cunningham broke his wrist in the 1st round and was out. Wilt was already dealing with injury and in the middle of the series hurt his foot on top of that.

Different sources highlight different players (Cunningham, Chamberlain and Jackson consistently mentioned) but across sources it includes all their top 6 (the above 3 Jones, Walker and Greer - plus maybe Goukas too if you trust Wilt, the Guokas injury is only is in Wilt's autobiography of the major books about the team or its players). In Cherry's biography of Wilt there is reference to "burstitis in his knees", "creaky joints ached" of Greer.


At Jules ... he didn't get the ball. For more detail see
Wilt: Larger than Life (Cherry, '04) p197-199 where it is said that he got the ball (unclear if passes or includes offensive rebounds, guessing latter) 7 time in the post in the second half.

Wilt's version/angle differs slightly but some is compatible with the above
Wilt (Chamberlain, Shaw, '73): "I was playing the way we'd played - and won - all year." and "Boston had half their team guarding me. Russell was behind me, and K.C. Jones and Sam Jones would collapse back on me. That left my teammates open for easy eight-to-ten-foot jump shots. I kept passing the ball to them, but they kept missing."
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Re: Do we underrate Wilt nowadays? 

Post#19 » by Cavsfansince84 » Mon Jul 26, 2021 10:43 pm

frica wrote:I'd say Oscar Robertson is the most underrated of the bunch


I agree on Oscar and West and to some degree Dr. J. To me all 3 are top 16 locks with West and Oscar being just outside the top 10.
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Re: Do we underrate Wilt nowadays? 

Post#20 » by eminence » Mon Jul 26, 2021 11:10 pm

I might stop short of lock, but he was in my top 10 as of last check.

LeBron
Duncan
KAJ
Russell
MJ

I have pretty clear of him. I also prefer KG at #6. Starting at #7 is where I strongly consider Wilt, with Shaq/Hakeem/Magic/Oscar the primary competition. Kobe/Dirk/Bird/West heading up the next pack, but I feel pretty good about Wilt over them.
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