View Poll Results: Who was the best player in 1968?

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  • Wilt Chamberlain

    4 44.44%
  • Bill Russell

    1 11.11%
  • Oscar Robertson

    0 0%
  • Jerry West

    4 44.44%
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Thread: The Best Player championship belt: 1968

  1. #1
    Rebound King Kstat's Avatar
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    Default The Best Player championship belt: 1968

    1968

    Reigning belt holder: Wilt Chamberlain (2X)

    NBA Champion: Boston Celtics
    ABA Champion: Pittsburgh Pipers
    NBA MVP: Wilt Chamberlain
    ABA MVP: Connie Hawkins
    Finals MVP: None
    NBA Scoring champ: Oscar Robertson (29.2)
    ABA Scoring champ: Connie Hawkins (26.8)
    NBA PER champ: Wilt Chamberlain (24.7)
    ABA PER champ: Connie Hawkins (28.8)

    The candidates:

    Wilt Chamberlain: Everything was going Wilt's way heading into 1968. He was the MVP, he finally had the deepest roster in the league at his disposal, and Boston wasn't getting any younger. So, Wilt being Wilt, got bored and went looking for new challenges. He decided he wanted to become the first big man to lead the NBA in assists in 1968, and though history tells us that he accomplished that feat, in fact his average was over a full assist behind Oscar Robertson. He did lead the NBA in total assists by virtue of appearing in 17 extra games. Still, a disinterested Wilt was still a kaiju among men. Averaging 24.3 points, a league-leading 23.8 rebounds and a career-best 8.6 assists on a league-best 59.5% shooting, Wilt became the first player in NBA history to finish top-5 in all 4 categories. The Sixers for the third straight season ran away with the NBA's best record, and Wilt was named MVP for the 3rd straight season. Wilt scraped Willis Reed off the bottom of his shoe to the tune of 25/24/6 with the Sixers winning 4-2 in the first round. The Conference finals rematch with the old, tired Celtics looked like another mismatch with the Sixers winning 3 of the first 4 games. Then Boston scraped together two close wins to tie the series, and in one of the infamous game sevens of all time, Celtics coach Bill Russell decided to do the unthinkable: Take away all-stars Hal Greer and Chet Walker (who had been killing them in the series as Wilt's outlets) and force the 7-time scoring champion Wilt to beat them by putting the ball in the basket. And so, with his passing lanes suddenly shut down, Wilt 2.0 short-circuited. With his teammates unable to get off clean shots, Wilt was either unable or unwilling to adjust, passing up point blank chances against a lone Russell defending him with no help, Wilt went into a shell. With the Sixers trailing 46-40 at halftime, the horrified Philadelphia crowd watched one of the greatest teams ever assembled melt down completely, as Wilt attempted just two shots in the final two quarters. The Sixers eventually lost game 7 at home to the Celtics, and Wilt had played his last game as a sixer. The fallout led him to be traded yet again.

    Bill Russell: With a full year of coaching under his belt, Big Bill was back in his comfort zone. No longer quite the athlete he used to be, his averages dipped to 12.5 points, 18.6 rebounds and 4.6 assists, yet still rated in the top ten in the latter two categories. Russell was never really about the stats to begin with, though. John Havlicek finally ascending to superstardom, Boston once again had enough ammo to contend to the title. Boston failed to field the NBA's best defense for the first time with Russell at center, but once again turned it on in the postseason, overcoming a 2-1 deficit to a young Pistons squad to take the first round series 4-2 with Russell averaging 22 rebounds. In the second round Russell was no match for Wilt Chamberlain, but he beat him at the mental game, playing him close to even on the glass and holding him to just 14 points in the critical game 7 which Boston won to get back to the Finals. Free of the rough physical eastern conference, Russell looked like his younger self against the smaller, softer Lakers. Providing 25/16/9 in game 3 and 22/25/5 in game 5, Both Celtic wins, Russell captained Boston to its 10th championship in just 12 seasons.

    Oscar Robertson: Oscar Robertson led the NBA in scoring average and assists per game in 1968. He played the bare minimum amount of games to qualify, but qualify for it he did. Averaging league-bests of 29.2 points and 9.7 assists, he had his Royals 35-30 and staring at another postseason berth, and he led the league in FT% on top of it. Then disaster struck, and he was lost for the remainder of the season due to injury. Cincinnati went just 4-13 the rest of the way, and missed the postseason.

    Jerry West: West came back from an injury-plagued 1967 and battled through another rough 1968. Still, he battled through it and remained the NBA's premier sharpshooter. Picking his spots more carefully, he still managed 26.3 points, 6.1 assists and shot a career-best 51% from the field. More injuries forced him to miss the final 31 games of the season, but he came back for the playoffs. Shaking off the rust, he averaged over 28 points in a 4-1 win over the Bulls in the first round, then gave the Barry-less Warriors 40 in game 3 of a 4-game conference finals sweep. As usual, the Lakers had no answer for Jerry in the finals, as he averaged over 31 points in that series as well, and just under 6 assists and 6 rebounds, the high scorer for either team. As usual, it didn't matter. Despite pouring in 38/10/5 in game 4 to tie the series at 2, West's co-star Elgin Baylor got run into the ground by the younger, fresher legs of John Havlicek over the final 2 games, and West would leave the finals a loser for the 5th time in 5 appearances.
    Last edited by Kstat; 07-14-2017 at 11:22 AM.

    It wasn't about being the team everyone loved, it was about beating the teams everyone else loved.

    Division Champions 1955, 1956, 1988, 1989, 1990, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008
    Conference Champions 1955, 1956, 1988, 2005
    NBA Champions 1989, 1990, 2004

  2. #2
    Running with the Big Boys BillS's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Best Player championship belt: 1968

    Pittsburgh Pipers
    BillS

    A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.
    Or throw in a first-round pick and flip it for a max-level point guard...

  3. #3
    Rebound King Kstat's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Best Player championship belt: 1968

    Quote Originally Posted by BillS View Post
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    Pittsburgh Pipers
    Autocorrect is funny.

    It wasn't about being the team everyone loved, it was about beating the teams everyone else loved.

    Division Champions 1955, 1956, 1988, 1989, 1990, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008
    Conference Champions 1955, 1956, 1988, 2005
    NBA Champions 1989, 1990, 2004

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    Member sav's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Best Player championship belt: 1968

    Wilt in the NBA and Hawkins in the ABA.

    The next few seasons, the ABA will be quite interesting as the Pacers will start their dynasty.

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    Default Re: The Best Player championship belt: 1968

    Quote Originally Posted by sav View Post
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    Wilt in the NBA and Hawkins in the ABA.

    The next few seasons, the ABA will be quite interesting as the Pacers will start their dynasty.
    I cheated ahead to see if George McGinnis would rate a top-4 nomination from myself. Not sure if he will but he's close.

    I considered Connie for 1968 but honestly I can't make a case for him above wilt, Russell west or Oscar. And it wasn't an iconic season for any of them. Depth of competition for the 60's ABA was not good enough but it gets there later on.
    Last edited by Kstat; 07-14-2017 at 10:56 AM.

    It wasn't about being the team everyone loved, it was about beating the teams everyone else loved.

    Division Champions 1955, 1956, 1988, 1989, 1990, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008
    Conference Champions 1955, 1956, 1988, 2005
    NBA Champions 1989, 1990, 2004

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    sav

  8. #6
    It is ka Thankee sai Major Cold's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Best Player championship belt: 1968

    I went with Russell because of his ability to neutralize Wilt in that series. I know it is best player. But that player had the advantage above the shoulders and the venue of coach to maximize it.

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  10. #7
    Rebound King Kstat's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Best Player championship belt: 1968

    Quote Originally Posted by Major Cold View Post
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    I went with Russell because of his ability to neutralize Wilt in that series. I know it is best player. But that player had the advantage above the shoulders and the venue of coach to maximize it.
    It's not unfair. The game is mental as well as physical. Many different ways to play and compete.

    It wasn't about being the team everyone loved, it was about beating the teams everyone else loved.

    Division Champions 1955, 1956, 1988, 1989, 1990, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008
    Conference Champions 1955, 1956, 1988, 2005
    NBA Champions 1989, 1990, 2004

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