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I just never know how to translate their era to the modern one or even the 80s or 90s NBA. I tend to think they wouldn't do nearly as well today (particularly Russell at his size and skill set) with those same bodies/talent, though they would still be good or very good players. No way to really know, I guess.
That's why I always have trouble with putting them in my 'best ever' lists because I have a hard time separating how dominant and awesome they were in their own era with how I think they might fare in 2012.
I mainly recall seeing Wilt rather than Russell. Maybe it was his notoriety. But the way you translate Wilt to the modern era is to go through Kareem. Kareem was a dominant C and IMO better than all other centers except Hakeem and maybe Shaq. But when you compare him to Wilt, you can see who the better center was. That's the main reason I believe Wilt is the best center of all time.