Author Topic: Is Harden the greatest offensive player of All-Time?  (Read 1520 times)

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Re: Is Harden the greatest offensive player of All-Time?
« Reply #30 on: January 04, 2019, 04:23:49 PM »

Offline mmmmm

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I'll add my vote for Wilt.   Sheer, nearly unstoppable dominance when it came to putting the ball in the basket.   His only kryptonite was, of course, Russell (who arguably was the greatest defensive player of all-time).   But outside of games against Bill, Wilt was seemingly without boundary to what he could do on offense. 

And it wasn't just scoring.  Wilt was an amazing passer (has any other 7 footer lead the league in assists?) and, of course, vacuumed up offensive rebounds like crazy.   He constantly commanded double and triple teams, creating space and match-ups for his teammates.   He'd still be an overwhelming offensive force even in today's game.

Heck, even Russell didn't really stop Wilt  (29.9 ppg against Russell) so much as allow the Celtics to not have to double-team Wilt, which kept the rest of his team in check (leading to Russell's 57-37 W-L advantage).
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Re: Is Harden the greatest offensive player of All-Time?
« Reply #31 on: January 04, 2019, 04:29:54 PM »

Online PhoSita

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I'll add my vote for Wilt.   Sheer, nearly unstoppable dominance when it came to putting the ball in the basket.   His only kryptonite was, of course, Russell (who arguably was the greatest defensive player of all-time).   But outside of games against Bill, Wilt was seemingly without boundary to what he could do on offense. 

And it wasn't just scoring.  Wilt was an amazing passer (has any other 7 footer lead the league in assists?) and, of course, vacuumed up offensive rebounds like crazy.   He constantly commanded double and triple teams, creating space and match-ups for his teammates.   He'd still be an overwhelming offensive force even in today's game.

Heck, even Russell didn't really stop Wilt  (29.9 ppg against Russell) so much as allow the Celtics to not have to double-team Wilt, which kept the rest of his team in check (leading to Russell's 57-37 W-L advantage).


Wilt was a freak, there's no doubt. 

I just don't think it makes any sense to place his accomplishments from the 60s in comparison to how teams were playing against one another in the 80s, 90s, 00s, and on.


But this is kind of like the MVP discussions in that everybody can choose to define the criteria however they like.
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Re: Is Harden the greatest offensive player of All-Time?
« Reply #32 on: January 04, 2019, 04:54:10 PM »

Offline Moranis

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I think if you're measuring dominance relative to peers, that's fine.

If we're trying to assess player ability across NBA eras, though, I think there's some comparison to be made between the 80s and today (though it's a stretch), but there's really no relationship between the game from the 60s and today.
As it pertains to offense and defense, why wouldn't there be?  Just because there is a 3 point shot today and wasn't in the 60's, doesn't mean you can't compare offensive impacts.  Obviously every era is different, but I have a hard time just ignoring 3 decades when talking about historical records and trends (especially when those 3 decades have some of the greatest players and teams ever).  I do think Wilt is the greatest offensive player ever, but there is plenty of statistical evidence to support Jordan or Kareem or Oscar or James.  If Harden keeps this level of offensive play up for the next couple of seasons, then you can add his name to that list as well (he led the league the last 2 years in OWS and is currently leading the league this year).


In 61-62 Wilt averaged 48.5 minutes per game and attempted 40 shots a game with 17 free throws attempted per game.

These numbers don't make any sense in the context of the modern game. 

He basically played the entire game and on more than half of his team's possessions they passed it to him near the basket and he attempted to dunk or lay it in.

From this one can conclude that Wilt was so much bigger, stronger, more athletic than his opponents as to make him seem like a creature out of myth or legend.

I don't if you can say that the game he was playing has much in common with the NBA game today.
Wilt took 35.3% of his teams FGA that year.  In 88 (the year MJ had his 15.2 OWS) he took 28.5% of his teams FGA (on a per game basis, which all of these are).  The year before that MJ took 31.8%.  The year Kobe averaged 35.4, he took 33.7% of the Lakers shots.  Iverson went 32.2% the finals year and followed that up with 35.4% the next season (which is obviously more than Wilt).  Westbrook and Harden have taken more than a quarter of their teams shots in the last couple of seasons.  Shaq shot over 25% in the 00 Lakers title season (and that is with Kobe on the team taking 21.4%).  Bird had a year at 26.1 with 4 other HOFers on the team (McHale, Parish, DJ, Gilmore).  McGrady had a year over 29%. 

So sure, Wilt basically played every minute and he shot a lot, but he wasn't actually taking all that many more of his teams shots then many of the high scoring modern players (and he took a lesser percentage than Iverson did one year).  And frankly that is because Wilt was playing so many minutes. 

Re: Is Harden the greatest offensive player of All-Time?
« Reply #33 on: January 04, 2019, 05:42:46 PM »

Online PhoSita

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This discussion is hurt by the fact that there isn't very little in the way of good footage of what the game looked like back when Wilt was dominating like that.

I'd point out though that the league average for shooting was 42.6% from the field in 61-62, and teams attempted an average of 107.7 shots and 37.1 free throws attempts.  Not to mention 71.4 average rebounds per game.

That's many more shot attempts per game, many more misses (and none of those attempts were threes), and many more rebounds.

Also the average player height was 6'4".


So, Wilt was amazing.  Yes.  But also, he played at a time when the game was basically designed to be dominated by a huge guy with long arms.

Basketball as a sport inherently favors taller players, but the extent to which that was true back in the 50s and 60s compared to now is so great that it's almost a different sport.


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Re: Is Harden the greatest offensive player of All-Time?
« Reply #34 on: January 04, 2019, 05:48:25 PM »

Offline Phantom255x

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He's one of the greatest chokers of all time, that's for sure  :P

Sorry but also I personally just don't enjoy Harden's style. Impressive stats but this dude gets them from averaging like 20-25 FTs a game + knocking down some ISO-3s, so he'll get his 35+ points easy. And no, most of his FTs AREN'T warranted, the refs just kiss up to him and it's becoming obvious now.
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Re: Is Harden the greatest offensive player of All-Time?
« Reply #35 on: January 04, 2019, 06:04:16 PM »

Offline SHAQATTACK

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only  if you been watching games like 4 years


I could be think of 25 before Harden was born i think are better than him.  This is the sissy era.  Players are protected. 

Re: Is Harden the greatest offensive player of All-Time?
« Reply #36 on: January 04, 2019, 07:05:01 PM »

Offline Celtics17

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Wilt is the best offensive player the game has ever seen! I read one time that he had scored 50 or more points more times then all other players combined although that may have since changed.

People love to discount what Wilt did by coming up with statistics that prove the modern athlete is superior to those of the 60's, that the league is much stronger today, more rebounds in the 60's meant more buckets... blah, blah, blah. You can't compare one era to the next, you can only compare what the athletes of one era did against their peers.

If you try to compare eras you have to remember that some things just can't be factored in. If that circle beneath the basket was there in the 60's would Wilt have scored more or less? I once read where Chambelain said he challenged anyone to find a pic of a game where there were not at least three players within a short distance of him. Other teams basically played an illegal zone defense against him in an attempt to slow him down and the league allowed it. There were also different rules allowing defenses to play Chamberlain much more physical then they did other centers and the league also allowed this.

A reporter once asked Wilt if he could have beaten Jordan in a game of one on one. When Wilt said he could the reporter laughed and Chamberlain replied "how much money would you put on Jordan in that game'? How much would you?

Re: Is Harden the greatest offensive player of All-Time?
« Reply #37 on: January 04, 2019, 10:34:03 PM »

Offline Moranis

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This discussion is hurt by the fact that there isn't very little in the way of good footage of what the game looked like back when Wilt was dominating like that.

I'd point out though that the league average for shooting was 42.6% from the field in 61-62, and teams attempted an average of 107.7 shots and 37.1 free throws attempts.  Not to mention 71.4 average rebounds per game.

That's many more shot attempts per game, many more misses (and none of those attempts were threes), and many more rebounds.

Also the average player height was 6'4".


So, Wilt was amazing.  Yes.  But also, he played at a time when the game was basically designed to be dominated by a huge guy with long arms.

Basketball as a sport inherently favors taller players, but the extent to which that was true back in the 50s and 60s compared to now is so great that it's almost a different sport.
bball-ref has the average height at 6'5" in 62, it is just 6'7" today.  The average weight went from 205 to 218.  Wilt was without a doubt a freakish athlete, but all but one team had at least 1 guy that was 6'10" and a couple had 7 footers (Wilt was not the tallest player in the league that was Halbrook). 

Re: Is Harden the greatest offensive player of All-Time?
« Reply #38 on: January 04, 2019, 10:37:50 PM »

Offline liam

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Wilt is the best offensive player the game has ever seen! I read one time that he had scored 50 or more points more times then all other players combined although that may have since changed.

People love to discount what Wilt did by coming up with statistics that prove the modern athlete is superior to those of the 60's, that the league is much stronger today, more rebounds in the 60's meant more buckets... blah, blah, blah. You can't compare one era to the next, you can only compare what the athletes of one era did against their peers.

If you try to compare eras you have to remember that some things just can't be factored in. If that circle beneath the basket was there in the 60's would Wilt have scored more or less? I once read where Chambelain said he challenged anyone to find a pic of a game where there were not at least three players within a short distance of him. Other teams basically played an illegal zone defense against him in an attempt to slow him down and the league allowed it. There were also different rules allowing defenses to play Chamberlain much more physical then they did other centers and the league also allowed this.

A reporter once asked Wilt if he could have beaten Jordan in a game of one on one. When Wilt said he could the reporter laughed and Chamberlain replied "how much money would you put on Jordan in that game'? How much would you?

Wilt averaged 50 points a game for a season.

Re: Is Harden the greatest offensive player of All-Time?
« Reply #39 on: January 04, 2019, 10:38:57 PM »

Offline gouki88

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This discussion is hurt by the fact that there isn't very little in the way of good footage of what the game looked like back when Wilt was dominating like that.

I'd point out though that the league average for shooting was 42.6% from the field in 61-62, and teams attempted an average of 107.7 shots and 37.1 free throws attempts.  Not to mention 71.4 average rebounds per game.

That's many more shot attempts per game, many more misses (and none of those attempts were threes), and many more rebounds.

Also the average player height was 6'4".


So, Wilt was amazing.  Yes.  But also, he played at a time when the game was basically designed to be dominated by a huge guy with long arms.

Basketball as a sport inherently favors taller players, but the extent to which that was true back in the 50s and 60s compared to now is so great that it's almost a different sport.
bball-ref has the average height at 6'5" in 62, it is just 6'7" today.  The average weight went from 205 to 218.  Wilt was without a doubt a freakish athlete, but all but one team had at least 1 guy that was 6'10" and a couple had 7 footers (Wilt was not the tallest player in the league that was Halbrook).
Yeah, and it's not like the league was devoid of great big men. It's just that it didn't really matter. Our own Bill, Thurmond, Reed, Hayes, Unseld, Bellamy, Pettit and Zelmo Beaty were all elite bigs, but Wilt was in a league of his own (except for Bill, the ultimate winner)

Re: Is Harden the greatest offensive player of All-Time?
« Reply #40 on: January 04, 2019, 10:57:36 PM »

Offline Moranis

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This discussion is hurt by the fact that there isn't very little in the way of good footage of what the game looked like back when Wilt was dominating like that.

I'd point out though that the league average for shooting was 42.6% from the field in 61-62, and teams attempted an average of 107.7 shots and 37.1 free throws attempts.  Not to mention 71.4 average rebounds per game.

That's many more shot attempts per game, many more misses (and none of those attempts were threes), and many more rebounds.

Also the average player height was 6'4".


So, Wilt was amazing.  Yes.  But also, he played at a time when the game was basically designed to be dominated by a huge guy with long arms.

Basketball as a sport inherently favors taller players, but the extent to which that was true back in the 50s and 60s compared to now is so great that it's almost a different sport.
bball-ref has the average height at 6'5" in 62, it is just 6'7" today.  The average weight went from 205 to 218.  Wilt was without a doubt a freakish athlete, but all but one team had at least 1 guy that was 6'10" and a couple had 7 footers (Wilt was not the tallest player in the league that was Halbrook).
Yeah, and it's not like the league was devoid of great big men. It's just that it didn't really matter. Our own Bill, Thurmond, Reed, Hayes, Unseld, Bellamy, Pettit and Zelmo Beaty were all elite bigs, but Wilt was in a league of his own (except for Bill, the ultimate winner)
It was his strength not his length that caused everyone problems.  Here is a nice 6 minute video with quotes and interview clips.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=STXbuXGPdoY

The Celtic related quotes are just unbelievable (as are the ones with Arnold), and I know there are myths around Wilt, but every single person that ever encountered him said he was by far the strongest person they ever met.  There are videos of him benching 500 pounds in the 80's (you know when he was around 50 years old). 

Re: Is Harden the greatest offensive player of All-Time?
« Reply #41 on: January 11, 2019, 10:21:33 AM »

Offline 10610786d

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So how are the Spurs so hot right now?

Re: Is Harden the greatest offensive player of All-Time?
« Reply #42 on: January 11, 2019, 06:28:24 PM »

Online rondofan1255

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So how are the Spurs so hot right now?

Yep they’re on a roll.
They were cold against MEM two nights ago though for MEM pick watch

Re: Is Harden the greatest offensive player of All-Time?
« Reply #43 on: January 11, 2019, 07:27:28 PM »

Offline Celtics17

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Wilt's dominance was not related to the league being watered down or full of short white guys. He dominated based on his athletic ability, strength and endurance. He is quite possibly the best athlete the league has ever seen and if you think that is a crazy statement you need to do a little research before replying.

I once worked with an older gentleman who had gone to KU in the 50's and I asked if he was there when Wilt played ball and he said yes. I then asked if he could really dunk from the free throw line and he said he had indeed seen Wilt do this! He was a big 7 high jump champion two or three years in a row and it was speculated that he could have been world class if he had competed in the decathalon at the Olympics.

For some reason people view athletes of just a few decades ago as less then today's. I was never a great athlete but I long jumped 21.5 feet the first time I ever tried it and I also had a standing vertical of 36 inches. Now, I graduated high school in the mid 80's so I am guessing those numbers must be far below the average today, almost 35 years later? I rather doubt it.

Re: Is Harden the greatest offensive player of All-Time?
« Reply #44 on: January 11, 2019, 07:54:13 PM »

Offline Csfan1984

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I enjoyed watch the documentary "A real superman" on Wilt. That guy was a scoring machine. And the rules were way more strict and contact way more loose.

Wilt FT$
« Last Edit: January 11, 2019, 08:05:04 PM by Csfan1984 »
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