Why Russell would be a star today

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    Why Russell would be a star today

    I got to thinking about this subject....so many fans (most who probably never saw him play) dismiss the notion that Bill Russell would be a star today......he revolutionized the sport with his incredible defense, shot blocking, and rebounding....he was a tremendous athlete who was one of the fastest players in the league....he was a good passer (most of the set plays went through him) and regularly was among the top 10 in assists early in his career....he didn't care much about individual stats and didn't practice his offensive game.....his vertical leap allowed him to be able to grab a quarter off the top of a backboard and he had the wingspan of a seven footer.....and, most importantly, he was one of the smartest and most driven players the game has ever seen.....

    Russ was 6-10 220........for those who feel that he couldn't excel today I ask the following questions:

    How is it that Dennis Rodman, at 6-7 210, was able to lead the league in rebounding 7 times and was named Defensive Player of the Year twice...?

    How is it that Ben Wallace, at 6-9 240, was able to lead the league in rebounding twice, in blocked shots once, and was Defensive Player of the Year 4 times....?

    Russ was taller than both of them.....playing today he would most certainly hit the weight room like everyone in the league does.....he would probably add 20 lbs of muscle without losing any of his speed and agility....

    If Rodman and Wallace (who, by the way had no offensive games to speak of) could thrive.....then why wouldn't Russell...?

    Here is an interesting stat......Russ and Wilt played against each other for 11 years...Wilt's fans love to point out that Wilt averaged 28 points and 28 rebounds to Russ' 14 and 24......remember that Wilt was at least 4 inches taller and over 50 lbs heavier...I would expect him to average a few more rebounds per game.....and, although Russ once scored 30 points with 40 rebounds in a game 7 against the Lakers....Russ didn't need to score to be effective....

    the bottom line on this rivalry....besides wins (which went 84-58 in favor of Bill) is simply this:....Wilt's game above all else was predicated on scoring....
    I mean, this guy once scored 100 points in a game and averaged 50 points for a season....

    during the eleven seasons they played each other, Wilt averaged 34.5 PPG vs. the league.....but he only averaged 28.7 PPG vs Russ.....in fact, if you take out those games they played against each other, then Wilt's average against the rest of the league actually goes up!

    Given his success against Wilt, and taking into account the success of both Rodman and Wallace.....why would anyone assume that Russell would not match their success....?
     
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    Re: Why Russell would be a star today

    Duke,
    I don't know why you think that somebody'd assume that BR won't be a star in today's game. Actually, that somebody would be absolutely correct - BR would've been a super-star today.
    As for his physical abilities I think they're secondary to his mental abilities: mental fortitude, BB smarts and leadership.

    AK
     
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    Re: Why Russell would be a star today

    You are right buddy.......and don't forget his uncanny ability to psych out his opponent!!  ....he was in Wilt's head all the time!  ....he used to ask Walt Bellamy why his teammates didn't get him the ball more...Walter started fretting about it every time.....no one knew if Russ would come out of nowhere to block a shot...he kept a lot of guys from driving to the hoop....and they definitely "heard foot steps"!
     
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    Re: Why Russell would be a star today

    I think it is interesting to hear the reverence his former teammates speak of him with. They had so much confidence, trust and respect for him.
     
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    Re: Why Russell would be a star today

    here ya go

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2nrURU9-Mmg&feature=fvst
     
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    Re: Why Russell would be a star today

    Thanks DFURY! ..........you DMAN!!  ......there are so many terrific highlights of Russ on youtube.....when was the last time anyone saw Wilt pull down a rebound and then start the fast break by dribbling the ball half way down the court, make a pass, and receive the pass back for a dunk without ever losing stride....?  .....Russ was something else!
     
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    Re: Why Russell would be a star today

    The people who don't think Russ could play today are the ones who don't think anyone from 50 years ago could play in today's NBA -- Wilt, Russ, Oscar, Elgin, West -- and have no idea what they're talking about.

    A bunch of years ago I heard Terry Gross interview him on Fresh Air for some reason or other.  She proved clueless about B-ball, but asked him about playing in today's NBA (and mentioned Rodman's rebounding ability).  He audibly smiled and said, among other things, "It's not rocket science."
     
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    Re: Why Russell would be a star today

    Russell would be a star today because he would take all that natural fire and instinct and combine it with today's training techniques.
     
    He would be awesome.
     
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    Re: Why Russell would be a star today

    For the most part, the answer is another question:  Would Jesse Owens be a top college sprinter today?  No, wouldn't run fast enough....but that ignores the huge gains in training, nutrition, etc.  Of course Owens would be an elite sprinter if he had modern advantages.  Babe Ruth, Bill Russell, etc........if they dominated their peers they'd dominate today given a level playing field.

    Maybe George Mikan would struggle, but if so he'd be the exception that proved the rule.

    But could the 1961 Russell - greatest player ever? - compete against 2011 players as was?  Maybe.  Dominate?  I don't think so.  But that's meaningless without context.
     
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    Re: Why Russell would be a star today

    Totally agree with Sonics comment above.  I often wondered the reverse idea of some of these bulked up guys like Karl Malone, if thrown back in the 60's without all the weight training and nutrition, wonder how much his game would drop off? Really wonder that more in basetball and football. Some of these bulked up sluggers with no weight lifting probably would not get out of AAA back in the 70's.
     
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    Re: Why Russell would be a star today

    you hit the nail on the head Sonic!....could he compete "as was"...? I assume you are referring to his physique.....the answer is in your own post.....Russell would've had the benefit of today's workout regimen, weight training, and diet.....since he played 4 years of college he would've entered the NBA the same height but probably would've been a bit more muscular....then, as a rookie, they would have walked his but into the weight room like most all of the "bigs" do today....so I see the same guy playing around 245.....same skillset....same mindset....same 7 foot wingspan...same speed and agility....the leaping ability...if Rodman and Wallace could excel, imagine what Russ would accomplish!!
     
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    Re: Why Russell would be a star today

    '86......GREAT analogy man.....couldn't agree more buddy!!!!!
     
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    Re: Why Russell would be a star today

    they don't have it on film, but apparently he could touch the top of the backboard.  that would mean something in any era

    and you can't teach character
     
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    Re: Why Russell would be a star today

     Hold on there gang.Lets not get carried away with the praise.Sure Russ was super as in 1950's-60's super. But 1980 through the present super. I would'nt bet on it. I guess your not aware of just how bad the players skills were back in those early years . But then again perhaps you do. You all want to do a makeover so that he has the skills and size to compete with the present generation. Yes, Russ was an extremely skilled player who had the good fortune to play at a time when the level of the competition was at its worse. The Russell of the 50's-60's would find the present talent level far superior to what he faced during his playing days.
    seems 

     
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    Re: Why Russell would be a star today

    My Grandfather raves about Russell. He knew how to block the shot so it came back to him and he could control it and get the possesion. How many of these guys wind up and blast the ball in the stands. It looks cool, but the other team gets another chance when this happens.

    That video is awesome because it shows his true bread and butter. He's be a major star today.
     
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    Re: Why Russell would be a star today

    Seems, I have to disagree on this one......the skill set of some of the players wasn't as high as the stars of the day....that is still true today......

    the greats of the '60's and '70's would still be great today.....I am talking the likes of Russell, Chamberlain, Baylor, West, Robertson, Jabbar, Hayes, Gilmore, and the like....you don't think Russ wouldn't hit the weight room and add muscle? ....and Wilt wouldn't need to...but he probably would....can you imagine what he would look like?

    I go back to my original point........forget about the competition for a moment (I realize that is an abstract idea)......just look at the skills of those guys.....Russell could do everything but put up big scoring numbers....he was an incredible athlete who was lightning fast, could jump out of the building, and was the smartest guy on the court.....with a seven foot wingspan.....these guys may have been ahead of their time as basketball players...

    would you please explain why Russ could not duplicate or even better the accomplishments of Dennis Rodman and Ben Wallace....?

    No disrespect meant here friend.....you have seen more than I have in our lifetimes.....but I did see Russell's last 10 years in the league....a great athlete in any era is still great...the records for the 100 yard dash have been bettered as has the four minute mile....that doesn't transcend into basketball or baseball in my opinion....Sandy Koufax would still be a Cy Young winner and Mantle & Mays would still be MVP types.....

    I guess it boils down to the concept of having a Bill Russell clone being born in 1965.....same height and weight....same athletic/basketball skills....same drive and smarts.....and given the benefit of all of today's training techniques and programs....I think he'd do just fine....just my opinion
     
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    Re: Why Russell would be a star today

    In Response to Re: Why Russell would be a star today:
    Seems, I have to disagree on this one......the skill set of some of the players wasn't as high as the stars of the day....that is still true today...... the greats of the '60's and '70's would still be great today.....I am talking the likes of Russell, Chamberlain, Baylor, West, Robertson, Jabbar, Hayes, Gilmore, and the like....you don't think Russ wouldn't hit the weight room and add muscle? ....and Wilt wouldn't need to...but he probably would....can you imagine what he would look like? I go back to my original point........forget about the competition for a moment (I realize that is an abstract idea)......just look at the skills of those guys.....Russell could do everything but put up big scoring numbers....he was an incredible athlete who was lightning fast, could jump out of the building, and was the smartest guy on the court.....with a seven foot wingspan.....these guys may have been ahead of their time as basketball players... would you please explain why Russ could not duplicate or even better the accomplishments of Dennis Rodman and Ben Wallace....? No disrespect meant here friend.....you have seen more than I have in our lifetimes.....but I did see Russell's last 10 years in the league....a great athlete in any era is still great...the records for the 100 yard dash have been bettered as has the four minute mile....that doesn't transcend into basketball or baseball in my opinion....Sandy Koufax would still be a Cy Young winner and Mantle & Mays would still be MVP types..... I guess it boils down to the concept of having a Bill Russell clone being born in 1965.....same height and weight....same athletic/basketball skills....same drive and smarts.....and given the benefit of all of today's training techniques and programs....I think he'd do just fine....just my opinion
    Posted by Duke4

     
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    Re: Why Russell would be a star today

    Seems............talk to me buddy!! ....you know that I usually agree with you....just not this time....but I always respect your opinion!!
     
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    Re: Why Russell would be a star today

    In Response to Re: Why Russell would be a star today:
    Seems, I have to disagree on this one......the skill set of some of the players wasn't as high as the stars of the day....that is still true today...... the greats of the '60's and '70's would still be great today.....I am talking the likes of Russell, Chamberlain, Baylor, West, Robertson, Jabbar, Hayes, Gilmore, and the like....you don't think Russ wouldn't hit the weight room and add muscle? ....and Wilt wouldn't need to...but he probably would....can you imagine what he would look like? I go back to my original point........forget about the competition for a moment (I realize that is an abstract idea)......just look at the skills of those guys.....Russell could do everything but put up big scoring numbers....he was an incredible athlete who was lightning fast, could jump out of the building, and was the smartest guy on the court.....with a seven foot wingspan.....these guys may have been ahead of their time as basketball players... would you please explain why Russ could not duplicate or even better the accomplishments of Dennis Rodman and Ben Wallace....? No disrespect meant here friend.....you have seen more than I have in our lifetimes.....but I did see Russell's last 10 years in the league....a great athlete in any era is still great...the records for the 100 yard dash have been bettered as has the four minute mile....that doesn't transcend into basketball or baseball in my opinion....Sandy Koufax would still be a Cy Young winner and Mantle & Mays would still be MVP types..... I guess it boils down to the concept of having a Bill Russell clone being born in 1965.....same height and weight....same athletic/basketball skills....same drive and smarts.....and given the benefit of all of today's training techniques and programs....I think he'd do just fine....just my opinion
    Posted by Duke4

    Duke,
     My understanding on this matter is that we are comparing the Russell of his generation not the Russ you believe he would be now(per below)
      "given the benefit of all of today's training techniques and programs....I think he'd do just fine....just my opinion" 
      If he's that good, why the need for a makeover? And since you came aboard as a Celtic fan in the early 60's perhaps you can inform me about the skill levels of the players he faced in 1960. After-all, its against those players that he made his reputation.  

     
     
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    Re: Why Russell would be a star today

    In Response to Re: Why Russell would be a star today:
    Seems............talk to me buddy!! ....you know that I usually agree with you....just not this time....but I always respect your opinion!!
    Posted by Duke4

    Duke,
    I guess I was preparing my post to you when this post came in. "Talk to me buddy". You can bet your life I will. Intergenerational comparisons is my favorite passtime. This should be fun Duke.
    seems
     
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    Re: Why Russell would be a star today

    Seems' that's not my position at all......it is as simple as this......if Bill Russell had been born in 1965 would he have been able to accomplish what Dennis Rodman and Ben Wallace were able to accomplish?

    As for the makeover.....same guy....same size......are you saying that he would be the only player that did not choose the benefit of the weight room and modern training and diet that all of today's athletes enjoy ...? ....if not, then why..?
    ....if so, then how could he not bulk up as today's athletes do....?

    I am not focusing on Russell's competition....although he had some pretty good opponents in Wilt and the like.....I am asking if his basketball skills would translate into today's NBA.....frankly, I don't see how they could not...
     
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    Re: Why Russell would be a star today

    Russel would still be a star today, however, with the contact allowed in the low post, since at least the time of Shaq, I believe that he would be known as the greatest power forward in the NBA, instead of its greatest center. 220 lbs is not enough to stop Shag or Howard from wrestling down low for post position, and dunking.

    ... and I did see Russel play.
     
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    Re: Why Russell would be a star today

    In Response to Re: Why Russell would be a star today:
    Seems' that's not my position at all......it is as simple as this......if Bill Russell had been born in 1965 would he have been able to accomplish what Dennis Rodman and Ben Wallace were able to accomplish? As for the makeover.....same guy....same size......are you saying that he would be the only player that did not choose the benefit of the weight room and modern training and diet that all of today's athletes enjoy today...? ....if not, then why..? ....if so, then how could he not bulk up as today's athletes do....? I am not focusing on Russell's competition....although he had some pretty good opponents in Wilt and the like.....I am asking if his basketball skills would translate into today's NBA.....frankly, I don't wee how they could not...
    Posted by Duke4

    Duke
      Were on different pages Duke. Your in favor of a makeover for Russ,and I'm not. I believe his basketball skills were magnified by the very fact that they were made against vastly inferior competition.You don't factor that in to your thought process. I don't know just how well the Russell of the 60's would have performed in later decades but I would wager that he would not have been as dominant.
    seems 
     
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    Re: Why Russell would be a star today

    I understand your position Seems.....but as the poster before pointed out....at 220 lbs Russ wouldn't be able to hold his position down low.....my take is that if he were playing right now he would not weigh in at 220.....all of today's athletes do weight training....Ben Wallace is one of the most muscular guys I've ever seen.....he is listed as 6-9 240......my opinion is that Russ would be taller by one inch and by virtue of that same work out regimen would weigh about the same....it makes perfect sense to me....of course, my wife tells me that I live in my own little world!!

    While Russell's competition may have been inferior, wouldn't you agree that his athletic prowess was excellent....? I am talking running the court.....vertical leap....reflexes...he could block almost anyone's shot....he was a great rebounder...most of all he was a great thinker....he psyched out an entire league ...

    my contention is that Russ would do the same things Rodman and Wallace did...as long as he worked out like they do today.....and why wouldn't he.....the team would make that mandatory don't you think...?
     
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    Re: Why Russell would be a star today

    In Response to Re: Why Russell would be a star today:
    I understand your position Seems.....but as the poster before pointed out....at 220 lbs Russ wouldn't be able to hold his position down low.....my take is that if he were playing right now he would not weigh in at 220.....all of today's athletes do weight training....Ben Wallace is one of the most muscular guys I've ever seen.....he is listed as 6-9 240......my opinion is that Russ would be taller by one inch and by virtue of that same work out regimen would weigh about the same....it makes perfect sense to me....of course, my wife tells me that I live in my own little world!! While Russell's competition may have been inferior, wouldn't you agree that his athletic prowess was excellent....? I am talking running the court.....vertical leap....reflexes...he could block almost anyone's shot....he was a great rebounder...most of all he was a great thinker....he psyched out an entire league ... my contention is that Russ would do the same things Rodman and Wallace did...as long as he worked out like they do today.....and why wouldn't he.....the team would make that mandatory don't you think...?
    Posted by Duke4

    Duke,
      Think of it this way Duke. A great young Dodger propect at one of there double "A" clubs. Hits for average, with power, outstanding speed,all accomplished against Class double "A" pitching. Does that mean that in the Majors he will duplicate those numbers?
     Since you are comparing Russ with Rodman I will post the years of 1960-61 and 1992-93. This will be a comparison of rebounding data.

      http://www.basketball-reference.com/play-index/psl_finder.cgi?request=1&match=single&type=per_minute&per_minute_base=36&lg_id=NBA&is_playoffs=N&year_min=1961&year_max=1961&franch_id=&season_start=1&season_end=-1&age_min=0&age_max=99&height_min=63&height_max=91&birth_country_is=Y&birth_country=&is_active=&is_hof=&pos=&qual=&c1stat=&c1comp=gt&c1val=&c2stat=&c2comp=gt&c2val=&c3stat=&c3comp=gt&c3val=&c4stat=&c4comp=gt&c4val=&c5stat=&c5comp=gt&c6mult=1.0&c6stat=&order_by=trb

    seems
     
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