Saturday, December 18, 2010

Top 10 Unbreakable NBA Records

NBA History is filled with records that one would believe impossible unless they knew the records themselves. Most of the following records are by individual players, but there is one team record in there. These players were once in a lifetime talents, ones that we are unlikely to see again. The records are the following:

10. Most Assists Career John Stockton 15,806

Stockton owns 5 of the top 6 single season assists per game records. He also has a long career where he maintained his level of play throughout it. Stockton and Malone ran the pick-and-roll better than any tandem in NBA history, and it is unlikely that another tandem will ever be better. Stockton has 4,704 assists more than the next person (Jason Kidd) and Kidd would have to play about 5 more seasons at 10 assists per game in order to catch him.

9. Most points per game by a rookie 37.6 by Wilt Chamberlain

You can expect this list to contain Wilt a few more times, as it could have easily been named “Top 10 Unbreakable Wilt Chamberlain NBA Records.” No other player has averaged more points in a season than this one, let alone a rookie. Michael Jordan is the closest at 37.09 for the Chicago Bulls during the 1986-1987 season. Rookies never have been as big a focal point on offense as Wilt was and they likely never will be.

8. Wilt’s Most Rebounds Per Game Average 27.2, 1960-1961

The closest person to this record is Bill Russell’s 24.74 rebounds per game for the Celtics during the 1963-1964 season. The closest person other than Wilt to this record after 1970 is Dennis Rodman with 18.66 rebounds per game for the Pistons during the 1991-1992 season. Because of Wilt’s rebounding skills, the slowing down in league pace and the improvement in field goal percentage since Wilt played, this record will not likely be broken.

7. Most rebounds per game by a rookie 27.0 by Wilt Chamberlain, 1959–60

This record is unbreakable because of all the reasons discussed above, with the added difficulty that it must be done by a rookie.

6. Wilt’s 22.9 Rebound Per Game Average over his career

No player not named Wilt Chamberlain or Bill Russell has even averaged

more than 22 rebounds in a single season, let alone a career. This record is all the more impressive because Wilt did not water down its value by having a short career, playing in the NBA for 13 years.

5. Most NBA championship won by a player 11 by Bill Russell

Until medical science reaches the point where players can play 25 to 30 years, breaking this record is unlikely.Other Celtics’ players, such as Sam Jones (10), John Havlicek (8), Tom Heinsohn (8), K.C. Jones (8), Tom Sanders (8) and Frank Ramsey (7) came close to Russell in championships, but nearly all of those championships were won alongside Russell. Robert Horry (7) is the non-Celtic closest to this record. Russell’s championship pedigree was recognized recently by the NBA when they renamed the NBA Finals MVP the Bill Russell NBA Finals MVP (this award did not exist when Russell played.) The record is even more impressive considering Russell won two championships as a player-coach.

4. Celtic’s 9 championships in a row

While having less teams does make it somewhat easier to win championships, it does not make it as easy as you would think because well-constructed teams will win multiple championships no matter how many teams there are in the league. This record gets unfairly knocked because during most of these years the NBA contained only 8 teams.

Consider the example of the 1970’s (where the league started with 16 teams and ended with 22 teams.) If a smaller league made that big a difference in winning a championship, then we would expect many more repeat championships in the decades succeeding the 70‘s, but the Celtics were the only ones to win more than one championship during the 70’s, winning two. For comparison’s sake, the Lakers won 5 championships in the 80’s, the Celtics won 3, the Bulls won 6 during the 90’s, the Rockets two, the Spurs won 4 championships from 1999 to 2007, and the Lakers have won 5 since 2000.

The truth is the cream of the crop rises to a championship and returns there because their teams are better constructed than any other. For another comparison, consider how many college teams there are in NCAA Division 1 and consider how many times 5 teams ( UNC, Duke, Kentucky, Kansas and UCLA during Wooden’s years) rose to the top despite the great amount of competition. The Celtics during these years were the ultimate dynasty.

3. Oscar Robertson’s triple double season, 1961-1962

This record is even more impressive than it seems because Oscar went way over the 10 points, 10 rebounds, 10 assists qualifications, averaging 30.8 points, 12.5 rebounds and 11.4 assists during the 1960-1961 season. Unlike players like Wilt Chamberlain, Bill Russell, Bob Cousy and Jerry West, Oscar’s name is not known by many casual basketball fans despite being a great player. This record will be next to impossible to beat because of both the pace of the league and the quality of Oscar’s play.

2. Wilt’s
100 point game, March 2, 1962 for the Philadelphia Warriros against the New York Knicks

Wilt averaged over two points a minute during this game, which means he must have scored a field goal or one or two free throws in nearly all 48 minutes. Unfortunately, video footage of this amazing feat is not available. Kobe Bryant came the closest to this record, and it took him a Herculean effort just to get within
19 points of it, when he scored 81 points. (Make sure to watch this video, it is a compiliation of all 81 points he scored cutting out every other part of the game, and runs only 3:05.)

1. Wilt’s 50.4 points per game single season record, 1961-1962

This record is extremely less publicized than Wilt’s 100 point game and is as equally more impressive than that record or any other accomplishment in league annals because of the amount of consistency and high quality of play it entails. For example, during the 2008-2009 season, there were 11 players
who scored more than 50 points in a game, an extremely high number relative to other seasons. This means if you took the 82 highest scoring single games by all NBA players during that season, their average will still not be anywhere CLOSE to Wilt’s record. A season where the 82 highest individual scoring games by all NBA players average more than 50 points is as unlikely to happen as anyone breaking any of the other records on this list, let alone an individual player doing so over a season.

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