Impossible to accumulate 5 MVP titles, 11 appearances in an All-NBA team, and 12 selections to the All-Star Game without blackening the statistics sheets. Bill Russell knew how to do it in this area, and in particular in a compartment where he outclasses the historic competition!
In the common mind, he remains above all as the greatest winner in history, with 11 champion rings won in just 13 seasons. It must be said that this Bill Russell record mark has never been approached in nearly 60 years, and most certainly never will be. Nevertheless, it unfortunately tends to make us forget the other major exploits of the iconic pivot of the Celtics on the floors.
Apart from his mythical record, the “Secretary of Defense” is surely placed as the most dominant player in history in his own racket. From the top of his double meter 08 – a rare size for the time in the NBA, he offered a recital every evening on this side of the field. Its statistical contribution is unfortunately invaluable, even if some research has made it possible to become aware of its overpowering in exercise.
Bill Russell and the forgotten art of counter
Because of his size, Russell was necessarily a reigning blocker. However, the league didn’t start taking this stat into account until the 1973-74 season, when the Boston legend had long since transitioned into coaching. Certain traces and notes of his matches, however, contributed to establishing his possible career average in the block, quite simply lunar:
According to taped games and records, Bill Russell averaged around 8.1 blocks per game during his playing career 😲 pic.twitter.com/cwr9nkaYvm
— Celtics Nation (@CelticsNationCP) August 1, 2022
According to match records and stat sheets, Bill Russell was running around 8.1 blocks per game during his playing career 😲
By way of comparison, the best blocking campaign since the 1973-74 season belongs to Mark Eaton, who averaged 5.6 units during his prime. What to become aware of the deterrent power of Russell, against which only Wilt Chamberlain could compete. That said, there again, the former glory of the C’s could consider dominating its biggest rival, as Bill Simmons tells it well in his Book of Basketball :
Russell had a habit of gobbling up anything that passed through the area near the circle, frustrating anyone who dared to step inside and displaying a remarkable ability to keep those blocked shots in play. While Wilt was known for deflecting opposing shots like a volleyball player for more dramatic effect, Russell countered them in the direction of his teammates for immediate counterattacks.
Although unofficial, Bill Russell’s career blocking average is enough to leave current experts in the field dreaming. Good luck to Rudy Gobert or Myles Turner for even getting close to half that mark!