CJ H.'s Blog
Views
569
Comments
0

Kareem and Russell

 By @CJ_H_12

      Possibly the two greatest centers the NBA has ever seen. One was smooth with his sky hook, while the other was more tough and rugged. These players are: Kareem Abdul Jabbar and Bill Russell. It's disappointing that Russell left the NBA in 1969 and Kareem came in 1970. That would have been a great matchup! I believe this because of all their similarities. Both are fantastic defenders, very unselfish players, and great rebounders. It also would have been fun to see the sky hook against Russell's amazing shot blocking ability. This is why I decided to compare the two players and decide which one I believe is the greater player. I will compare them by scoring, defense, passing, rebounding, and the finale. Don't forget to follow me on twitter @CJ_H_12 and feel free to comment below.

Scoring: This one has to go to the all time leader in points scored: Kareem Abdul Jabbar. Over his 19 year career Kareem scored 38,387 total points. He averaged 24.6 PPG for his career and 30 PPG his first 6 years. Bill Russell averaged 15.1 PPG for his career and only 17 PPG his first 6 years. Kareem definitely wins this category.

Advantage: Kareem Abdul Jabbar

      Defense: Bill Russell is the greatest defensive force of all time and he easily wins this category. Kareem is not a slouch when it comes to defense though. He has a defensive rating (for his career) of 99.3 (24th all time) and a defensive win share (for his career) of 94.49 (2nd all time behind Bill Russell). If you don't know what defensive win shares and defensive ratings are go here: http://www.basketball-reference.com/about/glossary.html. Bill Russell is the greatest defensive force of all time though, so I have to give this to him.

Advantage: Bill Russell

      Passing: This one is tough. Bill Russell has an APG of 4.3 for his career and Kareem has an APG of 3.6 for his career. Bill Russell cannot be judged by his APG because he wasn't just a passer. He would block a shot and tip to himself or a teammate. He almost never blocked the ball out of bounds or in a random place. He always planned it. If this was counted as an assist, he would have averaged 8-12 APG for his career. For this reason, I have to give this category to Bill Russell.

Advantage: Bill Russell

     Rebounding: Let's not decide this by their RPG of their career. Bill Russell played in a weaker and smaller era. Kareem played in a much more challenging era. Since this is true, of course Russell is going to have a higher RPG (rebounds per game). I have decided to find the best reference point I could to decide who the better rebounder was. This reference point is Wilt Chamberlain. In 28 games (Against Wilt), Kareem averaged 16.4 RPG. In 142 games (Against Wilt), Russell averaged 23.7 RPG. From these statistics it looks like Russell is the better rebounder. Let's remember though, those 28 games were Kareem's first 3 seasons. Russell faced Wilt in his prime. Still, I think Russell is the better rebounder. He knew how to use his long arms and get good position.

Advantage: Bill Russell

      Finale: For the finale, I will compare 4 mini categories. These mini categories are: Shooting Efficiency, MPG/GPS, leadership, clutch factor, and the more diverse player.

     Shooting Efficiency: The shooting efficiency category easily goes to Kareem. Kareem averaged 55.9% shooting for his FG% and 72.1% for his FT% (Career Averages). Russell averaged 44% for his FG% and 56.1% for his FT% (Career Averages). This category without a doubt goes to Kareem.

Advantage: Kareem Abdul Jabbar

    MPG/GPS: (MPG/GPS means minutes per game and games per season) When you look at Russell's and Kareem's minutes per game (For their career), Russell's is obviously the better one (Russell: 42.3 MPG Kareem: 36.8 MPG). However, when you take away the last 6 seasons of Kareem's career (Russell only played 13 seasons while Kareem played 19) Kareem's MPG goes to 39.6. Since I want this comparison to be as fair as possible, I will use Kareem's 39.6 instead of 36.8. Now we will look at their GPS. Kareem played 1560 games in his career. When you divide this by 20, (He played for 20 years) you find his GPS to be 78 games. Russell played 963 games in his career. When you divide this by 13, you get 74 games per season. To find how many minutes he would give you in one season, we multiply their GPS by their MPG. When you do this, you find that Kareem would give you 3088.8 minutes in a season and Russell would give you 3130.2 minutes in a season. Since this is only a 41 minute difference, I believe it is too close to say one beats the other in this category.

Advantage: Tie

      Leadership: This one is too close to call. There is a reason why Kareem was nicknamed Cap (short for captain). There is also a reason why people call Russell one of the greatest leaders of all time. I believe Russell would give up his rebounds, points, and assists to win 20 championships. I believe the same for Kareem however. Each player elevated their teammates to be better and both were great teammates.

Clutch Factor: For the 3rd time, I believe this one is too close to call. Kareem always upped his play in the playoffs and so did Russell. You can argue that Russell was 10-0 in game 7's, but Russell also had 7 hall of famers on his team multiple years.

Advantage: Tie

Diverse (Who's the better all-around player): This one has to go to Kareem. He was a better scorer (24.6 PPG for his career) and he was still a great defender (Defensive Win Share of 94.49). Russell was an okay scorer (15.1 PPG for his career) and the greatest defender of all time (I don't even need a statistic here).

Advantage: Kareem Abdul Jabbar

Winner: Your decision. All of these categories have been close except for scoring. I truly believe Kareem was better because he was a better all around player but you could argue that Russell was a better winner.

 

Comment

Remember to keep your posts clean. Profanity will get filtered, and offensive comments will be removed.


Start Your Own Blog

Start Now

Truth & Rumors

MOST POPULAR

  1. 1
    Woodson's next job
    Views
    5376
    Comments
    1102
  2. 2
    'Melo wants to be wooed (like, Howard wooed)
    Views
    1232
    Comments
    827
  3. 3
    Lee on the Yankees' radar (Burnett, too)
    Views
    12273
    Comments
    533
  4. 4
    Farrell defends Fenway's 'sleep room'
    Views
    1274
    Comments
    478
  5. 5
    Rangers pegged as unsportsmanlike divers
    Views
    3255
    Comments
    277

SI.com

SI Photos