CJ H.'s Blog
Wilt or Shaq? 

By @CJ_H_12 

    These two centers are considered the most powerful players the NBA has ever seen. Wilt was just a freak. He was 7'1 weighing 275 LBS, but still won the high jump championship (For the Big Eight) 3 straight years. Shaq was just huge. He was 7'1 weighing 325 LBS, but still had one of the quickest feet the NBA has seen from a center. Both of them are just athletic freaks. That's why I want to compare them. They have the same height and were both considered huge in the time they played. I will compare them by scoring, defense, rebounding, passing, and the finale. The finale will be made up of smaller categories that I will compare. Please feel free to comment and follow me on twitter @CJ_H_12.


Scoring: This was their strengths. Wilt is tied with Jordan for the highest career PPG average of all time (30.1 PPG). Shaq averaged 29 PPG against centers in the 1990's including Hakeem, Mutombo, Ewing, Robinson, etc. I find that Hakeem and Bill Russell are the two greatest defensive centers of all time. Wilt faced Russell and Shaq faced Hakeem. I will use Wilt's stats against Russell and compare it to Shaq's stats against Hakeem. Against Russell, Wilt averaged 28.7 PPG. Against Hakeem, Shaq averaged 24.5 PPG. Wilt averaged more points against the greatest defender of all time than Shaq did against a lesser (but still great) defender. Finally, I will look at these players offensive win shares (The number of wins contributed due to a players offense). Wilt, in a 16 year career, won 153 games due to his offense. Shaq, in a 19 year career, won 115 games due to his offense. There's no doubt Wilt wins this category.


Video of Wilt's Scoring abilities:




Advantage: Wilt Chamberlain


Defense: This category is what neither were known for. If I went up to someone and said, "Wilt Chamberlain," I would almost guarantee you that they would say something about his 100 point game. If I went up to someone in 2002 and said, "Shaquille O'Neal," I bet they would say dominant and giant. This is not to say neither were good defenders. Wilt actually was a pretty good defender. What made him so good were his long arms, jumping ability, and height. Referees say we averaged 8-10 blocks a game. Other teammates including Matt Guokas also say he averaged 8 blocks a game. Shaq has some defensive awards including 3 all-nba defensive second team. The final stat I want to acknowledge is the defensive win share (the amount of wins that were won because of a players defense). Wilt won 94 games because of his defense, while Shaq only won 66 because of his defense. The stats and stories lead me to Wilt.


Video of Wilt Defense (Go to 1:27 to see Wilt block 2 sky hooks from Kareem):




Video of Wilt's insane jumping ability:




Advantage: Wilt Chamberlain


Rebounding: This category is hard to give to someone. Wilt played in an era where some centers were 6 foot 4, while Shaq played in an era where all centers were 6 foot 9 or taller. Also, Wilt played in an era with no steroids and less knowledge of how to gain strength. Shaq played in an era where steroids were everywhere and there were amazing training facilities. I had to find someone that was about the same size and strength from the 1960's and the 2000's. I chose Ben Wallace and Bill Russell. Wilt averaged 28.7 TRB a game against Russell. Shaq averaged 9 TRB a game against Ben Wallace, who cannot compare to Russell in the rebounding category. If you were to compare their TRB a game stats, you find that Wilt averages 12 more rebounds a game than Shaq does. Wilt easily wins this category.


Video of Wilt's dominance on the boards:




Funny Rebound by Wilt:




Advantage: Wilt Chamberlain


Passing: This is a tough category. Shaq was a great passer after Phil Jackson implemented the triangle offense. Wilt was a great passer after Bill Sharman implemented the fast break offense for the Lakers. However, you can argue that Wilt was a better passer in the 1960's instead of the 1970's. In 1968, he had the most assists in the league. In 1967 and 1968, he averaged 8 assists per game. Wilt also has the record for most assists by a center in a single game. Chamberlain had a game where he had 21 assists! Wilt was one of the greatest outlet passers of all time (For the second half of his career) Shaq is considered a good passer only for passing it out of the double teams. I think Wilt was a better passer.


Video of Wilt's passing skills:




If you go to the very end, you see him throw a pass from one end of the court to the other for an easy layup.


Advantage: Wilt Chamberlain


Finale: In the finale, I will compare smaller categories. These categories are: MPG/GPS, shooting efficiency, leadership, clutch factor, diversity, and who knows how to win?


MPG/GPS: This is easy. Wilt averaged 45.8 MPG (48.5 MPG one year. This is amazing; because only in overtime do you play more than 48 minutes) and 75.9 GPS for his career. When you multiply this, you get 3477.5 minutes in an average season. Shaq averaged 34.7 MPG and 64.3 GPS (Didn't use the lockout season). When you multiply this, you get 2232. 36 minutes in an average season. As you can see, Wilt would average 1245 more minutes than Shaq in an average season.


Advantage: Wilt Chamberlain


Shooting Efficiency: They both are awful when it comes to free throws and 3 pointers. Therefore, only their FG% and true shooting percentages matter. Shaq averages 58.2% from the field, while Wilt averages 54% from the field. Shaq led the league in FG% 10 times, while Wilt did it 9 times. Shaq shot over 60% from the field 6 times, while Wilt did it 3 times. Shaq's TS% is 58.6%, while Wilt's is 54.7%. Shaq definitely wins this category (When you dunk about half the time, that's what's going to happen).


Video of Shaq's dunks: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HDv4p0p0sZY


Advantage: Shaquille O'Neal


Leadership: Both of these players were poor leaders. Shaq led by example, but sometimes this wasn't enough. He would ask players to reach his level and work with him. But if they couldn't work with him, he considered them less important. In Boston, Shaq mocked Kendrick Perkins. In his new book and his old rap, Shaq mocked Kobe. Shaq has led by example, but yet he mocks teammates. Shaq sometimes leads by talking. He has talked about making free throw, yet he can barely make half of his free throws. Wilt, on the other hand, was a ball hog. Leaders aren't ball hogs. Being a ball hog and only caring about his stats caused poor team chemistry. Both of these players are poor leaders.


Shaq criticizing Kobe in new book:




Advantage: Tie

Clutch Factor: This one has to go to Shaq. However, it doesn't go to Shaq for just winning more championships. If you look at Wilt Chamberlain's stats in the regular season and in the playoffs, they are completely different. Wilt dropped in points per game, FG%, FT%, and APG from the regular season to the playoffs. A lot of people probably think Wilt only dropped a couple of points in the playoffs. False. He dropped 8 points from the regular season to the playoffs. That's astonishing. On the other hand, Shaq raises his stats in the playoffs. He raises his points per game, his TRB a game, his APG, BPG (Blocks per game), and averages more MPG. I got to give this one to Shaq for the stats (I also give this one to Shaq, because Shaq won 3 championships with Kobe. Wilt won once with Jerry West, Elgin Baylor, and Gail Goodrich).


Video of Shaq's clutch alley oop from Kobe:




Advantage: Shaquille O'Neal


Diversity: This one goes to Wilt for being a better scorer, rebounder, passer, and defender.


Advantage: Wilt Chamberlain


Who Knows How to Win: I got to give this one to Shaq. Shaq won 3 championships with Kobe. Wilt won NEVER won with Jerry West, Gail Goodrich, AND Elgin Baylor on the same team. Hope this tells you something about Wilt.


Advantage: Shaquille O'Neal


Conclusion: At times, the category above me can make me choose one player over another. However, the difference isn't enough for me here. Wilt would have been more dominant in the 2000's than Shaq, offensively and defensively. I believe Wilt would've won 3 championships with Kobe.


Winner: Wilt Chamberlain


18 second video of Wilt and Shaq comparison:



March 20, 2013  06:00 PM ET

Wilt Chamberlain was the best player ever. Ergo, he was the best center compared to Shaq or anyone else.


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