Welcome back to the "Greatest Ever" series as we continue with another topic on the NBA History.Although he's one of the greatest players in the NBA History, if not the best overall, there are some myths surrounding the legendary Bill Russell.

They are often about the lack of competition, his lack of offensive greatness like the rest of his candidates for the honor of best ever candidate. The not so appreciated Bill gets dismissed because of those things.

In this article, i will address these myths and try to debunk them. So without further ado, let's start!

1.Bill Russell Wasn't A Good Offensive Player.

The biggest reason why Bill Russell gets dismissed from the Greatest Of All Time debates that he wasn't a good offensive player, as he averaged 15.1 points in his career on 44% field goal percentage which isn't of course good.

However, scoring isn't the only thing in offense. There's also passing, an aspect of the game in which he excels. Russell is not only one of the top passing big men of all time, but also one of the finest passers to step on a hardwood.

He has a career average of 4.4 dimes per average during the regular season. He gets better in the playoffs with an average of 4.8 while he manages to lead all twice in assists. In the Finals in which there are official assist numbers, he has 5.8 dimes in average.

He had one of the most sweetest outlet passes ever. He'd fire a pass for the easy finish after he created a fast brake chance with his rebounding or defense. In that way he contributed for the many points scored without even taking an attempt. Impressive, isn't it?

Here's even more amazing fact than that. After Cousy retired, the Celtics didn't have a true point guard, the ball went to Bill Russell on almost every possession on the high post and he led his team mates for high scoring chances. Here are his stats

Russell's Assists Averages After Cousy Retired

1963-64: 4.7

1964-65: 5.3

1965-66: 4.8

1966-67: 5.8

1967-68: 4.6

1968-69: 4.9

See what i mean? He ranked twice in the top 5 league leaders, while in the rest he was at worst top 10. Despite all of this, he still doesn't get credit for being a very good offensive player even though he was a prolific passer from the center's position.

Additionally, he improved on his field goal percentages during the post season and finals. I'll point out the 1965 playoff performances in which he shot 52.7% from field and in the '65 Finals he averaged 17.8 points on 70.2% FG, which is an all time record.

Also, there weren't as many fouls as they are called today too. So, this means that Bill Russell was a productive and very good offensive player when you take all in things in consideration.

2.Bill Russell Was Great Because Of His Team Mates

Another huge reason why Bill Russell he gets overlooked in the GOAT debates, are his team mates. Many like to point out he played in a team full of Hall Of Fame players that carried him to success. Well, it's not true.

The Celtics despite having one of the top point guards (Cousy), greatest shooters (Sharman) and other great offensive forces like Hondo, Heinsohn and Jones weren't a force on offense as much as they should have been.

The team had an average ratings in the stats for offense. They won and dominated their opponents by being one of the best defensive teams of all time.

The cornerstone and anchor of the C's was none other than Bill Russell, who was the biggest reason why the franchise captured eleven titles in thirteen years.

However, championships are a team accomplishments. Nobody can do it all. Bill's supporting cast was more than solid to 1964, or even 1965. But how about when he didn't have a good support?

As a player-coach he took over to lead Boston to success, with an aging roster that struggled with injuries. In their first year, they were finally beaten by the Sixers.

Next year they met again, but comeback from 3-1 to win the entire series with Russell leading to success. They'd beat the Lakers again and win the title.

Even when Elgin Baylor, Jerry West and Wilt Chammberlain played in one team, they couldn't knock off Russell led Boston from winning the title. Amazing, isn't it? It sure is.

Superstar players are the biggest reason why one franchise wins a title, but no one can win alone with a quality support from the other. Even Jordan, Magic and Bird needed one.

3.The NBA Wasn't Competitive Back Then

Another reason why Bill Russell and the other superstars of the 60's that get overlooked in the GOAT discussions is the competition of the league back then.

Although there were eight teams back then, the level of talent was as big as today if not bigger considering it was stuck in few franchises.

The Warriors had the likes of Wilt Chamberlain, Nate Thurmond, Paul Arizin, Tom Gola etc during the first half of the 60's. The St. Lois Hawks had Bob Pettit and Lenny Wilkens.

The stacked Philadelphia teams of the second half of that decade had Wilt (he played for multiple teams), Cunningham, Greer who were all part of the Hall Of Fame.

Let's not forget the Lakers teams with Elgin Baylor and Jerry West, plus the Royals with the Big O and Jerry Lucas. Not bad competition, isn't it?

Also, you can throw in the up and coming New York Knicks that went on to win two titles in the 70's and had the likes of Reed and Frazier in their roster.

So, in general, Russell faced a pretty good competition that is unfortunately underrated these days.

4.He couldn't excel in other eras

Bill Russell is one those guys who was capable to play in any era. He was first of all, one of the physically most gifted players in the NBA History. He had nice athleticism, could jump high (former world champion), had higher reach than Kareem, underrated strength.

He was extremely mobile, versatile and quick for a center. Additionally, there wasn't arguably a more smarter man to play professional basketball than him. He also had an overlooked mental edge, as he psyched and intimated his opponents in many ways.

Russell's productiveness is more than obvious. He was a dominant defensive player, who excelled on the glass, was a productive offensive player, a guy who made everything around him better and a coaches' player who never cared about stats.

He'd be just as equally good in any era. He had a lot of tools to work with and he knew to use them smartly. That's why he'd excel in any decade. Oh, and about his lack of weight. He'd just go to a gym and add some muscle.

A great player could play at any time and he's one of them.

 --Darko Mihajlovski


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