Friday, March 2, 2012

Wilt's 100 was amazing, but I'll take his 50.4

Today is the 50th anniversary of Wilt Chamberlain's 100-point game. It was an amazing feat and it's a beautifully round number. Still, I don't think it's his most impressive statistical accomplishment.

And no, I'm not talking about the 20,o00 ladies he claimed to have boinked. (Though that is incredible. I mean, it's almost three times my career total!)

In 1961-62, the same season in which he had that 100-point game, Chamberlain averaged -- AVERAGED! -- 50.4 points.

As stupendous as his 100-point game was, it also was something of a fluke. For one thing, Wilt was 28-of-32 from the free-throw line. A notoriously bad foul shooter, he shot them granny-style in that and many other games that season. The opponent that day, the Knicks, didn't bother to play defense in a 169-147 game that Wilt's Warriors led big from start to finish.

In many respects, Kobe Bryant's 81 points in a relatively low-scoring 2006 game (122-104) that was close until midway through the fourth quarter was at least as impressive. It's not Wilt's fault that he was taller than just about everybody else back in his era, but it is a fact. Kobe had no such advantage. And Bryant didn't score mostly on dunks and layups. (Then again, Kobe did benefit from seven 3-pointers.)

Averaging 50.4 points over an 80-game season? There's nothing even remotely fluky about that. It's an astounding display of consistent excellence, even moreso when you factor in his 25.7 rebounds per game.

Michael Jordan, generally considered the greatest player ever, topped out at 37.1 points -- which is only 73.6 percent of Wilt's standard. (By comparison, Kobe's 81-point game represented 81 percent of Wilt's 100.)

That 37.1 average by Jordan in 1986-87 was the sixth-highest ever recorded. Four of the five averages ahead of him were posted by, of course, Wilt Chamberlain. (The other was Elgin Baylor's 38.3.)

Yes, 100 points in a game is amazing, incredible, astounding, you pick the adjective. But you know what? It wasn't even double Wilt's average that season.

1 comment:

  1. the number i have to remember 6,500....the number of woman in mike n's life...priceless...yRavfm