Monday, October 24, 2011

The 76ers (Part 1)

What a stacked team….Think of all the legends that played here, from Dolph Schayes, to Wilt, to Billy Cunningham, to Erving, to Moses, and Barkley, and AI….really a great team…Only 3 championships though, which is sort of surprising, considering how good they were at some points…We begin:


(1) 1967 Philadelphia 76ers (68-13) vs. (60) 1973 Philadelphia 76ers (9-73)

This, right here, is one of the MOST stacked teams of all time…They beat Russell’s Celtics, who hadn’t lost since 1958 (a fluke…Russell got injured). Wilt PROVED he could be unstoppable when he wanted this year. He committed himself to the team game this year and look where it got him! He was totally committed three years, 1964 (San Fran lost to Boston in the Finals), 1967, and 1972 (though in a weaker league…). And this season tells me why I don’t like Wilt (or don’t respect him nearly as much as Russell…). WHEN, and IF he dedicates himself, he wins. But he wasn’t obsessed with winning like Russell. He was someone who loved life, and loved basketball, but he didn’t love winning. Many say losing fit Wilt, and that is true. He said he didn’t prefer winning because then there is more pressure to win again and again, and Wilt didn’t want that. He shied away from the ball in the clutch because he didn’t want to fail. He was considered uncoachable, except by Alex Hannum. He was generally a pain to be with (as evidenced by the 1969 LA season…)…You had to adjust to him, and he wouldn’t adjust to you. He didn’t have any idea in hell what he wanted to do. He wanted to score early in his career, he played really good as a team this year, but next year, he said, meh, I already beat Russell, that’s new interesting anymore, and he decided to lead the league in assists….Yes, he could produce INCREDIBLE numbers in any category. Yes, he could have won as many championships as Russell. Did he? No. Was part of it his choice? Yes. But not always. Wilt is a very interesting character. He would be a great friend (for both males and females), but if I wanted to win as many championships as possible? No, I wouldn’t want him on my team. But look at the positives of Wilt. You want to win a championship? 1967 Wilt is one of the best options to lead a team. He’s probably the strongest man in NBA history. He could have the most talent EVER in NBA history. He still is MVP in today’s league. He is definitely better than ANY center in today’s game. In 1967, he had 8 assists…and since assists were harder to get back then, we are looking at, maybe 70-82 triple doubles in today’s game. And maybe one or two quadruple doubles. We can safely assume he leads the NBA alltime in quadruple doubles…By around 100 over Russell…Statistically, I’d say he scores at least 30 points today, 13-15 boards, 7-10 assists, and 3-7 blocks a game. Definitely translates….Back to 1967…Look how stacked this team is!!!! Wilt had 24-24-8! You read that right, 24-24-8. Now look at the rest of the team…Hal Greer had 22-5-4, Chet Walker had 19-8, Billy Cunningham had 19-7, Wali Jones had 13-3-4, and Luke Jackson had 12-9. Larry Costello played only 49 games….Incredible. They DID have the minor advantage of Russell in his first year as a coach, but still…It’s too bad they didn’t meet in the Finals…that would have been one of the best Finals ever….They will win the Philly tourney by FAR.

Now, the worst team in NBA history! Fred Carter had 20-6-4, mixed in with a bunch of other partial seasons….nothing worth mentioning…Doug Collins is picked 1st overall after the year….

(2) 1983 Philadelphia 76ers (65-17) vs. (59) 1996 Philadelphia 76ers (18-64)

I don’t think we should discredit this team though…they will be a tough opponent for 1967. This is the famous “Fo, Fo, Fo” year (later corrected to Fo, Fi, Fo)…Led by MVP Moses Malone’s relentless board work (25-15), and the Doc’s tomahawks (21-7-4). Bobby Jones, one of the greatest defenders of all time, had 9-5 off the bench. And look at the backcourt! Mo Cheeks had 13-3-7 at point guard, and Andrew Toney didn’t only strangle Boston, he lit up everyone with 20-3-5….Another top team of all-time.

AI would be coming next year…In the meantime, rookie Jerry Stackhouse had 19-4-4, Clarence Weatherspoon had 17-10, Vernon Maxwell had 16-3-4, Derrick Coleman was traded over mid-year, and Shawn Bradley and Jeff Malone made short appearances, as did Scott Skiles…

(3) 1968 Philadelphia 76ers (62-20) vs. (58) 1997 Philadelphia 76ers (22-60)

A slightly worse version of the previous year…as I said, Wilt wasn’t as interested in repeating…He decided to lead the league in assists (counted as totals then), and he did…He had 24-24-9 this year…very, very close to a trip-dub…Hal Greer had 24-5-5, Billy Cunningham had 19-8, Chet Walker (how is he not in the Hall of Fame…he needs to be….right now.) had 18-7, Wali Jones had 13-3-3, Luke Jackson had 12-11….Costello played 29 games…He may not seem important, but just wait till we go even earlier…He came out of retirement to play for Hannum (who is the only coach to get Wilt to go for championships, both in 1964 and 1967….He even challenged him to a fight in 1964, to gain Wilt’s respect….I’d be scared to death of Wilt, he could kill me with one punch…even if it just grazes me, we’re talking serious injury…).

Iverson had 24-4-8 in his rookie year. Stackhouse provided some scoring for them also, averaging 21-4-3. Derrick Coleman had 18-10 in 57 games, and Weatherspoon had 12-8….

(4) 1981 Philadelphia 76ers (62-20) vs. (57) 1995 Philadelphia 76ers (24-58)
The greatest Conference Finals ever involved this team, maybe even the best series ever. Here’s a synopsis: Philly wins Game 1 by one point, then Boston wins a game, but Philly wins two straight, one by 10 points, and one by 2. Then Boston wins game 5 by 2, and then the 6th game by 2 also, which set up a dramatic game 7. It comes down to a one point game with one second left. They try a lob to Erving, but it doesn’t work, and Boston wins by one. I just finished watching the 7th game from that series…it was an incredible game. The Doctor was amazing (25-8-4), he has such smooth moves, or as they said in the game, he has “all the moves and then some”. Great game….During the year, Darryl Dawkins had 14-7, Bobby Jones had 14-5, rookie Andrew Toney had 13-2-4, Mo Cheeks had 9-3-7, Lionel Hollins had 10-2-4, Steve Mix had 11 points, and Caldwell Jones had 7-10….So many relevant players here, the Sixers were really stacked in the early 80s…Doug Collins, the ever injured 1st overall pick in 1973, played less than 20 games this year….You should definitely watch game 7 of the Boston series, it is essential viewing for an NBA fan…Great, great stuff…Makes me wish I was around then (so bad………I hate current music also, I wish I lived in the 70s….Feel free to skip all this…I’ll even italicize the stuff you can skip…..Here’s my fantasy: I would be born in 1956, so I’d remember some of Russell’s best years (probably start remembering in 1965, probably their most stacked team ever….maybe…all of them were incredible…). I’d love music like the Yardbirds (with Clapton!), and Willie Dixon, and be a HUGE Cream fan when they begin. ((Of course, I’m a huge Boston fan here, and I’m saddened by the Sixers beating them one year…)). Then, there are the Doors, and the Stones and Santana, but then, my favorite band, Led Zeppelin comes about in 1969. I’d randomly go to their concert at the famous Boston Garden for some reason, and I fall in love (this is the 1968 American tour). And when the first album comes out in 1969, I snatch an early record of it ((I have a HUGE stereo…like 7x7 at least…)). I fall in love with Tommy by the Who, and get all their early records…Then Russell retires, and then the Celts suck…But I go to the famous Boston Tea Party concert in 1969, and then I’m happy. I actually like Led Zeppelin III (the more acoustic album), so I grab some Neil Young (Everybody Knows this is Nowhere ((na-nana-na-nana-na!))). My life is changed in 1971…Led Zep IV comes out, and Cowens comes to Boston. I immediately fall in love with Cowens’ all-out hustle, and my Celtics dedication bubbles even more. 1973 was a great year. I see Boston tear up the league ((68 wins)), and I get Houses of the Holy, possibly my favorite Zep album…Their 1973 tour was incredible, and I go to all the Boston dates ((and even one of the NY dates where they filmed The Song Remains the Same….hey, it IS summer break…)). Also in 1973, I already have Who’s Next (best Who album ever…), Dark Side of the Moon, and Deja Voo (1971…CSNY….). In 1974 Boston wins the Finals….then Physical Graffiti comes out. I LOVE Kashmir and Ten Years gone on that album…I regularly go to Celts games, 20 a year. Presence comes out in 1976, and we win another champ….I move out that year, and I find all kinds of new music, David Bowie, and Tom Petty….Boston begins to suck. After I finish college, I live in the Boston suburbs…I fall in love with the 80s basketball (marred by Bonzo dying and causing Zep to split….that sucked…and Boston win a champ that year, but it doesn’t make up for one of the best drummers of all time dying….)l, and continue to listen to my vinyl’s, and move to CD’s only in the 90s….I still have Boston season tix through the 90s, and 00s, hoping we win…That’s my fantasy….Pretty long, I know, but I can dream!). I really am rambling a bit much in Philly, aren’t I….oh well…If you hate it, leave a comment (anyone???)…

This got them Jerry Stackhouse…Dana Barros had 21-3-8, Clarence Weatherspoon had 18-7, and Jeff Malone played 19 games…Shawn Bradley had 10-8…

(5) 1980 Philadelphia 76ers (59-23) vs. (56) 1994 Philadelphia 76ers (25-57)

Another super Sixers team, they made the Finals, but lost to (you guessed it!) LA…Doctor J had 27-7-5, Dawkins had 15-9, Bobby Jones had 13-6, Mo Cheeks had 11-4-7, Caldwell Jones had 7-12, and Steve Mix mixed it up and got 12-4. Lionel Hollins came over from Portland (for a 1st rounder), and had 12-3-4 in 27 games, while Collins played only 36 games (14-3-3).

Another poor showing in the 90s by the Sixers…Weatherspoon had 18-10, while Orlando Woolridge had 13-4. Jeff Malone (17-3-2) came over mid-year, for Jeff Hornacek (17-4-6). Dana Barros had 13-2-5, while Moses Malone had 5-4 (he came back in his Who Wants a Washed Up Moses! tour), and was waived after the year, and he’d go to San Antonio for the final 17 games of his career.

(6) 1982 Philadelphia 76ers (58-24) vs. (55) 1974 Philadelphia 76ers (25-57) 

Another Finals team, again losing to LA…the Doc had 24-7-4, while Andrew Toney had 17-2-4…Bobby Jones had 14-5-3, Caldwell Jones had 8-9, Mo Cheeks had 11-3-8, Dawkins had 11-6 in only 48 games, and Hollins had 11-2-4…Pretty good team, but not as good as some of the other Doctor J teams…

Doug Collins debuted with…..only 25 games…definitely a sign of things to come…Fred Carter had 21-5-6, Steve Mix had 15-11 and Tom Van Arsdale had 20-5-3….

(7) 1985 Philadelphia 76ers (58-24) vs. (54) 1993 Philadelphia 76ers (26-56) 

Sure, the stars from the earlier elite Sixers teams are older, but this is a dangerous team with the addition of rookie Sir Charles Barkley (14-9 to debut). And it’s not like everyone else sucks now….Moses had 25-13, and the Doc had 20-5-3…Toney was still a serious scoring threat, averaging 18-3-5, and Mo Cheeks had 13-3-6…Bobby Jones was still a top level defender, and had 8-4 this year….Definitely not 1983 or even 1981 level, but still, a very dangerous sleeper….

ANOTHER 90s team…this is the last totally awful one, as the previous year, they still had Sir Charles…This year, Hershey Hawkins had 20-4-4, Jeff Hornacek had 19-4-7, Weatherspoon had 16-7, and Armen Gilliam had 12-6…..

(8) 1966 Philadelphia 76ers (55-25) vs. (53) 2010 Philadelphia 76ers (27-55)

Pretty good year…Wilt led the league in scoring with 34-25-5, while Hal Greer had 23-6-5 this year. Future HOFer Chet Walker (we’re still waiting…) had 15-8, rookie Billy Cunningham had 14-8, and Luke Jackson had 8-9….Again, pretty loaded team…

You can’t say that about this team…Andre Iguodala had 17-7-6, Lou Williams had 14-3-4, and Elton Brand had 13-6….This is the first year of their throwback logo…as much as I love the old version (the one through the Doctor J era, and right to AI’s rookie year….), I hate the new one because of the box around it….Why put a box there! We see a throwback (short-lived…) to AI’s time, as the Answer comes back for 25 games…14-3-4 was all he got, but not too shabby…He IS 34 after all….

(9) 2001 Philadelphia 76ers (56-26) vs. (52) 1972 Philadelphia 76ers (30-52)

MVP Allen Iverson had 31-4-5…That is Iverson at his finest…His teammates aren’t great…Theo Ratliff (12-8) was traded for Dikembe Mutombo (12-12)…..Aaron McKie had 12-4-5…AI managed to lead them to the Finals, but they lost in 5 games…I wonder how badly AI rains points on everyone…

Not a good year…Billy Cunningham (23-12-6), would jump to Carolina of the ABA (which led to a NINE win season…). Bob Rule had 17-8, Fred Carter had 14-4-3, and Bill Bridges had 13-14, while Hal Greer had 12-3-4, in his second to last year….

(10) 1969 Philadelphia 76ers (55-27) vs. (51) 1998 Philadelphia 76ers (31-51)

Only 7 less wins than last year….Wilt was traded before the year for Archie Clark (14-3-4), and Darrall Imhoff (9-10-3). Cunningham did great leading the team, with 25-13-4, Hal Greer had 23-5-5, Chet Walker had 18-8, while Luke Jackson had 14-11, and Wali Jones had 13-3-4.

AI had 22-4-6 as more changes came about…Tom Chambers retired mid-year, and Terry Cummings was traded, along with Jerry Stackhouse, for Joe Smith (10-4). Derrick Coleman had 18-10, Jim Jackson made an appearance, as did Theo Ratliff, and Weatherspoon, who was traded in the Smith deal…

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