Best NBA Players in the 1960’s: Part II


Jerry West
West is one of the greatest scorers in NBA history. (Photo credit to MLCmag.com)

This is part II of the Best and Most Dominant Players in the 1960’s. Part I included Wilt Chamberlain and Oscar Robertson. Who will be included in Part II? Read more to find out.

Russell played for the Boston Celtics for 13 years from 1956-1969. He has the second most career rebounds all time (Chamberlain has more), recording 21,620 rebounds in his career. He was a “player-coach” back in the early days of the NBA. Despite having dual responsibilities, Russell led the Celtics to 11 championships and having 11 championships puts Russell in uncharted territory. His 11 championships are the most by any player of all time.

Among his 11 championships, Russell did more than win. He led the league in rebounding five times and won five MVP’s. He was a 12-time NBA All-Star and All-NBA First Team three times (All-NBA Second Team eight times). He is known as the greatest defensive player of all time. With that being said, defensive teams and awards were not given out back then but I bet Russell would have been Defensive Player of the Year every year. He is responsible for Wilt Chamberlain only having one championship.

Elgin Baylor is one of the greatest scorers to ever play in the NBA. He was drafted in 1958 by the Minneapolis Lakers with the 1st overall pick and spent two good years in Minnesota until the team moved to Los Angeles. From there, Baylor’s career took off. From 1960 to 1965, Baylor scored a total of 11,085 points (31.4 ppg) and totaled 5,371 rebounds (15.2 rpg). He even averaged 4.5 apg.

After having a down-year during the 1965-1966 season, Baylor rebounded to post 24 ppg or more for the next four seasons. In his 14-year career, Baylor amassed 23,149 points and 11,463 rebounds, one of only 17 players in NBA history with 20,000 points and 10,000 rebounds. He averaged 27.3 ppg and 13.5 rpg for his career. He finished in the top five for MVP voting seven times and was named to 11 All-Star teams.

However, he never finished first in scoring, rebounding, or any other meaningful statistical category in his career, except for games played (one time) and Player Efficiency Rating (one time).

Despite all of his achievements, Baylor was never able to win a championship, even playing Jerry West and Gail Goodrich. He retired in 1971 as a Laker after spending his entire career donning their colors.

Perhaps Jerry West was the most talented of all the players in the 1960’s. He is known for being the NBA logo and Mr. Clutch. After playing 14 seasons with the Los Angeles Lakers, West retired as one of the greatest to ever play. In his second season, he averaged 30.8 ppg, 7.9 rpg and 5.4 apg.

He could do everything on the basketball court. He averaged 30 points per game or more four times and as his career starting winding down, he started raising his assist totals. Over his last four seasons, West averaged nine assists per game, but that’s what we would normally expect from a white guy, who stands 6’2 and weighs 175 lbs. But West was more than an under-sized two guard.

He was one of the best early NBA shooters the game had seen. He shot 47.4% from the field for his career. He holds the highest points per game average in a playoff series (46.3) and averaged 40.6 ppg for the playoffs that year. He has career averages of 27, 5.8 and 6.7 (points, rebounds and assists) and was a 14-time All-Star. He won one championship with the Lakers in 1972, thanks in part to Wilt Chamberlain. He is 19th on the all-time NBA scoring list and 25th in assists. His career average of 27 ppg is good for 5th.

After retiring in 1974, West went on to become an NBA Executive. He has won two Executive of the Year awards, one with the Lakers and the other with the Memphis Grizzlies.

This concludes “Best NBA Players in the 1960’s.”

Best players of the 70’s are next.

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