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WILT KNOCKS 'EM DEAD
Jeremiah Tax
December 21, 1959
One-third of the way through the season, it is clear that no rookie—in any sport—has ever achieved the smashing success that Philadelphia's 7-foot-plus Wilt Chamberlain presently enjoys in professional basketball. From the first, he has scored more points per game and pulled down more rebounds than any other player in the league. His defensive skill, like Bill Russell's, has intimidated all rival teams, forcing them to pass up easy shots repeatedly because of a well-justified fear that Wilt might block them. Players defending against him are nearly always in danger of fouling out of games because the great effort required to keep up with Chamberlain drives them to undisciplined maneuvers. Wilt's remarkable stamina enables him to play the full 48 minutes, without substitution, whenever the Warriors need him. And he is bound to improve. As St. Louis Coach Ed Macauley says, "He will learn more from our old pros than they will from him." Finally, his presence is the principal reason why NBA attendance has increased almost 25%. Below is a detailed analysis of Chamberlain's record thus far.
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December 21, 1959

Wilt Knocks 'em Dead

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PHILADELPHIA'S
TEAM RECORD

What Wilt has faced

How Wilt has done

AGAINST BOSTON

Won 2
Lost 3

Boston's Bill Russell, quicker than Wilt and as good a jumper but not nearly so strong, is chiefly responsible for Boston's victories, because he can play Wilt man-for-man, free his teammates for other assignments. But even he gets help occasionally.

MINUTES PLAYED
Total-234
Average per game-46.8

POINTS SCORED
Total-185 Average per game-37.0 Shooting pct.-.449

REBOUNDS
Total-141 Average per game-28.2

AGAINST
ST. LOUIS

Won 1
Lost 2

St. Louis has held Wilt to his lowest averages because two tall, strong centers alternate against him. Coach Ed Macauley docs not believe in "special" tactics. "After all." he says, "how do you pitch to Hank Aaron? You just do your best."

Total-139 Average per game-46.3

Total 88
Average per game -27.7 Shooting pct. -.397

Total-73 Average per game-24.3

AGAINST
CINCINNATI

Won 3
Lost 0

Cincinnati yields 40 points a game because neither of its centers is anywhere near as agile as Wilt. However, Phil Jordon is effective against Chamberlain on offense; he has a fine hook shot, a weapon Russell has learned to cope with but Wilt has not.

Total-120
Average per game-40.0

Total -121
Average per game 40.3 Shooting pct.-.448

Total-86 Average per game-28.7

AGAINST
MINNEAPOLIS

Won 2
Lost 1

Minneapolis often concedes rebounds to Wilt in favor of falling back to positions in Chamberlain's pet shooting areas. Center Larry Foust always does an outstanding defensive job on Wilt for part of each game, but he no longer has the stamina to go 48 minutes.

Total-144
Average per game-48

Total-95
Average per game -31.7 Shooting pct.-.387

Total-91 Average per game-30.3

AGAINST
NEW YORK

Won 3
Lost 1

New York has no adequate pivot man to throw against Wilt, therefore plays Center Charlie Tyra in a corner as part of a "perimeter" offense. On defense, however, this weakness shows up in Wilt's fine shooting percentage, despite much double-teaming.

Total-192
Average per game-48

Total -143
Average per game-35.7 Shooting pct.-.461

Total-126
Average per game-31.5

AGAINST
DETROIT

Won 3
Lost 0
Wilt missed 1 game

Detroit's center. Walter Dukes, is one of the league's best offensive rebounders, which accounts for Wilt's comparatively low average here. However, Dukes commits many fouls and cannot contest position with Wilt-the reason for his high point average.

Total 93
Average per game-46.5

Total-77
Average per game--38.5 Shooting pct.-.439

Total-51
Average per game-25.5

AGAINST
SYRACUSE

Won 2
Lost 2

Syracuse's Coach Paul Seymour believes Wilt and Russell pose the same problem and that both must be played man-for-man. He has two big men for the job. But he does admit "We float off Philly's backcourt a little" to jam Wilt's shooting area.

Total-167
Average per game-41.7

Total--142
Average per game--35.5 Shooting pct.-.433

Total-105
Average per game-26.2

One-third of the way through the season, it is clear that no rookie—in any sport—has ever achieved the smashing success that Philadelphia's 7-foot-plus Wilt Chamberlain presently enjoys in professional basketball. From the first, he has scored more points per game and pulled down more rebounds than any other player in the league. His defensive skill, like Bill Russell's, has intimidated all rival teams, forcing them to pass up easy shots repeatedly because of a well-justified fear that Wilt might block them. Players defending against him are nearly always in danger of fouling out of games because the great effort required to keep up with Chamberlain drives them to undisciplined maneuvers. Wilt's remarkable stamina enables him to play the full 48 minutes, without substitution, whenever the Warriors need him. And he is bound to improve. As St. Louis Coach Ed Macauley says, "He will learn more from our old pros than they will from him." Finally, his presence is the principal reason why NBA attendance has increased almost 25%. Below is a detailed analysis of Chamberlain's record thus far.

[This article contains a table. Please see hardcopy of magazine or PDF.]

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