Originally Posted by G.O.A.T
I don't pretend to understand those stats, I know they are flawed, because guys like Heinsohn and Cousy rank highly despite being admittedly poor defenders. I based my selections more on reputation and their teams defensive ability. I did however use win shares to narrow down or expand my candidates in some cases.
In terms of Defensive Win Shares, Russell dominated the stats from 1958-1967, usually doubling up the second place finisher. That seems accurate based on all I've read and come to understand about Russell. Chamberlain's Win Shares went up right about when his team mates and coaches seem to say he started making more of a commitment to defense.
Still without Blocks and Steals (which Russell and Wilt would likely have averaged near double figures of combined) it's hard to see specialists and guards inparticular getting sufficient credit.
I do believe Russell was the best defensive player of that era, but I don't see the point in using stats you don't understand. In general, I don't like advanced stats, but I think they're even more pointless in the case of defensive win shares in the 60's for the reasons stated.
However, regarding defensive stats at the time, I do find the blocked shots from newspaper articles at the time interesting. I try to research them from time to time.
Apparently, Wilt averaged over 5 bpg in the '73 season while Elmore Smith averaged 3.9 that year(Psileas found an article that had Smith's blocks for the season before blocks were officially kept). I'd guess atleast 7 bpg for the 1972 season. I know he averaged 7.3 bpg in the 4 games from the '67 EDF where blocks were listed in the recap.
I'll try to add the block numbers to this thread when I find more games.