Originally Posted by Psileas
I guess Jerry West would be all-D in pretty much every season between 1962 and '68, at least judging from what happened in 1969 to '73. Maybe 2nd All-D in 1963 and '68 because of his missed games. K.C would be another regular.
Not sure I agree on '64 Thurmond, especially for All-1st team. He was just a rookie that played 26 mpg, alongside the most dominant player of the league, who had arguably his best season up to then, maybe even defensively.
The Thurman choice was based on a few things. #1 His tole that season was exclusively defense. He had developed a reputation prior to the start of his pro career as "the next Russell". Sport Magazine wrote a feature early in the season about he Thurmond's presence had re-energized Wilt and the Warriors who missed the playoffs the year prior.
San Fransisco had the worst defensive in the league in 1963, in 1964 they brought in Thurmond and they had the best defense in the league and were back in the Finals.
Thurmond also ranked higher than Wilt in defensive win shares than the rest of the Warriors except Wilt and exceeded all non-centers in Win Shares per 48.
So while I certainly see your point, a part time playing rookie would never qualify for an all-defense team today. But today we have 30 teams and 60-75 forwards in competition for those two spots. Then their were only 18-20 forwards in the running and Thurmond had comparable stats to most, a better defensive reputation already and I have the luxury of knowing how everything would play out which made him an obvious choice for me.
Remember too that the Warriors were so enamored with Thurmond during his rookie season that they decided Wilt could become expendable a year later.
As for West, the Lakers were one of the leagues worst defensive teams through much of the 1960's. A lot of this can be attributed to their lack of a true quality center but I also think that it might suggest that defense wasn't a huge focus for West until later in his career.
At first I had him on the first team all the way. But I really can't find anything written about his defense or the steals he may have been averaging prior to 1966. Even in his biography he acknowledges that playing defense was something became more important to him the older he got and the more his hunt for a title frustrated him.
Some very good points you raise, I hope my response shines a light on my line of thinking for you.