Re: All-Defensiev teams 1955-1968
Νιce points, G.O.A.T.
About West, references about steals seem to increase in general after the early 60's. Same with blocked shots, I remember, for example, reading more references about Russell's blocks in the late 60's or reading little about Wilt's blocks before 1965 and I find it hard to believe that someone would only post elite steals/blocks numbers after his physical prime. Regarding what he said, West always seemed a bit harsh about himself. In an interview about a decade ago, he had claimed that his career had mostly a tragic side because of all those lost finals. In the same interview, he claimed that he wasn't a good dribbler early in his career, but he improved later on. When watching footage of him, you can tell that, while he did improve as he matured, he wasn't as bad earlier as he claimed he was.
Here's something interesting that I found in a "basketball 1963 Complete Sports Publications" archive that existed at nba.com (Blazers' Media Guide):
West was the same type of player in college. He led West Virginia to three consecutive Southern Conference finals. But what was almost lost in his point production was his defensive prowess. Some experts claimed he was as good defensively as he was offensively. One even went further. He claimed Jerry West would be an All-American even if he didn't score a point.
"Jerry is a complete ballplayer", remarked Schaus. He plays both ends of the floor. How many guys around do that?...He has tremendous reflexes and just about the quickest hands around. Chuck Noe (currently coaching at South Carolina) once told me that if West was in with a mongoose and a cat, he'd bet on West.
I'd like to see that article about Thurmond. Not because I don't believe you of course, but out of interest. However, if you look at it, Wilt was actually far ahead of Thurmond (and any of his teammates) in DWS and stayed ahead when adjusted for minutes, both R.S and P.O. Not that it's necessarily all that important, especially if we put ourselves in the voters' place, when there was no such thing as "win shares".