National High School Star
Join Date: Apr 2010
Re: #91 NBA Player Of All-Time According to InsideHoops
For all the advanced stat junkies, a fine post by Neil Paine below. In 1967 (based on 2008-09 adjustment) his ORtg was 122, equal to LeBron, and ahead of Kobe, Wade, & Nash. Chris Paul was slightly ahead (124).
One thing that's interesting to me about the 1970s Bulls is the presence of a guy named Chet Walker. Walker has to rank as one of the most underrated players in league history, and I can't for the life of me understand why -- the man was a 3-time NCAA All-American, a 7-time NBA All-Star, he was super durable (he played the max number of games 5 times and only missed 13 games between 1965 & 1974), he scored almost 20,000 career points and averaged 20.3 per 36 minutes, and was one of the league's most efficient scorers to boot (top 10 in TS% for 5 seasons, top 10 in FT% 6 years). If we convert his Basketball on Paper stats to the 2008-09 offensive environment of 108.3 points per 100 possessions, this is what you get:
Those efficiency numbers would have statheads drooling if Walker put them up nowadays. But for some reason, Walker is so underrated that his name doesn't even come up frequently in discussions of underrated players... He's even too underrated to appear on "all-underrated" lists!
The HOF process also rewards players who won championships, as well as those who made strong bids in the MVP award balloting. As we mentioned earlier, Walker's Bulls never won a title, and when he did get a ring, it was as a third banana (behind Wilt Chamberlain & Hal Greer on the 1967 76ers). Meanwhile, Walker's best showing in the MVP voting was a measly tie for 16th in 1975.
Don't let the reputation (or lack thereof) fool you, though: Walker was a terrific player, especially at his peak. His raw stats may be solid if unspectacular, but his advanced metrics -- his per-minute rates and his efficiency numbers -- are very impressive.
Chicago Tribune - Nov 2, 1990
"Chet was a great one-on-one player and a great clutch player; one of the most underrated clutch performers to play the game," says ex-teammate Jerry Sloan.
November 23, 2005
Billy Cunningham: Dr. J would match up against Chet Walker. Julius was obviously better in the open court offensively than Chet and a better shot blocker. Chet was a better one-on-one player offensively and would probably try to post up Julius and do things like that.
*You mentioned that Chet Walker was a better one-on-one player than Julius Erving offensively and you said that Julius was better in the open court. In what way was Chet Walker better one-on-one? I think that in a lot of people’s minds Julius would be considered one of the great one-on-one players, so what specifically are you referring to that Walker did better one-on-one?
Billy Cunningham: Julius was the greatest open court player who ever played. Chet Walker was a better jump shooter and he had, I think, a little bit more of an arsenal in the set offense. But by no means am I taking anything away from Julius Erving.
July 4, 2008
Before we leave 1968 altogether, can we talk about game seven for a minute? In 1968 you limited your friend Wilt Chamberlain to two shot attempts in the entire second half of game seven.
Bill Russell: That's not true at all. That was a coach's decision. I was the coach, okay? There was an adjustment we had to make.
There was a forward on their team named Chet Walker, and he was hurting us badly, okay? So I had my backup center, it was a guy named Wayne Embry. Now Embry had been in the league seven or eight years, and he played against Wilt all those years. So at half time I said to him, "Wayne, I'm going to try something. It's not new. I want you to guard Wilt. Okay? I have to take care of Chet Walker." And see, when I made that substitution everybody thought it was trying to stay out of foul trouble, something like that, which was to me the best part of that because I made adjustments that they didn't know what I was doing. So they couldn't make a counter adjustment. You see if you make an adjustment, and they know what you're doing, well they can just counter it. But I made an adjustment, they thought it was to get off of Wilt. They didn't know it was to get on Chet. Now Wilt had a game plan, but his game plan was counting on me trying to guard him. When we put Wayne on him, he guarded him a completely different way.
That adjustment was for Chet Walker, it wasn't for Wilt.
Bill Russell: No, it was like, "What's going on there?" Everybody thought I was getting me away from Wilt. And I don't think it ever dawned on them, even today, that what I was doing was to guard Chet, because he was another one of those great players that nobody talks about in the Hall of Fame.