Originally Posted by Pointguard
Aurabach was among the best at picking self motivated leaders there ever was in the game. A large part of Russell's success was his marriage to Red Auerbach who was GM and coach. Russell called him one of the greatest leaders he ever met. I imagine the tandem to be like Duncan and Pop. And Red recruited the best basketball leaders and complimentary players ever known to the sport. So the drop off of having Wilt in Russell's place wouldn't be dramatic or half. What Wilt lacked would have been complimented by Red. I think it would be more like 8 instead of 11 chips. I don't think Wilt has the monster games to claim but he would have better quadruple double numbers.
It's interesting speculation. John Wooden claimed that had Wilt had Russell's teammates, and Auerbach as his coach, that he might have won all those rings.
IMO, swap rosters in their first six seasons in the league together, and Chamberlain probably goes 6-6. And, as Psileas noted earlier, maybe Wilt doesn't go 6-6, but there is probably no way that Russell wins any titles with the teams that Wilt had.
Where it becomes interesting is in their last four seasons together. Does Russell take the '68 Sixers, injuries and all, and beat Wilt and his healthy Celtics?
Does Russell change the '66 Sixers dynamic enough to overcome their actual .352 FG% (not including Wilt's .509)?
And in '67, when Chamberlain's teammates finally neutralized Russell's, would his much lower numbers across the board against Wilt, be enough to still keep the Sixers on the winning side?
Finally, and the biggest question mark in my mind...how does Baylor perform in the '69 Finals, with Russell as a teammate, instead of Wilt? Because even with West have a monster series, and Chamberlain outplaying Russell, it was not enough to overcome Boston.
Your guesstimate of eight rings is probably a good one. And perhaps Russell then "only" wins three in the Chamberlain-era, and five overall (unless we remove Russell from Boston altogether in his career.)
A Chamberlain with eight rings, even with less scoring records, would probably still be conidered the clear-cut GOAT.
Of course, none of the above takes anything away from what actually occurred in Chamberlain's career. He simply dominated all of his peers, including Russell. The unintelligent that spout out nonsense about him being a "choker" will never acknowledge that he was outplaying, or downright destroying, his opposing centers in the process...especially in his prime. Only Wilt would be considered a "choker" when he was outscoring, outrebounding, and outshooting his opposing centers by huge margins in many of his 29 post-season series. And only Wilt would be considered a "loser" when he was taking last place rosters to within an eyelash of beating HOF-laden teams.
Of course, when he actually had a good roster, that was healthy, and played to a normal level, he led them to a dominating world title. That is all anyone really needs to know in these "what if" scenarios. Given equal surrounding talent, and with Chamberlain's typical overwhelming play, and the result was as convincing a title run as has there ever been.