Re: Basketball Reference finally updated the NBA Finals Stats Boxscores from 1950 to 2012
Originally Posted by Djahjaga
Looks like Russell was the leading scorer in the finals for some of those Celtics teams, and sometimes with very decent FG%. And he was, of course, the leading rebounder, by far.
This is what some of us have been trying to tell the "Russell could not score" crowd for a while. It was not his primary job to score, but when the team called on him to do so, he did. He even owns the Finals record for fg% which is 70.2% which was set in 1965. His ft% unlike many other poor shooting big men actually increased from the regular season to the playoffs to the Finals. He also led the Celtics in assists during a couple of those championship runs and owns almost every Finals rebounding record there is. At some point during his career he won a championship leading his team in every available stat other than ft%.
Comparison of Russell's 5 highest scoring Finals to some other all time greats
*Most of Wiltís Finals were during the part of his career after his coaches asked him to score less and play more like Russell.
**Bird only went to 5 Finals
***Duncan has only been to 4.
It appears that Russellís five highest scoring Finals were not that much worse than one player who was often considered the greatest scorer ever (Wilt), another who is the 2nd highest scoring point guard of all time (Magic), a third who may be the most versatile scorer ever (Bird), and a fourth who is often considered the greatest power forward of all time, Duncan. Thatís not bad for a guy who supposedly could NOT score. To be sure, Russell did have several low scoring Finals, but the purpose of this was to show that he COULD score when asked to.
Thanks in part to Pete Palmer, I have added composite box scores for all NBA Finals dating back to 1950. There are some holes in the data: minutes played are missing for the 1952-1954 and 1956 Finals; field goal attempts are missing for the 1950 Finals; rebounds are missing for the 1953 and 1954 Finals; and assists are missing for the 1950, 1953, 1954, and 1957-1959 Finals. If you can help us fill in any of these missing values we would love to hear from you.
but they've done a great job putting this data together. The remaining stats are going to be hard to come by since it seems no papers at the time published 'complete' box scores, and articles only mention high rebounders/playmakers. They're not far off from completing the project though, so it's pretty neat (hopefully they add Finals stats to individual player pages).