M. V. P. asked in SportsBasketball · 9 years ago

Bill Russell Or Larry Bird?

Who Is The Greatest Celtic Of All Time?


@Lakers For 3 Peat, Even With "5 or 6 Hall Of Famers" Bill Russell Managed TO Get 20 Rebounds A Few Seasons, With Over 22 Rebounds Per Season Average, Which Is Second All-Time

Along With 11 Allstar Games, He was even top 7 in assists for 4 years, and is arguable the greatest defensive player ever.

Update 2:

@Cyrusman, Name 6 Hall Of Famers He Played With.

13 Answers

  • MyKill
    Lv 5
    9 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    Bill Russell: 5 MVP's and 11 rings

    Larry Bird: 3 MVP's and 3 rings

    In terms of accomplishments,Bill Russell is GREATER than Larry Bird

    Regarding free-agency:

    In theory free agency should make it difficult for a team to hold on to a championship roster and prevent them from dominating year after year but in practice, it actually does the REVERSE. Since free agency was implemented in 1986, championship teams had the habit of repeating as champs. The last team to repeat in Pre-1986 was the Russell-lead Celtics in '68 and '69.

    Free agency is a moot point anyway as the turnover rate of players in the '60's is quite high as most players (ie. the non-superstars) have one year contracts. Hell, free agency along with exploding contracts brought in players with questionable character and love for the game which brings down the quality of NBA basketball. Ironically, in the 60's, the low salary weeds out the posers from the true basketball professionals.

    he level of competition in Russell's era in the 60's is exceptionally tougher. Why? Because the level of competition is dependent on the QUALITY of players on the League NOT on the quantity. And during that time, the talent is concentrated into just 8-9 teams. Only the cream of the crop gets to play in the NBA.

    The NCAA and NIT (when it still mattered) was concentrated in only 8-9 teams. The 24th pick of the 1st round today would be the final pick of the 3rd round in the 60's. Only the cream of the crop get to play in the NBA in the 60's. To cite an example, Russell would face off Wilt Chamberlain 8-9 times a season. When he is not fighting Wilt, he is fending off other Hall of Famers 8-9x again like Nate Thurmond, Jerry Lucas, Willis Reed etc. you get the drift. They have to work their butts off almost everytime.

    In contrast, Shaq only facedoff with Ewing in the East 4x and faces-off with Hakeem and Robinson in the West 2x. The top centers spend most of their time fending off middling talent like Ilgauskas. Where is the challenge in that? The top talent in the 90's are spread into 30 teams which makes for weak competition.

    Russell and Wilt dueled 142x during a ten year period. Compared that to Bird and Magic who for close to eleven years, only dueled 37x. The top players in the 60's face an opponent worthy of his abilities MORE OFTEN.

    Regarding Russell playing with Hall of Famers:

    The Celtics are loaded with Hall of Famers because almost every other team in the League in the 60's are LOADED also with Hall of Famers. [See link below for listing]

    Talent are concentrated in the 60's. Multiple Hall Of Famers are the norm unlike in today's diluted era were the top teams only got 1 or two Hall of Famers in the roster and their set to contend for the championship.

    Regarding Rodman's being to superior to Russell in terms of rebounds:

    Sorry, this is simply wrong in terms of stats,jumping ability, wingspan, height, timing, positioning etc., i just dont see Rodman being superior to Russell.

    Using rebound rate to justify Rodman's superiority is flawed. Rebound rate (like all stats) should not be taken as is. Take Rodman, for example. He was able to amass all that rebounds (and a high reb rate) because in both offense and defense, he parks himself under the basket and his teammates pretty much left him to his own devices. In contrast, while Russell in defense does parks himself under the basket; in offense especially post-Cousy, he plays the high post from 18 feet out(ie. facilitating the offense with his passing and setting picks). Russell is not in an optimum position for rebound and guys like Heinsohn, Satch Sanders were tasked by Red Auerbach to help with the rebounding duties. The fact that Russell was still able to grab that many rebounds is actually testament to his defensive ability. His defensive prowess creates many rebounding opportunities for himself by forcing bad shots from his opponents.

    Regarding Russell being one dimensional:

    There are actually four main skill aspects in basketball (and even this is an oversimplification) NOT just simply offense and defense: scoring (shooting, post ups etc.), defense, rebounding, ball movement(passing, dribbling).

    Russell is an awesome rebounder averaging 22rpg, a suprisingly good ball handler for a big man since he often runs the ball after rebounding to get a clear pass downcourt and start the fastbreak, and of course a great defender. He is also a great passer; he consistently ranks in the top 10 assists and thats beyond what you would expect from a center. Not most guards could do that. His scoring is alright at 15ppg on 13FGA. Not exactly mind blowing numbers but then EVERYONE on the 60's Celtics doesnt have mind blowing PPG. Red Auerbach runs a structured offense wherein all five guys on the floor have the opportunity to shine and score. The highest scorer on the team averages only

    Source(s): 22ppg and there are five to six other guys scoring in double digits. Russell or anyone else on the Celtics need not to fully exert themselves on offense because the scoring is distributed. Russell has the same shooting percentage as the top two scorers (Sam Jones and Havlicek) on the team. Anyway back in college, Russ was scoring 20ppg with a 52FG%. To wit, Russell is an awesome rebounder, an awesome defender, a great passer and ball handler especially for someone of his size and position, and a decent scorer. . . . . and people still call him as having no all around game? Anyway, players playing as centers or power forwards - the tall guys usually - are drilled to have specialized skills (like rebounding and low post manouvers). They help the team better by focusing on these skills which is why they are usually NOT ENCOURAGED to have all-around skills like guards and forwards. http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=201006...
  • 9 years ago

    Larry Bird is the greatest Celtic of All-time. Russell was a part of 11 championship teams, but it was in the 60s, where there were 8 teams and no free agency. Look at some of the teammates he had:

    Bob Cousy

    Sam Jones

    John Havlicek

    Tom Heinsohn

    Frank Ramsey

    K.C. Jones

    Bailey Howell

    Bill Sharman

    That's 8 Hall of Famers that Bill Russell played with.

    Russell is also extremely one dimensional. Sure he was a great defender and rebounder, but he was a terrible offensive player. He averages 15 ppg on 44% shooting for his career. That's dismal for a center who had a huge athleticism advantage over his opponents.

    His rebounding is also overrated due to the pace of the game back then. In 1964, Russell amassed 24.7 rpg, an astounding number. However, the 1963-64 Celtics grabbed 5736 total rebounds on the whole year. In an 80 game season, that equates to over 71 rebounds a game! By comparison, the 2010-11 Celtics played 82 games and amassed 3249 rebounds or just over 39 rebounds per game. This shows how inflated rebounding stats are in the 1960s. Do you think that Russell would average 22 rebounds in todays NBA? No way.

    I actually did the maths about how many rebounds a prime Dennis Rodman would average if he played in the 1960s. If Rodman had played for Wilt Chamberlain's 1961 Warriors, he would have grabbed over 30 rpg. If you account for the difference in height and athleticism, Rodman would have averaged closer to 40 rpg! This shows how overrated and inflated rebounding stats are from the 1960s.

    If Russell played in todays NBA, he would be like Ben Wallace. A defensive specialist with no offensive game.

    Larry Bird, on the other hand, won his 3 rings in one of the toughest eras for the NBA; the 1980s. Bird was hardly one dimensional. In fact, he is one of the most complete players of All-time. He was a deadly shooter, a tremendous rebounder for his position, a great passer and a solid defender.


    EDIT: Oh, and his defense is overrated as well. Sure it was great, but he blocked so many shots because there was no 3-point line and all players did was try to drive into the lane. Plus, he had a size and athleticism advantage. If Russell played today, he would average around 2-3 bpg.

  • 9 years ago

    Larry Bird.

    Bill Russell played in a much weaker era. The 60s didn't have the stiff competition or even the depth at big men that the 80s had. Plus I know scoring isn't everything but the most Russell ever averaged a year was 18.9ppg. In that weak era he should have averaged more. Plus he played with 6 hall of famers. Larry Bird was better

  • 9 years ago

    Larry Bird. Russell won during an era with limited popularity for the league, on a team with 5 or 6 Hall of Famers.

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  • 9 years ago

    Bill Russell

  • 9 years ago

    Larry Bird

  • 9 years ago

    It depends on what your asking for, defense Bill, offense Larry. For today's Celtics, definitely Bill.

  • 7 years ago

    Red Auerbach said Bird was the greates celtic ever, case closed

  • 9 years ago

    Larry Bird.

  • 9 years ago

    Bill Russell is the greatest man of all time.

  • 9 years ago

    Larry Bird only because he played in an era that changed the game forever.

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