I'm going to start choosing my players season's, along with some background information on them. I feel I have a very underrated team, mostly because I've picked older players, and want to make sure they get the respect they deserve. I'm going to start with who I feel is one of the most underrated players in NBA history, and my starting C. Nate Thurmond.
Many basketball observers say he provided the best mix of offense and defense in NBA history. His defense was better than Wilt Chamberlain and he was more offensively gifted than Bill Russell. He stood at 6'11'' and 260 and played a rugged style that intimidated the likes of Wilt and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Abdul-Jabbar credits Thurmond as his toughest defender. There is a story out there that before playing Abdul-Jabbar, Thurmond watched game footage solely on Abdul-Jabbar's footwork, especially how he planted his foot on his sky hook. Thurmond held Kareem to 16 points that game in a season Kareem averaged 29 points per game. In addition to his all-world defensive and rebounding abilities, he was an above average passer, had a midrange shot, and is credited as being one of the best screen setters the NBA has ever seen. A total team player who made his opponents sweat for everything they did on the court. He reminds me of a Hakeem Olajuwon minus the advanced footwork. If they awarded DPOY back then it would've been a two man race between him and Bill Russell.
Other tidbits about Nate Thurmond's place in history:
- Averaged 22 RPG in 1967-68, an average exceeded only by Wilt and Russell in NBA history
- First ever player to record a quadruple-double, a feat only three other players have ever accomplished.
- Holds record for most rebounds in a quarter with 18.
- One of 5 players in NBA history to average 15 RPG for his career.
- One of 5 players in NBA history to average 20 RPG in a season.
- One of 4 players to have 40 rebounds in a single game
- Recorded 20+ rebounds in every game of the 1967 NBA Finals while playing against Wilt Chamberlain.
- Made 5 All-Defensive Teams
I am going to choose Nate Thurmond's 1967-68 season in which he averaged 20.5 ppg, 22.0 rpg, 4.2 apg and was runner-up to Wilt Chamberlain in NBA MVP voting (received 33% of votes).
Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.