Bill Russell: Career retrospective

For a player not known for his statistical achievements, Bill Russell still put up some insane numbers during his 13-year, 963-game regular-season career, averaging 15.1 points, 22.5 rebounds, 4.3 assists and a staggering 42.3 minutes per game. (Blocks and steals were not tracked.) He led the league in rebounding five times and minutes per game once. He ranks No. 1 in NBA history by a significant amount in defensive win shares (133.6, with Tim Duncan a distant second with 106.3), and is second in total rebounds, rebounds per game and minutes per game for his career.

Russell’s career averages in the playoffs are even more impressive. In 165 career playoff games, he averaged 16.2 points, 24.9 rebounds, 4.7 assists and 45.4 minutes per game. In the 1962 playoffs, he averaged 48 minutes per game. The spring before, he averaged 29.9 rebounds per game. And much like the other players in the GOAT (Greatest of All Time) conversation, Russell played his best when the games mattered most, like Game 7, where he was a threat to do things like score 30 points and grab 44 rebounds in 53 minutes while holding the other team’s centers to a combined 10 points and 14 rebounds like he did in Game 7 of the 1962 finals against the Lakers.

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