This is our 17th edition of NBA Tuesdays, and in 1966, the Boston Celtics once again walked away with the league championship. This was the final season of their legendary eight-year run at the top of the league. So, in some sense, this analysis ends the second phase of the modern NBA.
Who will win the MVP and Rookie of the Year awards, though? Read on … for one of our shortest pieces in this series—or any series. It was that straightforward!
1966 MVP: Wilt Chamberlain (original, confirmed)
There’s a perfect trifecta here: The Philadelphia 76ers (55-25) won the Eastern Division by a game over the Boston Celtics (54-26), and 76ers center Wilt Chamberlain topped the league in both Win Shares (21.42) and Player Efficiency Rating (28.26).
What more could you ask for in a player who wins the MVP award? Nada. For the record, the Stilt led the NBA in scoring (33.5 points per game), rebounds (24.6 rpg), shooting percentage (.540), and minutes (47.3 mpg). It doesn’t get much better than that in the league, and it doesn’t get much easier than this for us.
This is the fifth time Chamberlain has won our award; in real life, he won the MVP just four times. Note, however, that this was both the last time the Stilt led the NBA in scoring and the last time he scored more than 30 ppg for an entire season. The end of an era, indeed.
1966 ROTY: Rick Barry (original, confirmed)
Small forward Rick Barry joined the San Francisco Warriors and posted 10.4 WS, which was more than the rest of the All-Rookie team combined (9.5). That’s a pretty incredible feat, and it explains why Barry ran away with the vote for this award at the time.
Playing in all 80 games for the Warriors, who missed a postseason berth by just one game in the Western Division, Barry scored 25.7 ppg and grabbed 10.6 rpg, while hitting 86.2 percent of his free throws. He also tossed in 2.2 assists each time out.