This is our last week of NBA Tuesdays for a bit that won’t include the short-lived American Basketball Association (ABA). And as noted last week, the era of extreme dominance by the Boston Celtics is now over, so it’s a wide-open NBA for historians and fans alike to reminisce about and enjoy.
Let’s get to it!
1967 MVP: Wilt Chamberlain (original, confirmed)
This is an easy one … again. The Philadelphia 76ers topped the Eastern Division with a 68-win season, and center Wilt Chamberlain once again led the NBA in both Win Shares (21.87) and Player Efficiency Rating (26.51). It’s hard to even look at anyone else for the award.
The Stilt scored a career-low 24.2 points per game, but he led the NBA in rebounding (24.2 per game) and field-goal percentage (a stunning .683), as well as minutes played (45.5 per game). He took 11 shots fewer per game than the prior season, which accounts for the drop in the scoring average. Better teammates, perhaps, but Chamberlain still was the most dominant player in the league.
1967 ROTY: Dave Bing (original), Lou Hudson (revised)
The Detroit Pistons finished with the second-worst record in the league, winning just 30 games to miss the Western Division playoffs by three games. But point guard Dave Bing led all rookies with 5.3 WS. Meanwhile, St. Louis Hawks small forward Lou Hudson (4.9 WS) helped his team win 39 games to finish second in the division, although they were still a sub-.500 team.
Other contenders here include Baltimore Bullets small forward Jack Marin (2.5 WS), Chicago Bulls center Erwin Mueller (3.5 WS), New York Knicks small forward Cazzie Russell (2.2), and Los Angeles Lakers shooting guard Archie Clark (2.7).
A lot of these ROTY analyses have to factor in minutes played, too, as Hudson actually averaged more WS per 48 minutes than Bing did—and he did it for a playoff team. Similarly, Marin’s WS/48 mark is very close to Bing’s, even if the overall number is not.
Can we blame the coaches then for not understanding sabermetrics? No, but clearly Marin should have been playing more than he did, although he played enough to make the All-Rookie team.
Either way, Hudson was the better player, despite Bing’s superior minutes: the Pistons rookie played four more minutes per game than Hudson, probably due to his team’s lack of talent. That shouldn’t count against the Hawks rookie, the most valuable rookie, really.