Basketball Classic Seasons Preview: 1963-64 and 1964-65

1963-64 and 1964-65 NBA Seasons Available Soon

By Glenn Guzzo

            Once upon a time, in the days not long after the legend of Strat-O-Matic began, the National Basketball Association was creating its own legends.

            Already stars, Bill Russell and Wilt Chamberlain became true rivals in 1963-64 and 1964-65, when their Celtics and Warriors had momentous playoff battles. In ’64, Chamberlain’s San Francisco Warriors won the West and reached the finals, where the Celtics awaited to win their fifth straight NBA title. Then in ’65, with the Warriors back in Philadelphia, the rivals staged an epic semi-final, with Russell’s Celtics winning Game 7 110-109 on the way to championship No. 6.

            Continuing Strat-O-Matic’s march back into NBA history, both of these great seasons will be offered this summer as additions to Strat-O-Matic’s Pro Basketball Windows game.

            The NBA of this era was showcasing not only Russell and Chamberlain, but Oscar Robertson, Jerry West, John Havlicek and Walt Bellamy – all 25 or younger. Jerry Lucas, Gus Johnson and Nate Thurmond were rookies in ’63-64. Dave DeBusschere and Willis Reed debuted the next season. Veterans Elgin Baylor, Bob Petit, Sam Jones, Hal Greer, Lenny Wilkens, Guy Rodgers, Bailey Howell, Tom Heinsohn, Cliff Hagan and others were putting up big numbers.

            As you’d expect with these names – all 20 are in the NBA Hall of Fame – it was an era of eye-catching individual stats:

            — Chamberlain led the NBA in scoring both seasons, averaging 36.9 ppg and 22.3 rpg in ’63-64 and 34.7 ppg and 22.9 rpg the next year.

            — Russell was the top rebounder both years, averaging 15 ppg and 24.7 rpg in ’63-64 and 14.1 ppg and 24.1 rpg the next year.

            — Robertson just missing averaging a triple-double (something he did in 1961-62), with 31.4 ppg, 11 apg and 9.9 rpg in ’63-64 and 30.4 ppg, 11.5 apg and 9.0 rpg the next year. He was the NBA’s top playmaker both seasons.

            — Pettit: 27.4 ppg and 15.3 rpg in ’63-64 and 22.5 and 12.4 rpg in his final season the next year.

            — Bellamy: 27 ppg and 17 rpg in ’63-64 and 24.8 ppg and 14.6 rpg in ’65-65

            — Baylor: 25.4 ppg and 12 rpg in ’63-64 and 27.1 ppg and 12.8 rpg the next year.

            — West: 28.7 ppg and 31.0 ppg

            — Lucas: 17.7 ppg and 17.4 rpg in ’63-64 and 21. 4 ppg and 20 rpg the next year.

            — Johnson: 17.3 ppg and 13.6 rpg, then 18.6 ppg and 13.0 rpg

            — Jones: 19.4 ppg and 25.9 ppg

            — Howell: 21.6 ppg and 10.1 rpg, then 19.2 ppg and 10.9 rpg

            — Havlicek: 19.9 ppg and 18.3 ppg as a sixth man

            — Thurmond: 16.5 ppg and 18.1 rpg in ’64-65

            — Reed: 19.5 ppg and 14.7 rpg in ’64-65

            — Greer: 23.2 ppg and 20.2 rpg