What, if any, were Wilt Chamberlain’s shortcomings as a basketball player?

Michael R. Burch, “WILT’S WEAKNESSES AND ACHILLES HEEL”

 

Certainly, Wilt Chamberlain’s inability to make free throws was his greatest shortcoming as a basketball player.

 

Two titles in 13 years against the Boston Celtics powerhouse squad is nothing to sneeze at, but Wilt would have won more if he had been a better free throw shooter.

Wilt was fouled because Red Auerbach and the Boston Celtics, who had a squad full of Hall of Famers, including the all-time finest defensive center, were unable to stop him. a great deal. Wilt was sent to the charity stripe by the Celtics for 25 free shots in the Eastern Conference finals of 1966. He only managed an eight. Wilt was forced to shoot 22 free throws against the Celtics in 1968. He struck eight.

 

The Celtics were the opponent in five of Wilt’s top ten playoff games for FTAs. When Wilt’s Los Angeles Lakers played the Phoenix Suns in a single series in 1970, three more of his high-FTA playoff games occurred. Wilt was 42 of 93 (45%) from the line during that seven-game series.

 

Long before Hack-a-Shaq became a popular term in the NBA, teams used the Hack-a-Wilt defense.

 

According to my belief, Red Auerbach intentionally started a lot of large, hefty guys on the Celtics’ bench to give him lots of opportunities to foul Wilt during the playoffs. That was the ultimate “secret weapon” the NBA has ever seen against the best player. I apologize to Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, and LeBron James fans, but they were never near as dominant as this man, who in his prime averaged almost 40 points, 25 rebounds, and 8.8 blocks each game.

Remember that Wilt led the NBA in field goal percentage nine times in a span of thirteen years. I find it hard to understand claims that he was “selfish.” Who would you rather have shooting, if you were the head coach, a guard who was making about 40% of his shots or a center that no one could defend and who nine times led the NBA in field goal percentage despite being double- and triple-teamed and hand-checked?

 

Wilt had every right to shoot as much as he could, given that his colleagues were shooting fewer field goals and were having more difficulty hitting their shots.

LeBron James and Michael Jordan were never accused of “scoring too much.” In addition, Wilt led the NBA in field goal percentage—something they never accomplished.

 

For anyone else, Wilt’s other “weaknesses” would be greater strengths. Shooting free throws was his lone significant shortcoming.

Wilt did have a small flaw in that he didn’t shoot from a great distance, but he didn’t need to shoot bombs because of his height, length, strength, speed, and leaping abilities. Wilt was particularly skilled at making short- to medium-length bank shots, which were how he scored the majority of his points. It was hard to guard his bank shot, which was a fallaway. How can one criticize a player who, despite hand-checks, muggings, double- and triple-teaming, nine times led the league in field goal percentage?

 

Yes, Wilt’s Achilles heel and one real flaw was his free throw shooting. He had a greater field goal % than his teammates and, most of the time, the whole league, so the drivel about his being “selfish” because he “shot too much” was absurd.

 

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