Next week, the 2010-11 NBA season will officially begin. Drafts are hot off the presses or hours away from taking place and the soft, wispy tufts of hair belonging to the league’s 64th season smells downy fresh. But Razzball thought it would be important to look back at classic top 10 picks of yesteryear written by former Razzball writers. Over the next five days we’ll thumb through our old fantasy rosters and revisit our top 10 picks from each of the seasons that introduced us to a new decade, starting with the season that introduced us to the 60s. The Celtics were World Champs and a kid named Wilt had just entered the league. And now, we review your 1959-60 fantasy basketball top 10:
Today we are looking at the 10 best bets for your fantasy squad of hoops helpers. It remains unclear if this fantastical gameplay the kids are keen on will continue striking everyone’s fancy or if the fad’s as doomed as Johnny Stompanato. If fantasy basketball is here to stay, remember who helped you keep it here: Razzyball Roundball.
10. Tommy Heinsohn, BOS – There have been whispers that Philadelphia’s rookie Wilt Chamberlain is a sight to behold, but we just don’t see picking the skinny kid from Kansas as a smarter move than going with the tried-and-true Heinsohn. He’s 6-foot-7 and good for 19 points and 10 grabs a game. I ask you, is it likely Chamberlain will do that this year?
9. “Pitchin’” Paul Arizin, PHW – It was three short seasons ago that Arizin led the league in points, but the Villanova Viking actually scored more last year than he did when he led the league. Considering Philadelphia looks like the only team that can give the mighty C’s of Boston whatfor in the playoffs, look for Arizin to lead the charge.
8. Elgin Baylor, MNL – The reigning Rookie of the Year has one very important thing working for him: he plays in Minnesota. Who’s going to want to play for the Lakers, when the franchise simply doesn’t have many fans? But because he’s alone, Baylor will be free to keep up his 25 points and 15 grabs every year until he retires, which is just aces for owners lucky enough to have the Seattle Stungun on their team.
7. Johnny “Red” Kerr, SYR – Kerr won’t be the most graceful player on the court – ever, but he’s Mr. Consistent when it comes to the dishes he brings to the potluck. Not only has he led the league three straight years in games played, he also shot a career high .441 field-goal percentage. If they made up categories other than points, rebounds, assists and field-goal percentage, he’d lead in those too.
6. Cliff Hagan, STL – Li’l Abner doesn’t do any one thing on the court better than the rest of these guys on the list, but this is fantastical basketball, ladies and gents, and someone who spent last season ranked in the top 10 in all five categories that matter is someone that you’ll want on your fantastical team.
5. Dolph Schayes, SYR – The Nationals may be the dullest team in the league, but they’re also among the strongest. Schayes is the leader of the Nats team, averaging 21 points, 13 grabs and 3 assists. He also shoots a mean free-throw. No one said your fantastical team had to be snappy for it to be the best.
4. Kenny Sears, NYK – “The Big Cat” has taken some guff the last few seasons as something of an overrated oaf, resting on the laurels of his having been the first hoops star to grace the cover of “Sports Illustrated.” But the Knicks are only getting better and it has something to do with Sears’ 21 points per game. He also helps your field-goal percentage, as he was ranked No. 1 in the league last year.
3. Bob Cousy, BOS – Yessir I tell you, I’d bet my house that in 60 years they’ll look back on the Cooz as the greatest of all-time. As the game develops into a match reliant upon sharp passes and team play, they’ll look to “the Houdini of the Hardwood” as the architect of it all. Cousy has led the league in assists for the past seven seasons and with Heinsohn and Bill Russell sharing the floor, he’s a cinch to double his average.
2. Bob Pettit, STL – The reigning MVP of the league hasn’t a single flaw in his game. He took the most (and made the most) free throws last season, scored the most points, took the most shots, was second in rebounds and although there’s no way to account for this, when Pettit’s opponent goes up for the shot, he has a way of knocking the ball down with his hands so that the ball doesn’t go in. Just marvelous.
1. Bill Russell, BOS – It was hard not to recommend the reigning MVP as your fantastical team’s top pick, but I just couldn’t do it, friends. For you see, Mr. Russell confuses and confounds. There’s no basketball he can’t grab and no minute for which he’s content to sit on the bench. Three years he’s been in the league, three years Boston has made the Finals. How many more times can Russell take them there?