Greatest NBA Player #37: Walt Bellamy-130.05
Former number one overall pick and Hall of Famer Walt Bellamy is far from a household name, even among NBA fans. Fortunately, win shares paint a picture of how great he was as a player. Bellamy started his career with the Chicago Packers, which would later become the Washington Wizards, and had an all-time great rookie season. He averaged a terrific 31.6 points and 19 rebounds per game during his first season.
In fact, Bellamy made the all-star team each of his first four seasons by averaging 26.6 points and 16 rebounds over those three subsequent years. Although his output dipped after being traded to the New York Knicks, he remained a dominant force as a scorer and rebounder throughout his 14-year career. He is also known for playing an NBA record-breaking 88 games in a single season.
Unlike many players from the 1960s, centers included, Bellamy was relatively efficient, hitting 51.7% of his shots. That might not seem like a big deal, but without blocks and steals being counted for players from his era, it gives him a big leg up over some of his contemporaries. Bellamy’s efficiency, combined with scoring 20,941 points and 14,241 rebounds, factors heavily into his 136 win shares. Be that as it may, it’s doubtful that he is indeed a top-40 player, but win shares tell us that he is.