Russell’s blocked shots – uncredited triple doubles – new archival evidence – a series

Bill Russell - new research on blocked shots, triple doubles, 1968 nba finals.

By J.D. Anderson

Bill-Russell - 3 uncredited NBA finals triple doubles in 1968 - shot blocking statustics - Boston CelticsIt appears more likely than not that Bill Russell averaged 7-9 blocked shots per game for his career; achieved at least 3 triple doubles during the 1968 finals, and averaged a triple double during that same ’68 series. (Apologies to Roger Goodell for the phrasing.)

In the coming days we’ll review the existing evidence, and add some new archival findings, to support that assessment.

It’s an interesting story that traces back through old NBA discussion boards, recent reddit threads and YouTube channels. It goes all the way back to the 1950s, and some great journalists — the precursors of today’s statalytic — who were agitating at the time for the NBA to upgrade its stat game for years.

The league added the “blocked shot” as an official stat for the 1973-74 season. In a way, though, Russell merits some credit for that too. “Russell and Wilt were the reason a lot of us started keeping track of those numbers,” as Leonard Koppett put it.

They not only changed the way the game was played. They changed the way it was covered.

Years later, thanks to social media, the ever-more-statified discussion of sports, and some elbow grease, a composite picture has formed. Stay tuned for further installments.

Previously by Celtics247

Bill Russell averaged about 8 blocks a game – RealGM researcher. Plus Wilt vs. Russ matchup stats.,” April 25, 2016.

Respect Yo Elders: Bill Russell Jumps Over This Dude, February 26, 2014.

Recommended Reading

LeBron becomes the SECOND player to average a triple-double in the Finals, after Bill Russell, Reddit, June, 2017.

Possible to reconstruct blocking statistics for Russell?, RealGM, June 9, 2010.

1968 NBA Finals Issue, Sports Illustrated, May 13, 1968.

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Celtics247 staff

Celtics247 staff

Celtics247 staff is composed of fans, journalists, disbarred attorneys, people laid off by ESPN, and other disreputable types who spend too much time watching basketball -- and loving it. If you'd like to join our merry band, you can post a comment, tweet us at @Celts247, or email us (see the contact page.) The only requirement is that you bleed green.

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