NBA 75th Anniversary Team: Best Fantasy Basketball Seasons of All Time

Feb 23- 13 min read
Wilt Chamberlain

NBA 75th Anniversary Team: Best Fantasy Basketball Seasons of All Time

Wilt Chamberlain

In honor of the NBA’s 75th anniversary, the Association put together a team of the 76 greatest players of all time (one extra due to a tie in voting). All of the players were announced during halftime of this year’s All-Star Game, and seeing all of those amazing players together got me thinking… what are the greatest fantasy basketball seasons ever?

Wilt Chamberlain, Mr. Record Book himself, would own the top-4 seasons outright if we were to tally up the best seasons overall, but to keep things simple, I pulled the best statistical season from each of the top-76 players and stacked them up side by side.

For the sake of simplicity, this is strictly a points format with turnovers excluded. Breaking down the greatest seasons of all time using shooting percentages, threes and TOs would have been far too labor-intensive and objectively difficult to calculate. Going for standard points-league scoring keeps things simple and does a fine job of illustrating how incredible these single seasons really were.

The scoring system is as follows:

PTS: 1
REB: 1.2
AST: 1.5
BLK: 3
STL: 3

Incredibly, three of the top-10 seasons and two of the top-3 were recorded before blocks and steals started being tracked in the 1973-74 season. All three of those came in the 61-62 season and include: Wilt’s 50 points per game that remains an NBA record, Elgin Baylor’s 38-19-5 season that he posted while serving active duty in the Army Reserves, and Oscar Robertson’s triple-double season that stood as the only one of its kind until Russell Westbrook came along 50 years later.

Some seasons stood out among others, as six players’ best seasons came in 61-62, five came in 88-89, four came in 89-90 and four came in 73-74.

By decade, the top season distribution is as follows:

1950’s: 5
1960’s: 16
1970’s: 14
1980’s: 15
1990’s: 6
2000’s: 11
2010’s: 9

11 players on the list are active, and five were named to this year’s All-Star team, including ASG MVP Steph Curry, who scored 50 points with 16 triples. Two of the top-10 seasons came within the last five years!

The top-2 seasons come from two of the greatest scorers the game has ever seen in Kareem and his former mentor turned rival Wilt, though Chamberlain’s best season was far better than Kareem’s even without the latter’s 5.6 combined blocks/steals advantage.

In addition to serving as a ridiculously fun compilation for stat nerds (like myself), this list puts into perspective just how dominant certain players were at their peak, including players many of us never got the privilege to see while they were still active. So without further adieu, here is the best fantasy season from every player on the NBA’s 75th Anniversary team.

I hope you enjoy reading this as much as I thoroughly enjoyed putting it together!

Note: Seasons with blanks in the blocks/steals categories were recorded prior to the 73-74 season when those stats were first tracked

Note: All seasons are NBA, no ABA seasons were included

Player Points Rebounds Assists Blocks Steals Total
Wilt Chamberlain 61-62 50.4 25.7 2.4 84.84
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar 75-76 27.7 16.9 5 4.1 1.5 72.28
Elgin Baylor 61-62 38.3 18.6 4.6 67.52
Russell Westbrook 16-17 31.6 10.7 10.4 0.4 1.6 66.04
Bob McAdoo 73-74 30.6 15.1 2.3 3.3 1.2 65.67
Hakeem Olajuwon 89-90 24.3 14 2.9 4.6 2.1 65.55
Michael Jordan 88-89 32.5 8 8 0.8 2.9 65.2
David Robinson 93-94 29.8 10.7 4.8 3.3 1.7 64.84
James Harden 18-19 36.1 6.6 7.5 0.7 2 63.37
Oscar Robertson 61-62 30.8 12.5 11.4 62.9
Shaquille O’Neal 99-00 29.7 13.6 3.8 3 0.5 62.22
Giannis Antetokounmpo 19-20 29.5 13.6 5.6 1 1 60.22
Patrick Ewing 89-90 28.6 10.9 2.2 4 1 59.98
Larry Bird 84-85 28.7 10.5 6.6 1.2 1.6 59.6
Kevin Garnett 03-04 24.2 13.9 5 2.2 1.5 59.48
Bob Pettit 61-62 31.1 18.7 3.7 59.09
LeBron James 07-08 30 7.9 7.2 1.1 1.8 58.98
Elvin Hayes 73-74 21.4 18.1 2 3 1.1 58.42
Anthony Davis 18-19 25.9 12 3.9 2.4 1.6 58.15
Dwyane Wade 08-09 30.2 5 7.5 1.3 2.2 57.95
Charles Barkley 86-87 23 14.6 4.9 1.5 1.8 57.77
Magic Johnson 88-89 22.5 7.9 12.8 0.3 1.8 57.48
Moses Malone 80-81 27.8 14.8 1.8 1 1.9 56.96
Rick Barry 74-75 30.6 5.7 6.2 0.4 2.9 56.64
Kobe Bryant 02-03 30 6.9 5.9 0.8 2.2 56.13
Clyde Drexler 88-89 27.2 7.9 5.8 0.7 2.7 55.58
Tim Duncan 02-03 23.3 12.9 3.9 2.9 0.7 55.43
Isiah Thomas 84-85 21.2 4.5 13.9 0.3 2.3 55.25
Karl Malone 89-90 31 11.1 2.8 0.6 1.5 54.82
Julius Erving 79-80 26.9 7.4 4.6 1.8 2.2 54.68
Chris Paul 08-09 22.8 5.5 11 0.1 2.8 54.6
Tiny Archibald 72-73 34 2.8 11.4 54.46
Bill Walton 76-77 18.6 14.4 3.8 3.2 1 54.18
Allen Iverson 01-02 31.4 4.5 5.5 0.2 2.8 54.05
Bill Russell 61-62 18.9 23.6 4.5
Steph Curry 15-16 30.1 5.4 6.7 0.2 2.1 53.53
Nate Thurmond 67-68 20.5 22 4.2 53.2
Kevin Durant 12-13 28.1 7.9 4.6 1.3 1.4 52.58
Dave Cowens 73-74 19 15.7 4.4 1.3 1.2 51.94
Scottie Pippen 93-94 22 8.7 5.6 0.8 2.9 51.94
Gary Payton 99-00 24.2 6.5 8.9 0.2 1.9 51.65
Damian Lillard 19-20 30 4.3 8 0.3 1.1 51.36
John Stockton 88-89 17.1 3 13.6 0.2 3.2 51.3
John Havlicek 70-71 28.9 9 7.5 50.95
Dominique Wilkins 85-86 30.3 7.9 2.6 0.6 1.8 50.88
Jerry Lucas 65-66 21.5 21.1 2.7 50.87
Dirk Nowitzki 04-05 26.1 9.7 3.1 1.5 1.2 50.49
George Gervin 79-80 33.1 5.2 2.6 1 1.4 50.44
Kawhi Leonard 19-20 27.1 7.1 4.9 0.6 1.8 50.17
Kevin McHale 86-87 26.1 9.9 2.6 2.2 0.5 49.98
George Mikan 50-51 28.4 14.1 3.1 49.97
Pete Maravich 76-77 31.1 5.1 5.4 0.3 1.2 49.82
Jason Kidd 98-99 16.9 6.8 10.8 0.4 2.3 49.36
Paul Pierce 02-03 25.9 7.3 4.4 0.8 1.8 49.06
Jerry West 65-66 31.3 7.1 6.1 48.97
Billy Cunningham 69-70 26.1 13.6 4.3 48.87
Carmelo Anthony 13-14 27.4 8.1 3.1 0.7 1.2 47.47
Dolph Schayes 57-58 24.9 14.2 3.1 46.59
Robert Parish 78-79 17.2 12.1 1.5 2.9 1.3 46.57
Walt Frazier 73-74 20.5 6.7 6.9 0.2 2 45.49
Ray Allen 06-07 26.4 4.5 4.1 0.2 1.5 43.05
Steve Nash 06-07 18.6 3.5 11.6 0.1 0.8 42.9
Paul Arizin 51-52 25.4 11.3 2.6 42.86
Dave Bing 67-68 27.1 4.7 6.4 42.34
Lenny Wilkens 68-69 22.4 6.2 8.2 42.14
Willis Reed 68-69 21.1 14.5 2.3 41.95
Dennis Rodman 91-92 9.8 18.7 2.3 0.9 0.8 40.79
Bob Cousy 54-55 21.7 6 7.8 40.6
Wes Unseld 70-71 14.1 16.9 4 40.38
Reggie Miller 89-90 24.6 3.6 3.8 0.2 1.3 39.12
James Worthy 88-89 20.5 6 3.6 0.7 1.3 39.1
Hal Greer 61-62 22.8 7.4 4.4 38.28
Dave DeBusschere 67-68 17.9 13.5 2.3 37.55
Earl Monroe 68-69 25.8 3.5 4.9 37.35
Sam Jones 64-65 25.9 5.1 2.8 36.22
Bill Sharman 55-56 19.9 3.6 4.7 31.27

Source: Basketball Reference

 

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