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1. The press and publicity of the day are going to magnify Curry's current accomplishments to all time greatness. Its the nature of the press.

2. Counter point. There is precedent for this kind of thinking and these all time reactions--> Bill Walton. Walton had a career that spanned 13 seasons including 3 in which he totally sat out, numerous seasons where he played only partial seasons due to injuries and a number of years where he played reserve minutes rather than starter minutes. Over 13 years he only played in 4-500 regular season games (less than 6 full seasons). Yet in most lists of all time greats Walton ranks pretty highly and among the best of the best:

Bill Simmons list 27th best all time:

Ongoing ESPN list of all time best-42nd

This list ranks Walton 74th best of 500

I recall Walton very well, roughly being in college at the same time and watching him in the pros at his best during a 2 year span from about 77-79. (and watching way way too much basketball). Frankly he is one of my favorites of all time. Walton also played as a magnificent super sub in 85-86.

But his productive time and super duper time was very limited...not unlike the very limited time in which Curry has sparkled. Clearly there are differences: Walton came into the league with extraordinary expectations; Curry entered the league with very limited expectations. Curry has improved year after year after year by leaps and bounds; Walton started suffering debilitating injuries in his very first season; that carried through during his entire career...and as a starter really only had about 1 and 1/2 years of super stardom-albeit probably being the best player in the league at his peak (best because he raised a team of mediocre players to best in the league for about 1 to 1/5 years.).

Anyway giving Curry all time credibility even as his stardom is limited is not unlike giving Walton the same kind of recognition. Some will do so.

I think what you say is perfectly reasonable.

Ironically, I remember, or at least think I remember (visually remember), Walton better from college than I do the pros - I have this film in my mind of him running in to receive an alley-oop pass, jumping up, catching it in mid-air, and laying it in off the board. (At some point, weren't alley-oop passes illegal somewhere?)

Also ironically, it was Walton who first gave LeBron James so much hype - he was the on-court commentator for James' nationally televised high-school game, and I distinctly remember him saying, "[LeBron James] is the best high school player I have ever seen."

Perhaps most interesting of all: I bet that if you asked self-described "NBA fans" which team(s) Bill Walton played for, the majority of them - perhaps the vast majority of them - would say "Portland" (where he won his championship) "Boston" (where he played with Bird and won his second championship, and how do we not have a thread on Larry Legend?) or "Portland and Boston." In reality, the team he spent the most time with was the Clippers which is doubly amazing because they ended up being right there, in Los Angeles, where he rose to stardom.

Bill Walton's NBA stats are incredibly mediocre: 13.3 points per game, 10.5 rebounds, 3.4 assists, and 2.2 blocks. He *never* averaged more than 18.9 ppg. But man, did he come out (forgive me) Blazing, averaging 13.5 rebounds per game over his first four seasons, and winning it all in 1976-1977. That's when he began suffering from chronic injuries so severe that he couldn't overcome them - this is a good article:

"The Ecstasy and the Agony" by Shaun Powell on sportsonearth.com

I'm pretty sure that if it wasn't for his college career, Bill Walton would not be in the Hall of Fame - what he did in college was so extreme that it sort-of "carried over" into the pros, and his reputation tagged along with it. He was great in the NBA, but it was for such a preciously brief period that few remember, but man oh man was he good in college - first-team all-time college player for sure (you'd have to move him to power forward to let Alcindor play center). This would make a great thread - who else would be on it? Maravich for sure. Christian Laettner? Oscar Robertson? Adrian Dantley? This would be one heck of a tough team to fill based *exclusively* on the players' college record, and completely ignoring what they did in the pros. Dave, you should start a thread and see what you come up with.

"When Healthy, How Good was Bill Walton?" on basketballforum.com

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Ahhh....Walton.  At his best he did a little of everything and some things better than any other center in the game.

Here are Walton pro highlights from the '77 Portland championship against Philadelphia.  A little rebounding, passing, scoring, defending, blocking..  a little of this and little of that:

When you watched him what he excelled at at his healthiest was that he made an incredible number and percentage of winning plays on both sides of the court.

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On 2/5/2016 at 1:18 PM, DaveO said:

Here are Walton pro highlights from the '77 Portland championship against Philadelphia.  

I know it's a highlight reel, but this video is a not-so-subtle reminder of just how great Bill Walton was. That sequence at the 5:00 mark - while largely due to situation - is incredible to watch.

My God that Philadelphia front line was good: Julius Erving, George McGinnis, and Darryl "Dr. Dunkenstein" Dawkins. People forget how damned good George McGinnis was, with that little turnaround, stuttering jump shot which he shot on the way down from his peak height. How is George McGinnis not in the Hall of Fame?

I also found this fascinating video of an ABA-NBA All-Star Game. Exhibition game, my eye - these guys were out for blood:

 

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Some more limited Walton highlights--(shared with some other stars).   Late in his injury filled career Walton had one all around tremendous gift/season--playing as a 6th man for the Celtics during the '85-86 season, during which Boston won the NBA title and put together one of the best seasons of any team any year.  Walton was a crucial addition to the team.

Here we see highlights of a very tight game between a good Philadelphia 76ers team and the Celtics.  Kevin McHale the usual Boston starter at big forward is out.  Walton gets more minutes than usual and plays a more critical role.  The 6'ers have an older Dr J, a somewhat declining Moses Malone, and a young Charles Barkley (who plays like a beast).

On the Celtic side Larry Bird of course stars...some great touch passes and some extremely long distance shooting....and Walton, counted on more, shows his offensive tools...along with some defense and rebounding.

It was Walton's last great year.  He was older and had suffered innumerable injuries.  Walton was still deeply effective and valuable in a tight well played game.  Walton was never a great jumper, but he had impeccable timing and anticipation.  He hadn't lost it, as seen in these highlights.

and as other players waxed and waned...geez Barkley was a beast!!!!

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On 6/6/2018 at 10:12 PM, DonRocks said:

The following is not an anti-Sandy Koufax post. He is a gentleman of honor, and had a run being the most dominant pitcher in baseball.

Still, the criterion being discussed is "overrated"; not "underappreciated." Koufax is a marginal Hall-of-Famer in that if you take away any one of this three-best seasons, he isn't in the Hall.

For four years - not six - four, Koufax was the best pitcher in baseball. Four years.

(Dave, I've never seen Bill Walton mentioned as an "all-time great pro." I understand your love for him (I love him too), but I don't think that statement is correct - he had only one full, dominant season - he made a total of two All Star teams. His foot problems were no different than my being 5'10" - good health and good luck and good genetics are all part of what goes into all-time greatness, and I'm really sorry he had injuries, apparently very painful ones, but the fact is that he did. ... career averages of 13.3 / 10.5 / 3.4 in a ten-year career - I just don't think that makes for all-time greatness. I'd say more of an all-time "What If" along with Arvydas Sabonis and Len Bias - I vaguely remember seeing Walton playing in college, and thinking to myself that I was seeing things that nobody else could do.)

If you want to make a case for Koufax having the best four-year time slice in post-WWII history, I won't argue with that - in fact, that appears to be the case. Pete Rose, in this video, is in awe of Koufax's curveball (although he does say that Marichal was the best pitcher he ever faced). To me, four years isn't long enough to be discussed as "the greatest ever" because longevity and sustained excellence are extremely important when you're talking about the best-of-the-best (Warren Spahn, post-WWII, averaged over 20 wins a season for SEVENTEEN straight years (yes, it's true - from 1947 until 1963!)) - again, the criterion here is "overrated," and that four-year period has induced national amnesia: People hear the name "Sandy Koufax," and they forget that he was a below-average pitcher for fully half of his short career.

I'm "basketball oriented" again as the Pro and College seasons have started.   As to the "Walton being an all time pro" perspective...I used that because of this authoritative list compiled in 1997 by 50 well known and expert opinions on the best players in the NBA--After 50 years of NBA basketball-the 50 all time greatest players.   The list of people who voted spent their careers either in or connected to the NBA.   Anyway I had seen this list years ago.  It is certainly authoritative, while it does include people associated with the NBA from way back.

Now there have been updated lists of the NBA's 50 best.  There were lists compiled in 2017--representing 70 years of history.   Primarily Walton didn't make those lists, (but at least one voter wanted him in there).

Clearly he is a controversial or weird choice.  He had 3 great years...and the rest of his career was marred by injuries and not distinguished.   But oh boy--those 3 years.  His standout quality is that his teams won--far better than they had in other years or when he didn't play.  The differences are amazing.

Anyway it appears to me that in the world of sports "commentating" and "ranking" those who spend their lives focused on sports do put a premium on winning.  The best "winners" get ranked higher with some or a lot of extra weight put on that quality.

In light of Walton's short career of excellence and Koufax's short period of excellence I think there is a similarity in the views of many as to why they are highly rated.

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On 2/5/2016 at 12:37 PM, DonRocks said:

I'm pretty sure that if it wasn't for his college career, Bill Walton would not be in the Hall of Fame - what he did in college was so extreme that it sort-of "carried over" into the pros, and his reputation tagged along with it. He was great in the NBA, but it was for such a preciously brief period that few remember, but man oh man was he good in college - first-team all-time college player for sure (you'd have to move him to power forward to let Alcindor play center). This would make a great thread - who else would be on it? Maravich for sure. Christian Laettner? Oscar Robertson? Adrian Dantley? This would be one heck of a tough team to fill based *exclusively* on the players' college record, and completely ignoring what they did in the pros. Dave, you should start a thread and see what you come up with.

"When Healthy, How Good was Bill Walton?" on basketballforum.com

I'd add David Thompson from NC State to your list.  Off the top of my head I can't think of a one and done player who would go on this list though I'm sure there are some players with wondrous one year college careers.

(Edit/Addendum).  I'd add Patrick Ewing.   4 times into the NCAA's, 3 times into the finals and one NCAA championship.  Very dominant player in his day.

Sort of interesting off that list, Alcindor/Abdul-Jabbar, Oscar Robertson, Tim Duncan, I guess Russell and Chamberlain, Bird, Magic and I'm sure there are a healthy list of others who immediately burst on the Pro scene after college and were immediately excellent.  There are not a lot of those type players over time, and I'd say less so among one and doners.  Possibly one of the one-and doners who had a strong impact in his first year in the NBA was "our friend" Carmelo Anthony.  

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