running away with the rookie of the year Tuesday, who had the best NBA rookie season of all time?
5. Wes Unseld, Baltimore Bullets, 1968-69 » He's one of two players to win rookie of the year and MVP in the same season. His stats weren't eye-popping. He averaged just 13.8 points, but did grab 18.2 rebounds. However, Unseld transformed the Bullets from 36-46 and a last-place team into a 57-25 team and first-place finish.
4. Larry Bird, Boston Celtics, 1979-80 »
Magic Johnson had the better postseason, winning a title. But he joined a team that won 47 games. Bird took a 29-win team and led it to 61 victories and a spot in the Eastern Conference finals. He averaged 21.3 points, 10.4 rebounds and 4.5 assists.
3. Oscar Robertson, Cincinnati Royals, 1960-61 » Hard to imagine anyone coming close to averaging a triple double as a rookie, but Robertson nearly did. He averaged 30.5 points, 10.1 rebounds and 9.7 assists as the Royals made a 14-game improvement with him.
2. Lew Alcindor, Milwaukee Bucks, 1969-70 » Alcindor -- later to become Kareem Abdul-Jabbar -- turned down a $1 million offer from the Harlem Globetrotters. The Bucks no doubt were pleased as he averaged 28.8 points and 14.5 rebounds in helping them improve from 27 wins to 56.
1. Wilt Chamberlain, Philadelphia Warriors, 1959-60 » It's no surprise that Chamberlain owns the top spot considering the numbers he put up for his career. That success started his rookie season when he averaged 37.6 points and 27.0 rebounds a game en route to rookie of the year and MVP honors.
- John Keim