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BBR Mailbag: Individuals w/ the Highest % of Team Win Shares

Posted by Neil Paine on March 15, 2011

Frequent BBR commenter "Panic" has a good topic for a data dump today:

"I have a modest proposal for a data dump, if you haven't already looked at this: Kevin Love has 10.9 win shares and his team has an expected 20 wins, for a Love-contributed 54.5% of wins, by far the league's highest percentage of his team's wins by one player. Where does this measure up historically? I'm guessing below maybe Bellamy's rookie year and the Warriors when Arizin was in Korea, maybe a Wilt season or two. Any in the modern era?"

Let's take a look -- here are the players with the highest ratio of individual Win Shares to team wins in a single season (numbers thru Sunday's games):

Rank Player Year Team WS Tm W % Tm W
1 Neil Johnston 1953 PHW 15.3 12 127.7%
2 Walt Bellamy 1962 CHP 16.3 18 90.3%
3 Wilt Chamberlain 1963 SFW 20.9 31 67.5%
4 Kevin Love 2011 MIN 11.4 17 67.2%
5 Brook Lopez 2010 NJN 7.9 12 65.7%
6 Neil Johnston 1954 PHW 18.3 29 63.1%
7 Michael Cage 1987 LAC 7.2 12 60.2%
8 Shareef Abdur-Rahim 1999 VAN 4.6 8 57.0%
9 Walt Bellamy 1963 CHZ 13.7 25 54.7%
10 Ray Felix 1954 BLB 8.6 16 54.0%
11 Wilt Chamberlain 1965 TOT 15.1 28 53.8%
12 Dana Barros 1995 PHI 12.7 24 52.8%
13 Wilt Chamberlain 1964 SFW 25.0 48 52.0%
14 Adrian Dantley 1982 UTA 12.6 25 50.3%
15 Adrian Dantley 1981 UTA 13.6 28 48.5%
16 Paul Arizin 1952 PHW 16.0 33 48.5%
17 Wilt Chamberlain 1962 PHW 23.1 49 47.2%
18 Neil Johnston 1955 PHW 15.4 33 46.6%
19 Charles Barkley 1988 PHI 16.7 36 46.4%
20 Walt Bellamy 1964 BAL 14.4 31 46.3%
Rank Player Year Team WS Tm W % Tm W
21 Elgin Baylor 1960 MNL 11.5 25 46.0%
22 Kevin Garnett 2006 MIN 14.9 33 45.1%
23 Oscar Robertson 1967 CIN 17.4 39 44.7%
24 Elton Brand 2000 CHI 7.5 17 44.4%
25 Adrian Dantley 1980 UTA 10.5 24 43.8%
26 Jack Twyman 1960 CIN 8.3 19 43.5%
27 Tiny Archibald 1972 CIN 12.9 30 43.0%
28 Bailey Howell 1964 DET 9.8 23 42.8%
29 Antawn Jamison 2009 WAS 8.1 19 42.8%
30 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar 1976 LAL 17.0 40 42.5%
31 Michael Jordan 1988 CHI 21.2 50 42.5%
32 Michael Jordan 1987 CHI 16.9 40 42.2%
33 Michael Jordan 1989 CHI 19.8 47 42.1%
34 Richie Guerin 1962 NYK 12.1 29 41.8%
35 Bob Pettit 1956 STL 13.8 33 41.7%
36 Bob Pettit 1955 MLH 10.7 26 41.2%
37 Bailey Howell 1963 DET 14.0 34 41.2%
38 Elgin Baylor 1961 LAL 14.8 36 41.1%
39 Wilt Chamberlain 1961 PHW 18.8 46 40.9%
40 Artis Gilmore 1979 CHI 12.7 31 40.9%
Rank Player Year Team WS Tm W % Tm W
41 Elton Brand 2001 CHI 6.1 15 40.7%
42 Paul Arizin 1959 PHW 13.0 32 40.6%
43 David Wesley 1997 BOS 6.1 15 40.4%
44 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar 1972 MIL 25.4 63 40.3%
45 Cedric Maxwell 1979 BOS 11.7 29 40.2%
46 MicheAl Williams 1993 MIN 7.6 19 40.2%
47 Tracy McGrady 2004 ORL 8.4 21 40.2%
48 Shareef Abdur-Rahim 2000 VAN 8.8 22 40.2%
49 Oscar Robertson 1961 CIN 13.2 33 40.1%
50 Rudy Tomjanovich 1974 HOU 12.8 32 40.1%
51 Oscar Robertson 1963 CIN 16.8 42 40.0%
52 Buck Williams 1988 NJN 7.6 19 39.9%
53 Bob Pettit 1962 STL 11.5 29 39.6%
54 Tiny Archibald 1973 KCO 14.2 36 39.6%
55 Fred Hoiberg 2001 CHI 5.9 15 39.4%
56 Michael Cage 1988 LAC 6.7 17 39.3%
57 Antawn Jamison 2001 GSW 6.7 17 39.3%
58 Spencer Haywood 1973 SEA 10.2 26 39.2%
59 Wilt Chamberlain 1966 PHI 21.4 55 38.9%
60 P.J. Brown 2005 NOH 6.9 18 38.5%
Rank Player Year Team WS Tm W % Tm W
61 Dan Issel 1980 DEN 11.5 30 38.4%
62 Jack Twyman 1959 CIN 7.3 19 38.4%
63 Tracy McGrady 2003 ORL 16.1 42 38.4%
64 Jerry West 1966 LAL 17.1 45 38.1%
65 Oscar Robertson 1964 CIN 20.6 55 37.5%
66 Michael Finley 1998 DAL 7.5 20 37.5%
67 Oscar Robertson 1966 CIN 16.9 45 37.5%
68 Bob Kauffman 1973 BUF 7.9 21 37.4%
69 George Yardley 1958 DET 12.3 33 37.3%
70 Chris Paul 2009 NOH 18.3 49 37.3%
71 Shareef Abdur-Rahim 2001 VAN 8.5 23 37.0%
72 Neil Johnston 1957 PHW 13.7 37 37.0%
73 Jim Spanarkel 1981 DAL 5.5 15 36.9%
74 Michael Jordan 1985 CHI 14.0 38 36.8%
75 Terry Dischinger 1963 CHZ 9.2 25 36.6%
76 Kevin Garnett 2005 MIN 16.1 44 36.6%
77 Terry Dischinger 1964 BAL 11.3 31 36.6%
78 Shareef Abdur-Rahim 1998 VAN 6.9 19 36.5%
79 Bob Boozer 1968 CHI 10.6 29 36.5%
80 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar 1973 MIL 21.9 60 36.4%
Rank Player Year Team WS Tm W % Tm W
81 Bob McAdoo 1974 BUF 15.3 42 36.4%
82 John Drew 1976 ATL 10.6 29 36.4%
83 Bob McAdoo 1975 BUF 17.8 49 36.4%
84 David Robinson 1994 SAS 20.0 55 36.3%
85 Oscar Robertson 1962 CIN 15.6 43 36.3%
86 Bob Kauffman 1972 BUF 8.0 22 36.2%
87 Chris Bosh 2006 TOR 9.8 27 36.2%
88 Eric Murdock 1994 MIL 7.2 20 36.1%
89 Bob Kauffman 1971 BUF 7.9 22 36.1%
90 George Mikan 1952 MNL 14.4 40 35.9%
91 Nate Thurmond 1965 SFW 6.1 17 35.8%
92 Artis Gilmore 1982 CHI 12.1 34 35.6%
93 Dikembe Mutombo 2000 ATL 9.9 28 35.5%
94 Juwan Howard 2003 DEN 6.0 17 35.5%
95 Stephon Marbury 2005 NYK 11.7 33 35.5%
96 Ed Macauley 1952 BOS 13.8 39 35.4%
97 Josh Childress 2005 ATL 4.6 13 35.4%
98 David Lee 2010 NYK 10.3 29 35.4%
99 Andre Miller 2002 CLE 10.3 29 35.4%
100 Oscar Robertson 1965 CIN 17.0 48 35.3%

That's right, Neil Johnston had more Win Shares in 1953 than his team had wins. (Philadelphia underperformed their pythagorean record by 4 wins that year, but even if we looked at pW, Johnston would have had 15.3 of the team's 16.)

By the way, Panic really nailed this -- Johnston's season involved "the Warriors when Arizin was in Korea", Bellamy's rookie year is #2 on the list, Wilt's 1963 is #3, and Kevin Love's 2011 checks in at #4. It's never fun to be on a terrible team, but Love is certainly in some impressive company when it comes to historic one-man shows.

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15 Responses to “BBR Mailbag: Individuals w/ the Highest % of Team Win Shares”

  1. Rolando Says:

    Good to see Soul-Glo Michael Cage on the list. Who's the career "leader?" Shareef Abdur-Rahim?

  2. capnjiffy Says:

    Gotta love any list that includes The Mayor.

  3. Greyberger Says:

    Adrian Dantley! Can't make a list here without that cat showing up.

    Love's having a pretty amazing season. I can't imagine his stock will ever be higher than it is right now. If the Wolves are serious about rebuilding, and if Love's porous defense prevents him from being the centerpiece of a good team, the TWolves should quietly shop him and see what they'd be able to get. All their other assets have deteriorated in value this year and you can't really say the Darko or Beasley gambit paid off. It'll be an interesting summer for the Wolves.

  4. jclucas Says:

    Interesting - no Kobe postShaq and preGasol or LBJ in Cle or Wade in Mia.

  5. Jason J Says:

    For .500 teams only MJ, Wilt, and Kareem supplied at least 40% of the win shares.

    Only 5 players on the entire 100 season list had teams that won 50 games or more - Captain, Stilt, Admiral, Big O, and Air. Man, nicknames used to be keen!

  6. Jason J Says:

    #5 - put Oscar in the first category as well. Didn't mean to omit him.

  7. AYC Says:

    Wilt was traded in the middle of the 1965 season; only 7.5 of his WS came with the Warriors that year (in 38 games)

  8. AYC Says:

    Apparently the Warriors only won 17 games for that entire season, so never mind....

  9. Neil Paine Says:

    #1 - Career leaders:

    Player G WS % Tm W
    Neil Johnston 516 92.0 47.4%
    Kevin Love 209 21.7 39.8%
    Wilt Chamberlain 1045 247.3 38.4%
    Brook Lopez 228 18.6 36.3%
    Walt Bellamy 1043 130.0 32.3%
    Bob Pettit 792 136.0 31.9%
    Blake Griffin 67 8.2 31.4%
    Oscar Robertson 1040 189.2 30.5%
    Michael Jordan 1072 214.0 29.9%
    Elton Brand 784 93.8 29.5%
    Chris Paul 411 74.9 29.2%
    LeBron James 612 115.4 28.8%
    Adrian Dantley 955 134.2 28.2%
    Paul Arizin 648 95.1 27.3%
    Shareef Abdur-Rahim 830 71.3 27.2%
    Clark Kellogg 260 20.9 27.2%
    George Mikan 243 43.2 27.1%
    Ed Macauley 506 73.9 25.7%
    David Robinson 987 178.7 25.5%
    Charles Barkley 1073 177.2 25.5%
    Bailey Howell 951 114.8 25.4%
    Jerry West 932 162.6 25.2%
    Kareem Abdul-Jabbar 1560 273.4 25.0%
    Kevin Durant 297 35.4 25.0%
    Kevin Garnett 1179 172.9 25.0%
    David Lee 425 40.4 24.8%
    Dolph Schayes 866 118.7 24.3%
    Pau Gasol 716 95.4 24.3%
    Artis Gilmore 909 107.4 24.2%
    Karl Malone 1476 234.6 24.1%

    #7 - For split-season players, I weighted the wins of the teams he was on by the # of games he played with each.

  10. Jason J Says:

    #9 - Can we see those numbers next to career winning %ages? It would be interesting to see who had the highest win share percentage on the winningest teams.

  11. Pag Says:

    This stat mainly shows the margin between the best player on the team to the rest of the team. Notice none of Jordans championship years were on this list, and Kareem was pre-magic johnson. Also, Im sure everybody saw Brook Lopez atop the list mainly because the 2nd best person on the team Harris was hurt throughout the year....and the rest of the team sucked didnt they go like 0-16 to start the season?

  12. Michael E Sullivan Says:

    Neil Johnston -- holy shit this guy's stats are redunkulous. Possibly the best player I'd never heard of until today. Familiar with Arizin, but according to win shares, this guy was better.

    I guess part of this is just about how much more dominating any good big man was in those days (though these days, he'd be a slight-ish SF at 6-8 210 if he could even play). Everybody's heard of Mikan, but in terms of raw efficiency, this guy was even better. Who knew?

  13. AYC Says:

    Johnston's effectiveness ended when Bill Russell entered the league; his style of play was already obsolete by the time the 60's rolled around.

  14. Panic Says:

    @MES Johnston had a standing hook shot and midrange set shot that were unstoppable in the unathletic 50s, but as the league's talent pool expanded to include more black and generally athletic players (think Maurice Stokes, and Bill Russell as AYC pointed out) the hook shots got pinned to the backboard the set shots shoved in his face. Apparently Johnston had a difficult time coaching Wilt Chamberlain because Chamberlain considered him a dinosaur. Arizin, by contrast aged better because he used the jump shot; Schayes survived into the 60s because his set shots were more accurate from farther away, and he had a drive-and-kick game.

    But relative to the rest of the league, man was Johnston good, and it's a shame that he's often overlooked when discussing the game's great players...he had a solid 3 or 4 year run as the top player in basketball.

  15. Michael E Sullivan Says:

    ok, better than Mikan was exaggerated, he was just close, but I was always under the impression that Mikan had dominated almost chamberlain style until the late 50s. So that's still very impressive in his time. I can see why Mikan is better remembered though, as his game was starting to incorporate some of the tactics that would come to dominate post play.

    It's sometimes hard for this 1968 baby whose earliest basketball memories are of the Knicks-Celtics and Knicks-Lakers series in the early 70s, and who was shown how to shoot a jump shot by his dad at the age of 7 on our driveway court, to remember that anybody ever used a set shot for anything but free throws.