Round 59 - Greatest NBA Forward
He was a man ahead of time who could have been great in many eras.
Over the course of his Hall of Fame career, Dolph Schayes' .192 win shares per 48 minutes trailed only Bob Pettit's .214 among power forwards.
And his 18.5 points per game were the product of a well-rounded scoring game.
"People remember Dolph's long set shots," former teammate Al Bianchi said in Terry Pluto's Tall Tales (h/t the New York Times' Richard Goldstein). "But what made him great was that he could shoot running one-handers—and make them with either hand. His left was as good as his right."
That Schayes was so comfortably above average as a shooter while taking long-range shots on a floor without a three-point line is impressive. Before threes arrived, the general goal was getting as close to the rim as possible. But Schayes was something of a floor-spacing anomaly.
"He was the only guy who had legitimate 25-30 foot range," Hall of Fame coach Alex Hannum told ESPN's Ken Shouler. "You could add five points to his career [average] if they had the three-point shot back then."
"...a bridge between the old game and the new one," Schayes tallied 12 All-NBA selections.
Defenders who attempted to deny him the outside shot were confronted by his powerful drive to the basket. These two offensive weapons served him well, even as the NBA was transitioning into a league of jump-shooters.
Early in Schayes' career, he broke his right arm and played almost an entire season in a cast. Oddly, this injury became a seminal point in his development: he learned to shoot with his off-hand, making him especially difficult to guard.
When he retired in 1964, he held the NBA records for games played (996), foul shots made (6,712), attempted (7,904), personal fouls (3,432) and was second to Bob Pettit in scoring (18,438) and third in rebounds (11,256)
In 1961, he became the first player in NBA history to amass 30,000 career total PRA (Points + Rebounds + Assists). He was the first person in the NBA to ever surpass 15,000 points.
In 1970, he was elected to the NBA 25th Anniversary Team as one of the top 12 retired players.
In 1972, he was elected to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. He is also a member of the International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame, the US National Jewish Sports Hall of Fame, and the National Jewish American Sports Hall of Fame.
In 1996, he was selected as one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History.