Thursday, March 4, 2010

Centers Don't Fear The Ramsay

The Portland Trailblazers' difficulties with keeping their big men healthy in the 70s and 80s has not gone undocumented, so I'll spare you the 857th recap of the Walton/Bowie disaster. What I hadn't realized before was that almost no center stayed healthy and good beyond his years playing for Jack Ramsay. This goes from the cases like Darrall Imhoff and Tom Owens*-journeymen who spent what would be the end of their career playing for Ramsay's teams to Steve Stipanovich, who retired at age 27 with a mysterious knee injury after missing 7 games in his entire 5 year career. It includes Bob Rule, who was injured when Ramsay's Sixers picked him up, and it includes Bob McAdoo, who averaged 78 games during 4 years for Ramsay, and reached that total only once again.
*Who has a weird career arc-he was a decent young center in the ABA, went to Houston and barely played after the merger, peaked at the age of 29 with the Blazers, and was washed up a few years later.

In the final tally, we have centers who were injured or declined precipitously A.R. (after Ramsay): Bob McAdoo, Bill Walton, Sam Bowie, Steve Stipanovich, Bob Rule, Tom Owens, Darrall Imhoff.
Centers who were fine A.R.: Mychal Thompson (who declined statistically, but stayed healthy and was a key part of some pretty good Lakers teams.

The Curse of...Any sports coincidence must be the result of some sort of curse, so...Ramsay became the Sixers coach the year after they traded Wilt to the Lakers and thereafter (almost) no center was the same after leaving Ramsay. So can we say that Bill Walton, Sam Bowie, Bob McAdoo, Steve Stipanovich, etc fell victim to the Curse Of Wilt?

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