Washington Wizards: 15 greatest scorers of all-time

Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images
Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images /
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Walt Bellamy, Baltimore Bullets
Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images /

When people debate who the best big men of the 1960s were, they usually rattle off the same names: Wilt Chamberlain, Bill Russell and Bob Pettit.

However, Walt Bellamy‘s name is somewhat forgotten, likely due to the passage of time. But his numbers, particularly during his run with the then-Baltimore Bullets, have certainly earned him a seat at the table.

Bellamy was drafted first overall in the 1961 draft by the Chicago Packers (who would later become the Baltimore Bullets). He immediately displayed his dominance in his rookie season, as he averaged 31.6 points and led the league in field goal percentage.

Bellamy would follow that up with consecutive seasons where he averaged at least 27 points. Unfortunately, that three-year stretch would represent the peak of Bellamy’s career.

His scoring averages would dip every season. In 1965-66, his fourth season in the league, he averaged less than 20 points per game through eight games with the Bullets before they traded him to the New York Knicks for a few players and cash. He was still a force on the offensive glass, but his offensive responsibilities got smaller and smaller as his career progressed.

Bellamy’s career was weird for sure. Based on his early stats, he seemed destined to become one of the sport’s best big men, only for him to slowly decline on the offensive end each season.

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Still, he did more than enough to earn his place in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. His eye-popping numbers with the Bullets — first all-time among Wizards in points per game and eighth in cumulative points — helped get him there.