9. Nate Thurmond, 1963
Slash Line: .421/.667
Career Averages: 15.0 PPG, 15.0 RPG, 2.7 APG, 0.5 SPG, 2.1 BPG
Long before the modern-day NBA, there was Nate Thurmond, a star of the ’60s and ’70s NBA. Given most of his career happened with the San Francisco Warriors, Wilt Chamberlain often overshadowed the 1963 draft pick, and somewhat rightfully so.
However, Thurmond still cashed in a 13-year career, playing for three franchises and one of the original Golden State-named teams.
From 1963-74, Thurmond averaged a double-double per game. Four of those seasons were above 20 points, which also happened when Chamberlain left for the Los Angeles Lakers.
Blocks did not become an official NBA stat until the 1973-74 season, but for just how good he handled himself at the defensive end, the Bowling Green State product had 2.9 blocks per game as a 32 year old. This number dipped afterward, but with the natural aging of an NBA player.
Thurmond played his final three years with Chicago and Cleveland, before calling it a career in 1977.
By 1985, though, Thurmond was still recognized for his work in the Pro Basketball Hall of Fame. He lived up to expectations as a top-five draft pick, was a multi-time All-Star and held his own as one of the game’s best defensive players of this era with five All-NBA Defensive honors.