When the ball went into the pivot, things slowed up even more noticeably. Chamberlain seldom passes off to the first man cutting by; he is not used to slipping around his man for a quick dart to the basket; and when he is at the high post the man guarding him quickly drops off him, clogs it up under the hoop and dares Chamberlain to shoot.
In the second quarter against the Seattle Supersonics last Saturday night Van Breda Kolff put Mel Counts at center in place of Chamberlain and the Lakers were suddenly their old selves again, zipping down the court on fast breaks and entertaining themselves and the crowd with clever passes.
The Lakers have really not had an outstanding center since George Mikan back in the Minneapolis days (when there were some real lakes around and the nickname made a little sense). There have been Ray Felix, Jim Krebs, LeRoy Ellis, Gene Wiley and Darrall Imhoff, some of whom were pretty good, but the talk was always how the Lakers would be unbeatable if only they had a strong pivot man to go with Baylor and West.
Well, now they have the new guy with the beard. And they might be so good that they will win despite all theories to the contrary.