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On May 23, 1978, Bill Walton was crowned MVP after playing only 58 games.

Among players who have had their careers shattered by injuries and brought everlasting regret to fans, Bill Walton is often forgotten even as he (like Derrick Rose) presents the perfect example of the star broke in full glory. .

After having shone in the NCAA, the former pivot of the Blazers thus dominated the second part of the 1970s in the NBA. Versatile and effective on both sides of the field, Luke’s father was the leader of a Portland team crowned in 1977 and which imposed its law on the entire league.

For a year, Bill Walton and the Blazers walk on water

Between March 29, 1977 and March 1, 1978, almost a year and taking into account the playoffs, the Blazers posted a record of 70 wins for 15 defeats! During this time, and especially between April 1977 and February 1978, Bill Walton is undoubtedly the best player in the world. The most “valuable” in any case, the one who carries his team and makes it run wonderfully.

So much so that in 1977/78, a few months after being champion and MVP of the 1977 Finals, he was elected MVP of the regular season ahead of George Gervin and David Thompson. Which would seem logical as he is dominant with 18.9 points at 52% shooting success, 13.2 rebounds, 5 assists and 2.5 blocks on average.

Except that the pivot then begins a descent into hell, which will separate his career in two: the good years of Portland and the years weighed down by injuries. On February 28, 1978, he injured his left ankle against Philadelphia. His regular season is over after only 58 games played.

No MVP, outside the lockout, has played so little the season of his coronation

In NBA history, only one MVP has played fewer games. It was Karl Malone in 1998/99, but it was in exceptional circumstances since it was a year truncated by a lockout. The franchises had only played 50 games, and the interior 49. Even in the second lockout, in 2011/12, when the season was shortened to 66 games, MVP LeBron James, with 62 games, had played more than Bill Walton.

But in just 58 games with his teammates, the former UCLA pivot won 48. That’s more than almost all of the franchises (only Philadelphia, San Antonio, Phoenix and Denver had won at least 48 games) during the entirety of this 1977/78 season!

Admittedly, Portland finished with the best record in the league (58-24), but without its star, the team had lost 14 times in 22 matches. No doubt, Bill Walton was indeed the “Most Valuable Player” of this season.

Unfortunately for him, if he returns to the playoffs for the first round against Seattle, he will quickly aggravate his injury. In Game 2, he breaks his ankle and it’s his last minutes with the Blazers. During the summer, he asked to be traded and did not play the following season. In 1979, he was transferred to the Clippers. But it’s already too late, the physical glitches will spoil his end of career. We will never see the dominant Bill Walton of the 1970s again, even if he won a best sixth man trophy and a title at the Celtics in 1986.

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