Ranking the top 100 players in NBA history - Printable Version
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Ranking the top 100 players in NBA history - will23c1982 - 07-31-2011 03:50 PM
I am fascinated by articles that attempt to rank the best players in NBA (and ABA) history. Some authors are too easily swayed by eye-catching statistics. Other authors give too much credit to players who won championships (perhaps riding the coattails of their superstar teammates). Meanwhile, some authors abandon all obvious indicators and simply go with their heart. In my opinion, all three measures are valid and should be combined together.
Indeed, that is exactly what I have attempted to do here. I have combined the rankings from nine different publications (including – but not limited to – Bill Simmons’ ‘Book of Basketball’, Slam magazine’s ‘Top 500’, Elliot Kalb’s ‘Who’s Better Who’s Best in Basketball?’ and Sport magazine’s 50th anniversary rankings) to create a master list.
Some of the rankings were written a few years ago and, as a result, active players were ranked too low. To accommodate for this, I have adjusted the rankings of active players accordingly (by simply weighting them more towards the most recent rankings).
I have included the major awards won by each player, their career statistics along with revealing quotes (admittedly with a generous dose of hyperbole) from players and well-respected basketball authors.
The results are fascinating and, in my opinion, the most accurate rankings I have seen. Let me know what you think.
Quote:01 – Michael Jordan
Remainder of the top 100 at the following link: http://basketballjournalist.blogspot.com/2011/07/ranking-top-100-players-in-nba-history.html
RE: Ranking the top 100 players in NBA history - xstreaminsanity - 08-01-2011 11:50 AM
I do not have the time nor energy to do the whole 100, but I'll give you my opinion of what the top 5 should be.
#1 - Kareem - I kind of wish this was a Best Players of Basketball History rather than NBA history because then you'd have to include his four college chips. But the reason I have him #1 is because of his durability, his amazing FG% (I don't include Shaq because he dunked mostly, Kareem shot more real shots), he has a LOT more accolades than some of the other people on here (except he falls to Bill in chips and Jordan in Finals MVP), as your quote states, he had to develop the hook shot because of them banning dunking to neutralize him.
#2 - Russell - 11 chips, 22+ RPG, 5x season MVP and 12 time all-star. Wait, did I say 11 chips?
#3 - Jordan - He brought the NBA to the masses and had tremendous skill. The reason I have him #3 is because it seemed as though his dominance came in a time when there were less skilled players in the NBA. Kareem was leaving, Russell was gone, Bird was gone, Magic was gone, and others. Yes, there was Malone (no rings), Barkley (no rings), Hakeem (two rings while MJ was gone), David Robinson (rings after MJ left) and a few others, but it seemed the first three championships came when Bird and them were closing the doors on their careers, and while who are superstars now (Kobe, Kevin Garnett, etc.) were just starting in their careers. However, I will not deny his skill. He has major passion for the game and tremendous skill.
#4 - Wilt - As stated, he walked through everyone. It was like George Muresan playing against the Smurfs. However, can't argue with a 100 point game (even though Cheryl Miller had a 105 pt game in high school).
#5 - Magic - Pure point guard, career ended too quickly, and has amazing basketball IQ. I can't wait until he's an NBA head coach.
But, those are just my opinions. Nice list.
RE: Ranking the top 100 players in NBA history - eman97 - 08-01-2011 04:59 PM
RE: Ranking the top 100 players in NBA history - will23c1982 - 08-02-2011 03:05 AM
xstream, Magic Johnson was not gone when Jordan entered the league. In fact, their careers overlapped for 8 years and, in 1992, Jordan's Bulls defeated Magic's Lakers in the Finals.
RE: Ranking the top 100 players in NBA history - xstreaminsanity - 08-02-2011 06:56 AM
(08-02-2011 03:05 AM)will23c1982 Wrote: xstream, Magic Johnson was not gone when Jordan entered the league. In fact, their careers overlapped for 8 years and, in 1992, Jordan's Bulls defeated Magic's Lakers in the Finals.
No, I didn't mean he was gone, I know they played against each other a bit, but I'm saying that by the time Jordan really started to dominate, Magic was gone. I don't remember off hand what years each person retired, but I know a lot of the greats that were playing before Jordan won his first championship were gone by the time he won his second.
RE: Ranking the top 100 players in NBA history - will23c1982 - 08-02-2011 09:09 AM
But there were a lot of greats when Jordan was at his peak too. Players like Hakeem Olajuwon, Karl Malone, Charles Barkley, David Robinson, John Stockton, Isiah Thomas, Patrick Ewing, Shaquille O'Neal.
And remember, we'd probably hold players like Barkley, Malone and Ewing in much higher esteem if Jordan hadn't stopped all of them from winning championships.
Imagine if Malone had won a couple of rings. We'd rank him as a top 10 player of all-time for sure. And yet, because of Jordan, most people rank him about 16th, which is probably why you don't class him as an elite player. That's not really fair, in my opinion.
Jordan beat the best the league had to offer.
Also, if anything, the argument goes that the league was at its weakest in the 1970s when Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was dominant.
Sure, expansion spread out the talent in the mid-1990s, but the number of great players was higher in the 1990s than in the 1970s (when a number of the great players were actually in the ABA not the NBA).
Btw, I just found this quote from Bill Simmons with regards to Clyde Drexler (who I forgot to mention in my post above)...
Quote:“During the most competitive stretch in league history (1990-93), Portland made the Finals twice with Drexler as its lone blue-chipper”
So, according to Simmons (who I agree with), Jordan won three championships (1991, 1992, 1993) during the most competitive stretch in league history. Not bad.
RE: Ranking the top 100 players in NBA history - antriarc - 08-08-2011 06:32 PM
If there was no jordan then the knicks would have about another 3 rings to record and ewing would be in the top 10!
RE: Ranking the top 100 players in NBA history - will23c1982 - 08-08-2011 06:53 PM
Do you think Ewing would have won 3 rings if not for Jordan?
I think he might have won 1 but not 3.
After all, the Knicks lost to the Rockets in 1994, so who's to say they wouldn't have lost every year if they'd reached the finals?
RE: Ranking the top 100 players in NBA history - taffster74 - 08-08-2011 08:46 PM
But will you have to remember, that 1994 Knicks-Rockets series went down to the wire. And it ended up being nothing more than a battle between two of the best centres in league history - it was a fairly even match with Ewing and olajuwan swapping who led from game to game.
RE: Ranking the top 100 players in NBA history - maso33 - 10-02-2011 06:57 AM
This is always an interesting debate and the majority of people will judge the best by the amount of rings a player has on his fingers and in this case it's probably justified with these players but what about those that didn't win a ring?
No matter how great a player is, they can't win without their team.