Top 25 all-time players
Top 25 all-time players
6 finals MVP's, 5 league MVP's, 10 scoring titles (6 while shooting over 50%), steals title, Defensive player of the year award, highest PPG in NBA history for the regular season (30.12) and playoffs (33.45). Averaged 31.5ppg and 51.5% shooting as a Chicago Bull against fierce defenses. Michael topped out at 37ppg in 1986-87, his best all around season looked like this: 32.5ppg - 8reb - 8ast - 2.9stl - .8blk on an amazing 54% shooting in 1988-89, Jordan had 5 seasons over 32 points per game. Jordan averaged 33.45ppg, 6.4reb, 5.7ast, on 49% shooting in the playoffs for his career. In the 1991 NBA Finals Jordan posted per game averages of 31.2 points on 56% shooting from the field, 11.4 assists, 6.6 rebounds, 2.8 steals and 1.4 blocks. Jordan won his first NBA Finals MVP award by a unanimous decision, and he cried while holding the NBA Finals trophy. In the 1992 NBA Finals Jordan was named Finals MVP for the second year in a row and finished the series averaging 35.8 ppg, 4.8 rpg, and 6.5 apg, 1.67 steals, .33 blocks while shooting 53% from the floor. In the 1993 NBA Finals Jordan averaged a Finals-record 41.0 ppg during the six-game series, 8.5 rebounds, 6.3 assists, .67 blocks, 1.67steals, and became the first player in NBA history to win three straight Finals MVP awards. Jordan scored more than 30 points in every game of the series, including 40 or more points in 4 consecutive games, a record which has never been threatened. In the 1996 Finals Jordan averaged 27.3 points, 5.3 rebounds, 4.16 assists, 1.67 steals, .17 blocks per game in the 1996 NBA Finals vs Seattle. Jordan won the Finals MVP trophy. In the 1997 Finals Jordan averaged 32.3 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assists, .83 blocks, 1.17 steals per game in the 1997 NBA finals against the Utah Jazz. Jordan won the Finals MVP trophy. In the 1998 Finals Jordan averaged 33.5 points, 4 rebounds, 2.3 assists, .67 steals, .67 blocks per game in the 1998 NBA finals against the Utah Jazz. Jordan won the Finals MVP trophy. Jordan was 6 for 6 in NBA Finals appearances and 6 for 6 with Finals MVP awards. If Jordan hadn't retired twice, he most likely would have had at least 2-3 more scoring titles, 2-3 more MVP awards and 2-3 more championships/Finals MVP's. Michael Jordan finished top 10 in MVP voting every single full season he played for the Bulls (11 years), Jordan was only 1 season short of finishing in the top 5 in MVP voting every single full season he played for the Bulls with 10 top 5 finishes in MVP voting, Jordan also finished top 3 in MVP voting in 10 out of 11 full seasons he played for the Bulls. Jordan was runner up to the MVP award 3 times. There was a misconeption that the media shouldn't vote for Jordan "every year" because it wasn't fair to the other players, even though Jordan was the most deserving player to win MVP at least 8 times. To cap it all off, Michael Jordan even finished 13th in MVP voting, while playing for the Wizards, at the age of 38.
KAREEM ABDUL JABBAR
6 MVP awards, won championships with both Oscar Robertson and Magic Johnson, member of 6 championship teams, 2 Finals MVP's, 2 time scoring champ, 19 time all-star, all time NBA leading scorer for total points, 34.8ppg career high in the 71-72 season (also averaged 4.6 assists and 16.6 rebounds that year), averaged 5 assists per game or more for 3 seasons, averaged 16 rebounds or more for 4 seasons, made 56% of his shots for his career, the sky hook was UNSTOPPABLE! Kareem averaged 32ppg, 17reb, 4ast, on 50% shooting in the playoffs in his prime.In his prime, Kareem was unstoppable. Kareem holds the record for most total points in NBA history and 19 All-Star appearances (most all-time). His defensive skills earned him five selections to the First Team All-Defense. He finished in the top five of the NBA MVP voting 15 times. No player has even come close to that.
7'1" 275lbs of pure beast, had a season averaging 24.3ppg, 23.8reb, 8.6ast in 1967-68, averaged over 20 rebounds per game for 11 seasons of his career, peaked out at 27.2 rebounds per game in 1960-61 while scoring 38.4ppg, averaged 50.4ppg on 50.6% shooting in the 1961-62 season, averaged 30.10 for his career on 54% shooting, made 72.7 of his shots in his final season in the NBA, his skill-set was amazing, featuring a fadeaway that was unstoppable along with his power moves in the post. The NBA did not record steals and blocks in that era. Wilt also won 7 scoring titles. Wilt averaged 35ppg, 25reb, 3ast, on 49% shooting in the playoffs in his prime.
6'9" 255lbs of pure all around greatness, won 3 finals MVP's, 5 time NBA champ, 3 time NBA MVP, Averaged 18.6ppg 9.5ast 9.6reb per game in 1981-82(closest to Oscar Robertson's season of averaging a triple double, topped out at 23.9ppg, Magic was not a pure scorer but he was a great team basketball player, Magic Johnson averaged 3.4stl per game in 1980-81, Magic's season high for assists per game was 13.1ast per in 1983-84, Magic made 52% of his shots for his career, finishing with 19.5ppg 11.2ast and 7.2reb per game for his career. Magic averaged 19.5ppg, 7.7reb, 12.3ast on 50.6% shooting in the playoffs for his career. Magic was a 6'8 point guard who could run the break, drive to the hole, rebound and post-up. He accomplished all of that despite the fact that his career ended at 31 years of age. One can only imagine what he could have done with five-to-ten more years added to his career. Magic finished in the top 5 of MVP voting 9 times.
Larry Bird was the second greatest clutch player in NBA history next to Michael Jordan, 6'9" 220lbs of pure heart, what Larry lacked in athleticism he made up for it with pure hustle and determination, one of the most unorthodoxed scorers of all time Larry showed us all what it meant to grind out wins, Larry was able to up-stage some of the most athletic players in NBA history like Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Charles Barkley, Karl Malone, Dominique Wilkins and many many more. Many would argue that 1986-87 was Larry's best season, Larry averaged 28.1ppg 9.2reb and 7.6ast per game in 1986-87, Larry shot an amazing 37.6% from 3 point land for his career, made 49.6% of his shots, and Larry finished with 24.3ppg 10.0reb 6.3ast 1.7stl and .8blk per game for his entire career which is a staggering collection of team basketball production. Larry also won 2 finals MVP's, and 3 league MVP's. Larry averaged 23.8ppg, 10.3reb, 6.5ast on 47.2% shooting in the playoffs for his career.
Bill Russell was the greatest hustle player in NBA history, Bill Russell's scoring left a little to be desired and he wasn't a pure scorer, Bill Russell was a defensive legend and most likely the greatest defensive presence in NBA history. He was the "Wilt stopper". The NBA didn't provide steals and blocks stats back in Bill's career or his dominance on the defensive end of the court would show up in his production. Bill Russell averaged over 20 rebounds per game 10 times in his career, Bill Russell was a great passer out of double teams and he averaged over 5 assists per game twice in his career. Bill Russell was a 5 time league MVP, and a staggering 11 time NBA champion as the anchor of the legendary Celtics of the late 50's and 60's. Bill Russell finished with 15.1ppg 22.5reb 4.3ast on 44% shooting for his career. Russell averaged 20ppg, 26reb, 47%fg and 4ast per game in his prime during the playoffs.
Hakeem was arguably the most skilled center of all time in NBA history. His post moves, his ability to handle the rock and his athleticism are unmatched to this point by other NBA centers from any era. Hakeem racked up honor after honor in his NBA career. Hakeem was the NBA Finals MVP 2 times, Hakeem was the League MVP once, he would have had more MVP's but he was over-shadowed by the great Michael Air Jordan. Hakeem was the only player in NBA history to win an NBA League MVP, Defensive player of the year and NBA finals MVP in the same year. Hakeem peaked out just shy of 28 points per game, his peak rebound production was 14 rebounds per game and he had 6 years over 3 assists per game, and 9 years over 3 blocks per game peaking out at 4.6 blocks per game in the 1989-90 season. Hakeem had 5 years over 2 steals per game as well, and he ended his career as a 51.2% shooter, 3.1blk, 1.7stl, 11.1reb, 21.8ppg. Hakeem raised his level of play in the playoffs and he ended his playoff career as a 52.8% shooter, with 11.2reb, 3.2ast 25.9ppg in the playoffs. Hakeem finished top 10 in MVP voting 10 times, finished top 3 in MVP voting 5 times.
Oscar Robertson is quite honestly the greatest all around player the game has seen. In Oscar Robertson's second year in the NBA he averaged 30.8ppg, 12.reb, 11.4ast, as he averaged a triple double for an entire season, He barely missed in four other seasons with assist averages of 9.7 and 9.5 and rebound averages of 9.9 and 9.0, if you round those years that's four seasons of averaging a triple-double, not even the great Larry Bird or Magic Johnson could do that.Oscar won a league MVP in 1964 on 47.8% shooting. Oscar had a silky smooth jumper/fadeaway and his post game is revered as the best in the history of the sport, this side of Michael Jordan. Oscar Robertson had 4 seasons at or over 11 assists per game. Oscar also had 3 seasons over 10 rebounds per game. Oscar closed out his career averaging 25.7ppg, 9.5ast, 7.5reb, and he was a 48.5% shooter for his career. Oscar Robertson didn't play on the greatest teams so his playoff numbers are a little skewed. A lot of his playoff numbers were amassed at the end of his career. In his prime Oscar averaged nearly 30 points per game on 47% shooting with nearly 9 rebounds and 10 assists per game in the playoffs during his prime.
The most dominant center in NBA Finals history was Shaq O'Neal as a Laker. Shaq O'Neal has been the most physically imposing center in the history of the game this side of Wilt Chamberlain. By his second year in the league Shaq was averaging over 29 points per game and he peaked out at 29.7ppg. Shaq has 5 years over 3 assists per game and has 13 years over 10 rebounds per game, Shaq also has been a great shot blocker having 12 years over 2 blocks per game. Shaq so far in his career has averaged 24.9ppg, 11.3reb, 2.6ast, 2.4blk on an amazing 58.1% shooting. He's not a pure shooter but his ability to dominate in the post helped create high % shot attempts for Shaq. Shaq always rose his level of play in the playoffs when he was a Laker, Shaq averaged over 15 rebounds twice in the playoffs, and over 30 points per game 3 times in the playoffs, the decline at the end of Shaq's career have skewed his playoff production a bit giving him 25.2ppg, 12.1reb, and 2.8ast on 50.1% shooting in the playoffs for his career. Shaq's production in the NBA Finals as a Laker looked like this: vs Indiana Pacers 38ppg 16rpg 2apg 61%FG, vs Philadelphia Shaq 33ppg 15rpg 4apg 57%FG, vs New Jersey Nets Shaq 36ppg 12rpg 3apg 59%FG, vs Detroit 26ppg 10rpg 1apg 63%FG. Shaq also has 3 finals MVP and a league MVP in his trophy case.
Tim Duncan is known for his fundamental approach to the game of basketball. In a similar fashion to Kevin McHale from the 80's, Duncan has been able to dominate teams with his fundamental approach to the game of basketball. He's not physically imposing and he's not a great athlete but his ability to be a great thinker and executor of his fundamentals is what sets him apart from most NBA players in the history of the game. Tim Duncan's career numbers are staggering averaging 21.5ppg, 11.8reb, 3.2ast, 2.4blk on 50.8% shooting. Duncan peaked out at 25.5ppg, he has 5 seasons over 12reb per, and 10 seasons over 2blk per. Tim Duncan raises hes level of play in the playoffs averaging 23.4ppg, 12.7, 3.5ast on 50.1% shooting for his career in the playoffs so far. Duncan has 3 Finals MVP's and 2 league MVP's in his trophy case.
Karl Malone is probably the best power forward of all time although his greatness didn't produce any championships. Karl Malone ran into Michael Jordan's Chicago Bulls in the NBA Finals twice and Jordan's Bulls were able to shatter a ton of great players's hopes of getting a championship including Karl Malone, Charles Barkley, Dominique Wilkins, and Patrick Ewing, Gary Payton, and Shawn Kemp to name a few... Malone came close but it never happened. Only Kareem scored more points in his NBA career than Karl Malone. Karl Malone finished in the top 10 in MVP voting 14 times, top five of the MVP Voting 9 times, top 3 in MVP voting 5 times. Karl Malone did win 2 league MVPs.
Moses Malone averaged a double-double for 15 straight seasons which is more than Wilt Chamberlain, Bill Russell and Kareem. Moses Malone led his team to a championship in 1983. Moses Malone won the league MVP in 1983 and the Finals MVP in 1983. Moses Malone was also the league MVP in 1979 and 1982.
Jerry West had a great jumpshot, great defense, and he was arguably the most clutch player of his era. He is literally the face of the NBA as he is the silhouette portrayed on the league’s logo. West didn’t win an MVP award for the same reasons Baylor didn’t. Chamberlain and Russell made it virtually impossible for anyone else in that era to win the award. Jerry West did win a NBA Finals MVP in 1969 and he was an NBA Champion in 1972. Finished second in MVP voting three times, top three 5 times, top five 8 times, top ten 9 times in 14 seasons.
Bob Pettit won two MVPs while being selected to the All-NBA first team ten times (second most all-time). His Player Efficiency rating for his era was top notch. He helped lead his team to an NBA Championship in 1958. Bob Pettit appeared in the NBA Finals in 1957, 1960 and 1961.
Barkley won one MVP and reached the NBA Finals once. Charles Barkley is one of only 4 players in NBA history who compiled 20,000 points + 10,000 rebounds + 4,000 assists in their careers. Barkley's scoring peaked out at 28.3ppg, his rebounding peaked out at 14.6rebs, and his passing peaked out at 5.1 assists per game. Charles finished second in MVP voting 1 time, top three 2 times, top five 4 times, top ten 9 times.
David Robinson peaked out at 29.8ppg, his rebounding peaked out at 13rebs, and his passing peaked out at 4.8 assists per game. He led the Spurs to two NBA Championships. He also won an MVP and a Defensive Player of the Year award. He finished in the top three of the MVP Voting five times. He is second all-time in Wins Shares Above Average (WSAA) and third all-time in PER. The most amazing stat that anyone could ever cite about Robinson is that in his 14 seasons, he only accounted for 11 Loss Shares (LS). That number is unfathomable.
Kevin Garnett has a defensive player of the year award, MVP, and was an intrical part of the 2008 Boston Celtics championship team and the anchor of their defense. Kevin Garnett's scoring peaked out at 24.2ppg, his rebounding peaked out at 13.9rebs, and his passing peaked out at 6.0ast per game. Kevin Garnett finshed second in MVP voting 2 times , top three 4 times , top five 5 times , top ten 7 times.
Second in MVP voting once, top three 4 times, top five 7 times , top ten 8 times. Kobe's best all-around season was 2002-2003 when he averaged 30ppg, 6.9reb, 5.9ast. Kobe has had many flashes of brilliance and he has played at a high level of play for nearly a decade. Kobe has proven to be an effective defender, and he has the determination to take over games on his own. Some of the knocks on Kobe has been his field goal percentage over the years, and his lack of willingness to trust his teammates. Kobe has now led his Lakers to 1 championship, and he was Shaq's "Scottie Pippen" for 3 Lakers championships. Kobe has shown the ability to make some real tough shots, but he has also shown the ability to miss around 60% of his shots in big games. Kobe's career shooting percentage in the NBA Finals is 41%. Kobe has always taken a high volume of shots, and similar to Allen Iverson, if Kobe was able to limit his missed shots over the course of his career more, and show more consistency, I would rank him higher. Kobe's been a questionable team leader for quite a few different seasons in his career, had problems with teammates, but he did prove his reputation wrong by leading the 2009 Lakers to a title.
When George Mikan came into the NBA, nobody had ever seen that level of agility from a man that size. He was the predecessor to Wilt, Russell, and Kareem. George Mikan was the leader of 4 championship teams. George Mikan's scoring peaked out at 28.4ppg, his rebounding peaked out at 14.4rebs, and his passing peaked out at 3.0ast per game. George Mikan paved the way for the "dominant big men".
LeBron James's career averages are better than 98% of NBA Players's best seasons, LeBron has posted a 27.5ppg, 7.0reb, 6.7ast 47%fg career average so far. LeBron's scoring peak so far was 31.4ppg, his rebounding peak was 7.9rebs, and his passing has peaked out at 7.2ast per game for 3 different seasons. LeBron James's 2009 playoff run was one of the top 5 individual playoff runs in NBA history. LeBron vs Orlando 2009 playoffs...38.5ppg 48.7%fg 8.3reb 8ast 1.16blk 1.16stl and LeBron's total playoff run in 2009: 35.3ppg 51%fg 9reb 7ast. LeBron has only played in 6 seasons and already has 1 league MVP at the young age of 24. Amazingly enough, LeBron has finished in the top 10 in MVP voting in 6 out of 6 seasons, top 5 in MVP voting in 4 out of 6 seasons, top 3 in MVP voting in 2 out of 6 seasons, runner up in MVP voting one season, and he obviously has an MVP award now.
Dr J was so dominant in the ABA that it would be a crime to penalize him for coming from the wrong league. Erving won three MVP's in the ABA which is an impressive feat but shouldn't be confused with winning an NBA MVP where the competition was second-to-none. Erving won two ABA Championships and one NBA Championship. It's not like his NBA-career was second-rate, either. He made 11 All-Star teams. He finished in the top five of the MVP Voting 5 times and won the MVP in '81.
Cousy played for six NBA Championship teams. Bob Cousy's scoring peaked out at 21.7ppg, his rebounding peaked out at 6.9rebs, and his passing peaked out at 9.5ast per game. Bob Cousy also won an MVP.
During Elgin Baylor's career (1959-1972) Bill Russell won four MVPs, Wilt Chamberlain won four MVPs, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar won two MVPs. It was virtually impossible for other players to win MVP's during this era. Baylor's statistics are eye-popping. Over his career, he averaged 27.4 points and 14 rebounds per game. He also played for eight teams that went to the NBA Finals. Elgin Baylor's scoring peaked out at 38.3ppg, his rebounding peaked out at 19.8rebs, and his passing peaked out at 5.4ast per game.
John Havlicek played for eight NBA Championship teams. Havlicek's scoring peaked out at 28.9ppg, his rebounding peaked out at 9.0rebs, and his passing peaked out at 7.5ast per game. Havlicek also won a Finals MVP award in 1974.
John Stockton led the league in total assists for 9 straight years, a record that has never been threatened. John Stockton's scoring peaked out at 17.2ppg, his rebounding peaked out at 3.3rebs, and his passing peaked out at 14.5ast per game. Stockton was the “prototypical” point guard. He was often considered a “dirty” player for his aggressive play. He was quite possibly the greatest passer the league has ever seen. He was deadly from behind the arc. John Stockton was also a tenacious defender and was possibly the best two-way point guard of all time.