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NBA Top 50 Players of All-Time
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Steve Yohe



Joined: 01 Aug 2006
Posts: 2827
Location: Wonderful Montebello CA

PostPosted: Sat Apr 11, 2015 9:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I made up that list over at WC when some guy put up a top 50 NBA list, I felt it was interesting at that moment in time. So I did my list in about 10 minutes and with out going to record books to research all the numbers...like John does in every argument.

I went out to eat & movies that night & while eating a steak I memtioned the list to John. He started asking me questions about it & who I put where & I didn't really remember everything...because I didn't care. He told me he wanted me to post it at tOA to get some talk going. He really wanted to take it apart because he loves to show how smart he is. I understand, but I too thought it would be fun to read the stuff. So I posted it without much thought...at least then...because I've been thinking about the NBA since I was a kid in the 1960's. The list means nothing to me. I had two #6 or something. But looking at it, I don't mind it. It's my bias stuff, from watching games since 1962.

I stuck Joe Fulks name in their as a bone to the guys who stared the league. I used to get the NBA Guide & I read the history thru the sats in it. I knew a little about Joe Fulks. He was the first great scorer in the league. He was the first major guy with a jump shoot. He lead the NBA in scoring average 3 times, you know until Mikan showed up. He won the NBA title in the first year...and scored something like 34 points in the final game. He was the first to average over 20 points, with 23.2 in 1947. The 2nd guy was at 16.8. He only shot 30 %, but the best in the league was only 40%. At one point he scored 63 points in a game. In his time, he was like the Wilt Chamberlaid, except he seemed to me to be best player in the league. At least to me. So I put him on the list. I never saw him & I've never watched a NBA game from that period. (Altho I remember a Sister at St Benedicts grade school once charging me & a bunch of other 2nd grade kids 5 cents to watch a NBA game during lunch. There was a big guy in the game that may have been George Miikan.) So if you don't like my pick, fine...but I'm going to stick with it...because I love Williams making fun of me.

Pisses me off when I hear kids ragging on players & the NBA from before 1970. Everyone thinks their players, the guys they grew up watching, are better that the guys in history. Players should be remembered and judge on there position they had in their time. If they lived today...they would have all had the same training, drugs, food, and coaching as guys today. They were great then & they'd be great today. If they didn't do something that's done today...it's because they were out of the court inventing these things.

The great period I had watching the NBA was the 1960's before Magic & Bird...and before the LA Lakers won a NBA title. My hero were Baylor & West (& John Wooden)..and thru everything I've watched sense...I still feel the same way.

And your into AI. We're all the same and we're all right. Everyone's list is their own.

Steve Yohe
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elliott



Joined: 28 Jan 2007
Posts: 82

PostPosted: Sat Apr 11, 2015 11:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Steve Yohe wrote:

Pisses me off when I hear kids ragging on players & the NBA from before 1970. Everyone thinks their players, the guys they grew up watching, are better that the guys in history. Players should be remembered and judge on there position they had in their time. If they lived today...they would have all had the same training, drugs, food, and coaching as guys today. They were great then & they'd be great today. If they didn't do something that's done today...it's because they were out of the court inventing these things.

The great period I had watching the NBA was the 1960's before Magic & Bird...and before the LA Lakers won a NBA title. My hero were Baylor & West (& John Wooden)..and thru everything I've watched sense...I still feel the same way.

And your into AI. We're all the same and we're all right. Everyone's list is their own.


I was the kid at age 13 at basketball camp who said "Bill Russell" when everyone replied "Michael Jordan" when the coach asked everyone who the best player ever was.

We drove through Jerry West's hometown on every trip to my grandma's growing up. He was one of my favorite athletes by the time I was 8 years old, even though he was long retired.

etc etc etc

It is possible to be younger and still appreciate what came before your time. If you told me I had the choice between watching an entire World Series game start to finish in 2015 or read an 800 page biography on Honus Wagner. I'm picking the book. 100% of the time.

It is fun to learn more about those guys I didn't get to see or know very little about. Hence my questioning you about Fulks. I'm not trying to prove you wrong about Fulks. I'm just curious and trying to understand his historical importance. The Mikan era is largely a blind spot for me. I've always found the 60s to be the most interesting honestly. So I'm jealous. You got to see Jerry West AND The Destroyer in their primes. ;)
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elliott



Joined: 28 Jan 2007
Posts: 82

PostPosted: Sun Apr 12, 2015 12:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I finalized my casual top 50. I feel strong about the ranking of my top 2. And the names in my top 5 if not necessarily the order. Everything after that would probably be pretty different if I did it again tomorrow :) I really wanted to put West ahead of Kobe.

1. Michael Jordan
2. Bill Russell
3. Tim Duncan
4. Kareem
5. Magic
6. Kobe
7. Jerry West
8. Oscar Robertson
9. Larry Bird
10. Wilt
11. Lebron
12. Shaq
13. Hakeem
14. Moses Malone
15. Elgin Baylor
16. John Havlicek
17. Isiah Thomas
18. Bob Pettit
19. Dirk Nowtizki
20. Dr J
21. Bob Cousy
22. Rick Barry
23. Walt Frazier
24. Scottie Pippen
25. George Mikan
26. Sam Jones
27. Karl Malone
28. Kevin Garnett
29. Charles Barkley
30. Dave Cowens
31. Kevin McHale
32. Willis Reed
33. Kevin Durant
34. Paul Pierce
35. Dennis Johnson
36. Gary Payton
37. John Stockton
38. Steve Nash
39. Allen Iverson
40. Dwyane Wade
41. Chris Paul
42. Jason Kidd
43. Bobby Dandridge
44. Bill Walton
45. Nate Thurmond
46. David Robinson
47. Dennis Rodman
48. Hal Greer
49. Bill Sharman
50. Patrick Ewing
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Steve Yohe



Joined: 01 Aug 2006
Posts: 2827
Location: Wonderful Montebello CA

PostPosted: Sun Apr 12, 2015 1:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Elliott I wasn't talking about you. I just went off on one of my rants. You have my respect.--Yohe
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elliott



Joined: 28 Jan 2007
Posts: 82

PostPosted: Sun Apr 12, 2015 11:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Steve. :)

Who were the non-Lakers in the 60s you enjoyed watching the most? Doesn't have to be the best but just the guys who you really dug watching. For example, I don't think Joakim Noah is one of the 10 best players in the league but he has been one of my favorite guys to watch really since Rose started to fall apart. The defense, rebounding, hustle, and ability to make great passes from the high post appeals to me. Anyone like that who might not stand out statistically or historically that you really liked to watch?
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jdw
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Joined: 01 Sep 2005
Posts: 16882

PostPosted: Mon Apr 13, 2015 10:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

elliott wrote:
Also for John in your list you said:

Quote:
Dave DeBusschere (46 BS / 48 SY)

Legendary defensive player, good rebounder for undersized forward... but kind of a shitty shooter.


Can you expand more on being a shitty shooter? I know he's only a caree 43% shooter, but this is how Simmons led off the DeBusschere section in his book:

"Two changes would have transformed Dave's career historically. First they didn't create the All-Defense team until the '68-'69 season. (From that point on, Dave made the first team every year until he retired.) Second, they didn't create the three point line until the '79-'80 season. (Dave had been retired for 6 years, having spent his career shooting threes that counted as twos.) Add those tweaks and we're looking at 12 All-Defenses, a career average of 20-11, and a well-earned reputation as the best three-point-shooting forward of his era."

Everything I've ever heard about Dave offensively has been either "great range for the era" or "didn't care about taking shots."


Bill has watched way more Knicks games from that era than I have, and probably watched them several times to study everyone. My problem when watching those games is that I'm drawn to West, Wilt and Clyde... and to a degreee Goodrich (trying to get a feel for him playing off West). I probably don't pay enough attention to the other players. So I don't have a great feel for DeBusschere's long range shooting.

That said, given the Knicks style of play, I'd be kind of surprised if he was chucking up 5 "three point-ish" shots a game, and hitting 2 of them a game (i.e. 40%). He shot .439 in his days with the Knicks, and a lot of that was in close at a higher %. The NBA's own highlight package of him (which is sadly short) has him shooting mostly in close along with some mid-range shots.

Bill is quite probably right on this. He was dead on about McAdoo, which was something that I instantly remembered when reading it... and then could point to on Youtube clips like I posted above.

There are guys that you just know would have been excellent 3-point shooters if they grew up in an era where they was (i) a line in High School, (ii) a line in College, that (iii) prepped them for the NBA line.

Jerry West, as obsessive as he was, would have been an deadly three point shooter if that was part of the game he grew up playing. It's just something that he would have worked on from the age of 14 on.

In contrast, as smart as Clyde was, I'm not sure how he would have adapted his game to it. My guess is that he might have learned the three pointer like Magic: not a key part of his game, but he'd work on it to the degree that if you lay off him he could hit the open one.

My guess is that Pistol Pete would have worked on it since he shot out there anyway, but that he would have been a bit like AI and not really deadly at it and instead hoist up a ton of contested ones.

So on DeBusschere...

My guess is that Bill is probably right. I have Game 5 of the 1972 Final, and Game 7 of the 1970 Final is easy to find. I'm not sure what else is easy to grab.
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jdw
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Joined: 01 Sep 2005
Posts: 16882

PostPosted: Mon Apr 13, 2015 10:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Steve Yohe wrote:
Pisses me off when I hear kids ragging on players & the NBA from before 1970. Everyone thinks their players, the guys they grew up watching, are better that the guys in history. Players should be remembered and judge on there position they had in their time. If they lived today...they would have all had the same training, drugs, food, and coaching as guys today. They were great then & they'd be great today. If they didn't do something that's done today...it's because they were out of the court inventing these things.


I respect the game prior to 1970. You'll find a lot of players on my list prior to 1970.

2. Bill Russell
8. Wilt Chamberlain
9. Jerry West
11. Oscar Robertson
15. Elgin Baylor
16. John Havlicek
23. Bob Pettit
24. Bob Cousy
28. Sam Jones
40. George Mikan
46. Hal Greer
49. Nate Thurmond

You could argue that Havlicek & Thurmond cemented their HOF careers in the 70s, and I wouldn't argue too much. But they were rookies in 1962/63 & 1963/64, so that 7 and 6 seasons in the 60s respectively.

Anyway, 1/3rd of my Top 15 is made up of guys who made their bones prior to 1970, and 9 out of my Top 30. That's while admitting that I probably overrate Pettit & Cousy... though where I place them is lower than Simmons, and probably lower than the "consensus" of NBA historians.

Overall, I thought my list was pretty respectful of pre-1970 guys.

My problem is with the game prior to Russell: the White Players With No Shot Clock Era. I don't give anyone in that era much credit relative to guys who came along the following decade. I put Mikan "somewhere on the list" simply because his teams won so much, and he clearly was the best player in the league. But he also played under different rules, and without having to play against number of good black players who would come to dominate the league within a short number of years after Mikan was gone.

I also have a little probably with the early days of the Russell Era when there still were few black players. The late 50s and first year or two of the 60s are ones that I cut down a bit. An example:

Bob Pettit
13 - Yohe
17 - Simmons
23 - jdw
37 - Jagdip

I cut Pettit down more than Steve or Simmons... but didn't have the balls to cut him as much as Jag. In hindsight, I wish I had him down around 30 or so. :)
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jdw
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 13, 2015 11:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I do like the love that Clyde has gotten from us:

Walt Frazier
23 - Yohe
23 - Elliott
25 - jdw
29 - Jagdip
32 - Simmons


Though I'm wondering if we might be able to talk Jag into moving him up a bit:

24. Stockton
25. Pippen
26. Sam Jones
27. Wade
28. Drexler
29. Frazier

:)

John
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jdw
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 13, 2015 11:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'll have to pick apart the rest of Elliott's list later. But...

Clearly there's an issue with his #4 player being too low. And that's from someone who LOVES Timmy, and has him higher than both Yohe and Jag. But... he ain't better than Cap... them is fighting words!

:)
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elliott



Joined: 28 Jan 2007
Posts: 82

PostPosted: Mon Apr 13, 2015 12:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Preemptive strike... :)

jdw wrote:
I'll have to pick apart the rest of Elliott's list later. But...

Clearly there's an issue with his #4 player being too low. And that's from someone who LOVES Timmy, and has him higher than both Yohe and Jag. But... he ain't better than Cap... them is fighting words!

:)


I knew this would be by far the most controversial part of my list.

Honestly, I was all set to make an argument based on Duncan's never having a losing season, comparable longevity, and Duncan being a terrific defensive player still and the Spurs never really losing the identity of being a "Tim Duncan team" even as Leonard as become the best player on the team.

Then I made my list.

THEN I looked at Kareem's history and realized he was already 38 in 85-86. Ratings bong.

If Timmy can get another title and have another productive season or two then I'd feel better about it. But yeah, I'll admit to jumping the gun on that one a bit.

I feel Kareem and Tim are closer to each other than either of them are to Russell and MJ.
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jdw
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 13, 2015 1:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You need to come correct on Jabbar and change that. :)

I love-love-love Timmy, and putting him #4 is a massive sign of respect given the guys behind him. But Jabbar's closer to #2 than to #4. :)
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elliott



Joined: 28 Jan 2007
Posts: 82

PostPosted: Mon Apr 13, 2015 11:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I did a little digging on DeBusschere to see if I could find any references to his outside shooting. I found an article from 1957 when he was a senior in high school with some interesting quotes from his head coach Hollosy and 13 year nba vet Chet Walker (the other best Detroit HS player at the time).

Hollosy said "Dave could shoot jumpers from 20-25 feet and just kill you."

Chet Walker said "He was the first big man I faced who could shoot well from the outside."

Phil Jackson said in "11 Rings the Soul of Success":
"A few weeks later, the Knicks traded Bellamy and Komives to the Pistons for Dave DeBusschere - a move that solidified the starting lineup and gave us the flexibility and depth to win two world championships...DeBusschere, a hard driving, 6'6 220lb player with great court sense and a smooth outside shot, stepped into the power forward position."

Pete Axthelm in "The City Game: Basketball from the Garden to the Playgrounds" had this to say:
"In the front court, Dave DeBusschere did the rugged and unglamorous work, guarding the opposition's best forward and helping Reed with the rebounding. Yet his battles along the baseline were never lost on the sophisticated Garden fans, who would cheer his rebounds as lustily as they did his frequently unerring bursts of outside shooting."

etc etc etc

I honestly kind of imagine him as the 60s/70s version of Ryan Anderson. If Ryan Anderson was one of the best defensive players in the league and could average 11 rebounds per game.
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elliott



Joined: 28 Jan 2007
Posts: 82

PostPosted: Tue Apr 14, 2015 12:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

jdw wrote:
You need to come correct on Jabbar and change that. :)

I love-love-love Timmy, and putting him #4 is a massive sign of respect given the guys behind him. But Jabbar's closer to #2 than to #4. :)


It seems I can't edit a post if it has been replied to. It will have to stand forever. ;)

I really think Kareem is definitely closer to 4 than he is to 2. MJ and Russell are near interchangeable for me at this point. We'll have to see what happens over the next 3 months and see just how long Duncan sticks around in general. So I'll admit to perhaps jumping the gun and getting ahead of myself.

But there's something to the fact that every teammate and coach raves about and loves Duncan and calls him the best teammate ever. There's not much of that about Kareem.

As great as Kareem was, there's a slight bit of baggage there. Duncan didn't have the baggage. But he didn't have the Sky Hook either. So there is that :)

And I don't mean to insult Kareem. Personally I think he's the greatest, but my dad says he didn''t work hard enough on defense. And he says that lots of times he didn't even run down the court. And that he didn't really try...except during the playoffs. ;)
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elliott



Joined: 28 Jan 2007
Posts: 82

PostPosted: Tue Apr 14, 2015 12:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

jdw wrote:
I do like the love that Clyde has gotten from us:

Walt Frazier
23 - Yohe
23 - Elliott
25 - jdw
29 - Jagdip
32 - Simmons


Though I'm wondering if we might be able to talk Jag into moving him up a bit:

24. Stockton
25. Pippen
26. Sam Jones
27. Wade
28. Drexler
29. Frazier

:)

John


I really wanted to fit Clyde into the top 20. Thinking about it I could be talked into him above Zeke. I had to put Bob Cousy somewhere, hes one of those guys I'm not totally sure what to do with but he was my dad's favorite player so I tossed him there in between Zeke and Clyde.

I kind of want a Dr Jack style Breakdown of Stockton vs Frazier :)
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elliott



Joined: 28 Jan 2007
Posts: 82

PostPosted: Tue Apr 14, 2015 12:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Some corrections from the Dave DeBusschere post that for some reason i can't edit.

DeBusschere's High School coach was named Chuck Hollosy and the article I found was not from 1957 but from 1997. They were honoring the players from that game in 1997 and the article I found was looking back on the game. I was just scanning for comments about Dave. :)

Thats all.
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