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NBA Top 50 Players of All-Time
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Steve Yohe



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PostPosted: Sat Dec 13, 2014 12:21 am    Post subject: NBA Top 50 Players of All-Time Reply with quote

Someone post a top 100 list of NBA player at WC, and I posted a top 50 list. John wanted me to post it here so he and everyone else can make fun on it & tear it apart. So this is the post:

I started watching the NBA in 1962 and have probably watched or followed every Laker game sence. This is my list. I rate guys higher if I felt they were killers who could beat you every night. Some big stars I didn't respect if I thought they were chokes. If I didn't think some star could beat us, I rated them down the list or left them off.

Russell won 11 titles & I can't see puting Jordan above him. He was a monster in his time & he was great in big games. When they were playing, everyone put Russell above Wilt.

1-Bill Russell
2-Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
3-Michal Jordan
4-Lebron James
5-Wilt Chamberlain
6-Jerry West
7-Oscar Robertson
8-Magic Johnson
9-Tim Duncan
10-George Mikan
11-Elgin Baylor
12-Larry Bird
13-Bob Pettit
14-Kobe Bryant
15-Hakeem Olajuwon
16-Shaq O’Neal
17-John Havlicek
18-Moses Malone
19-Julius Erving
20-Rick Barry
21-John Stockton
22-Karl Malone
23-Walt Frazier
24-Kevin Mchale
25-Nate Thurmond
26-David Robinson
27-Bill Walton
28-Dwayne Wade
29-Scottie Pippen
30-Dennis Rodman
31-Kevin Durant
32-Isiah Thomas
33-Dirk Nowitzki
34-Paul Pierce
35-Charles Barkley
36-Dave Cowens
37-Elvin Hayes
38-Sam Jones
39-Joe Fulks
40-Hal Greer
41-Ray Allen
42-George Gervin
43-Clyde Drexler
44-Willis Reed
45-Billy Cunningham
46-James Worthy
47-Dave Debusschere
48-David Thompson
49-Tony Parker
50-Joe Dumars

In the last few days, Kobe was quoted saying that he & Jordan were very much a like. In playing with this list, I remembered someone that was even more like Kobe.......Rick Barry. Only difference is Kobe stayed with one team and Barry was a much bigger dick. ---Yohe
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Steve Yohe



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PostPosted: Sat Dec 13, 2014 12:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I screwed up & have two #6, so it's a list of 51...I think.--Yohe
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JAG



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PostPosted: Mon Dec 15, 2014 10:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I can't muster up the energy to do my own top 50 right now, but there are many nits to pick with your list. Which is the point, I suppose.

I can barely pretend the guys from 1960s played the same sport, let alone the guys from the '50s. Bias for sure, but I believe a correct one.

You have Jordan, Magic, Bird and Kobe too low. LeBron is too high for now. And you can't leave Garnett off the list.

Jagdip
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jdw
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 15, 2014 10:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Split into it's own thread.
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jdw
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 15, 2014 11:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

For some reference, here's Simmons' list during the 2010 off season (after Kobe's back-to-back and Lebron's The Decision). The +/- are from his 2009 rankings.

"The Pantheon" (Level 5):

1 - Michael Jordan
2 - Bill Russell
3 - Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
4 - Magic Johnson
5 - Larry Bird
6 - Wilt Chamberlain
7 - Tim Duncan
8 - Kobe Bryant +7
9 - Jerry West -1
10 - Oscar Robertson -1

11 - Hakeem Olajuwon -1
12 - Shaquille O'Neal -1
13 - Moses Malone -1


Level 4:

14 - John Havlicek -1
15 - Elgin Baylor -1
16 - Julius Erving
17 - Bob Pettit
18 - Karl Malone
19 - Charles Barkley
20 - LeBron James

21 - Bob Cousy
22 - Kevin Garnett
23 - Isiah Thomas
24 - Scottie Pippen


Level 3:

25 - John Stockton
26 - Rick Barry
27 - Bill Walton
28 - Dwyane Wade +25
29 - David Robinson -1
30 - Willis Reed

31 - Dave Cowens
32 - Walt Frazier
33 - Sam Jones
34 - George Gervin
35 - Kevin McHale
36 - Steve Nash +2
37 - Allen Iverson -8
38 - George Mikan -2


Level 2:

39 - Dirk Nowitzki -2
40 - Patrick Ewing -1

41 - Gary Payton -1
42 - Wes Unseld -1
43 - Jason Kidd -1
44 - Clyde Drexler -1
45 - Nate Thurmond -1
46 - Dave DeBusschere -1
47 - Paul Pierce +7
48 - Hal Greer -2
49 - Billy Cunningham -2
50 - James Worthy -2

51 - Elvin Hayes -2
52 - Dolph Schayes -2
53 - Bill Sharman -2
54 - Dennis Johnson -2
55 - Dominique Wilkins
56 - Paul Arizin
57 - Tommy Heinsohn
58 - Bernard King
59 - Robert Parish
60 - Nate Archibald

61 - Bob McAdoo


Level 1:

62 - Ray Allen +1
63 - Reggie Miller -1
64 - Jerry Lucas
65 - Alex English
66 - Adrian Dantley
67 - Earl Monroe
68 - Pete Maravich
69 - Dennis Rodman
70 - David Thompson

71 - Lenny Wilkens
72 - Chris Webber
73 - Sidney Moncrief
74 - Joe Dumars
75 - Artis Gilmore +1
76 - Dan Issel +1
77 - Tracy McGrady -2
78 - Dwight Howard +13
79 - Paul Westphal -1
80 - Bobby Dandridge -1

81 - Dave Bing
82 - Chris Mullin
83 - Cliff Hagan +1
84 - Robert Horry +1
85 - Arvydas Sabonis +1
86 - Connie Hawkins +1
87 - Gail Goodrich +1
88 - Shawn Kemp +1
89 - Vince Carter -6
90 - Chris Paul

91 - Bailey Howell -11
92 - Bob Lanier
93 - Kevin Johnson
94 - Jack Twyman
95 - Jo Jo White
96 - Tom Chambers


Pyramid Players by Position:

Point Guards: Magic (4), Oscar (10), Cousy (21), Isiah (23), Stockton (25), Frazier (32), Nash (36), GP (41), Kidd (43), DJ (54), Tiny (60), Wilkens (71), Bing (81), Paul (90), KJ (93)

Shooting Guards: Jordan (1), Kobe (8), West (9), Wade (28), Jones (33), Iverson (37), Drexler (44), Greer (48), Sharman (53), Allen (62), Miller (63), Monroe (67), Pistol (68), Thompson (70), Moncrief (73), Dumars (74), Westphal (79), Goodrich (87), Carter (89), White (95)

Small Forwards: Bird (5), Hondo (14), Elgin (15), Dr. J (16), LeBron (20), Pippen (24), Barry (26), Gervin (34), Pierce (47), Cunningham (49), Worthy (50), 'Nique (55), Arizin (56), King (58), English (65), Dantley (66), T-Mac (77), Dandridge (80), Mullin (82), Hagan (83), Howell (91), Twyman (94)

Power Forwards: Duncan (7), Pettit (17), Mailman (18), Barkley (19), KG (22), McHale (35), Dirk (39), DeBusschere (46), Hayes (51), Schayes (52), Heinsohn (57), Lucas (64), Rodman (69), Webber (72), Horry (84), Hawkins (86), Kemp (88), Chambers (96)

Centers: Russell (2), Kareem (3), Wilt (6), Hakeem (11), Shaq (12), Moses (13), Walton (27), Robinson (29), Reed (30), Cowens (31), Mikan (38), Ewing (40), Unseld (42), Thurmond (45), Parish (59), McAdoo (61), Gilmore (75), Issel (76), Howard (78), Sabonis (85), Lanier (92)

* * * *

There are four more seasons since then, including:

* Lebron's four straight trips to The Final (2 titles + 2 Finals MVP + 2 more NBA MVP's)

* seven full years of Durran rather than just 3 (which is why his wasn't ranked)

* Dirk's 2010 NBA title (which if I've read Bill's comments since then zoom him up to Level 4)

* Duncan's two more trips to the Final and one additional NBA Title (past Wilt and Kobe... at least)

* another 4 years of 18-10-4 from CP3, 3 1st Team All-NBA

* two more NBA titles for Wade

And other things. Lebron is the 14th player in Level 5, and Bill may have had him in the Top 10 by now.
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jdw
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 19, 2015 4:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

7
Steve Yohe wrote:
I screwed up & have two #6, so it's a list of 51...I think.--Yohe


You had two #6 and no #11:

Quote:
6-Jerry West
6-Oscar Robertson
7-Magic Johnson
8-Tim Duncan
9-George Mikan
10-Elgin Baylor
12-Larry Bird



So it was 50.

I'll edit it and renumber it like this:

6-Jerry West
7-Oscar Robertson
8-Magic Johnson
9-Tim Duncan
10-George Mikan
11-Elgin Baylor
12-Larry Bird
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 19, 2015 4:53 pm    Post subject: Re: NBA Top 50 Players of All-Time Reply with quote

Paul Pierce twice:

Steve Yohe wrote:

34-Paul Pierce
42-Paul Pierce
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 19, 2015 4:56 pm    Post subject: Re: NBA Top 50 Players of All-Time Reply with quote

But that's okay as you have two 49's

Steve Yohe wrote:

49-David Thompson
49-Tony Parker


I'll edit it to (i) remove the second Pierce, and (ii) re-number 42-49 like this:

42-George Gervin
43-Clyde Drexler
44-Willis Reed
45-Billy Cunningham
46-James Worthy
47-Dave Debusschere
48-David Thompson
49-Tony Parker

With Dumars still 50.
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 19, 2015 5:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Looking at Steve and Simmons list, here are the people in Bill's Top 50 that Steve left off:

21 - Bob Cousy
22 - Kevin Garnett
36 - Steve Nash
37 - Allen Iverson
40 - Patrick Ewing
41 - Gary Payton
42 - Wes Unseld
43 - Jason Kidd

Most of them stick in my mind as guys you never liked.

You tended to like KG and AI less than most everyone rates him.

Don't recall you ever saying much positive about Cousy.

You never liked Nash a lot.

We both tended to rip Ewing, and joke about Unseld when his name comes up.

Kidd, like Nash, isn't really your type of player... though you have Stockton really high.

Not sure how far Payton was away from making your Top 50. He was a bit of an asshole, but pretty much your type of PG: hard working, great defense, could score and also dish, shot the ball a heck of a lot better than guys like Kidd.

The guys on your list who didn't make Bill's list:

31 - Kevin Durrant
39 - Joe Fulks
49 - Tony Parker

KD was too young to make it. I'm sure he would be there now.

Parker wasn't in his Top 96, but that was through the 2009/10 season. He then had four more years of 18-7-3 with a team that made two Finals and won a Title, so he would certainly be in his Top 96, and maybe Top 50.

Fulks wasn't on his list.

Fulks is odd. 30% shooter, he took a ton of shots: 26 & 29 in the two years he led the league in scoring, 28 the following year. I'm kind of struck by 1950/51:

19-8-2 Fulk
17-10-2 Arizin

Arizin was a rookie out of college. Fulk was 29, a 2nd team All-NBA player. Fulk shot .316, the second highest of his career. Arizin shot .407, which would end up being below his career average. Fulk never shot close to that. Fulk to 21 shots a game that year. Arizin took 13, and only score a point and a half less.

Arizin was a better free throw shooter though his career, and shot 100 points higher. He had a rep as a tough defensive player. He was innovative with the jump shot at a time when everyone else was a set shooter. He also lost two years to military service.

Arizin wouldn't make my Top 50 for obvious reasons (lack of Black Players in his prime). But I'm not sure why Fulk would rate higher.
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 19, 2015 6:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Okay... kind of winging this.

1. Michael Jordan
2. Bill Russell
3. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
4. Tim Duncan
5. Magic Johnson
6. Larry Bird
7. Kobe Bryant
8. Wilt Chamberlain
9. Jerry West
10. LeBron James

11. Oscar Robertson
12. Hakeem Olajuwon
13. Shaquille O'Neal
14. Moses Malone
15. Elgin Baylor
16. John Havlicek
17. Dirk Nowitzki
18. Julius Erving
19. Isiah Thomas
20. Kevin Garnett

21. Karl Malone
22. Charles Barkley
23. Bob Pettit
24. Bob Cousy
25. Walt Frazier
26. Rick Barry
27. Dwyane Wade
28. Sam Jones
29. Scottie Pippen
30. Kevin Durrant

31. Dave Cowens
32. Kevin McHale
33. David Robinson
34. Dennis Rodman
35. John Stockton
36. Willis Reed
37. Gary Payton
38. Steve Nash
39. Billy Cunningham
40. George Mikan

41. Paul Pierce
42. Dennis Johnson
43. Ray Allen
44. Bob McAdoo
45. David Thompson
46. Hal Greer
47. Bob Dandridge
48. Sidney Moncrief
49. Nate Thurmond
50. Bill Walton
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Steve Yohe



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PostPosted: Tue Jan 20, 2015 5:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bob Cousy
I saw him in his last year & didn't think much of him. He made a come back when he was a coach & he just messed things up. He wasn't a major athlete. He couldn't shoot & didn't play defense & I don't think he was fast. Left when Oscar & West came in. Wasn't a winner until Russell showed up. Sam Jones was better.

Kevin Garnett
Garnett was choke in Min. Don't know how his reputation changed after going to Boston. On national TV Barkley always gave him shit because he wouldn't take over late in games. I never felt he would beat us...until that one year in Boston.

Steve Nash
Hurt you on defense. Not a championship player.

Allen Iverson
Air head.

Patrick Ewing
Over rated.

Gary Payton
Never thought much about him. Saw him for years against the Lakers. Just another good player. Sucked with the Lakers

Wes Unseld
He was only like 6'6". Had a good first year but just got by...by holding. Big body. Never seemed like a problem. Muscle guy.

Jason Kidd
He was Ok, but not top 50.
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Steve Yohe



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PostPosted: Tue Jan 20, 2015 5:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Your list is Ok. But your always trying to cover your ass. I stick my neck out and say what I think from watching games for 52 years.--Yohe
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 20, 2015 1:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Breaking it down:

1. Michael Jordan
2. Bill Russell
3. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar


To me these are the candidates for #1 of all-time.

I think what Jordan did was harder than what Russell did: more teams, talent spread out compared to how loaded the Celtics were, and the pressure of being the #1 athlete in the US (when Russ wasn't). Dominating from Guard rather than Center, with Russell having the advantage of only one other athlete of his physical ability in the league (Wilt).

If Jabbar went to the Celts as a rookie in 1957, it's entirely possible they would have won 11 titles over the course of his career. He was a quality center 17 years into his career, while Russ had been retired for 4 seasons by that point. Jabbar was durable to the end, and always kept himself in top shape. He was far more interested in Winning than Stats, as one saw all the way back to his UCLA days. A terrific defensive player in his prime, a terrific scorer, an excellent and willing passing big man, and high hoops IQ. Would have fit in well with those Celts. I think the gap between Russ and Jabbar is much smaller between them and Wilt.


4. Tim Duncan
5. Magic Johnson
6. Larry Bird
7. Kobe Bryant


I think Tim passed all three of these guys with the 5th title and the back-to-back trip to the finals late in life. His seasonal stats in those years aren't mind blowing, but he had a lot of big games in those two post seasons. We tend to forget that he's a two time MVP who probably should have won 4 straight from 2001-2004. His peak was higher than people think since his game never was to stuff the box score with points on a nightly basis, so he doesn't look as dominating as others.

It's worth noting that I have Kobe higher than Steve:

Quote:
8. Magic
9. Duncan
12. Bird
14. Kobe


I think I'm owed an apology for all the shit I've taken over the years as a Kobe Hater. ;)


8. Wilt Chamberlain
9. Jerry West
10. LeBron James


I'm mixed about this. I'd rather have Jerry on my team than Wilt. I'd also rather have Jerry on my team than Kobe. But Wilt had the upside that 1967 showed, which is a level that Jerry never had.

LeBron was on his way to passing these two, and I expected to have him passing Kobe and Bird this year. But... there's something wrong going on. It's not just the Cavs: his game has gone goofy as well. So I'm parking him there for the moment. On the other hand, I think after the 4 straight Finals, back-to-back Titles and all those MVPs, it's impossible not to rate him in the Top 10. If he suffered a career ending injury in his next game, I probably would even need to move him above West. He's right at that level, but since his career isn't over I'm hedging him at #10.


11. Oscar Robertson

LeBron > Oscar

That's pretty much where I have it at the moment. Bron won the two titles, was the main man on them. Oscar won 0 except when Jabbar was carrying him. Bron has reached the level when I'm comfortable with that.

12. Hakeem Olajuwon
13. Shaquille O'Neal
14. Moses Malone


Honestly have no clue on these.

Shaq at his best was better than Hakeem... he just didn't bring it enough, even in his best year he'd zone out. Hakeem's years of being a problem child (between Houston's 80s trip to the Final and the back-to-back) tend to be forgotten. I don't happen to think he was a bigger problem to deal with than Shaq, or that if he'd been in the settings that Shaq had been that he'd ever be a problem. Shaq had it pretty damn good for most of his career.

Moses "only" won a single title, and then the team fell off. I think some of that is bad luck. He had crappy Rockets teams. His one team where things came together won it all, but had the bad luck of Doc being old, Toney flaming out, and the rest of the team being old/marginal. In a better setting, he wins a few, especially given how the title bounced around from 1975-83. In fact, if he were on the 76ers in 1980 or 1982, those are scary series for the Lakers.


15. Elgin Baylor
16. John Havlicek
17. Dirk Nowitzki
18. Julius Erving


Forward-o-rama.

I'd like to rate Baylor higher, but his first three teams were under-.500 while he was dominating. His second team had the 2nd worst record in the NBA. It's... odd. A lot of players on this list played on bad teams, but that one is really odd. The next year they added West and still were under .500.

On the flip side, I'm showing him a ton of respect by placing him here. Top Forwards of all-time:

4. Tim Duncan
6. Larry Bird
10. LeBron James
15. Elgin Baylor

Duncan is a PF/C. LeBron has been a Point Forward, playing anywhere from PG to PF. Bird was also a Point Forward, part PF, part SF, and part PG especially when the team moved on from Tiny being the PG and didn't have a true pure PG. Baylor is the best pure, traditional forward of all-time on my list.

I'll take Hondo's versatility over Doc's spectacular nature. We lost Doc's best to the ABA, but it's also possible that we lost Hondo's best to being a "team" player on the Celts. He was 28 on Russ' last team. He also wasn't a great % shooter until Russ retired, getting an instant boost of above .050. On paper that's odd given Russ' rep as setting everyone up, and also you'd think more pressure to gun with Russ and Sam gone. The funny thing is that he shot less per 36 minutes when Russ retired. There was a change in how he played after Russ left, and it wasn't bad for him.

Anyway, I like Hondo's ability to play SF and Guard. He created for others, and got his shots. He'd pick off boards, and had a great defensive rep. Longevity, durability, could be the #1 on a great team, or could be the #3rd best player on a great team. Seemed to care about winning, and won a lot. Terrific career.

Dirk has had a goofy career, which is fitting of someone who plays like no seven footer we'd ever seen. This seems high given his long rep as a choker. But he was a monster in the year where the Mavs got to the Final before losing to the Heat, even if he fell off late in the Final. He then was a monster late in life when they final won it with a motley team built around him. They beat a team that went to four straight titles, which frankly is more impressive than any of the teams Shaq and Kobe beat in the 2000-2002 Finals. He also got his team to the Finals twice out of the killer West. He was a dominant scorer him his prime, his teams won tons of games in the brutal West, and he got a Ring when he was the best player in a series that contained the likely best player of the generation (LeBron) and another high top 50 player (Wade). I'd like to rate him lower, but then I'm reminded that his Mav took the Spurs to 7 games last year when Dirk was past his prime... he threw down a 26-15 when they almost stole Game 5 in San Antonio, and potted 22 when they won Game 6 to force Game 7. He's had a great career.

Doc is brutal to rate. His best was in the ABA, and he won plenty there. He was stuck with a messy, insane 76ers team for years when he got to the NBA... and still damn near won a title three times but for running into bad match ups (Blazers, Lakers, Lakers). He wasn't lucky like the Jabbar Lakers to have Magic drop in his lap in a flukey trade, or Worthy. I rate him basically in the same range as Bill (#16) and Steve (#19), but don't have a lot of confidence that Doc warrants being quite this high. The problem is that no one below him is banging down the door.

19. Isiah Thomas

I have him higher than Bill (#23) and much higher than Steve (#32). Clutch player. His team should have won three straight titles at a highly competative time, and it wasn't his fault that they didn't beat the Lakers. The only player this high up who toned down his game at his peak for the good of a team chasing a title, with the possible exception of West... though if you look at Jerry's stats, there's not a lot of cutting back in what he did until later. A key figure in transitioning the game away from Centers to Guards. I don't like Zeke at all, but I don't find holes in him being this high.


20. Kevin Garnett

I think Simmons did a good job of getting across the shit sandwich that KG played with in Minnesota. Beyond just the lack of talent around him, it was a poorly run franchise with a bad front office and a bad coach. His best two teams ran into the ShaqKobe Lakers. Shaq and KG were pretty even:

25-16-3 Shaq
25-15-5 KG

But KG didn't have this guy as a teammate:

28-5-6 Kobe

In 2008 he proved what he could do with a good/great team around him, including dropping the 26-14-4 in the Game 6 elimination of the Lakers.

At his peak he was one of the best defensive power forwards of all-time: quick, long, focused, hard working, rim protector, killer rebounder, and able to pick up a fair number of the centers in the league if his team went "small" similar to Duncan. He could score, but like Duncan never obsessed about putting up big scoring numbers. One of the power forwards who started stretching the floor out and creating spacing, though he rarely had teammates and a coach who could take advantage of it.

He was/is a giant asshole as well. One of those guys you hate on the other team, but if he were Your Asshole, you'd love him. Sort of like Kobe in that regards.

It's possible that he would have been better served as the great #2 to a great #1, similar to McHale and Pippen. But we're down in that range where most players are like that. KG wasn't lucky enough to be like Hondo and have a great #1 as his teammate. But on a certain level KG was similar to Hondo in having a late in life Big 3 to chases titles. Hondo had Cowens and Jo Jo White. KG had Pierce and Allen. Hondo was unlucky one year (1973) when he got hurt in the payoffs, but was completely lucky in another (1976) when the better Warriors jobbed to the Suns, giving the Celtics an easy Finals opponent. KG was a bit unlucky in 2010 with Perkins injury at a time when the Lakers were on the ropes. I have Hondo ranked higher, but I'm not sure that if KG didn't have Hondo's luck (i.e. playing early & often as the #2 to a Top 5 player) that KG wouldn't rate above him. Put it this way: how further up the list would KG be if he were Jordan's Pippen rather than Pippen? I think he'd top Hondo.


21. Karl Malone
22. Charles Barkley


Steve had Malone #22 and Barkley #35. Bill had then #18 & #19. To me they're similar players. Chuck was more spectacular, and could dominate more. Malone could plug away putting up strong numbers forever. Neither won anything, though they didn't often have title winning level talent around them. Chuck pissed away his talent more than Malone, similar to Shaq. That's pretty much the only thing that splits them to me.


23. Bob Pettit

17 Simmons, 13 Yohe. I rate him down because he played his prime in a league where there were fewer Black Players. Had he debuted in 1965 rather than 1955, he would have been Jerry Lucas... if even that. Rate here because he did put up numbers in his era, he did win, and he at least did continue to be good after blacks started hitting the league.


24. Bob Cousy

We can knock his shooting, but it was much better than Fulk. Scorer, creator, got to the line. My knock would be that they never won anything until Russell came along, and those Celtics weren't without talent before Russell. That's why he's down here and not higher. Too many people for the era praise him to ignore.


25. Walt Frazier

It's possible that Steve and I overrate him, and perhaps his beating up West that survives on tape is a reason. But he won, scored, defended, was a killer clutch player (even opposite of Mr. Clutch), played an all around game on an all around team. Similar to Thomas, but Zeke striked me as a better pure PG and someone who gave up even more to help his teams win.

26. Rick Barry

Probably the most entertaining character in Bill's book. Steve rates him a little higher at #20.


27. Dwyane Wade

We all have Wade in pretty much the same spot. The injuries are a bit sad, but probably not surprising given how hard he played the game all the way back to college. He would just attack the paint, take a beating, and come back to attack again. Pretty smart player at his best, other than his three point shooting that he never learned to take well.


28. Sam Jones
29. Scottie Pippen


I rate Sam higher than Bill (33) and Steve (28). I just think he was a shade better than Pippen as a great #2. He spent his early years behind Cousy and Sharman. Once Sharman after 1960/61, you quickly saw how great Sam was. Terrific playoff player.

Scottie was inconsistent in the playoffs. There were times when the scoring wasn't there in big games, or tough opponents. The thing I didn't get until the second run of three-peats is that even when he wasn't scoring, Scottie was all-world defensively in a critical way. To a degree he could be bombing offensively and still be the second best player on the team because his defense was so off the charts. A perfect second banana for MJ, since MJ tended to enjoy the offensively spotlight on himself. ;)

30. Kevin Durrant

Have no idea where to put him. Steve has him at #31. I tend to agree: "Top 30" based on what he's done so far feels about right. I bumped him up one spot from Steve's to get him technically into my Top 30.

31. Dave Cowens
32. Kevin McHale


Another pair in our run of great #2 guys who landed in perfect spots for them.

Cowens slightly higher because people seemed more impressed by him in his era. Also, he seemed to have a tougher job. Centers were all getting BIG by the time of Cowens era. He was 6-9 like Russ, but 6-9 in the 70s didn't tower over just about every non-Wilt/Jabbar in the league like Russ had. Power fowards were starting to get a bit bigger and stronger as well. Elvin Hayes was 6-9. I think Cowens had a bit tougher gig.

McHale was pretty massive, wide and long for a power forward in the 80s. 6-10 with 7-2 type arms. It was only a ways into his career when the PF spot started loading up with guys like Kevin Willis and Roy Tarpley, or freaks like Karl Malone. The Lakers never really had a PF who could match up with McHale, and ended up in 1987 using Thompson (a center) a fair amount on him in clutch time.

About the only thing I can come up with for putting Cowens higher.


33. David Robinson

I have Robinson lower than Bill and Steve. He had the gifts to be a Top 20 player right there with Hakeen, Shaq and Moses. But he couldn't get there. It doesn't make a lot of sense to have him behind Cowens, but there's something about David that just disappoints me.

34. Dennis Rodman

At his peak, the best defensive player that I've ever seen. Insane defensive ability given his odd size: he wasn't that tall for his position, nor all that bulky. But he was strong, fast, sharp, had amazing reaction time, was sneaky and tricky, could get in opponents brains, and could stay focused/committed to defense longer than most players. Completely insane, and at times damaging to his own team (ask the Spurs). But a monster positive to a pair of great teams.

Steve and I have him higher than Bill, which is also odd.

35. John Stockton

Bill (#25) and Steve (#21) have him quite a bit higher than I do. There are lots of positives. You like his hard work, and his longevity. But when I look at most of the guys above this level, it's guys who would be high picks on my "guys I want as a core to a title team" list. #1 guys or #2 guys. Stockton is more like Rodman: a supporting guy a ways down from #1 or #2. He was the #2 to a Top 20 level player, and that team was nothing other than good-to-very good. Do you feel comfortable that you'd win a title if he were the #2 player to any of the Top 14 players? I don't. In contrast, you could win a title with McHale as the #2 to Kobe: he was better than Gasol. Cowens was the #2 to Hondo, and they won a title. Put his type of player with Kobe and they probably would win a title if the case was good.

I don't get that sense with Stockton.

He's in my Top 35 for the longevity of good, quality play. There are guys below who were better than him at their peak.

36. Willis Reed

Steve has him at #45, and Bill at #30. I'm in between. Could be a bit high, and the NY love for him based on the one game is annoying. But he was quite good until the injuries set in. The early part of his career was also held back a bit by several years of being stuck playing with Bellamy.

37. Gary Payton
38. Steve Nash


Glove a bit higher for the insanely great defense, probably the best of a pure guard in the era (and frankly any era). He could score, run a team, create for others, and play that wicked defense. The Karl teams were very good, and had the bad luck of running into MJ in their best season. That same team "between" MJ and after MJ wins a title over teams from the East.

Nash was a horrible defensive player. His teams didn't win a title, though one could argue they were robbed by horrid ref jobs and for a change not be wrong. But offensively... at his best he was probably as good of an offensive PG as ever lived. He doesn't have the scoring numbers that other PG did, but that because he made everyone else on his team a better scorer. It wasn't an easy offense, Nash just made it look easy to us and also for his teammates to score. To me he's similar to Rodman, in an odd way:

Rodman: defense at its finest / no offense
Nash: offense at its finest / no defense

I think there's room for both in the Top 50. Nash was unlucky not to have stayed in Dallas as he and Dirk got better and smarter after he left.


39. Billy Cunningham

Injuries killed his career. He was flat out terrific in the NBA, almost from the start. Terrific #3 or #4 (with Chet Walker) for the 1967 & 1968 76ers where Wilt was #1 and Greer was #2. Wilt is shipped to LA in 1969 and suddenly Billy is the #1, and is terrific. He got better from there, improving his shooting. He jumped to the ABA, and was just as good there.

This to me is impressive through the age of 28:

1965-66 NBA All-Rookie (1st)
1968-69 NBA All-NBA (1st)
1969-70 NBA All-NBA (1st)
1970-71 NBA All-NBA (1st)
1971-72 NBA All-NBA (2nd)
1972-73 ABA All-ABA (1st)

Then the knee went.

40. George Mikan

Terrific accomplisments in a White League that played Pre-Modern Basketball. If he came along 10 years later and lined up directly opposite of Russ than Wilt, he would have been completely exposed. He has to be in the Top 50 based on accomplishments, but it was a totally different game that he dominated. It's like baseball before the mound was moved back *and* the deadball era, combined.

41. Paul Pierce

Long, good career. Probably better suited to be a #2 rather than the #1 he often was. The Big 3 era let him shine, even if it was past his physical prime.

42. Dennis Johnson

Big series player. Terrific defense. Went from a your player who got too much success early, to being a "star" and headcase, to being an exceptional support player on great teams. If I had to chose between DJ and Worthy, there wouldn't be a second thought in picking DJ's career.


43. Ray Allen

Another who would have been better suited for a long career as a #2 or #3 to a Top 10 player. Had to play a bit too much of his career as a #1, and wasn't bad at it. Beautiful shooter.

44. Bob McAdoo

I probably should move him above Allen. I think Bill's piece in the book capture him well. We're in a section where few were among the very best player in the game at their peak. McAdoo was one of the best 5 or so players in the game at his three year peak. He was stuck on a mediocre team, in the wrong era for him. Bad luck. On the back end, he fell into the perfect post prime role: exceptional six man on a great Lakers team with a wide beyond his years coach who knew exactly how to get the best out of him. If Bob came along in the 00s rather than the 70s, he'd be up their with Dirk probably.


45. David Thompson

I probably shouldn't have him here, but was terrific for a brief moment.


46. Hal Greer

We all have him in this same range. Terrific #2 on a great team.

47. Bob Dandridge

He strikes me as being better than Worthy, just not as famous. Played on four finals, won two. Was a big game player. Terrific defender. Similar to Worthy, he wasn't out there looking for his numbers. Could be the #2 player on a team, or the #3... and at times, like in 1978, ended up being the best player down the stretch for a team that won a title. Short career, but so was Worthy's. They're close, but I'll pick a forgotten guy.

48. Sidney Moncrief

That five year peak before the knee injury was terrific. Great defensive player... every bit as good as DJ, if not better. Could score, could run, and was open to passing. Team player rather than looking just for his numbers. Without the knee injury, he would be way up the list. Bill weeps about the injury to Bernard King, but it's Moncriefs that makes me weep.

49. Nate Thurmond

He's hear for his rep as an all-time great defensive player. But a 6-11 Center who shot .421 in his career while averaging about 18 shots a game in his career... that's pretty horseshit. People knock Russ for his .440 shooting. He was a better shotter than Thurmond, and didn't launch up as many shots. I really felt like leaving him off, but Yohe overrating him all the way up at #25 made me at least put him on here. For Steve's comments about guys who couldn't shoot, I'm surprised he ignored Nate's

50. Bill Walton

One of the two best players in the NBA (along with Jabbar) for two straight years, and the anchor for the best team in the NBA those two years. It's a thin resume. But if you tell me I can have those two years of performance and team play, that I'd win a title one year and have a 50/50 chance of winning it that other year... I'd take it over those that I left off the list.

Hell, I'd take it over freaking Nate Thurmond... why did I let Steve overrating him make me put him on my list?
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jdw
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Joined: 01 Sep 2005
Posts: 16852

PostPosted: Tue Jan 20, 2015 1:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Steve Yohe wrote:
Your list is Ok. But your always trying to cover your ass. I stick my neck out and say what I think from watching games for 52 years.--Yohe


I left these guys off that were in either your Top 50 or Bill's:

George Gervin*
Allen Iverson
Patrick Ewing
Wes Unseld
Jason Kidd
Clyde Drexler*
Dave DeBusschere*
James Worthy*
Elvin Hayes
Joe Dumars
Tony Parker
Joe Fulks

* = in both of your Top 50s

So I don't see how I'm not sticking my neck out less than you. :)
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jdw
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 06, 2015 7:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Alright... coming back to this and will keep coming back until Jag gets off his rear end and does a list of his own... ;)

Here are the players on either Bill or Steve's list that I left off mine:

George Gervin (34 BS / 43 SY)

Great scorer, and his teams were "successful". But they never really were a serious contender for the title. They were up 3-1 in the WCF in 1979, yet blew the last four games, including Game 6 at home. He got outscored by Dandridge in that game, then Bobby went toe-to-toe with him in Game 7 (42 points vs 37) where the Bullets won and Bobby scored the winning hoop.

He's Top 100. But not quite Top 50 for me.


Allen Iverson (37 BS / NR SY)

Another amazing talent and scorer. Not efficient at all, though warrants credit for being an insane warrior out there taking loads of punishment while leading the league in Minutes Per Game a nutty number of times. Like Gervin, his teams were "successful" but not really serious contenders. The trip to the Finals wouldn't have happened if they were in the West.

Tend to agree that it's nutty not to have him in the Top 50. But I never really was wowed by him. Respect his toughness, and that he largely had crappy support. On the flip side, I'm not sure how well he would have clicked if you dropped him on the 80s Celts in the place of Bird, or the Shaqkobe Lakers in the place of Kobe. He's a force of nature... not really a force of winning titles. Like with guys like Gervin and Nique, I'd toss him in the 51-100 range.


Patrick Ewing (40 BS / NR SY)

One feels a bit bad for Ewing. He might have been the Best Robert Parrish Ever if he played with a Bird, or perhaps could have scaled to Dave Cowens level if he played with a Hondo & Jo Jo for a better organization. A 29-11 season followed by a 27-11 season is certainly an impressive peak. I'm not sold that Thurmond really was all that better, but if you gave me the choice between the two, I'd probably take a Thurmond-type. Ewing-types are always going to be taken #1 overall, and you're stuck building a team around them... a bit like Dwight Howard. A Thurmond-type can be transitioned into being Parrish: focus on your defensive job, rebound, and figure out how to get easy scores while others do the offensive heavy lifting. Thurmond was a horrible shooter, but on a better team his sticks to dunking.

Ewing would have been great in the Parrish role. The problem is that he came into college as the Next Ralph Sampson / Bill Russell, went to three Finals in four years, won one of them, won all sorts of awards, and was going to be the #1 pick even if he came out the year before with Hakeem, Mike and Bowie. He was The Shit, and had spend 4+ years having John Thompson blow smoke up his ass. It's hard to convert that into being Robert Parrish. It would have taken a Magic Johnson to con him into being a great complimentary player: Magic would have been good enough to get Ewing his 24-26 points in the course of the game, making him think he's the All Pro... while Magic really is running the show. I don't think even Bird could have gotten a Parrish role out of him, or even a McHale.

Top 100, but shy of Top 50.


Wes Unseld (42 BS / NR SY)

Another Robert Parrish type, who largely played the Parrish role in his career except the season they stupidly gave him the MVP. I can't put a guy who averaged over 15 points a game only once in his career in the Top 50. I mean seriously... Dennis Johnson vs Wes Unseld? It's not even close.


Jason Kidd (43 BS / NR SY)

Kind of a giant pain in the ass, which has been lost over time. Flamed out in Dallas, Phoenix and New Jersey. An incredible bad shooter, though he worked hard to get better at 3's late in his career back in Dallas. That said... he had about as much of a nose hoops as anyone. Terrific assist man, ran great breaks, amazing ability to find rebounds, underrated defender, he made most of his teams and teammates "better" even though a lot of them were stacked with garbage / mediocre players.

Close for me, as I do like players who make their teammates better. But I think Payton, DJ & Moncrief were better all around (great defenders as well), while Nash flipped Bad Defense for Kidd's Bad Shooting. Would be an interesting comp between those two... just think Nash's offense was better enough to cover for the defense. He also wasn't the head case that needed to leave town.


Clyde Drexler (44 BS / NR SY)

I have him just a bit out of the Top 50. Pretty terrific all around offensive player before Jordan torched him, including some sneaky offensive board numbers. Could create for others, and probably could have put up more points of he had more of a gunners mentality. I tend to think his defense was underrated: could be very good at times, though a bit inconsistent. Another guy who would have been a great second banana, and probably wouldn't have had an issue with it if matched with the right guy.

Would be Top 50 if he spent his entire career paired with Hakeem... or if the Lakers had ended up with him (#14 pick in the 1983 draft) rather than Byron Scott (#4 pick in the 1983 draft). Timing wasn't great, as the Nixon-Scott trade didn't happen until October and the draft was in June. Magic-Clyde would have taken some time to gell, but B-Scott took a couple of years to get his shit together as well.


Dave DeBusschere (46 BS / 48 SY)

Legendary defensive player, good rebounder for undersized forward... but kind of a shitty shooter. I don't get that there's enough to be Top 50 other than being yet another player on a legendary (and overrated) team. He never truly led a decent team, and how far down the pecking order was he in New York?


James Worthy (50 BS / 47 SY)

Luckiest SOB in NBA history. I love Big Game James, and treasure his contributions to those three title teams. But... he never would be Top 50 playing on *any* of team of that era, even the Celtics (since Bird was the SF). Perfect team for him, perfect teammate in Magic, and the right coach in Riley to deploy him perfectly.

My contrast would be with Dandridge. Both small forwards. 19-7-3 for Dandridge from 1970-79, and 19-6-3 for Worthy from 1983-91. Title winners. Neither led their teams, both were willing to play supporting roles behind their anchors. Both had some big games in big settings. I favor Bobby a bit more because he did it with two teams in the Bucks and then the Bullets. Jabbar and Oscar were the big stars on the first, and Hayes & Unseld were the established big boys on the other. Fitting in with both just hits me a bit more than James.


Elvin Hayes (51 BS / 37 SY)

Big numbers. Teams were overrated, and needed an injection of Dandridge to get over the hill. Jerry Lucas just five years later.


Joe Dumars (74 BS / 50 SY)

I like Joe. Terrific defensive player, and really good team defender. Could share some of the rock duties with Zeke, though Zeke really was the PG. Kind of amazing how late in his career (8th season) he turned himself into a really good 3P shooter and upped his game there. Really a guy you'd want on your team if you had a lead PG, or even probably would have made an excellent quasi-PG on a team with a Jordan or Kobe who really handled much of the "point" duties from the SG spot. Perfect as a #3 or #4 guy on a loaded team.

I kind of think Bill has him in close to the right place. I don't think he was as devastating as Payton defensively, and never led a team like DJ or Payton did. I think Moncrief's five year high end was a much higher peak than Dumars, without the quality of hard working defenders around him. Top 100.


Tony Parker (NR BS / 49 SY)

Don't disagree with Steve much, and suspect Simmons has him close to this range now. Since he would be "just in" rather than "strongly in" (like Durrant is), I thought it best to wait until his career was done. Also... his career seems to be on the downturn. You'd think this season and last would be him taking over more of the team as Timmy and Manu was declining. But Tony was down last year, and again this. The regularity of his little injuries are worrisome as well.

He'll be in my Top 50 when he's done.


Joe Fulks (NR BS / 39 SY)

Lack of Black Players in the NBA make me not even consider him. The game changed in the 60s.
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