49. Steve Nash
Career Stats: 14.3 PPG, 3.0 RPG, 8.5 AST, 49.0 FG%, 42.8 FG3%, 90.4 FT%
Steve Nash was always a really good player with the Dallas Mavericks, but he came into his own as a Hall of Fame Player and NBA Great, with the Phoenix Suns. The Phoenix Suns under the Mike D?Antoni Offense from 2004?08, were one of the more exciting Offensive teams to watch in the NBA. It was ?seven seconds or less? up-tempo position-less basketball that we see in today?s NBA. The Offense was built around Nash and his great decision-making and passing ability.
Nash made the team and his teammates immediately better upon his arrival in Phoenix. They were a perennially average team in the early 2000s but became contenders instantly with Nash. He was arguably the best Point Guard in the NBA from 2004?08 and controversially won back-to-back NBA MVP Awards for the 2004?05 and 2005?06 Seasons.
48. Paul Pierce
Career Stats: 19.7 PPG, 5.6 RPG, 3.5 AST, STL 1.3, BLK 0.6, 44.5 FG%, 36.8 FG3%, 80.6 FT%
Paul Pierce may have his blunders and ridiculous takes as an analyst on ESPN, but I promise you he was ten times better as a player. Pierce was recently named a nominee for the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame. This is a no-brainer. Pierces? basketball career more than warrants a bust into the Hall of Fame. He?s a former 10-time All-Star, NBA Champion, and Finals MVP Award winner.
Pierce came up clutch for the Celtics during their Playoff runs from 2007?2012, including his infamous wheelchair incident during the 2008 NBA Finals. Pierce was one of the best scorers of his era, because of his strength, ability to hit post-up fades, Mid-range shot, Three-point shot, and ability to finish at the rim off contact.
47. Willis Reed
Career Stats: 18.7 PPG, 12.9 RPG, 1.8 AST, 47.6 FG%, 74.7 FT%
The leadership of Willis Reed is something that is duly noted. He earned his nickname ?The Captain? by being a hard-working and tough player. Few could outmuscle the stocky 6?9 Center as his Rebounding and inside presence in the paint, helped The New York Knicks win two Championships during the 1969?70 and 1972?73 seasons. Injuries ultimately took a toll on Reed and the prime years of his career didn?t last as long as many others on this list. However, there?s no denying his brief time of excellence and contributions to the glory years of New York Knicks Basketball.
46. Elvin Hayes
Career Stats: 21.0 PPG, 12.5 RPG, 1.8 AST, STL 1.0, BLK 2.0, 45.2 FG%, 67.0 FT%
What?s not to like about Elvin Hayes? The man played in three different decades and was an All-Time great player for a long time. This man played heavy minutes well into his late 30?s and was a dominant Rebounder. He was a great low-post scorer that averaged a double-double every season he was in the league, except for his last four.
Many will be surprised to know Hayes is 10th on the NBA All-Time Scoring list, ahead of guys, like Tim Duncan, Allen Iverson, and Hakeem Olajuwon. In that regard, Hayes may go down as one of the more forgotten and underrated greats to ever play. When we think of great big-men in the history of the league, Hayes almost seems like an afterthought, but the truth of the matter is, he belongs. He?s one of the best big men to ever play in the NBA.
45. Jerry West
Career Stats: 27.0 PPG, 5.8 RPG, 6.7 AST, 47.4 FG%, 81.4 FT%
The NBA Logo. That?s one of the first things people think of when they hear Jerry Wests? name. A symbol like that is something that will leave a mark on his legacy throughout the test of time. The fact is, his play on the court was just as memorable and is to be respected. West was a combo Guard that could facilitate an Offense or take over a game with his great shooting and scoring ability.
West could do it all on the offensive end of the floor. He is one of the few players on this list to have led the league in both points per game and assists per game at one point in their careers. In 14 seasons in the NBA, West was a 14-time All-Star and NBA Champion. He is the NBA logo for a reason.
44. Gary Payton
Career Stats: 16.3 PPG, 3.9 RPG, 6.7 AST, STL 1.3, BLK 0.6, 46.1 FG%, 31.9 FG3%, 72.9 FT%
The Seattle Supersonics of the mid to late ?90s were a great team to watch. Payton led a tough team of goons, like Shawn Kemp, Detlef Schrempf, Sam Perkins, and Nate McMillian. Those Gary Payton to Shawn Kemp alley-oops were a thing of beauty. No one wanted to play those two. For a good while, Payton and Kemp were arguably the best Guard to big-man combo in the league at the time. He earned his nickname as the ?Glove? by being a pest on the defensive side of the ball.
Payton had great hands to pick-pocket ball handlers and disrupt passing lanes. His quick first step, allowed him to penetrate and dish to his talented teammates. If it weren?t for Michael Jordan and the Bulls, the Supersonics very well could?ve won a couple of Championships. Payton was a 9-time All-Star, 9-time All-NBA teamer, and 9-time All-Defensive 1st teamer. By the way, this is who he was throwing lobs to;
The Glove and ?Reign man? were exciting to watch!
43. Walt Frazier
Career Stats: 18.9 PPG, 5.9 RPG, 6.1 AST, STL 1.9, 49.0 FG%, 78.6 FT%
The Best Point Guard in New York Knicks History, Frazier was a highly disciplined floor general that was known for his smooth play and patience. You could say Frazier was the Joe Namath of the New York Knicks. He brought style, flash, lights, cameras, and action to the team during their great runs of the late ?60s and mid-?70s. He was a 7-time All-Star and 6-time All-NBA teamer. The Knicks teams under Frazier were the ?glory days? that brought them two NBA Titles. Frazier was a huge reason for those great Knick runs.
42. Russell Westbrook
Career Stats: 23.2 PPG, 7.1 RPG, 8.3 AST, STL 1.7, 43.7 FG%, 30.5 FG3%, 79.9 FT%
Russell Westbrook easily has to be the greatest athlete to ever play the Point Guard position. Nobody at the Point Guard position throws down thunderous dunks quite as he does with great leaping ability. It?s a joy to watch this man play. He leaves zero unused effort on the floor. Every ounce, every drop of energy he has, he uses on the court. Maximum effort every play.
Westbrook is unstoppable when he takes it to the basket, and when he shoots his mid-range. If his three-point shot is ?on? he?s pretty much un-guardable. He?s a great floor general and leader who has produced 3 straight triple-double Season Averages for Points, Rebounds, and Assists from 2016?19. An NBA Championship is the only thing that still eludes Westbrooks decorated career. He?s still in his prime and there is time for him to climb these rankings in the future. For now, he already is an All-time Top 50 NBA player.
41. Pete Maravich
Career Stats: 24.2 PPG, 4.2 RPG, 5.4 AST, STL 1.4, 44.1 FG%, 82.0 FT%
Do you want to know what greatness is? Go to https://www.basketball-reference.com/ and in the search bar, type in Pistol Pete. Pete Maravich?s name comes up. That?s right. You can look this man up by his nickname and get to his stats page. The man has one of the coolest nicknames in NBA history and he earned it.
Pete Maravich was like a modern-day Steve Nash but with more of an assertive scoring mentality. His jump-shot was pure beauty. He had a great form and release, and could pull it from anywhere on the court, thus the nickname ?Pistol Pete?. Steve Nash?s game, almost mirrors this man. They both could dribble drive, stop on a dime and pull up on fade back Jump-shot from the top of the Free-Throw line.
Pete could do it all. he could pass, shoot, dribble, get to the basket, and shoot off the dribble. Pete was way ahead of his time, and his career could?ve been even better if it was after 1979 when the NBA Three-Point line was implemented. Pistol Pete was one of those All-Time greats, whose game would fit in perfectly in today?s NBA.
40. Chris Paul
Career Stats: 18.5 PPG, 4.5 RPG, 9.5 AST, STL 2.2, 47.1 FG%, 37.0 FG3%, 87.0 FT%
It?s incredible how long CP3 has maintained his status as an elite Point Guard in the NBA. Through all the changes in today?s league from when he first started, CP3 remains one of the very few pass the first traditional Point Guards in the NBA today. His unselfishness with the basketball allows his team to thrive and get into the flow of the game.
Don?t get it twisted though, Paul can take over a game when the situation calls for it. His calm presence and demeanor, under pressure, are things not all Star players possess. Paul has quick hands-on defense which has led him to lead the league in Steals per game six times in his career. Much like Russell Westbrook, an NBA championship still eludes CP3. Can he win won before he retires? Only time will tell.
39. Carmelo Anthony
Career Stats: 23.6 PPG, 6.5 RPG, 2.9 AST, STL 1.0, BLK 0.5, 44.8 FG%, 34.9 FG3%, 81.2 FT%
Say what you want about Carmelo Anthony, but he no doubt is a Top 50 NBA Player of All-time. If his stats don?t impress you, then just check out some of the moves in his Offensive Arsenal on YouTube. His ability to score in the post, attack the basket, shot the mid-range, and pull-up Threes, made him one of the most lethal scorers in NBA History. Melo could score with the best of them.
The criticism of Melo being a ball stopper and bad teammate is very uninformed and couldn?t be further from the truth. Melo was more of a winner than people think. His time with the New York Knicks was the most success the Franchise has seen in over a decade. To those that condemn Melo for not even reaching the NBA Finals let alone winning one, I ask, who has he played with?
Can we honestly say that Carmelo has been a part of a Super-team much like the teams of his fellow Superstar peers in the 2010’s? No, he hasn?t. I can?t think of one future Hall of Fame Player Carmelo Anthony has played with aside from Allen Iverson, which only lasted for one season. Perhaps Chauncey Billups? Maybe. Billups has been nominated for the class of 2021. The bottom line is that Carmelo has done more with less throughout his NBA Career, and with how many in the media falsely portray him, Anthony is easily one of the most underrated Superstars this game has seen. As a Knicks fan, I?ll never forget Melo?s debut and the energy and life he brought back to the Garden.
38. Tracy McGrady
Career Stats: 19.6 PPG, 5.6 RPG, 4.4 AST, STL 1.2, BLK 0.9, 43.5 FG%, 33.8 FG3%, 74.6 FT%
The Cousin of Vince Carter. Mr. T-Mac made a name for himself throughout High School which led to him being one of the few players to go pro straight out of High School when he became the 9th pick in the 1997 NBA Draft. T-Mac instantly became a rising future star that showed flashes of brilliance and, by his third season was already coming into his own as a prolific and entertaining player to watch. Ironically he played with Vince Carter and the two became one of the most entertaining combos to watch during the 1999?2000 Season. After that, T-Mac went on to Orlando and Houston to become the primary feature player for those two teams, respectively. He didn?t disappoint. He was a 2-time Scoring Champ, 7-time All-NBA Teamer, and 7-time All-Star.
Much like Carmelo Anthony, T-Mac doesn?t get the credit he deserves as an All-Time great because of his countless early first-round playoff exits. To that, I?ll say it’s hard to do much with the atrocious lack of talent on those Orlando Magic rosters. No offense to the players on those Tracy McGrady Orlando teams, but there were no true difference makers or sidekicks. It’s a shame T-Mac got hurt with the Rockets, I truly believe he would?ve had more playoff success if his prime had lasted longer.
While T-Mac remains one of the biggest ?what if?s? in NBA History, his 8-year run being amongst the best players in the NBA earns him a spot on this list. If you want to say T-Mac wasn?t clutch and that his team’s playoff failures were on him just watch this video below and then tell me he wasn?t a clutch Superstar talent.
37. Bob McAdoo
Career Stats: 22.1 PPG, 9.4 RPG, 2.3 AST, STL 1.0, BLK 1.5, 50.3 FG%, 75.4 FT%
Bob McAdoo was a great player for the Los Angeles Clippers before they were the Clippers, as they sported their beautiful Buffalo baby blue jerseys. McAdoo was a scoring machine in those Buffalo days of Clipper land, and he won the scoring title 3 years in a row from 1973 to 1976. Early on in his career, McAdoo was a double-double machine. Injuries would eventually catch up to him early into the prime of his career at the young age of 28.
McAdoo is another one of those ?what if?s? that could have had a much better career had he been healthy. As it stands, his prime years and play were more than good enough to make this list. McAdoo didn?t win a ring until later on in his career with the Lakers as a key rotational role player.
36. Bob Pettit
Career Stats: 26.4 PPG, 16.2 RPG, 3.0 AST, 43.6 FG%, 76.6 FT%
If you want context to just how good of a scorer Bob Pettit was, consider the fact that he never averaged less than 20 Points Per Game. That?s remarkable for any era of basketball. When you look at his Rebounding averages it?s hard to believe that the man never led the NBA in Rebounds Per Game, including his 1960?61 season to which he averaged 20.3 in the latter category. That?s phenomenal production.
As time passes, and years go by, it?s easy to have recency biased and bypass some of the great old-time pioneers of the game like Bob Petitt. Be rest assured though that you can count on writers like me who won?t allow such a stigma to overlook the greats of the very distant past. Pettit was one of the best players of his era and his legacy should be lauded until the end of time.
35. Elgin Baylor
Career Stats: 27.4 PPG, 13.5 RPG, 4.3 AST, 43.1 FG%, 78.0 FT%
Elgin Baylor was one of the best players in NBA history to have never won an NBA Championship. By the time the Lakers eventually did win an NBA Title, he was already retired. Baylor was a high-scoring double-double machine for the Lakers and his accolades were duly noted. It?s hard to believe that Baylor was never able to win a championship, especially when you consider the fact that he played with two fellow greats, in Jerry West and Wilt Chamberlain. Still, Baylor was an 11-time All-Star who dominated on the wing and in the post.
34. Kevin McHale
Career Stats: 17.9 PPG, 7.3 RPG, 1.7 AST, BLK 1.7, 55.4 FG%, 79.8 FT%
If you want to know the epitome of great footwork and post moves for big-men that eat in the paint, watch Hakeem Olajuwon and Kevin McHale. For all the talk about Hakeem Olajuwon, and rightfully so, the one man that gets forgotten about when it comes to footwork and post moves is Kevin McHale. The 7-time All-Star was a crucial sidekick for Larry Bird for many years and has been underappreciated in NBA lore because of his playing in Bird?s shadow.
McHale was a legend in his own right. It didn?t matter if he was coming off the bench or if he was starting. He ate, and he was eating every opposing team’s defender for lunch, and taking gratuity. McHale helped the Celtics capture 3 NBA Titles and enjoyed over a decade of Professional dominance that propelled him into the Hall of Fame.
33. Anthony Davis
Career Stats: 24.0 PPG, 10.4 RPG, 2.2 AST, STL 1.4, BLK 2.4, 51.5 FG%, 31.9 FG3%, 80.2 FT%
From the time this man was drafted in 2012, expectations were that Anthony Davis would be every bit of the player that he is today. What he is today is a versatile big, that has stretched his offensive arsenal to the three-point line, and one that can make moves off the dribble, on the perimeter, and drives towards the hole. That?s right. Anthony Davis has become a complete offensive stalwart who can score in a variety of different ways.
Initially, when he first came into the league, he was an athletic raw defensive big-man, whose skill level was still trying to catch up to his natural-born raw talent. Over the years it?s been a joy to watch the growth of such a naturally gifted player. Davis? defensive intensity is just as impressive, and his length, wingspan, and size make him an effortless and irreplaceable commodity for a Championship contending team like the Los Angles Lakers.
Davis is already a 7-time All-Star and NBA Champion at the peak of his prime (27 years old) and no matter what happens with his career moving forward, he?s already established his place amongst the All-Time greats.
32. Moses Malone
Career Stats: 20.3 PPG, 12.3 RPG, 1.3 AST, STL 0.8, BLK 1.3, 49.5 FG%, 76.0 FT%
If you think I?m into the analytics measure of weighing how good a basketball player is, you?re wrong. You?re very wrong. I leave the analytics to the nerds that don?t know the game, have not one athletic bone in their body, or have seen a weight room. I?m a traditionalist. I look at the on-court body of work and rely on the main counting stats and numbers that matter.
In the case of Moses Malone being on this list, the combination of the aforementioned latter is a perfect example of why he is here. My nickname for this man is ?The Boss?. Tough as nails. You had a problem with this man, cool, he had no problem punching you in the mouth or dropping 40 on you. Let’s keep it a buck here my fellow readers, who do you take, the guy with great analytical numbers are the guys like Moses Malone? Oh ok. Yeah, I?ll take toughness, Rebounding, Championship heart, and production like Malone all day as well.
This man played with more heart than almost any other on the court, and his no-nonsense attitude and production left a historic impression on the NBA that made room and paved the way for gritty, nasty, tough enforcers that would come after him. Salute to a true boss, enforcer, bully, and walking contradiction of the ridiculous stigma of nerdy analytics that has plagued the truest form of basketball. Malone is a hero for traditionalists like me everywhere.
31. Patrick Ewing
Career Stats: 21.0 PPG, 9.8 RPG, 1.9 AST, STL 1.0, BLK 2.4, 50.4 FG%, 74.0 FT%
Patrick Ewing was an instant blessing in disguise for the New York Knicks when they made him the 1st Overall pick of the 1985 NBA Draft. Long gone were the glory days of the Championship Willis Reed and Clyde Frazier led Knicks teams. The Knicks were hitting a dry spell before Ewing?s arrival. That all changed and rocked in a seismic shift into an exciting new era of New York Knicks basketball in the late ?80s and ’90s.
Ewing became the instant go-to guy on the offensive end as he displayed his tremendous skill set and footwork. Ewing could shoot the ball from the perimeter and post-up down in the paint. On defense, Ewing was a 3-time All-Defensive teamer, and he set the tone for the Knicks with max effort and production. Ewing wasn?t able to rekindle the Knicks Championship days, and ultimately win one, but he brought the Knicks to prominence during his time there and they were Title contenders throughout.
30. Dominique Wilkins
Career Stats: 24.8 PPG, 6.7 RPG, 2.5 AST, STL 1.3, BLK 0.6, 46.1 FG%, 31.9 FG3%, 81.1 FT%
This rim rocker terrorized NBA teams. This man was an athletic freak show. Dominique Wilkins may just be the best in-game dunker and best dunker overall, in NBA history. When Wilkins drove to the lane, defenders typically had no chance at stopping him, and if he elevated to the rim, a lot of times, players moved out the way as they didn?t want to foul and become a poster. Still, Wilkins created his fair share of posters, but the thing that goes over most people?s heads is how versatile he was as a scorer.
Most people when they think of Dominique Wilkins, think of an athletic dunk king savant. The truth of the matter is though, Wilkins had a great outside touch. He could shoot from the perimeter and kept defenses honest by making them pay if they forced him to beat them by shooting from outside. This opened up drives to the basket for Wilkins where he played at his best. Wilkins was a 9-time All-Star and full-time Superstar legend for the better part of his career with the Atlanta Hawks.
29. Scottie Pippen
Career Stats: 16.1 PPG, 6.4 RPG, 5.2 AST, STL 2.0, BLK 0.8, 47.2 FG%, 32.2 FG3%, 70.4 FT%
Scottie Pippen will forever be the player that lived in Michael Jordan?s shadow. He wasn?t just some ordinary sidekick though. Oftentimes when the Bulls played, he was the 2nd best player on either team. Pippen was the x-factor for the Bulls and it should be noted that Michael Jordan didn?t win not one Championship without Pippen. That says a lot about the greatness of Scottie Pippen.
For over a decade Pippen and Michael Jordan were the best duos in the league. Pippen was the facilitator of the two and used his court vision to run offensive sets and got his teammates involved if the Bulls’ offense became stagnant. He could also be counted on to take over games down the stretch and be aggressive when he needed to be.
Defense is where Pippen shined. He was a 10-time All-Defensive teamer. His ability to lock down the opposing teams? best perimeter player made Jordan?s job easier and it helped set the tone for the Bulls on that side of the ball.
Perhaps the biggest showcase of how valuable Scottie Pippen ultimately was for the Bulls, was when Michael Jordan infamously retired before the start of the 1993?94 NBA season to play baseball. It was Pippen?s team for that lone season, and he led them to just 2 fewer wins than they had the year prior with Michael Jordan. During the 1993?94 season, Pippen showed he can carry a Franchise and be the main Star on a great team.
28. Reggie Miller
Career Stats: 18.2 PPG, 3.0 RPG, 3.0 AST, STL 1.1, 47.1 FG%, 39.5 FG3%, 88.8 FT%
There?s so much that can be said about the great Reggie Miller. For starters, he paved the way for making it cool to be a Superstar in the NBA who mainly was a shooter or spot-up shooter. He was Ray Allen, and Klay Thompson, long before Ray Allen and Klay Thompson. Miller was a pest for opposing defenders as he was able to move around screens to get open and torch them with his lethal touch from the perimeter.
It didn?t matter how good the defense was, if Miller got to his spots and was comfortable, you weren?t stopping him. His legendary playoff rivalry with the New York Knicks in the ?90s is something that will always be an iconic part of NBA lore. His performances in the playoffs earned him a reputation for being a cold-blooded assassin when his team needed him to be.
The one game that sticks out in everyone’s mind was Miller scoring 8 points in 9 seconds to help his team take game one of the 1995 NBA Eastern Conference Semi-Finals against the rival New York Knicks. The rivalry and Miller?s reputation for torching the Knicks in the playoffs was so Legendary, ESPN made a 30 for 30 about it. Knicks fans hated this man, but perhaps the biggest Knicks fan hatred of him was highly publicized and duly noted in Spike Lee. Miller?s mannerisms, trash talk, and legendary choke gesture versus the Knicks were iconic and entertaining. He was big-time in a small market and was a huge money grab and ratings draw for the NBA at his peak.
Oftentimes Miller gets overlooked in NBA history as one of the greatest players to ever play and criticized for making ?only? 5 All-Star teams with journalists like Bill Simmons questioning whether Miller was even a legit Superstar and, being the leader of such a blasphemous statement. Let’s be real here, what Bill Simmons knows about the game of basketball can fit in a baby’s hand.
To Bill Simmons and journalists like him, I say Miller was an unselfish Superstar player, that didn?t care about getting numbers. He adjusted his game throughout the years for the betterment of the team and though the Pacers were ultimately never able to win a Championship, they only missed the postseason 3 times in Millers’ 18 seasons with the Franchise. Reggie Miller was a winner in every aspect of the game. His imprint and legendary performances are vital to the NBA?s tradition and history.
It doesn?t matter what the numbers say, the eye test, his impact, and his legendary performances will forever make him one of the most important players in NBA history, and he did it for a small market Franchise. Not many athletes in any Professional sport of any kind can say they?ve accomplished or had the resume of Reggie Miller, or that they are one of the best to do what they did Professionally.
Bill Simmons is a clickbait title grabber who consistently writes and says blasphemous things for clout. It doesn’t matter though because Millers’ reputation, legacy, iconic status, and Hall of Fame career cement his place in NBA lore. Reggie Miller was 10 times better at his Profession than Bill Simmons could ever dream of being.
27. George Gervin
Career Stats: 25.1 PPG, 5.3 RPG, 2.6 AST, STL 1.2, BLK 1.0, 50.4 FG%, 84.1 FT%
Kevin Durant is the modern-day ?Iceman?. George Gervin?s height, frame, and long wingspan allowed him to score any time he wanted, at a very efficient rate. The one constant you?ll see with some of the greatest scorers in NBA history is their ability to make scoring look effortless. George Gervin was no different. The Iceman led the league in scoring four times and was a 12-time All-Star.
Gervin could also be counted on to be a very sound and solid defender, as he used his long arms, height, and wingspan to get blocks and steals. He was able to Guard and play the Small Forward and Shooting Guard position because of his size and length, and was one of the more unique scorers of his era because of that, much like Kevin Durant is today.
26. Kawhi Leonard
Career Stats: 18.7 PPG, 6.4 RPG, 2.7 AST, STL 1.8, BLK 0.7, 49.1 FG%, 38.3 FG3%, 85.5 FT%
If you watch the NBA today, you already know Kawhi Leonard is one of the best players in today?s NBA and of his era. He?s the pure definition of a two-way player. Leonard is an efficient scorer that consistently puts up seasons where he shoots high percentages from the floor. He started his career as a role player for the Spurs, but quickly, his athleticism and efficient scoring earned him a bigger role with the Franchise.
As the Spurs core started to age, it became clear Kawhi was starting to become their best player. He won a championship with the Spurs in 2014 and was the Finals MVP at the young age of 22. Kawhi started to gain respect as a true Superstar when he helped the Raptors get over the precipitous hump, and capture their first NBA Title in Franchise history in his lone season there in 2019. Leonard will only continue to add to his already great legacy and could see himself move up this list in the future.
25. Jason Kidd
Career Stats: 12.6 PPG, 6.3 RPG, 8.7 AST, STL 1.9, 40.0 FG%, 34.9 FG3%, 78.5 FT%
Jason Kidd has one of the greatest basketball minds in the history of the NBA. It?s no surprise he?s made the seamless transition into coaching. For all his accomplishments and individual accolades, probably the most impressive accomplishment of Kidd?s career was his longevity. He was a starter every year in the NBA except for his last season with the Knicks, at the age of 39.
Every team Kidd played for, he immediately made better. Before he arrived in 2001, the New Jersey Nets were a floundering last place Franchise with 26 wins the season before his arrival. The Nets led by Kidd, went from worst to first and even made the NBA finals, where they ultimately lost to the mighty Shaq and Kobe led Lakers in 2002. Kidd would go on to help lead the Dallas Mavericks to an upset win over the much favored Miami Heat in the 2011 NBA Finals.
Kidd wasn?t the greatest or most efficient shooter, especially early on in his career. He made major improvements though and by the time he reached his peak, he was a respected three-point shooter. Kidd?s ability to affect the game without scoring is what made him such a valuable player. He was a terrific defender (9-time All-Defensive Team), and a tremendous Rebounder. Kidd was a threat to post a Triple-Double any time he was on the court. He?s 4th All-Time for most games with a Triple-Double (107).
24. Tim Duncan
Career Stats: 19.0 PPG, 10.8 RPG, 3.0 AST, STL 0.7, BLK 2.2, 50.6 FG%, 69.6 FT%
Many are probably shocked that I have Tim Duncan here. The popular belief is that Duncan is the greatest Power Forward of All-time. That?s an over-exaggeration and couldn?t be further from the truth. That?s an argument for another day and maybe sometime in the future, I’ll do an article as to why Tim Duncan is one of the most overrated players in NBA history because of it. However, if properly ranked, Tim Duncan is one of the best to ever do it at his position.
Duncan was a selfless leader, who fit the Spurs Greg Popovich system perfectly. The motion style, rhythm passing, and ball movement led to Duncan getting easy cuts to the basket, and countless pick and pop situations where he was able to showcase his mid-range prowess. He was nicknamed ?the big fundamental? for a reason and his ability to pick his spots on the elbow for his trademark bank shot, or the top of the key pick and pop, were a huge staple in the Spurs offense that he helped lead to 5 NBA Title wins.
For all his winning with the Spurs, Duncan certainly had his fair share of impressive individual accolades. He was a two-time MVP, three-time Finals MVP, and 15-time All-Star.
23. Dirk Nowitzki
Career Stats: 20.7 PPG, 7.5 RPG, 2.4 AST, STL 0.8, BLK 0.8, 47.1 FG%, 38.0 FG3%, 87.9 FT%
During his era and prime, there weren?t many if any Power Forwards that could stretch the floor like Dirk Nowitzki. It was a different game 10 years ago. Now, having a Forward that could stretch out to the three-point line isn?t a luxury, it’s a must. Dirk paved the way for a lot of the big-men that have similar play styles in today?s NBA. He could catch and shoot, dribble drive, shoot off the dribble, post-up, and of course, his trademark one-legged fades.
For years Nowitzki was the driving force for the Dallas Mavericks as Western Conference contenders. The one gripe many in the national media had about Dirk was that he was supposedly ?soft? and couldn?t get the job done when it counted most. How did Dirk respond? By leading his team to a Championship over arguably the greatest ?Big 3? ever assembled in Miami (Lebron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh). He led a team that wasn?t supposed to win an NBA Title, to do just that, win an NBA Title.
22. Stephen Curry
Career Stats: 23.5 PPG, 4.5 RPG, 6.6 AST, STL 1.7, 47.6 FG%, 43.5 FG3%, 90.6 FT%
This man single-handedly changed the landscape to how NBA teams formulate their team Offenses and Rosters. His inexplicable shot selection and play style opened the door for Coaches around the NBA to run fewer Offensive sets and let players have the freedom that you see in today?s NBA. You can thank Steph Curry for all of that.
From his days as a junior at Davidson College, Curry was one of the most fun Basketball players to watch. He has a beautiful form on his release and can get his shot off with ease from anywhere on the floor. Curry is currently the 3rd All-time leader in three-pointers made. Together with Klay Thompson, Curry helped form, perhaps the best shooting back-court duo in NBA History. He?s helped the Warriors win 3 NBA titles and became the first unanimous MVP in NBA history during the 2015?16 Season. If you need confirmation as to his shooting abilities, take a look here.
21. Charles Barkley
Career Stats: 22.1 PPG, 11.7 RPG, 3.9 AST, STL 1.5, BLK 0.8, 54.2 FG%, 73.5 FT%
There aren?t many if any current or past NBA players that are comparable to Charles Barkley. He was a 6?5 Power Forward who dominated players much taller and at times stronger than he was. What Barkley was able to do at his size for his position, was unbelievable. He was very versatile, and could dribble past defenders, post-up, hit the mid-range shot, and could pass for a big-man.
The most amazing thing about Barkley?s game was his ability to rebound the basketball. In 16 seasons, Barkley averaged double-digit Rebounds 15 times. That?s crazy for a man that was only 6?5 and played the Power Forward Position. Barkley was never able to win an NBA Championship, but he most definitely played Championship caliber basketball throughout his career and was a winner.
Barkley?s place amongst the best of his era didn?t go unrecognized as he was added to the 1992 Olympic Dream Team. Soon after his retirement, Barkley became an NBA analyst on the most popular NBA Television broadcast show ?Inside the NBA? and is one of the most if not the most beloved and entertaining analyst?s to watch in all of Sports. Charles Barkley is awesome.
20. Clyde Drexler:
Career Stats: 20.4 PPG, 6.1 RPG, 5.6 AST, STL 2.0, BLK 0.7, 47.2 FG%, 31.8 FG3%, 78.8 FT%
It?s probably hard to believe now, but there was a time when there was a legitimate debate as to who was the best Shooting Guard in the league during the first few years of the ?90s. Many were split between Jordan and Drexler. The debate has been put to rest. That?s no knock on Drexler, but rather a personification of just how great of a player he was.
Drexler was a mix of Dr. J and Michael Jordan. He had an awkward-looking jump-shot that worked for him. When he drove to the basket, it was very poetic, smooth, and a great symphony of aerial showmanship. Drexler was able to put the ?cherry? on top of his illustrious career when he finally won an NBA Championship with Hakeem Olajuwon and the Houston Rockets in 1995.
19. Kevin Durant
Career Stats: 27.0 PPG, 7.1 RPG, 4.1 AST, STL 1.1, BLK 1.1, 49.3 FG%, 38.1 FG3%, 88.3 FT%
One of the more unique players in NBA history. Durant is practically a seven-footer that plays the Small Forward position, has handles, and a great jump-shot. He can shoot over anyone, anywhere, at any time he wants. Statistically and physically, he is one of the best scorers in NBA history.
Durant is a four-time NBA Scoring Champ. What gets lost in all the hoopla about his scoring, is the fact that he is a great teammate. He is one of the more unselfish Superstars you?ll see. Durant doesn?t mind letting a teammate with the hot hand take over the game. Still, he is an assassin and will command for the ball in crunch time if necessary. He has proven himself to be a clutch performer.
Many didn?t like Durant?s move to the Golden State Warriors back in 2016. Durant was heavily ostracized for the move. People wondered why a Superstar wanted to go to a team that had already won an NBA Title, and that had 3 other All-stars on the team, including an MVP (Stephen Curry). It didn?t matter though. Durant earned his keep with the Warriors, and they won two NBA Championships, to which Durant was the MVP for both Title victories.
Say what you want about Durant taking the so-called ?easy road? and joining the Warriors, but the truth is, he was by far their best player. Durant is still in his prime and what he does moving forward with the Brooklyn Nets, will only add to his already great resume and Legacy.
18. Karl Malone
Career Stats: 25.0 PPG, 10.1 RPG, 3.6 AST, STL 1.4, BLK 0.8, 51.6 FG%, 74.2 FT%
Forget the fact that this man looks like a wrestler or a human version of a Superhero, or the fact that he has wrestled. Karl Malone was born to be an athlete. He was a freak of nature. There?s an argument as to whether or not Malone is the best Power-Forward of All-time. There isn?t however, much of an argument as to who the strongest was.
Malone was a bully in the paint. He was the Power-Forward version of Shaq. He dominated and abused opponents on post-ups. Malone also had a great touch and finesse game as well. He could hit the mid-range bucket or one-hand touch shots on post-ups. As a pure physical specimen, Malone used his athleticism, to intimidate offensive drivers to the basket. For his career, Malone was a 14-time All-Star and 2 time NBA MVP.
17. David Robinson
Career Stats: 21.1 PPG, 10.6 RPG, 2.5 AST, STL 1.4, BLK 3.0, 51.8 FG%, 73.6 FT%
The Admiral was a Navy man before he officially started his NBA career in 1989. Robinson came and made an immediate impact as he took home the 1989?90 Rookie of the Year honors. Robinson was a monster on the defensive end of the floor throughout his career. He averaged an insane 3.0 Blocks per game for his career. In his third season, he averaged 4.5 blocks per game. With all due respect to Tim Duncan, Robinson is the best big-man in Spurs history. He helped deliver two Championships for the Franchise.
16. Oscar Robertson
Career Stats: 25.7 PPG, 7.5 RPG, 9.5 AST, 48.5 FG%, 83.8 FT%
The ?Big O? was the originator of the Triple double. When you hear the term ?walking Triple-Double?, just know that Robertson?s name is synonymous with it. The Big O is the All-time NBA leader for most games with a Triple Double (181 games). He was a 6?5 Point Guard who used his length and skill to do pretty much anything he wanted to do on the court. His height allowed him to see over the defense and use his great court vision to get the ball to his teammates.
Robertson, with a young Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, led the Milwaukee Bucks to an NBA Title win during the 1970?71 Season. Robertson is a player who will always be high in the NBA lore because of his style of play, stats, and unique length for his position at the time. Robertson was ahead of his era of contemporaries when it came to the style of play and it has paved the way for talented players in today?s NBA to showcase their versatility at the Guard Position.
15. Allen Iverson
Career Stats: 26.7 PPG, 3.7 RPG, 6.2 AST, STL 2.2, 42.5 FG%, 31.3 FG3%, 78.0 FT%
My absolute favorite player to watch growing up. Every kid in my neighborhood looked up to A.I. He was cool, flashy, and dressed cool. He was a cultural Icon and had a major impact on kids across the world. Iverson was the absolute master of the crossover and for a player his size, to do the things he did on the court were unbelievable.
Iverson was a Combo Guard, 4-time Scoring Champion that carried the Sixers for years. In 2001 Iverson was the main Star of a very bad roster, which he led to the NBA Finals. 2001 was a year that proved the worth of how valuable Allen Iverson was to the Sixers. He was a volume shooter, but when he was on, he was impossible to stop.
If you need proof of how good his crossover was, just look at his legendary crossover on Tyron Lue. It?s a shame he never was able to win a ring but his cultural influence, and legendary cross-over, in a lot of ways was bigger than him winning an NBA Title. Just ask MJ how good the Allen Iverson crossover was.
14. Kevin Garnett
Career Stats: 17.8 PPG, 10.0 RPG, 3.7 AST, STL 2.2, 49.7 FG%, 78.9 FT%
Many may be surprised to see Kevin Garnett ahead of Tim Duncan. The fact of the matter is Garnett was always the better player, Duncan had the better system and team. Had Garnett played for the Spurs, Duncan in all likely hood wouldn?t even be in the same conversation as KG. Garnett was a High School prodigy who made the jump straight into the NBA. He carried some very mediocre Minnesota Timberwolves teams to the playoffs and even got them to a Western Conference Finals in 2004.
Ultimately Minnesota couldn?t get over the hump, but Garnett?s talent was not unrecognized. He was a 10-time All-Star and MVP for Minnesota. Garnett ultimately cemented his legacy as an All-Time great when he teamed with Ray Allen, and Paul Pierce to help deliver a Championship for the 2007?08 Celtics. His presence on the floor as an igniter and leader was crucial to the Celtics Championship runs.
13. Isiah Thomas
Career Stats: 19.2 PPG, 3.6 RPG, 9.3 AST, STL 1.9, 45.2 FG%, 75.9 FT%
The story of the ?Bad Boy Pistons? is so culturally iconic to basketball that ESPN did a 30 for 30 documentary on them. The bad boy Piston teams of the late ?80s and early ?90s will always be remembered and Isiah Thomas was the small but tough gritty bad-boy leader of the pact. While some questioned Thomas?s antics, attitude, and mannerisms on the court, no one could question his production. He led the Pistons to back-to-back NBA titles in the 1988?89 and 1989?90 seasons.
Thomas was a great passer and a great scorer. He could take over a game doing either. On defense, he was scrappy and would foul the heck out of you because he didn?t want to give up anything easy. Though he was infamously snubbed from the 1992 Olympic Dream Team, we all know it was he, not John Stockton, that should?ve been on the squad.
12. Dwyane Wade
Career Stats: 22.0 PPG, 4.7 RPG, 5.4 AST, STL 1.5, BLK 0.8, 48.0 FG%, 29.3 FG3%, 76.5 FT%
For a brief time, there was some debate as to whether or not Dwyane Wade was the best Shooting Guard in the NBA. He was that good. His nickname ?Flash? is fitting, as he blew straight by opposing defenders with his quick first step and finished with ease in the paint. His Mid-range game was deadly and he kept defenders honest with his jump-shot. If his three?s were going in, it was a wrap, you weren?t stopping this man.
Wade won a Championship as the main guy teamed with Shaq in 2006, before getting Chris Bosh, and LeBron James to join him in the historically great 2010 Free Agency class. LeBron may have been the best player, but Wade was the leader of the Heats? Championship runs from 2010?2014. Wade will be remembered for his Superstar skill set and selflessness to take a back seat for the good of the team and add two more NBA Titles to his resume for a total of three in his trophy case. Wade was a box office attraction and was a joy to watch play.
11. Julius Erving
Career Stats (NBA): 22.0 PPG, 6.7 RPG, 3.9 AST, STL 1.8, BLK 1.5, 50.7 FG%, 77.7 FT%
Many forget the great Dr. J started his professional career playing for the ABA, not the NBA. Still, Dr. J eventually made the transition to the NBA and quickly became one of the league?s top 5 players at the time. His aerial attacks to the basket were like watching art in motion. Any time you go back and watch Dr. J leap and attack the basket, it was almost as if he was gliding. It was effortless.
Dr. J had natural raw athleticism. He had a high skill set to match as well. He could hit the Mid-range shot, create off the dribble, and create for his teammates as well. On defense, his lengthy wingspan and arms helped him get blocks, and play the passing lanes for steals. Dr. J helped the Sixers win a Title in 1983. He was a street and professional Basketball Legend and paved the way for other Guards coming into the league. His legendary skills were first noted in the famous Rucker Park of Harlem, New York.
10. Bill Russell
Career Stats: 15.1 PPG, 22.5 RPG, 4.3 AST, 44.4 FG%
A glance at Russell?s Offensive numbers and you?ll think ?not that impressive?. The fact of the matter is, his defense and Rebounding were world-renowned. He wasn?t the most efficient player on Offense, but he got the job done. His Rebounding, defense, underrated passing skills, and leadership helped the Celtics win an unprecedented 11 Championships.
Russell was apart of arguably the greatest Dynasty in NBA History. Keep in mind the Celtics have won 17 Championships in their entire NBA History. Bill Russell was a part of 11 of them. That?s very impressive. Russell is highly regarded by today?s player?s and his impact on the league will live forever.
9. Hakeem Olajuwon
Career Stats: 21.8 PPG, 11.1 RPG, 2.5 AST, STL 1.7, BLK 3.1, 51.2 FG%, 71.2 FT%
Hakeem Olajuwon has to be one of the most if not the most fundamentally sound players in NBA history. His footwork down low in the post is legendary. The various post-moves he displayed on a nightly basis left people watching in awe. He also had a smooth-looking mid-range jump-shot. His ability to take over games down low in the paint opened up the floor for his perimeter teammates to take open jump-shots. The Rockets built around Olajuwon in this very way and it led them to win two NBA titles, with Olajuwon taking home MVP honors for both Championship wins.
Many compare Joel Embiid as a player with very similar skills, and footwork to Olajuwon. It?s a fair comparison in terms of raw talent, but Embiid has yet to come even remotely close to Olajuwon?s production, mostly because of him being injury-prone. The fact of the matter is Olajuwon is in a class all by himself when it comes to raw post skills, and it will be a while before we see another generational talent who plays similar to Olajuwon.
8. Wilt Chamberlain
Career Stats: 30.1 PPG, 22.9 RPG, 4.4 AST, 54.4 FG%
Wilt Chamberlain is largely regarded as one of the more selfish Superstars to ever play. Let’s be honest though. It was a different game back then and there weren?t many great big-men that could stop him. If you were a 7?1 monster that could score pretty much whenever you wanted, you?d demand the offense be heavily built around you as well. The results and numbers don?t lie.
Chamberlain led the NBA in RPG for 11 of his 14 Full seasons. Doesn?t matter what era you play in, a career average of 22.9 Rebounds per game is ridiculously impressive. Then of course was the ?granddaddy? moment of Chamberlain?s Career to which he scored 100 points in a March 2nd, 1962 game win for his team (Philadelphia Warriors) against the New York Knicks. That is an NBA record for most points scored in a game. A record that most likely will not ever be broken.
7. Larry Bird
Career Stats: 24.3 PPG, 10.0 RPG, 6.3 AST, STL 1.7, BLK 0.8, 49.6 FG%, 37.6 FG3%, 88.6 FT%
One of the great trash talkers of All-Time. Bird consistently demoralized his opponents with his words and his play. He could pull up from any spot on the floor and make it more times than not. The man also had eyes in the back of his head and made some of the craziest behind-the-back passes you?ll ever see. He played the game with such a high basketball I.Q., and add to that his efficient shooting and you have an All-around great player.
Bird was the less athletic, but better shooting version of LeBron James of the ?80s. He competed on both ends of the floor and could play any position thanks to his big frame and 6?9 height. Bird led the Celtics to three NBA Championship wins and is the greatest player in the team?s illustrious history.
6. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
Career Stats: 24.6 PPG, 11.2 RPG, 3.6 AST, STL 0.9, BLK 2.6, 55.9 FG%, 72.1 FT%
The man known for his beautiful skyhooks. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar made 19 All-Star teams in 20 seasons. He averaged a least 23 Points per game and 10 Rebounds per game in his first 12 seasons in the league. He was a tremendous shot-blocker, and used his long arms to tower over his defenders and create separation anytime he took his legendary skyhook shot. His production led him to win 6 Championships throughout his career. Abdul-Jabbar was one of the best scorers in league history. He?s the all-time leader in NBA History for career Points scored.
5. Shaquille O?Neal
Career Stats: 23.7 PPG, 10.9 RPG, 2.5 AST, STL 0.6, BLK 2.3, 58.2 FG%
The most dominant player to ever play the game and the best Center of All-time earned his spot here in the top five. The list of accomplishments that Shaq achieved throughout his career is endless. He?s a four-time NBA Champ, and every team he played for, he made them better. Let’s not forget when he left the Orlando Magic they were never the same.
When Shaq left Kobe and the Lakers after their disappointing 2003?04 Season, in a trade to Miami, it was a rough couple of years before the Lakers became Title contenders again. If you want to know what dominance is, Shaq put up at least 20 Points Per Game and 10 Rebounds Per Game for the first 13 seasons of his career. Forget Dwight Howard, Shaq is the real ?Superman? and his number of pretty high shot attempts with historical efficiency, just shows how dominant he was. Dwight Howard was never on Shaq?s level skill-wise or in production.
In 19 seasons in the NBA, Shaq led the league in Field Goal Percentage 10 times. His physical ability and presence down low allowed him to bully players in the post. What is scary is that Shaq may not have even been playing to his full potential as stated by the late great Kobe Bryant. The fact that Shaq could have been even better than he already was, is just proof alone that he is the best Center to ever play and belongs in the Top 5 of All-Time NBA Players.
4. Magic Johnson
Career Stats: 19.5 PPG, 7.2 RPG, 11.2 AST, STL 1.9, BLK 0.4, 52.0 FG%, 30.3 FG3%, 84.8 FT%
The ringmaster of the ?showtime? Lakers, Magic Johnson along with Larry Bird helped the NBA become popular in the early ?80s. The Lakers’ up-tempo style of play in the ?80s and early ?90s was reminiscent of that of the mid-2000?s Phoenix Suns Coach, Mike D?Antoni Offense. Johnson is the best Point Guard hands down to ever play the position. He was ahead of his time. He was a 6?9 Point Guard that could play position-less basketball and play and Guard all five positions.
In fact, during the 1980 NBA Finals, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (the teams Center) was out with a sprained ankle for game 6. Magic stepped in at the Center Position and scored 42 Points and, grabbed 15 Rebounds as the Lakers went on to win the game-clinching game 6 of the NBA Finals. That’s greatness personified. Off the court, Johnson is a great Philanthropist and is very charitable. He?s one of the more beloved former NBA players for his contributions on and off the court and continues to be a great ambassador for the game.
3. LeBron James
Career Stats: 27.1 PPG, 7.4 RPG, 7.4 AST, STL 1.6, BLK 0.8, 50.4 FG%, 34.4 FG3%, 73.4 FT%
LeBron James aka ?The Chosen One? has had high expectations and has been in the national spotlight since his Sophomore year of Highschool. He was a freak of nature 18-year-old prodigy with unreal expectations. Many in the national media said that he would become an All-Time great from day one. That?s a lot of pressure for anyone to handle, let alone an 18-year-old. LeBron has more than lived up to his pre-draft hype from the historic 2003 NBA Draft.
Many lament him for having a losing record in the Finals. That?s fine as long as you put into context that the man also made eight straight Finals appearances from 2010?2018 and has won four NBA Championships. You can also add to that, being a 4-time MVP, and 4-time NBA Finals MVP. LeBron is one of the most if not the most efficient offensive players to ever play the Forward position and his court vision during his era of Basketball was amongst the best if not the best. His ability to score in bunches as well as getting his teammates involved are skills few players in NBA history have accomplished.
2. Kobe Bryant
Career Stats: 25.0 PPG, 5.2 RPG, 4.7AST, STL 1.4, BLK 0.5, 44.7 FG%, 32.9 FG3%, 83.7 FT%
Many like to debate where Kobe stands in NBA lore and his ranking amongst the best to ever play. Many also say that Kobe Bryant is the closest thing we?ve seen to Michael Jordan. The G.O.A.T himself has said he sees the similarities between himself and Kobe. If that?s the case, Kobe no doubt deserves to be this high in the Rankings. No one worked harder than this man. Kobe lived, breathed, and ate basketball.
He was committed to winning and won 5 Championships in 7 tries while winning the Finals MVP twice. Keep in mind that Kobe Played 20 seasons and was an 18-time All-Star. Also consider that one of the seasons he didn?t make the All-Star game, was the 1998?99 Lockout season to which the All-Star events were canceled. So Kobe was an 18 time All-Star on 19 tries.
Kobe?s historically great 81 point performance is something that will never be forgotten. We lost him and his daughter too soon after a tragic plane crash accident took their lives. His legacy will stand the test of time and it?s unlikely that his throne on the Mount Rushmore of NBA players to ever play, will be taken. R.I.P to one of the Top 3 players to ever lace them up. Oh, and unlike, Wilt Chamberlain?s 100 point performance, Kobe?s was televised?..
Rest in Peace Mamba.
1. Michael Jordan
Career Stats: 30.1 PPG, 6.2 RPG, 5.3 AST, STL 2.3, BLK 0.8, 49.7 FG%, 32.7 FG3%, 83.5 FT%
This one is undebatable. If you don?t think Michael Jordan is the best player of all-time, I don?t even want to talk basketball with you. The things this man did on the basketball court were revolutionary. He made playing basketball at a professional level look easy. Jordan was a 10-time Scoring Champ, but he could also dish the basketball and made his teammates better. He was six for six in the Finals and Finals MVP Awards.
Jordan wasn?t just a scoring machine. He was also a great defensive stopper and played with as much effort on that side of the ball as he did on offense, as shown by his nine All-Defensive Team Awards. For someone who took a lot of shots throughout his career, Jordan?s Field Goal percentage of almost 50% is incredibly impressive. Fans and media alike are always looking for the next ?MJ?, but the fact of the matter is there can only be one.
There you have it! The 50 Greatest NBA Players of All-Time. Thanks for reading. If you liked this post please share it on your social media, make sure to follow me to get notifications of my newest or latest content and, also be sure to check out some more of my content below:
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