Wednesday, October 28, 2015

NBA's 70th Anniversary 70 Greatest Players

Tonight, the National Basketball Association opened its 70th season. It played its 1st game on November 1, 1946, at Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto. The New York Knickerbockers (Knicks) beat the Toronto Huskies, 68-66.

The Huskies didn't make it to the 2nd season. The Knicks have made it to the 70th. Indeed, the only teams from the 1st NBA season still playing in the same city in which they started are the Knicks and the Boston Celtics.

In 1971, the NBA celebrated its 25th Anniversary Team. The only rules were that a player had to be no longer active (thus excluding Wilt Chamberlain, Oscar Robertson and Jerry West, among other greats), and have been named to the postseason All-NBA Team at least once.

The players selected: Guards Bob Cousy, Bill Sharman, Bob Davies and Sam Jones; forwards Bob Pettit, Dolph Schayes, Paul Arizin and Joe Fulks; and centers Bill Russell (the only unanimous selection) and George Mikan. (All were still alive at the time. Davies, Arizin, Fulks and Mikan have died. The rest are still alive.)

In 1980, a little early, a 35th Anniversary Team was chosen. This one allowed still-active players.

In addition to 25th Anniversary holdovers Cousy, Pettit, Mikan and Russell, the honorees were: Guards Robertson and West, forwards Elgin Baylor, John Havlicek and Julius Erving, and centers Chamberlain and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. (All were still alive at the time. Mikan and Chamberlain have died. The rest are still alive.)

In late 1996, the NBA celebrated its 50th Anniversary -- not its 50th season, like the NFL did in 1969 -- by naming its 50 Greatest Players.

Only one of the selections was truly controversial: Shaquille O'Neal. In hindsight, this wasn't a bad selection, just a rather premature one.

All of the players on the 35th Anniversary Team were selected again. All of the players on the 25th Anniversary Team were selected except Davis and Fulks: As Bob Ryan, the basketball maven of The Boston Globe, described the NBA's 1st scoring champion, "I'm not going to kid you: I don't think Jumpin' Joe Fulks makes it in today's NBA, except maybe as the 12th man."

The other honorees on the 50th Anniversary Team were:

* Guards: Nate Archibald, Dave Bing, Clyde Drexler, Walt Frazier, George Gervin, Hal Greer, Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, Pete Maravich, Earl Monroe, John Stockton, Isiah Thomas and Lenny Wilkens.
* Forwards: Charles Barkley, Rick Barry, Larry Bird, Billy Cunningham, Dave DeBusschere, Elvin Hayes, Jerry Lucas, Karl Malone, Kevin McHale, Scottie Pippen and James Worthy.
* Centers: O'Neal, Dave Cowens, Patrick Ewing, Moses Malone, Hakeem Olajuwon, Robert Parish, Willis Reed, David Robinson, Nate Thurmond, Wes Unseld and Bill Walton.

Only Maravich was already dead. He has been followed into the Great Gym In the Sky by Sharman, Arizin, DeBusschere, Mikan, Chamberlain and Moses Malone.

If we were to select the 70th Anniversary 70 Greatest Players -- admittedly, a season early, but, what the hell, I feel like it -- who would be added? Only more recently-arrived players? Or players who should have been originally included after the 50th, but weren't? And who, if any, of the original 50 should be dropped off?

In hindsight, Wilkens -- a very good player who became a great coach -- is the only one I would even consider leaving off.

Would I restore Fulks and Davies? No, I wouldn't. It's not just that they might not have been able to adjust to a world of a 24-second shot clock, let alone the international game of fantastically fit, strong and quick men that the NBA has become; it's that I've seen precious little footage of them, and couldn't begin to tell you how good they were based on using my eyes.

So let's look at the seasons since. Let's use 1998 as the cutoff date, since that was the last season of the Jordan Era.

First, let's look at the NBA Champions:

* 1999, 2003, 2005, 2007 and 2014 San Antonio Spurs. David Robinson is already in. Tim Duncan is not. Duncan is an easy choice. Manu Ginobili is a tougher call. Tony Parker is out.

* 2000, 2001, 2002, 2009 and 2010 Los Angeles Lakers. Shaq is already in. Kobe Bryant is not, and, regardless of what you might think of him personally, he's in. So is Pau Gasol. But no other 21st Century Laker is.

* 2004 Detroit Pistons. A very balanced team, but no single superstar. Was Ben Wallace a superstar? How about Rasheed Wallace? Lindsey Hunter? Chauncey Billups? Richard Hamilton? Mehmet Okur? Tayshaun Prince? All very good players, but is any of them even a Hall-of-Famer? I'm not sure. If you can't say for sure that they belong in the Hall of Fame, you can't say they belong in the 70th Anniversary 70 Greatest Players.

* 2006, 2012 and 2013 Miami Heat. Shaq is already in. Dwyane Wade, Alonzo Mourning, Gary Payton, LeBron James and Chris Bosh are not. Wade and James are easy choices; Mourning, Payton and Bosh less so.

* 2008 Boston Celtics. Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce are great choices. Ray Allen and Sam Cassell, I don't know.

* 2011 Dallas Mavericks. Honestly, I can't take any of them other than Dirk Nowitzki.

* 2015 Golden State Warriors. Stephen Curry makes it. Any of the others, we'll have to wait and see for the 75th Anniversary 75 Greatest Players.

So, if I leave the 50 Greatest Players intact, and add Duncan, Bryant, Gasol, Wade, Mourning, Payton, James, Garnett, Pierce, Nowitzki and Curry, that's 61. That leaves 9 slots available.

Who was overlooked at the 50th Anniversary? Fulks? Another early Philadelphia Warrior, Neil Johnston? Any of Mikan's Minneapolis Laker teammates, such as Jim Pollard, a dribbler so fine that he, not Cousy, was the first to get the nickname "The Houdini of the Hardwood"? Early Knicks like Nat "Sweetwater" Clifton or Dick McGuire or the late Harry Gallatin?

Of the 1st 50 NBA Championship teams, the only ones not represented by at least 1 of the 50 Greatest Players were the 1947 Warriors (who had Fulks), the 1948 Baltimore Bullets (led by player-coach Buddy Jeannette), the 1951 Rochester Royals (led by Davies and future Knick coach Red Holzman), and the 1979 Seattle SuperSonics (Wilkens was their coach, but their best player was probably Dennis Johnson).

I think we can cross off the '47 Dubs, the '48 Bullets and the '51 Royals (forerunners of the Sacramento Kings). But Dennis Johnson also starred on the 1984 and '86 title-winning Celtics. So that's 62.

Anybody overlooked on the great Celtic teams? From the 1957-69 dynasty, should we add Tommy Heinsohn or K.C. Jones? No, their greatest contributions actually came as coaches. From the 1974 and '76 Celtics? No, Jo Jo White was a nice player, but not one of the 70 best ever. From the 1981, '84 and '86 Celtics? Aside from Danny Ainge, we have their entire starting lineup, plus 6th man Walton. Ainge's greatest contribution has been as an executive, building the 2008 Champions.

Great Lakers? Gail Goodrich from the 1972 titlists? No, in all honesty, I can't add him. From the 1980s teams, winning in '80, '82, '85, '87 and '88? Aha! Bob McAdoo was on the '82 and '85 titlists, and was even better on the mid-1970s Buffalo Braves. That's 63. Anybody else? Jamaal Wilkes? Michael Cooper? No.

The 1970 and '73 Knicks? We already have Reed, Frazier, DeBusschere, Monroe and Lucas. Add Bill Bradley? Tough call: He is in the Hall, but he wasn't chosen for the 50. Later Knicks? Bernard King might have been one of the last cuts from the 50, so that's 64. Charles Oakley, Allen Houston, Larry Johnson? Carmelo Anthony? No, no, no, and no. John Starks? This is not the time to be funny.

The 1989 and '90 Detroit Pistons, the Motor City Bad Boys? Isiah was rightly chosen, but not Dennis Rodman, who also starred with the 1996, '97 and '98 title-winning Bulls. So that's 65. Anybody else from those Bulls? No, not Luc Longley, not Toni Kukoc. How about he earlier three-peat, of 1991, '92 and '93? Bill Cartwright, Horace Grant, B.J. Armstrong? All terrific players, but none is in the Hall of Fame, and if they're eligible for the Hall but not in, I can't rightly put them on this list.

Anybody else? Gus Johnson, Connie Hawkins, Dominique Wilkins, Vince Carter? Great dunk artists, but not among the 70 greatest NBA players ever.

What about ABA guys? The red, white & blue ball league was represented in the 50 by Erving, Barry, Cunningham, Gervin and Moses Malone. But all of those guys also proved it in the NBA. Dan Issel? Possibly. Artis Gilmore, David Thompson? I think they fall a bit short.

What about players who were great, Hall-of-Famers or probable HOFers, but didn't win a title? Reggie Miller makes 66. Allen Iverson makes 67. Jason Kidd makes 68. Two more slots. (And, oh yeah, Kidd did win a title, with the '11 Mavs.)

Kevin Durant has played for 8 seasons. He's put up big numbers, but only been to 1 Finals, and lost it. If he retired right now, would he go to the Hall? I don't think so. So he doesn't make the 70.

Chris Paul? 10 seasons. 8-time All-Star. Never been to a Finals. No.

Derrick Rose? 7 seasons. 3-time All-Star. Never been to a Finals. No.

I gave Ginobili and Bosh each an additional look. Ginobili is a 4-time champ, but only a 2-time All-Star. No. Bosh was the Toronto Raptors' all-time leading scorer before he was a 2-time NBA Champion with the Heat. He's a 10-time All-Star. Yes. That's 69. 1 more.

I gave Allen an additional look. 2 rings, 10 ASGs. Okay, that's 70.

*

Herewith, then, the National Basketball Association's 70th Anniversary 70 Greatest Players, in the order in which they arrived in the League, plus whether they're already in the Hall of Fame (HOF), and if they made a previous anniversary team (25, 35, 50):

1. George Mikan, center, 1946-47 Chicago American Gears, 1947-56 Minneapolis Lakers. NBL Champion 1947, 1948. NBA Champion 1949, 1950, 1952, 1953, 1954. HOF, 25, 35, 50. Number 99 not retired by the now-Los Angeles Lakers, which is ridiculous: What are the chances of another new Laker choosing 99? The Lakers do hang a banner honoring their HOFers from the Minneapolis years.

2. Dolph Schayes, forward, 1949-63 Syracuse Nationals, 1963-64 Philadelphia 76ers. NBA Champion 1955. HOF, 25, 50. Number 4 not retired by Nats/Sixers.

3. Bill Sharman, guard, 1950-51 Washington Capitols, 1951-61 Boston Celtics. NBA Champion 1957, 1959, 1960, 1961. HOF, 25, 50. Number 21 retired by Celtics.

4. Paul Arizin, forward, 1950-62 Philadelphia Warriors. NBA Champion 1956. HOF, 25, 35, 50. Number 11 not retired.

5. Bob Cousy, guard, 1950-63 Boston Celtics, 1969-70 Cincinnati Royals. NBA Champion 1957, 1959, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1963. HOF, 25, 35, 50. Number 14 retired by Celtics.

6. Bob Pettit, forward, 1954-55 Milwaukee Hawks, 1955-65 St. Louis Hawks. NBA Champion 1958. HOF, 25, 35, 50. Number 9 retired.

7. Bill Russell, center, 1956-69 Boston Celtics. NBA Champion 1957, 1959, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1968, 1969. HOF, 25, 35, 50. Number 6 retired.

8. Sam Jones, guard, 1957-69 Boston Celtics. NBA Champion 1959, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1968, 1969. HOF, 25, 50. Number 24 retired.

9. Hal Greer, guard, 1958-63 Syracuse Nationals, 1963-73 Philadelphia 76ers. NBA Champion 1967. HOF, 50. Number 15 retired by 76ers.

10. Elgin Baylor, forward, 1958-60 Minneapolis Lakers, 1960-71 Los Angeles Lakers. NBA Finals 1959, 1962, 1963, 1965, 1966, 1968, 1969, 1970. HOF, 35, 50. Number 22 retired.

11. Wilt Chamberlain, center, 1959-62 Philadelphia Warriors, 1962-65 San Francisco Warriors, 1965-68 Philadelphia 76ers, 1968-73 Los Angeles Lakers. HOF, 35, 50. NBA Champion 1967, 1972. Number 13 retired by Warriors, 76ers and Lakers.

12. Oscar Robertson, "The Big O," guard, 1960-70 Cincinnati Royals, 1970-74 Milwaukee Bucks. NBA Champion 1971. HOF, 35, 50. Number 14 retired by Royals (now the Sacramento Kings), Number 1 retired by Bucks.

13. Jerry West, "Mr. Clutch," guard, 1960-74 Los Angeles Lakers. NBA Champion 1972. HOF, 35, 50. Number 44 retired.

14. Lenny Wilkens, guard, 1960-68 St. Louis Hawks, 1968-72 Seattle SuperSonics, 1972-74 Cleveland Cavaliers, 1974-75 Portland Trail Blazers. NBA Finals 1961. HOF, 50. Number 19 retired by Sonics.

15. Jerry Lucas, forward, 1963-69 Cincinnati Royals, 1969-71 San Francisco Warriors, 1971-74 New York Knicks. NBA Champion 1973. HOF, 50. No number retired, not 16 by the Royals/Kings, not 32 by the Knicks.

16. Dave DeBusschere, forward, 1962-68 Detroit Pistons, 1968-74 New York Knicks. NBA Champion 1970, 1973. HOF, 50. Number 22 retired by Knicks.

17. John Havlicek, forward, 1962-78 Boston Celtics. NBA Champion 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1968, 1969, 1974, 1976. HOF, 35, 50. Number 17 retired.

18. Nate Thurmond, center, 1963-71 San Francisco Warriors, 1971-74 Golden State Warriors, 1974-75 Chicago Bulls, 1975-77 Cleveland Cavaliers. NBA Finals 1964, 1967. HOF, 50. Number 42 retired by Warriors.

19. Willis Reed, center, 1964-74 New York Knicks. NBA Champion 1970, 1973. HOF, 50. Number 19 retired.

20. Rick Barry, forward, 1965-67 San Francisco Warriors, 1967-69 Oakland Oaks, 1969-70 Washington Caps, 1970-72 New York Nets, 1972-78 Golden State Warriors, 1978-80 Houston Rockets. NBA Champion 1975. HOF, 50. Number 24 retired by Warriors.

21. Billy Cunningham, forward, 1965-72 and 1974-76 Philadelphia 76ers, 1972-74 Carolina Cougars. NBA Champion 1967. HOF, 50. Number 32 retired by 76ers.

22. Dave Bing, guard, 1966-75 Detroit Pistons, 1975-77 Washington Bullets, 1977-78 Boston Celtics. Never reached NBA Finals. HOF, 50. Number 21 retired by Pistons.

23. Walt "Clyde" Frazier, guard, 1967-77 New York Knicks, 1977-80 Cleveland Cavaliers. HOF, 50. Number 10 retired by Knicks.

24. Earl "the Pearl" Monroe, guard, 1967-71 Baltimore Bullets, 1971-80 New York Knicks. NBA Champion 1973. HOF, 50. Number 10 retired by Bullets (now the Washington Wizards), Number 15 retired by Knicks.

25. Wes Unseld, center, 1968-73 Baltimore Bullets, 1973-74 Capital Bullets, 1974-81 Washington Bullets. NBA Champion 1978. HOF, 50. Number 41 retired by Bullets (now the Washington Wizards).

26. Elvin Hayes, "The Big E," forward, 1968-71 San Diego Rockets, 1971-72 and 1981-84 Houston Rockets, 1972-73 Baltimore Bullets, 1973-74 Capital Bullets, 1974-81 Washington Bullets. NBA Champion 1978. HOF, 50. Number 11 retired by Bullets.

27. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (came into the league named Lew Alcindor), center, 1969-75 Milwaukee Bucks, 1975-89 Los Angeles Lakers, NBA Champion 1971, 1980, 1982, 1985, 1987, 1988. HOF, 35, 50. Number 33 retired by both Bucks and Lakers.

28. "Pistol" Pete Maravich, guard, 1970-74 Atlanta Hawks, 1974-79 New Orleans Jazz, 1979-80 Utah Jazz, 1980 Boston Celtics. Never reached NBA Finals. HOF, Number 7 retired by Jazz, and by the New Orleans Pelicans even though he never played for them.

29. Nate "Tiny" Archibald, guard, 1970-72 Cincinnati Royals, 1972-76 Kansas City Kings, 1976-77 New York Nets, 1977-83 Boston Celtics, 1983-84 Milwaukee Bucks. NBA Champion 1981. HOF, 50. Number 10 retired by Kings.

30. Dave Cowens, center, 1970-80 Boston Celtics, 1982-83 Milwaukee Bucks. NBA Champion 1974, 1976. HOF, 50. Number 18 retired by Celtics.

31. Julius "Doctor J" Erving, forward, 1971-73 Virginia Squires, 1973-76 New York Nets, 1976-87 Philadelphia 76ers. ABA Champion 1974, 1976. NBA Champion 1983. HOF, 35, 50. Number 32 retired by Nets, Number 6 retired by 76ers.

32. George Gervin, "The Iceman," forward, 1972-74 Virginia Squires, 1974-85 San Antonio Spurs, 1985-86 Chicago Bulls. Never reached ABA or NBA Finals. HOF, 50. Number 44 retired by Spurs.

33. Bob McAdoo, forward, 1972-76 Buffalo Braves, 1976-79 New York Knicks, 1979 Boston Celtics, 1979-81 Detroit Pistons, 1981 New Jersey Nets, 1981-85 Los Angeles Lakers, 1986 Philadelphia 76ers. NBA Champion 1982, 1985. HOF. Usually wore Number 11, but it is not retired for him anywhere, though it might have been had the Braves, now the Los Angeles Clippers, stayed in Buffalo.

34. Bill Walton, center, 1974-79 Portland Trail Blazers, 1979-84 San Diego Clippers, 1984-85 Los Angeles Clippers, 1985-87 Boston Celtics. NBA Champion 1977, 1986. HOF, 50. Number 32 retired by Blazers.

35. Moses Malone, center, 1974-75 Utah Stars, 1975-76 Spirits of St. Louis, 1976 Buffalo Braves, 1976-82 Houston Rockets, 1982-86 and 1993-94 Philadelphia 76ers, 1986-88 Washington Bullets, 1988-91 Atlanta Hawks, 1991-93 Milwaukee Bucks, 1994-95 San Antonio Spurs. NBA Champion 1983. HOF, 50. Number 24 retired by Rockets, Number 2 unofficially retired by 76ers.

36. Dennis Johnson, guard, 1976-80 Seattle SuperSonics, 1980-83 Phoenix Suns, 1983-90 Boston Celtics. NBA Champion 1979, 1984, 1986. HOF. Number 3 retired by Celtics.

37. Robert Parish, center, 1976-80 Golden State Warriors, 1980-94 Boston Celtics, 1994-96 Charlotte Hornets, 1996-97 Chicago Bulls. NBA Champion 1981, 1984, 1986, 1997. HOF, 50. Number 00 retired by Celtics.

38. Bernard King, forward, 1977-79 and 1993 New Jersey Nets, 1979-80 Utah Jazz, 1980-82 Golden State Warriors, 1982-87 New York Knicks, 1987-91 Washington Bullets. Never reached NBA Finals. HOF. Number 30 not retired by any team.

39. Larry Bird, forward, 1979-92 Boston Celtics. NBA Champion 1981, 1984, 1986. HOF, 50. Number 33 retired.

40. Earvin "Magic" Johnson, guard, 1979-91 and 1996 Los Angeles Lakers. NBA Champion 1980, 1982, 1985, 1987, 1988. HOF, 50. Number 32 retired.

41. Kevin McHale, forward, 1980-93 Boston Celtics. NBA Champion 1981, 1984, 1986. HOF, 50. Number 32 retired.

42. Isiah Thomas, guard, 1981-94 Detroit Pistons. NBA Champion 1989, 1990. HOF, 50. Number 11 retired.

43. James Worthy, "Big Game James," forward, 1982-94 Los Angeles Lakers. NBA Champion 1985, 1987, 1988. HOF, 50. Number 42 retired.

44. Clyde "the Glide" Drexler, guard, 1983-95 Portland Trail Blazers, 1995-98 Houston Rockets. NBA Champion 1995. HOF, 50. Number 22 retired by Blazers.

45. "Sir" Charles Barkley, forward, 1984-92 Philadelphia 76ers, 1992-96 Phoenix Suns, 1996-2000 Houston Rockets. NBA Finals 1993. HOF, 50. Number 34 retired by 76ers and Suns.

46. Michael "Air" Jordan, guard, 1984-98 Chicago Bulls, 2001-03 Washington Wizards. NBA Champion 1991, 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 1998. HOF, 50. Number 23 retired by Bulls.

47. Hakeem "the Dream" Olajuwon (came into the league named Akeem Olajuwon), center, 1984-2001 Houston Rockets, 2001-02 Toronto Raptors. NBA Champion 1994, 1995. HOF, 50. Number 34 retired by Rockets.

48. John Stockton, guard, 1984-2003 Utah Jazz. NBA Finals 1997, 1998. HOF, 50. Number 32 retired.

49. Patrick Ewing, center, 1985-2000 New York Knicks, 2000-01 Seattle SuperSonics, 2001-02 Orlando Magic. NBA Finals 1994, 1999. HOF, 50. Number 33 retired by Knicks.

50. Karl Malone, "the Mailman," forward, 1985-2003 Utah Jazz, 2003-04 Los Angeles Lakers. NBA Finals 1997, 1998. HOF, 50. Number 32 retired by Jazz.

51. Dennis Rodman, forward, 1986-93 Detroit Pistons, 1993-95 San Antonio Spurs, 1995-98 Chicago Bulls, 1999 Los Angeles Lakers, 2000 Dallas Mavericks. NBA Champion 1989, 1990, 1996, 1997, 1998. HOF. Number 10 retired by Pistons. Number 91 not retired by Bulls, but who else would wear 91? Besides Ron Artest/Metta World Peace.

52. Scottie Pippen, forward, 1987-98 and 2003-04 Chicago Bulls, 1998-99 Houston Rockets, 1999-2003 Portland Trail Blazers. NBA Champion 1991, 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 1998. HOF, 50. Number 33 retired by Bulls.

53. Reggie Miller, guard, 1987-2005 Indiana Pacers. NBA Finals 2000. HOF. Number 31 retired.

54. David Robinson, "The Admiral," 1989-2003 San Antonio Spurs. NBA Champion 1999, 2003. HOF, 50. Number 50 retired.

55. Gary Payton, "the Glove," guard, 1990-2003 Seattle SuperSonics, 2003 Milwaukee Bucks, 2003-04 Los Angeles Lakers, 2004-05 Boston Celtics, 2005-07 Miami Heat. NBA Champion 2006. HOF. Number 20 not yet retired by any team, probably not helped by the fact that the Sonics moved to become the Oklahoma City Thunder.

56. Alonzo Mourning, center, 1992-95 Charlotte Hornets, 1995-2002 and 2005-08 Miami Heat, 2003-04 New Jersey Nets. NBA Champion 2006. HOF. Number 33 retired by Heat.

57. Shaquille O'Neal, center, 1992-96 Orlando Magic, 1996-2004 Los Angeles Lakers, 2004-08 Miami Heat, 2008-09 Phoenix Suns, 2009-10 Cleveland Cavaliers, 2010-11 Boston Celtics. Eligible for HOF, but not yet in. Number 34 retired by Lakers.

58. Jason Kidd, guard, 1994-96 and 2008-12 Dallas Mavericks, 1996-2001 Phoenix Suns, 2001-08 New Jersey Nets, 2012-13 New York Knicks. NBA Champion 2011. Not yet eligible for HOF. Number 5 retired by Nets.

59. Kevin Garnett, forward, 1995-2007 and 2015-present Minnesota Timberwolves, 2007-13 Boston Celtics, 2013-15 Brooklyn Nets. NBA Champion 2008. Active, thus ineligible for HOF. Number 21 likely to be retired by T-Wolves. Whether the Celtics retire his Number 5 remains to be seen.

60. Allen Iverson, "the Answer," guard, 1996-2006 and 2009-10 Philadelphia 76ers, 2006-08 Denver Nuggets, 2008-09 Detroit Pistons, 2009 Memphis Grizzlies. NBA Finals 2001. Eligible for HOF, not yet in. Number 3 retired by 76ers.

61. Ray Allen, guard, 1996-2003 Milwaukee Bucks, 2003-07 Seattle SuperSonics, 2007-12 Boston Celtics, 2012-14 Miami Heat. NBA Champion 2008, 2013. Not yet eligible for HOF. Number 34 not yet retired by Bucks, Sonics/Thunder or Heat, nor 20 by Celtics.

62. Kobe Bryant, guard, 1996-present Los Angeles Lakers. NBA Champion 2000, 2001, 2002, 2009, 2010. Active, thus ineligible for HOF. Will the Lakers retire Number 8 for him, or Number 24?

63. Tim Duncan, forward, 1997-present San Antonio Spurs. NBA Champion 1999, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2014. Active, thus ineligible for HOF. Number 21 likely to be retired.

64. Paul Pierce, forward, 1998-2013 Boston Celtics, 2013-14 Brooklyn Nets, 2014-15 Washington Wizards, 2015-present Los Angeles Clippers. NBA Champion 2008. Active, thus ineligible for HOF. Number 34 will probably be retired by Celtics.

65. Dirk Nowitzki, forward, 1998-present Dallas Mavericks. NBA Champion 2011. Active, thus ineligible for HOF. Number 41 will be retired by Mavericks.

66. Pau Gasol, forward, 2001-08 Memphis Grizzlies, 2008-14 Los Angeles Lakers, 2014-present Chicago Bulls. NBA Champion 2009, 2010. Active, thus ineligible for HOF. Number 16 might be retired by Lakers.

67. Dwyane Wade, guard, 2003-present Miami Heat. NBA Champion 2006, 2012, 2013. Active, thus ineligible for HOF. Number 3 will be retired.

68. LeBron James, "the King," forward, 2003-10 and 2014-present Cleveland Cavaliers, 2010-14 Miami Heat. NBA Champion 2012, 2013. Active, thus ineligible for HOF. Number 6 will be retired by the Heat. Whether his Number 23 will be retired by the Cavs remains a major question mark -- but then, he did come back.

69. Chris Bosh, forward, 2003-10 Toronto Raptors, 2010-present Miami Heat. NBA Champion 2012, 2013. Active, thus ineligible for HOF. Number 1 will probably be retired by the Heat.

70. Stephen Curry, guard, 2009-present Golden State Warriors. NBA Champion 2015. Active, thus ineligible for HOF. Number 30 will be retired by the Dubs.

7 comments:

Dre Smith said...


Interesting list to say the least, but there are some glaring holes in your selection process. I think you're being a prisoner of the moment putting Stephen Curry in with just 6 years of play and 2 all-star gms played. Yes, he won MVP and a chip last year but to leave off Steve Nash who won back to back MVPs, 8 time all-star and 5x assist leader is just mind-blowing. Another problem is that you have Bernard King listed but left off Dominique Wilkins. King was a 4x all star with a drug problem and injury prone career. It's a travesty how underrated Nique was/is. People tend to think all he did was dunk but you don't score 26,000 points off of dunks being a non center, he was a 9 time all star who led the league in scoring while Jordan was in the league, he led his teams to playoff berths without playing with another star going against Bird, Jordan, and the Pistons, big mistake. I'm sorry but Dave Bing being on this list and no Durant is just a crime of the century. You're putting a lot of stock into Curry MVP but taking away from KD's as if getting to the finals is a easy task. He's one 1 of 4 players to have 4 scoring titles with also a ASG mvp. And yes if he retired today he's a HOF player, every eligible MVP is in the Hof. Last but not least you have Pete Maravich but blatantly left out Chris Paul. Yes, Pistol Pete is one the greatest showman, he was a innovator and great entertainer but his lack of playoff success is too glaring to put him in front of Paul. CP3 never made it to the 3rd round but his accolades speak for itself. Besides his assist and steals titles, all nba 1st teams and all def 1st teams, he's the most efficient point guard in nba history
(basketball reference). Championships are a team accomplishment, try looking at playoff stats before you write off who won and who lost in the post season .

Dre Smith said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Uncle Mike said...

Curry over Nash is easy, because Curry put one of the most underachieving franchises in sports on his back and took them to a title. Nash never got close to a title.

Nard was, for a brief time, THE best player in the game, and this was a time that had Kareem, Julius, Magic, Larry and Moses at or near their peaks. 'Nique was never the best player. You're being seduced by the dunks, just like so many of Jordan's fans were. There was a joke back then: The Dominique Wilkins Highway has opened, with no passing allowed. He was a one-dimensional player, and putting him in the Hall of Fame was a 50-50 proposition at best.

Durant might make the 75th Anniversary 75 Greatest Players. He no more belongs in the 70 than Shaq belonged in the 50.

As for Chris Paul, you need a big steaming cup of be-serious. Maybe he'll work his way onto the 75, or the 80. But if he never plays another game, basing the judgement on the stats and achievements he has now, can you even see any team for whom he played retiring his number? I certainly wouldn't put him in the Hall of Fame.

Dre Smith said...

Wow, and for a second I thought you actually knew a little about basketball, but clearly you don't. Underachieving franchise? The same franchise that had Wilt and won a ring with Rick Barry in '75. Chris Paul is already the hornets greatest player and it's not even close, and he'll definitely be the clippers greatest player in a year or two. You put all this weight on HOF, but have you ever looked at his hof probability on basketball reference, try 98% buddy. Have you looked at PER, try 7th all time, right Behring Wilt. You're judging off of rings but have players on your who doesn't have rings, CP3 is greater than Lenny Wilkens. And back to Nash, who is also his franchises greatest player, Curry is still behind Wilt and Barry, tell me I'm lying...Curry missed the playoffs his first 3 seasons on bum ankles. Nash was killing with role players and a injured Stoudemire. He's 3rd all time I'm assist, but I guess that's overrated because he didn't win a ring, neither did Stockton, Malone, Barkley, Miller, Baylor, ext...ext...and Nique credentials speak for itself....No need to explain....Go learn other facets to basketball than just rings and Hof when you don't know the probality of the greatest players....sad but true

Dre Smith said...

Have you seen the new ESPN point guard rankings?

Dre Smith said...

Has your list changed any since the last time we spoke?

Uncle Mike said...

Why would it?