May, 2014 Athlete of the Month

Friday, May 30, 2014

April was here.

Troy Tulowitzki: Runners-up:   Floyd Mayweather,  LeBron James, Edwin Encarnacion

January - Kevin Durant
February - Malcolm Smith
March - Breanna Stewart
April-Meb Keflezigh 
May - Troy Tulowitzki

5 down, 7 left in the race for 2014 Athlete of the Year.  

The (Not Really) 97 Greatest Basketball Players of All Time

Monday, May 26, 2014

Updated Through End of 2014 Playoffs

This is a list of every 100 win share player in basketball history.  I'm using regular season, playoffs, and ABA - there are benefits and burdens to those decisions, but I think it's the right call.

I'm going with this as my all time list - that breaks down near the end; see, what I'm considering are win shares and games played (if X has a few more win shares than Y, but in a lot more games played, he's going to rank lower) and there are guys who don't hit the 100 win share floor who you would rank higher than some of the guys at the bottom who do.  But you've got to make the cut off someplace, so I'm setting 100 wins as the minimum.  Right now, that means only 97 guys make the list.  Here are the 32 players who just miss, the ones with 90+ win shares.  I'm willing to say that the top 100 players of all time can be found by taking my list of 97 and swapping a handful (probably no more than that, maybe two handsful; it's a better list than Simmons's) with some of the following:

Lenny Wilkens 99.83
Shawn Kemp 99.01
Sidney Moncrief 98.27

The type of player most penalized here is a modern day player who didn't get many playoff appearances.  If Moncrief could have just hit 100 wins, his low games played total would have him leap up the list.  Point I'm making is Moncrief is definitely one of the top 97 players of all time.

Hersey Hawkins 98.22
Terry Cummings 98.12
Alonzo Mourning 97.24
PJ Brown 97.16
Chris Mullin 96.88

I'm a GSW fan; the only real Warrior to make the list is Rick Barry, who was almost entirely before my time.  None of my guys, including Mullin, made it.  That should give me some "this list reflects some terrible bias" cover.

Joe Dumars 96.32
James Worthy 96.01
Cliff Hagen 95.98
Dennis Johnson 95.78
Dave Cowens 95.72
Dale Davis 95.66
Rashard Lewis 95.7
Bob McAdoo 95.28
Anthony Mason 95
Sam Cassell 94.32
Neil Johnston 94.32
Amare Stoudemire 94

Active players in bold; Amare is wheezing to that 100 mark; it doesn't appear he'll make it.

Isiah Thomas 93.19
Vern Mikkelson 92.6
Derek Harper 92.3
Michael Finley 92.1
Bill Sharman 92.06
Cliff Robinson 91.83
Glen Rice 91.71
Steve Smith 91.41
Bobby Dandridge 91.3
Antawn Jamison 90.9
Chris Webber 90.09
Jimmy Jones 90.05

Carmelo Anthony (and maybe Tyson Chandler) hit the 90s after the 2014-15 season.

Okay - here are the Hot 97. For each player, you get the total win shares, the dominant positions he played, number of games played, both regular and post season, the career span, the teams for which the player was a member for a minimum of five seasons.

97. Mark Jackson 100.08 PG 1427 1987-04 Knicks/Pacers
-Jackson's not one of the top 100 players of all time; those games played would have him replaced by one of the next tier of players.  Lenny Wilkens was also a point guard, played in 300 fewer games, and was less than .2 away from 100 wins.  I just want 100 win share players on the list, but if you were ranking, he was better than Jackson.

96. Charles Oakley 100.88 PF 1426 1985-04 Knicks
-Same position as Jackson, a hundred wins in 1400 games.   Shawn Kemp, another power forward, is at 99 wins in 300 fewer games.  You can mentally swap those two.  

95. Andre Miller 100.2 PG 1247 1999- Nuggets
 -Okay, the first active (I mean, sort of active) player on the list, Miller crossed the 100 threshold as a Wizard in 2014.  Note, he has fewer wins than Oak, but I ranked him higher because of the games played disparity.  Miller might be one of the hundred best players ever...probably not, but deciding that would take a lot of work.  If what you wanted to do was swap, there's Sidney Moncrief, 98 wins in 400 fewer games than Miller.  He's clearly one of the hundred best players ever.  

94. Jason Terry 101.2 SG/PG 1229 1999- Mavericks/Hawks 
-Terry went over the line back in the 2012-13 season as a Celtic; note he's almost exactly in line with Miller's profile, right up to and including their careers completely overlapping.  Hersey Hawkins has 200 fewer games played and three fewer wins; I'd be fine with either swapping him into this spot 

93. Vlade Divac 104.99 C 1255 1989-05 Lakers/Kings 
-Our first 5; Divac is 84th overall in win shares; that's 7 more than Zo, the first 5 in the 90 win share tier; his were earned in 300 fewer games.  That's a swap I'd make.  That's a handful of players; if those 5 go in and these leave, maybe those are the best 97 ever and you add Divac/Terry/Miller to complete a top 100.  

92. AC Green 109.22 PF 1431 Lakers 1985-01
-Green's 76th in overall win shares; his games played drags him down this far.  Chris Mullin's got 400 fewer games played but he's 13 wins shy of Green; I think we've hit the stopping point for swapping in players - so, if you were inclined to reconfigure the bottom of the list, Green's probably in - meaning you'd be battling off Mullin against Andre Miller, and that's a switch that makes since but isn't violently required.  Miller's got 3 wins on him in 200 more games.  Let's say Mullin's the new 99th best player ever, right ahead of...Dave Cowens, who given his relatively low games played total would be the choice to take out Jason Terry.  

91. Sam Perkins 115.89 PF 1453 Mavericks/Sonics 1984-01
-Perkins jumps us all the way to the 70th all time in win shares; like Green (again, look how similar) the games played drives us down here.  Here's the new bottom ten if we removed the 100 win threshold and carried the list all the way to 100 players.

91 Moncrief 92 Perkins 93 Green 94 Cowens 95 Wilkens 96 Kemp 97 Hawkins 98 Mourning 99 Divac 100 Mullin 

90. Otis Thorpe 111.89 PF 1335 1984-01 Rockets/Kings 
-Thorpe could be ranked behind Perkins; looking at it now I might kick the other way.   He's 73rd in total win shares.  Good run of Pacific Conference power forwards who played at exactly the same time. 

89. Alex English 107.18 SF 1261 Nuggets 1976-91
-Averaged almost 30 ppg in '85-6

88. Ben Wallace 108.91 C 1218 1996-12 Pistons 
-Averaged almost 15 and a half rebounds a game in '02-3

Here's the other thing we're going to do, when we get a full team, we'll stamp it.  

87. Bob Cousy 100.71 PG 1033 1950-70 Celtics 
-We're going back to prior generations for the next few picks; Cousy just barely qualifies (he didn't need the return as a Royal to get there) but that low games played total gets him into the 80s.  

86. Hal Greer 109.85 SG 1214 1958-73 Sixers 
Another Sixer, Mo Cheeks, has the closest similarity score to Greer, and he's coming up fairly soon.  

That's 12, let's see what we have.

C Wallace, Divac
PF Thorpe, Perkins, Green, Oakley
SF English
PG Cousy, Miller, Jackson
SG Greer, Terry

We're short  a backup 3.  We move on.  

85. Jerry Lucas 103.31 PF 901 Royals 1963-74 
-Lucas has to be ranked not too far above Cowens; a few more games played and enough win share disparity for that to make sense.  If you're putting together your own list, like a jigsaw puzzle, finding similar players to group together, making it easier to decide who should be ranked above, is a good idea.  Lucas over Cowens and both near the bottom of the top 100.  

84. Dennis Rodman 101.53 PF 1080 1986-00 Pistons 
-There's going to be a hit that those players in prior generations take; partially its built in (fewer playoff game opportunities) and partially its out of recognition that the athleticism of today's player far outpaces yesterday's.  That's why Rodman gets ranked ahead of Lucas, despite the way the numbers would seemingly cut.  

83. Grant Hill 102.53 SF 1065 1994-13 Pistons/Suns/Magic
 -Too much "what might have been" talk with Hill; he played in nearly as many games as Rodman and more than Lucas and Cousy.  A thousand NBA games is plenty career.  

Okay, we've got our first Team of 100 Wins
C Wallace, Divac
PF Rodman, Lucas, Thorpe
SF Hill English
PG Cousy Miller Jackson
SG Greer, Terry

82. Tracy McGrady 101.8 SG/SF  988 1997-12 Rockets
-Also not a symbol for "what might have been" - here's a guy with a hundred wins in fewer than 1000 games, only Lucas on the list so far can say the same.  T-Mac for the Hall of Fame!

81. Tony Parker 109 PG  1136  2001-    Spurs
-The first guy on the list still in the playoffs at the time of this writing (I'm putting this together during the 2014 Conference Championship).  So he may move up between the time I'm writing this and you're seeing it, so I'm likely to be kind of vague in this content section in order to do less editing.  Parker's only 32, but has over a thousand games played. I think it unlikely he ever gets into the 60s, lets say, all time.  

80. Bobby Jones 107.46 PF 1092 Sixers 1974-86
-Bobby Jones just misses bridging Greer to Cheeks.    

  79. Sam Jones 107.49 SG 1025 Celtics 1957-69
-Yup, Jones above Cousy, more wins/fewer games.   

78. Eddie Jones 107.86 SG 1035 Heat/Lakers 1994-08 
-Almost identical to Sam, just 40 years later.  

77. Allen Iverson 106.27 PG/SG  985 Sixers 1996-10 
-The second hundred win/less than a thousand games player

76. Kevin Johnson 102.21 PG 840 1987-00 Suns
Michelle Rhee's husband is the third.  

75. Chris Bosh 105.4 C/PF 885  Raptors 2003- 
-Our second active player in this section and another player still in the playoffs at the time of this writing.  Bosh's age 31 season is 2014-15; he has an outside chance to get into the 50s before he's done.  

74. Elton Brand 112.8 PF 1042 1999- Clippers 
-Bosh will be going by Brand by end of 14-15.

73. Detlef Schrempf 116.22 SF/PF  1250 1985-01 Sonics/Pacers
-We're ramping up to some higher games played, making slotting a challenge. 

72. Maurice Cheeks 116.58 PG 1234 Sixers 1978-93 
-As promised, here's Cheeks. 

71. Terry Porter 121.99 PG 1398 Blazers 1985-02 
-Porter's a hard slot, we hit some guys with much higher win totals (Porter's 59th at time of this writing)  but lots of games played; Porter's got 15 more wins than AI in 400 more games played.  Tough to say who goes where.  

70. Buck Williams 128.09 PF 1415 Nets/Blazers 1981-98 
-Williams is a hard slot, he's 46th in all time win shares, but the games played is super high - hundreds higher than the guys right around this spot.  

Are we ready for the second Team of 100, right - Bosh would be the only center.

69. Bill Laimbeer 116.26 C 1181 Pistons 1980-94
 -The best of the Bad Boys?  Not Zeke.  Not Rodman.  Not Dumars.  Laimbeer.

Here's the second Team of 100 Wins.  

C Laimbeer, Bosh
PF Williams, Brand, Jones
SF Schrempf, McGrady
PG Porter, Cheeks, Johnson 
SG Iverson, Jones
68. Rasheed Wallace 120.36 F/C 1286 Blazers/Pistons 1995-13 
-Laimbeer and Sheed, back to back in the 75 greatest players of all time.  

67. Zelmo Beaty 120.6 C 1004 1962-75 Hawks aba 4 yrs
-The first ABA player on the list; those totals are all included, diminished a little bit when thinking about ranking.  

66. Jack Sikma 120.36 C 1209 Sonics/Bucks 1977-91
-The best player in NBA history I stood next to at an airport urinal.  

65. Vince Carter 122.5 SG 1215 1998- Raptors/Nets
-VC should be a no doubt Hall of Famer.  

64. Jeff Hornacek 123.31 SG 1217 1986-00 Jazz/Suns 
-Hornacek is a no doubt Hall of Famer.  

63. Ed Macauley 104.82 C 688 Celtics 1949-59
-A hundred wins - less than 700 games, tremendous career.  

62. Manu Ginobli 112.8 SG 975 Spurs 2002-
-Parker passes Ginobli in wins in 14-15, but probably not on the list at that point.  

61. Kevin Durant 100.8 SF 613 Thunder 2007-   
-Hell, I don't know.  So few games played, hard to slot.  Not that important, obviously.  Durant's age 26 season is 2014-15; let's see how far he gets by end of next year.

60. Larry Nance 116.97 PF 988 Suns/Cavaliers 1981-94
-Durant goes by Nance.  

59. Dikembe Mutombo 126.89 C 1297 1991-09 Nuggets/Hawks/Rockets 
-Durant's a 20 win player/season player right now, add 20, add a hundred games, and yeah, you'd move him past Dikembe after 14-15.

58. George Gervin 126  SG/SF 1144 Spurs 1972-86 aba 2 years  
-Ice is the second ABA player, albeit with only 2 years.  Durant's by him after 14-15.

57. Elvin Hayes 132.47 PF 1399 Bullets/Rockets 1968-84 
-43rd all time in win shares, just with a lot of games played.  By end of 14-15, Durant's by him.  
56. Bailey Howell 122.02 PF 1036 Pistons 1959-71 
-A 50s player and a 60s player in this section.  

55. Dominique Wilkins 121.07 SF 1130 Hawks 1982-99
-Some really big hitters right in a row, big scorers - and by the end of 14-15, you'd expect to see Durant by all of them.  

Ready for team 3?  Nope - we're short point guards.  Two, actually.  

54. Wes Unseld 122.79 C 1103 1968-81 Bullets -Unseld over his frenemie Hayes.  

53. Dwight Howard 113.3 C 835 2006- Magic
-Howard's a 10 win/season player right now; that would mean Durant's moving by him after the 14-15 season.  Is Kevin Durant, at the time of this writing, one year away from being one of the 50 best basketball players of all time?  Now how about some point guards?  

52. Elgin Baylor 119.51 SF 980 Lakers 1958-72 
-Baylor's right outside the top 50 - and has one more year, perhaps, of holding off Kevin Durant.

51. Chet Walker 127.65 SF 1137 1962-75 Bulls -The coveted 50 best basketball players of all time.  I'm still two point guards away from being able to throw another team up on the board.

50. Bob Lanier 125.74 C 1026 Pistons/Bucks 1970-84
-I enjoy a hundred twenty five wins/thousand game profile.  Lanier, until 14-15 when Howard, probably, takes his slot, opens up in the 50 greatest all of time. 

49. Shawn Marion 132.2 SF 1209  Suns/Mavericks 1999- 
-Yup, the Matrix has a hundred thirty wins; until Durant goes by he sits in the top 50 of all time.  

48. Pau Gasol 124.6 C/PF 1010 Lakers/Grizzlies 2001
-Active guys carving out space early in the 50 greatest of all time list.  

47. Horace Grant 138.23 PF 1335 1987-04 Bulls/Magic
Lot of power players in this section, my kingdom for a point guard.

46. Paul Arizin 116.2 SF 762 1950-62 Warriors 
-A 50s player makes the top 50.  

45. Patrick Ewing 140.51 C 1322 Knicks 1985-02 
-the first 140 win player to make the list.  

44. Steve Nash 141.6 PG 1337 Suns/Mavericks 1996-
-finally, a point guard; Nash is done picking up value, this is where he is - he's got at least the next few years solidly inside the top 50.  

43. Dwyane Wade 125.2 SG 871 Heat 2003- 
-Wade's down to 7 wins in 13-14, he may not get to 140 overall win shares

42. Kevin McHale 133.71 PF 1140 Celtics 1980-93 -First member of those 80s Celtics teams to make the list. 

41. Walt Frazier 129.46 PG 918 Knicks 1967-80
-A second point guard!

The third Team of 100 Wins

C Ewing, Lanier
PF McHale, Grant, Gasol
SF Arizin, Marion, Walker
PG Frazier, Nash
SG Wade, Gervin  

40. Walt Bellamy 135.2 C 1089 1961-75 Hawks/Bullets
-Bellamy doesn't make the same "here are the ranks of all time centers" lists that Ewing makes, but I'll trade those 5 wins for the 250 games Bellamy didn't need to play.  It's close, but my list has Bellamy above Ewing.

39. Jason Kidd 153.1 PG 1549 1994-13 Mavericks/Nets/Suns
 -Kidd breaks the 150 barrier and the 1500 games played barrier.

38. Gary Payton 156.66 PG 1489 Sonics 1990-07 
- More wins/fewer games, GP was better than Kidd. Little bit better.

37. Robert Parish 162.57 C 1795 Celtics
-Parish then breaks the 160 barrier and leaps all the way past 1700 games played - all those games makes him just hell to rank, I'm sticking him here.  

36. Rick Barry 142.1 SF 1125 1965-80 Warriors aba 4 years
-Barry's ABA run makes him a tough rank as well.  

35. Scottie Pippen 148.66 SF/SG 1386 Bulls 1987-04
-Is Pippen better than Barry?  Not sure, the ABA stuff makes that tricky.  

34. John Havlicek 150.99 SF 1442 Celtics 1962-78 
-And then Hondo.  Small forwards unite.  

33. Chauncey Billups 141.4 PG/SG 1189 Pistons/Nuggets 1997-
 -How great is Chauncey Billups?  Here's Isiah, just for comparison 93.2/1090.  

Billups was better than Zeke?  Hell yeah he was.  Hell yeah.  

32. Chris Paul 123.3 PG 670 2005- Hornets
 -CP3 is better than both of them.  He's got 30 more wins in 400 fewer games than Isiah.  He's got 20 more wins in almost the same number of games as Durant.  He's got the same number of wins in 200 fewer games as DWade.  Chris Mothertrucking Paul.

31. George Mikan 125.63 C 509 Lakers 1948-56 
-Mikan gets one more year ahead of Paul and lives pretty high up that all time center list.  

30. Adrian Dantley 143.21 SF 1028 1976-91 Jazz
-At the top of the run of small forwards is Dantley.    

29. Paul Pierce 158.8 SF 1325 1998- Celtics
Nope, it's Pierce.  
28. Clyde Drexler 151.07 SG 1231 Blazers 1983-98
-5th 150 win player so far, the Glide.  

Got a ton of small forwards; not any power forwards.  They got all used up.  I'll settle for one.  

27. Ray Allen 163.2 SG 1471 1996- Bucks/Celtics/Sonics 
-160 wins, only Parish has as many, and it took the Chief 300 more games.  

26. Bob Pettit 147.79 PF 880 1954-65 Hawks 
-We'll get two players from the 50s back to back right here, but before that...

The 4th Team of 100 Wins
C Mikan, Parish
PF Pettit, Bellamy
SF Pierce, Dantley, Pippen
PG Paul, Billups 
SG Allen, Drexler, Havlicek
So, who are the 25 best basketball players who ever lived, as of 2014?

25. Dolph Schayes 156.35 PF 1093  1949-64 Nationals
24. Dan Issel 173.67 C 1351 Nuggets/Colonels 1970-85 aba 5 years
23.  Moses Malone 193.95 C 1555 Rockets/76ers 1974-95 aba 2 years 
22. Reggie Miller 194.3 SG 1533 Pacers 1987-05
21. Hakeem Olajuwon 185.37 C 1383 Rockets 1984-02  

Bigs in that group; the Dream, Moses, Issel with a little ABA aid, Schayes from the 50s.  Add Miller and his near 200 win shares and we've reached the top 20.  

20. Larry Bird 170.66 SF/PF 1061 Celtics
-As high as Larry Legend can be ranked, he's got far less career value than Miller/Moses from the previous grouping.  

19. Artis Gilmore 202.84 C 1429 Bulls/Spurs/Colonels 1971-88 aba 5 years
 -We break the 200 win barrier for the first time with Gilmore, who spent 5 seasons in the ABA.  

18. Julius Erving 208 SF 1432 76ers 71-87 aba 5 years
 -Doc had 5 ABA seasons and also crosses the 200 win mark.  

17. Kevin Garnett 204.8 PF 1520 Timberwolves/Celtics 1995
-So, here's KG; over 200 wins/over 1500 games played, he gets the nod over the ABA players, but its close.  

16. Kobe Bryant 201.3 SG 1465 Lakers 1996-
-Kobe Bean Bryant.  He and Garnett profiling very similarly.  

15. Jerry West 189.33 PG 1085 Lakers 1960-74
 -West and Magic are essentially the same; it's a more competitive game Magic faced, leading to his getting ranked higher.    

14. Magic Johnson 188.42 PG 1096 Lakers 1979-96
 -Magic beats Bird - basically the same number of games played and 18 more wins.  One more point guard and we can build another team.

The 5th Team of 100 Wins
C Gilmore, Olajuwon, Malone
PF Garnett, Schayes, Issel
SF Erving, Bird
PG Johnson, West
SG Bryant, Miller

Hope we can get one more team out of the top 13.  

13. Shaquille O'Neal 212.79 C 1423 Lakers 1992-11
-Kobe's passed Shaq in games played now, but still short in wins - probably, he never passes him in the overall rank.   

12. Bill Russell 191.27 C 1128 Celtics 1956-69
-Russell could go below Magic for the same reason West does, it's super close.  

11. Oscar Robertson 202.26 PG 1126 1960-74 Royals
-Oscar over Magic, just a lot more wins - the same argument putting Magic over West applies here, but Oscar's got enough wins to get by them both.  

10. Charles Barkley 196.73 PF 1196 76ers 1984-00
-Chuck over Russell/Oscar, close, but really what you should see is the distance, the large distance, between Barkley and Bird.  Don't pay attention to any ranking of Bird over Barkley, it's totally unwarranted.  
9. David Robinson 196.19 C 1110 Spurs 1989-03
-Look how closely the Admiral profiles with Barkley.     

8. Dirk Nowitzki 207 PF 1323 Mavericks 1998-
-Dirk cracks the top 10 players of all time - could be his career tail knocks him back, you could see a scenario were he and Shaq have identical profiles.  But now - he's here.  

7. John Stockton 229.05 PG 1686 1984-03 Jazz
-Ton of wins/ton of games - Stockton's got more wins than any point guard in history and by a wide margin.  

6. LeBron James 202.3 SF 1000 Cavaliers 2003- 
-This won't be true by the end of the playoffs, but as of this writing, James is over 200 wins/under a thousand games.  It's crazy.  You could rank him 5th right now.  

5. Tim Duncan 227.8 C/PF 1488 Spurs 1997-
-If it's Spurs/Heat in 2014, we've got two near Mt. Rushmore players (and 4 other top 100 players) going at it.  Duncan doesn't keep this spot after next year.    

4. Karl Malone 257.62 PF 1669 1985-04 Jazz
 -So many wins - there's some Mailman revisionism that maybe he wasn't the player that Duncan/Barkley were; he's got 60 more wins than Chuck.  This won't always be true, but as of 2014, Malone's on Mt. Rushmore.  

3. Michael Jordan 253.78 SG 1251 Bulls 1984-03
-Shocking, I know.  It's clear for me; the two guys ahead are both ahead.  

2. Wilt Chamberlain 278.72 C 1215 1959-73 Warriors/Lakers
-25 more wins than Jordan in a few fewer games, even an adjustment for era doesn't get Jordan ahead, I don't think.  

1. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar 308.97 C 1797 1969-89 Lakers/Bucks
-Kareem's got the most games played on the list, and if you want to see that 600 game advantage over Wilt and knock him to second, that's cool with me.  He's got too many more wins than Jordan for that to be a real debate.  

Here's the 6th and final Team of 100 Wins.  Here's the real Dream Team. Yeah, MJ plays 48 minutes.  

C Abdul-Jabbar, Chamberlain, Robinson
PF Malone, Duncan, Russell
SF James, Nowitzki, Barkley
PG Stockton, Robertson
SG Jordan

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