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The 100 Greatest Basketball Players of All Time

Saturday, June 20, 2015



Through 2017-18.

The first list is my looking to do a qualitative ranking, trying to balance a per game vs. a career value, considering older basketball quality vs a more modern game, considering the value of the ABA totals. and considering not just regular season but the importance of the playoffs. It's my current view of what the list of best players ever should be. Yes, I think it's the best list of the 100 best basketball players ever that exists.  

The numbers: - total Win Shares (regular season and playoffs and, when applicable, ABA). Games played.  Win Shares/game. Career span. Teams for which the player had five years of service. Active players in bold.

The second list is quantitative only.  Just ranked by overall Win Shares.  Every player who hits 90 overall Win Shares is listed and that's the cohort considered for the top list.  There might be an active player who you love who isn't listed in the top 100, if he doesn't have 90 Win Shares he isn't considered.  Not enough career value.  

Here we go.

Last Five Out
105. Sam Perkins      115.9 PF   1453   .077    1985-01 Mavericks/Sonics
104. Alex English     107.2 SF  1261   .085    1976-91 Nuggets
103. Otis Thorpe         111.9 PF   1335   .084    1984-01 Rockets/Kings
102. Dennis Rodman  101.5 PF    1080   .094   1986-00 Pistons
101. Tyson Chandler 105.8 C 1152 .092 Bulls

The 100 Greatest Basketball Players Of All Time

100. LaMarcus Aldridge 90.9 PF 850  .107  2006-  Blazers
      99. Ben Wallace        108.9 C     1218   .089   1996-12 Pistons
      98.  Bob McAdoo      95.3   C     946    .101    1972-86 Braves
      97. Bob Cousy          100.2 PG   1033   .097   1950-70 Celtics
      96. Cliff Hagan         96      SF    934    .103   1957-70 Hawks
      95. Grant Hill           102.5 SF    1065   .096   1994-13 Pistons/Suns/Magic
      94. Hal Greer           109.9 SG    1214   .091   1958-73 76ers
      93. Alonzo Mourning 97.2 C      933    .104    1992-2008 Heat
      92. Carmelo Anthony 106.6 SF 1116 .96  Nuggets/Knicks

   
      91. Tracy McGrady    101.8 SG/SF  988 .103  1997-12 Rockets
   

      90. Dave Cowens      95.7  C       855     .112   1970-83 Celtics
      89. Bill Sharman       92.1 SG     789     .117   1950-61 Celtics
      88. Vern Mikkelson  92.6 PF      784      .118   1950-9 Lakers
      87. Zelmo Beaty      120.6 (aba 55.9)  C      1004   .120     1962-75 Hawks
      86. Amare Stoudemire 100.1 PF 924   .108   2003-16   Suns/Knicks
      85. Terry Porter        122   PG       1398   .087   1985-02 Blazers
      84. Detlef Schrempf 116.2 SF/PF  1250 .093   1985-01 Sonics/Pacers
   
      83. Maurice Cheeks 116.6 PG       1234    .094   1978-93 76ers
   
      82.  Eddie Jones        107.9 SG     1035  .104    1994-08 Heat/Lakers
       81. Tony Parker 123.9 PG  1410 .088 2001- Spurs
      80. Sam Jones           107.5 SG    1025   .105    1957-69 Celtics
      79. Sidney Moncrief  98.2 SG      860    .114    1979-91 Bucks
      78. Bill Laimbeer     116.3 C        1181   .098   1980-94 Pistons
     

      77. Rasheed Wallace 120.4 PF/C    1286  .094   1995-13 Blazers/Pistons
      76.  Allen Iverson     106.3 PG/SG  985  .108    1996-10 76ers
      75. Elton Brand      113.8 PF        1098   .104    1999-16 Clippers
      74. Buck Williams    128.1 PF      1415    .091   1981-98 Nets/Blazers
   
73. Jerry Lucas        103.3 PF       901     .115    1963-74 Royals
72 Vince Carter 131 G 1491 .088 1998- Raptors/Nets
71 Russell Westbrook 100.8 PG 841  .120 Thunder

     70. Jack Sikma        120.4 C       1209    .100    1977-91 Sonics/Bucks

      69. Jeff Hornacek    123.3 SG    1217   .101     1986-00 Jazz/Suns
      68. Kevin Johnson   102.2 PG    840     .122     1987-00 Suns
      67. Manu Ginobli 127 SG 1275 .100 Spurs 2002-
      66. Dikembe Mutombo 126.9 C 1297   .098     1991-09 Nuggets/Hawks/Rockets
      65. Chris Bosh        115.4  PF    972   .119       2003-16  Raptors
      64.  Larry Nance      117 PF        988    .118      1981-94 Suns/Cavs
      63. Elvin Hayes       132.5 PF    1399   .095     1968-84 Bullets/Rockets
      62.  Bailey Howell   122 PF       1036   .118     1959-71  Pistons
      61. George Gervin        126 (aba 31.6) SG/SF 1144 .110 1972-86 Spurs
      60. Dominique Wilkins 121 SF   1130 .107      1982-99  Hawks
      59. Shawn Marion         133.9 SF 1372 .098     1999- 15  Suns/Mavs
      58. Wes Unseld          122.8 C     1103 .111       1968-81 Bullets
      57. Horace Grant       138.2 PF    1335 .104      1987-04 Bulls/Magic
      56. Neil Johnston       94.3 C       539   .175      1951-9 Warriors
      55. Ed Macauley       104.8 C     688    .152      1949-59 Celtics
      54. Chet Walker        127.7 SF   1137  .112      1962-75 Bulls
      53. Elgin Baylor       119.6 SF    980   .122      1958-72 Lakers
      52. Stephen Curry 107.1 PG 713 .150 2009-  Warriors
      51. Paul Arizin       116.2  SF      762    .152     1950-62 Warriors


      And now - The Top 50 Basketball Players of All Time


      50. Patrick Ewing   140.5 C        1322  .106     1985-02 Knicks
      49. Bob Lanier        125.7 C        1026 .123     1970-84 Pistons/Bucks
      48. Steve Nash        141.6 PG     1337 .106     1996-2014 Suns/Mavs
      47.  Kevin McHale 133.7 PF       1140 .117     1980-93 Celtics

      46. Robert Parish     162.6 C       1795 .091     1977-97 Celtics
      45. Walt Bellamy    134.7 C        1089 .124     1961-75 Hawks/Bullets
      44. Dan Issel          173.7(aba 86.6) C 1351 .129 1970-85 Nuggets/Colonels
      43. Chauncey Billups 141.4 PG/SG 1189 .119 1997-2014 Pistons/Nuggets
   
      42. John Havlicek   151 SF         1442 .105     1962-78 Celtics
      41.  Rick Barry      142.2 (aba 40.4) SF  1125 .126 1965-80  Warriors
      40. Scottie Pippen 148.7 SF        1386 .107     1987-04 Bulls
      39.  Jason Kidd      153.1 PG       1531 .100      1994-13 Mavericks/Nets/Suns
      38. Dwyane Wade 140.1 G 1162 .121 Heat 2003-


      37. Gary Payton    156.6 PG       1489   .105    1990-07 Sonics
      36. Dwight Howard 140.7 C 1136 .124 2006- Magic

      35  James Harden 119.1 SG 792 .150  2009-   Rockets

      34. Walt Frazier     129.4 PG        918   .140    1967-80 Knicks
      33. Ray Allen        163.1 SG       1471  .111     1996-14 Bucks/Celtics/Sonics
      32. Clyde Drexler 151.1 SG        1231 .123     1983-98 Blazers
   
      31. Paul Pierce      166.3 SF          1513 .110    1998-17 Celtics
      30.Pau Gasol 158.5 C/PF 1332 .119 Lakers/Grizzlies 2001

      29.  Dolph Schayes 156.4 PF       1093 .143     1949-64 Nationals
      28.  Bob Pettit        147 PF           880   .167     1954-65 Hawks
      27. Adrian Dantley 143.2 SF      1028 .139      1976-91 Jazz
      26. Kevin Durant 151.5 SF         897 .169 Thunder 2007-
      25. Artis Gilmore 202.9 (aba 92.7) C 1429 .142  1971-88  Bulls/Spurs/Colonels
      24. Moses Malone 193.9 (13.2 aba) C 1555 .125  1974-95  Rockets/Sixers
      23. Reggie Miller 194.3 SG                 1533 .127  1987-05 Pacers
      22. George Mikan 125.7 C                   509   .247  1948-56 Lakers
      21.   Hakeem Olajuwon 185.4 C                  1383       .134 1984-02 Rockets


    The 20 Best Basketball Players Ever
   
      Let's add some commentary for the top 25.  Gilmore's the first guy with 200 total Win Shares, but almost half of them are ABA shares and that buys him the spot just ahead of still active Durant.  Moses and Reggie Miller have almost identical numbers, a tiny edge to Miller given Moses' ABA totals and Miller playing more recently.  All the earlier generation players like Mikan are hard to rank, Mikan's Win Shares/game is the highest of any player in history, but he only played in 509 games.

      20.  Julius Erving        208 (85.3 aba) SF 1432       .145 1971-87 76ers
      19. Kobe Bryant          201 SG                   1566       .128 1996-2016 Lakers
      18. Kevin Garnett        207.9 PF                1605       .130 1995-  TWolves/Celtics
      17.  Larry Bird             170.6 SF                 1061       .161 1980-92 Celtics
      16. Charles Barkley     196.7 PF                  1196       .164  1984-99  76ers
      15. Magic Johnson      188.4 PG                  1096       .172  1979-96 Lakers
      14. Chris Paul              179.6 PG                  983         .183 2005- Hornets/Clippers
      13. Jerry West              189.3 PG                  1085       .174 1960-74 Lakers
      12. Bill Russell            191.3 C                    1128       .170  1956-69 Celtics
      11. David Robinson     196.2 C                   1110       .177                1989-03 Spurs
   
     I put up a minimum of 200 WS as a bar for entry for the top 10

      10 Greatest Basketball Players Ever.

         10.  Shaquille O'Neal   212.8 C                    1423       .150  1992-11 Lakers
         9. Dirk Nowitzki    223.4 PF                        1539      .145 Mavericks 1998-
         8. John Stockton     229.1 PG                       1686       .136                1984-03 Jazz
         7. Oscar Robertson 202.8 PG                     1126       .180                1960-1974 Royals
         6. Tim Duncan      244.3 C/PF                   1643       .149                 1997-16 Spurs
         5. Karl Malone        257.6  PF                   1669     .154                 1985-04 Jazz
     
        4. Michael Jordan 253.8 SG                1251     .203                1984-03 Bulls
        3. LeBron James 270.4 SF  Cavaliers 1375      .197         2003- 
         2. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar 309 C          1797     .172                1969-89 Lakers/Bucks
         1. Wilt Chamberlain 278.8 C              1205     .231                1959-73 Warriors/Lakers


      Wilt's still the best basketball player who ever lived.  More WS than anyone but Kareem, better per game than anyone but Mikan.  Better than Jordan in both metrics.  Kareem's the only player to top 300 WS, think about where this list starts, with every NBA player who has 90 WS. Kareem has more WS than 3 Dave Cowens.  LeBron's never going to match Jordan's WS/game, the question is how many more WS does he have left in him?  In 2018 he went by Jordan - in 2019 he's going by Wilt- it's not unreasonable to think he one day passes Kareem.  He's already on Mt.Rushmore, the question is how many heads go before him. To me, this is a clear Mt Rushmore, even if one might quibble about the order among the four.  

      Here's the raw list, just in order of overall WS.  Every player with 90+


1. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar 309 C 1797 .172  1969-89 Lakers/Bucks
2. Wilt Chamberlain 278.8 C 1205 .231  1959-73 Warriors/Lakers
3. LeBron James 270.4 SF  Cavaliers 1375 .197 2003-
4. Karl Malone 257.6 PF 1669 .154  1985-04 Jazz
5. Michael Jordan 253.8 SG 1251 .203 Bulls 1984-03
6. Tim Duncan 244.3 C/PF 1643 .149 Spurs 1997-16
7. John Stockton 229.1 PG 1686 .136 1984-03 Jazz
8. Dirk Nowitzki 228.2 PF 1616 .141 Mavericks 1998-
9. Shaquille O'Neal 212.8 C 1423 .150 Lakers 1992-11
10. Julius Erving 208 SF 1432 .145 76ers 71-87 aba 5 years (85.3 WS)
11. Kevin Garnett 207.9 PF 1605 .130 Timberwolves/Celtics 1995-16
12. Artis Gilmore 202.9 C 1429 .142 Bulls/Spurs/Colonels 1971-88 aba 5 years (92.7)
13. Oscar Robertson 202.8 PG 1126 .180 1960- Royals
14. Kobe Bryant 201 SG 1566 .128 Lakers 1996-2016 
15. Charles Barkley 196.7 PF 1196 .164 76ers 1984-99
16. David Robinson 196.2 C 1110 Spurs .177 1989-03
17. Reggie Miller 194.3 G 1533 .127 Pacers 1987-05
18. Moses Malone 193.9 C 1555 .125 Rockets/76ers 1974-95 aba 2 years (13.2)
19. Bill Russell 191.3 C 1128 .170 Celtics 1956-69
20. Jerry West 189.3 PG 1085 .174 Lakers 1960-74
21. Magic Johnson 188.4 PG 1096 .172 Lakers 1979-96
22. Hakeem Olajuwon 185.4 C 1383 .134 Rockets 1984-02
23. Chris Paul 179.6 PG 983 .183 2005- Hornets/Clippers
24. Dan Issel 173.7 C 1351 .129 Nuggets/Colonels 1970-85 aba 5 years
25. Larry Bird 170.6 SF/PF .161 1061 Celtics
26. Paul Pierce 166.3 SF 1513 .110 1998-17 Celtics
27. Ray Allen 163.1 SG 1471 1996-2014 .111 Bucks/Celtics/Sonics
28. Robert Parish 162.6 C 1795 .091 Celtics
29. Pau Gasol 158.5 C/PF 1332 .119 Lakers/Grizzlies 2001
30. Gary Payton 156.6 PG 1489 .105 Sonics 1990-07
31. Dolph Schayes 156.4 PF 1093 .143 1949-64 Nationals
32. Jason Kidd 153.1 PG 1531 .100 1994-13 Mavericks/Nets/Suns
33. Kevin Durant 151.5 SF 897 .169 Thunder 2007
34. Clyde Drexler 151.1 SG 1231 .123 Blazers 1983-98
35. John Havlicek 151 SF 1442 .105 Celtics 1962-78
36. Scottie Pippen 148.7 SF 1386 .107 Bulls 1987-04
37. Bob Pettit 147 PF 880 .167 1954-65 Hawks
38. Adrian Dantley 143.2 SF 1028 .139 1976-91 Jazz
39. Rick Barry 142.2 SF 1125 1965-80 .126 Warriors aba 4 years (40.4)
40. Steve Nash 141.6 PG 1337 .106 Suns/Mavericks 1996-2014
41. Chauncey Billups 141.4 PG/SG 1189 .119 Pistons/Nuggets 1997-2014
42. Dwight Howard 140.7 C 1136 .124 2006- Magic
43. Patrick Ewing 140.5 C 1322 .106 Knicks 1985-02
44. Dwyane Wade 140.1 G 1162 .121 Heat 2003-
45. Horace Grant 138.2 PF 1335 .104 1987-04 Bulls/Magic
46. Walt Bellamy 134.7 C 1089 .124 1961-75 Hawks/Bullets

47. Shawn Marion 133.9 SF 1372 .098 Suns/Mavericks 1999-
48. Kevin McHale 133.7 PF 1140 .117 Celtics 1980-93
49. Elvin Hayes 132.5 PF 1399 .095 Bullets/Rockets 1968-84
50. Vince Carter 131 G 1491 .088 1998- Raptors/Nets
51. Walt Frazier 129.4 PG 918 .140 Knicks 1967-80
52. Buck Williams 128.1 F 1415 .091 Nets/Blazers 1981-98
53. Chet Walker 127.7 SF 1137 .112 1962-75 Bulls
54. Manu Ginobli 127 SG 1275 .100 Spurs 2002-
55. Dikembe Mutombo 126.9 C 1297 .098 1991-09 Nuggets/Hawks/Rockets
56. George Gervin 126  SG/SF 1144 .110 Spurs 1972-86 aba 2 years (31.6)
57. George Mikan 125.7 C 509 .247 Lakers 1948-56
58. Bob Lanier 125.7 C 1026 .123 Pistons/Bucks 1970-84
59. Tony Parker 123.9 PG  1410 .088 2001- Spurs
60. Jeff Hornacek 123.3 SG 1217 .101 1986-00 Jazz/Suns
61. Wes Unseld 122.8 C 1103 .111 1968-81 Bullets
62. Bailey Howell 122 PF 1036 .118 Pistons 1959-71
63. Terry Porter 122 PG 1398 Blazers .087 1985-02
64. Dominique Wilkins 121 SF 1130 .107 Hawks 1982-99
65. Zelmo Beaty 120.6 C 1004 .120 1962-75 Hawks aba 4 yrs (55.9)
66. Jack Sikma 120.4 C 1209 .100 Sonics/Bucks 1977-91
67. Rasheed Wallace 120.4 F/C 1286 .094 Blazers/Pistons 1995-13
68. Elgin Baylor 119.6 SF 980 .122 Lakers 1958-72
69. James Harden 119.1 SG 792 .150  2009-   Rockets
70. Larry Nance 117 PF 988 .118 Suns/Cavaliers 1981-94
71. Maurice Cheeks 116.6 G 1234 .094 Sixers 1978-93
72. Bill Laimbeer 116.3 C 1181 .098 Pistons 1980-94
73. Detlef Schrempf 116.2 SF/PF  1250 .093 1985-01 Sonics/Pacers
74. Paul Arizin 116.2 SF 762 .152 1950-62 Warriors
75. Sam Perkins 115.9 PF 1453 .077 Mavericks/Sonics
76. Chris Bosh 115.4 C/PF 972  .119 Raptors 2003-16
77. Elton Brand 113.8 F 1098 .104 1999- Clippers
78. Otis Thorpe 111.9 PF 1335 .084 1984-01 Rockets/Kings
79. Hal Greer 109.9 SG 214 .091 1958-73 Sixers
80. Jason Terry 109.9 SG/PG 1534 .072 Mavericks/Hawks  2000-
81. AC Green 109.3 PF 1431 .076 Lakers 1985-01
82. Ben Wallace 108.9 C 1218 .089 1996-12 Pistons
83. Eddie Jones 107.9 SG 1035 .104 Heat/Lakers 1994-08
84. Sam Jones 107.5 SG 1025 .105 Celtics 1957-69
85. Bobby Jones 107.5 PF 1092 .098 Sixers 1974-86
86. Alex English 107.2 SF 1261 .085 Nuggets 1976-91
87. Stephen Curry 107.1 PG 713 .150 2009-  Warriors
88. Carmelo Anthony 106.6 SF 1116 .96  Nuggets/Knicks
89. Allen Iverson 106.3 PG/SG  985  .108 Sixers 1996-10
90. Tyson Chandler 105.8 C 1152 .092 Bulls
91. Vlade Divac 105 C 1255 .084 1989-05 Lakers/Kings
92. Ed Macauley 104.8 C 688 .152 Celtics 1949-59
93. Andre Miller 103.5 PG 1372 .075 1999-16 Nuggets
94. Jerry Lucas 103.3 PF 901 .115 Royals 1963-74
95. Grant Hill 102.5 SF 1065 .096  1994-13 Pistons/Suns/Magic
96. Kevin Johnson 102.2 PG 840 .122 1987-00 Suns
97. Tracy McGrady 101.8 SG/SF  988 .103  1997-12 Rockets
98. Andre Iguodala 101.6 SF 1164 .087   2004-  Sixers
99. Dennis Rodman 101.5 PF 1080 .094 1986-00 Pistons
100. Charles Oakley 100.9 PF 1426 .071 1985-04 Knicks
101. Russell Westbrook 100.8 PG 841  .120
102. Bob Cousy 100.2 PG 1033 .097 1950-70 Celtics
103. Amare Stoudemire 100.1 PF 924 .108 Suns/Knicks 2003-16
104. Mark Jackson 100.1 PG 1427 .070 1987-04 Knicks/Pacers
105. Lenny Wilkens 99.8 G 1141 .087
106. Shawn Kemp 99 F 1139 .087
107. Sidney Moncrief 98.2 G 860 .114
108. Hersey Hawkins 98.2 G 1057 .093
109. Terry Cummings 98.1 F 1293 .076
110. Rashard Lewis 97.6 PF 1142 .085
111. Alonzo Mourning 97.2 C 933 .104
112. PJ Brown 97.1 PF 1195 .081
113. Chris Mullin 96.9 SF 1057 .092
114. Joe Dumars 96.3 SG 1130 .085
115. James Worthy 96 SF 1069 .090
116. Cliff Hagan 96 SF 934 .103
117. Dennis Johnson 95.8 PG 1280 .075
118. Dave Cowens 95.7 C 855 .112
119. Dale Davis 95.7 PF 1231 .078
120. Bob McAdoo 95.3 C 946 .101
121. Anthony Mason 95 PF 978 .097
122. Sam Cassell 94.4 PG 1129 .084
123. Neil Johnston 94.3 C 539 .175
124. David West 93.5 PF 1152 .081
125. Derek Harper 93.3 PG 1296 .072
126. Isiah Thomas 93.2 PG 1090 .086
127. Vern Mikkelson 92.6 PF 784 .118
128. Bill Sharman 92.1 SG 789 .117
129. Michael Finley 92.1 SF 1232 .075
130. Cliff Robinson 91.8 PF 1521 .060
131. Glen Rice 91.7 SF 1055 .087
132. Steve Smith 91.4 SG 1032 .089
133. Bobby Dandridge 91.3 SF 937 .097
134. Richard Jefferson 91.2 SF 1321 .069
135. LaMarcus Aldridge 90.9 PF 850  .107  2006-  Blazers
136. Antawn Jamison 90.9 PF 1129 .081
137. Chris Webber 90.2 PF 911 .099
138. Jimmy Jones 90.1 PG 775 .116 7 aba seasons


     




      



























  






























      
























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