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The 100 Greatest Basketball Players of All Time

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Through 2015-16 (beginning to work through 2016-17 now, to be complete after NBA Finals)

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. Chris Webber   90.2   PF   911    .099     1993-2008 Kings
104. Chris Mullin    96.9   SF   1057   .092    1986-01 Warriors
103. Anthony Mason 95     PF   978    .097    1989-2003 Knicks
102. Hersey Hawkins 98.2 SG  1057   .093    1989-2001 76ers
101. Sam Perkins      115.9 PF   1453   .077    1985-01 Mavericks/Sonics

The 100 Greatest Basketball Players Of All Time
100. Alex English     107.2 SF  1261   .085    1976-91 Nuggets
99.  Tyson Chandler 103.1 C    1106 .093 2001-   Bulls
98. Otis Thorpe         111.9 PF   1335   .084    1984-01 Rockets/Kings
      97. Dennis Rodman  101.5 PF    1080   .094   1986-00 Pistons
      96. Ben Wallace        108.9 C     1218   .089   1996-12 Pistons
      95.  Bob McAdoo      95.3   C     946    .101    1972-86 Braves
      94. Bob Cousy          100.2 PG   1033   .097   1950-70 Celtics
      93. Cliff Hagan         96      SF    934    .103   1957-70 Hawks
      92. Grant Hill           102.5 SF    1065   .096   1994-13 Pistons/Suns/Magic
      91. Hal Greer           109.9 SG    1214   .091   1958-73 76ers
      
      90. Alonzo Mourning 97.2 C      933    .104    1992-2008 Heat
      89.  Carmelo Anthony 102.8 SF 1032 .100  Nuggets/Knicks
      88. Tracy McGrady    101.8 SG/SF  988 .103  1997-12 Rockets
      87. Dave Cowens      95.7  C       855     .112   1970-83 Celtics
      86. Bill Sharman       92.1 SG     789     .117   1950-61 Celtics
      85. Vern Mikkelson  92.6 PF      784      .118   1950-9 Lakers
      84. Zelmo Beaty      120.6 (aba 55.9)  C      1004   .120     1962-75 Hawks 
      83. Amare Stoudemire 100.1 PF 924   .108   2003-16   Suns/Knicks
      82. Terry Porter        122   PG       1398   .087   1985-02 Blazers
      81. Detlef Schrempf 116.2 SF/PF  1250 .093   1985-01 Sonics/Pacers
      
      80. Maurice Cheeks 116.6 PG       1234    .094   1978-93 76ers
      79Sam Jones           107.5 SG    1025   .105    1957-69 Celtics
      78.  Eddie Jones        107.9 SG     1035  .104    1994-08 Heat/Lakers
      77. Tony Parker      119    PG     1279   .093   2001- Spurs
      76Sidney Moncrief  98.2 SG      860    .114    1979-91 Bucks
      75. Bill Laimbeer     116.3 C        1181   .098   1980-94 Pistons
      74. Rasheed Wallace 120.4 PF/C    1286  .094   1995-13 Blazers/Pistons
      73.  Allen Iverson     106.3 PG/SG  985  .108    1996-10 76ers
      72Elton Brand      113.8 PF        1098   .104    1999-16 Clippers
      71. Buck Williams    128.1 PF      1415    .091   1981-98 Nets/Blazers
      
      70. Jerry Lucas        103.3 PF       901     .115    1963-74 Royals
      69. Jack Sikma        120.4 C       1209    .100    1977-91 Sonics/Bucks
      68. Vince Carter    125.8 SG     1356   .093     1998- Raptors/Nets
      67. Jeff Hornacek    123.3 SG    1217   .101     1986-00 Jazz/Suns
      66. Kevin Johnson   102.2 PG    840     .122     1987-00 Suns
      65. Dikembe Mutombo 126.9 C 1297   .098     1991-09 Nuggets/Hawks/Rockets
      64. Chris Bosh        115.4  PF    972   .119       2003-16  Raptors
      63.  Larry Nance      117 PF        988    .118      1981-94 Suns/Cavs
      62. Elvin Hayes       132.5 PF    1399   .095     1968-84 Bullets/Rockets
      61.  Bailey Howell   122 PF       1036   .118     1959-71  Pistons

      60Manu Ginobli    121.3 SG   1120 .108       2002-  Spurs
      59. George Gervin        126 (aba 31.6) SG/SF 1144 .110 1972-86 Spurs
      58. Dominique Wilkins 121 SF   1130 .107      1982-99  Hawks
      57. Shawn Marion         133.9 SF 1372 .098     1999- 15  Suns/Mavs
      56. Wes Unseld          122.8 C     1103 .111       1968-81 Bullets
      55. Horace Grant       138.2 PF    1335 .104      1987-04 Bulls/Magic
      54. Neil Johnston       94.3 C       539   .175      1951-9 Warriors
      53. Ed Macauley       104.8 C     688    .152      1949-59 Celtics
      52. Chet Walker        127.7 SF   1137  .112      1962-75 Bulls
      51. Elgin Baylor       119.6 SF    980   .122      1958-72 Lakers

      And now - The Top 50 Basketball Players of All Time

      50. Paul Arizin       116.2  SF      762    .152     1950-62 Warriors
      49. Patrick Ewing   140.5 C        1322  .106     1985-02 Knicks
      48. Bob Lanier        125.7 C        1026 .123     1970-84 Pistons/Bucks
      47. Steve Nash        141.6 PG     1337 .106     1996-2014 Suns/Mavs
      46.  Kevin McHale 133.7 PF       1140 .117     1980-93 Celtics
      45. Dwight Howard 125.2 C      975  .128     2006- Magic
      44. Robert Parish     162.6 C       1795 .091     1977-97 Celtics
      43. Walt Bellamy    134.7 C        1089 .124     1961-75 Hawks/Bullets
      42. Dan Issel          173.7(aba 86.6) C 1351 .129 1970-85 Nuggets/Colonels
      41. Chauncey Billups 141.4 PG/SG 1189 .119 1997-2014 Pistons/Nuggets
      
      40. John Havlicek   151 SF         1442 .105     1962-78 Celtics
      39 Rick Barry      142.2 (aba 40.4) SF  1125 .126 1965-80  Warriors
      38Scottie Pippen 148.7 SF        1386 .107     1987-04 Bulls
      37.  Jason Kidd      153.1 PG       1531 .100      1994-13 Mavericks/Nets/Suns
      36. Gary Payton    156.6 PG       1489   .105    1990-07 Sonics
      35. Dwyane Wade 135.1 SG      1024  .132    2003-  Heat
      34. Pau Gasol       145.2 C/PF    1170 .124     2001 Lakers/Grizzlies
      33. Walt Frazier     129.4 PG        918   .140    1967-80 Knicks
      32. Ray Allen        163.1 SG       1471  .111     1996-14 Bucks/Celtics/Sonics
      31. Clyde Drexler 151.1 SG        1231 .123     1983-98 Blazers
      
      30. Paul Pierce     166.2 SF        1481 .112     1998- Celtics
      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 122 SF          732    .167     2007- Thunder
      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. Chris Paul 155.3 PG                   842     .184   2005- Hornets/Clippers 
   
      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.  CP3 right now has better numbers than the next man on the list and might move into the top 20 as soon as the end of 2016-17.  

      20.  Hakeem Olajuwon 185.4 C                  1383       .134 1984-02 Rockets
      19.  Julius Erving           208 (85.3 aba) SF 1432       .145 1971-87 76ers
      18. Kobe Bryant           201 SG                   1566       .128 1996-2016 Lakers
      17. Kevin Garnett       207.9 PF                1605       .130 1995-  TWolves/Celtics
      16.  Larry Bird              170.6 SF                 1061       .161 1980-92 Celtics

      CP3 could go by Olajuwon now, but I'd like to see everyone in the top 20 have 170 Win Shares.  You're only going to see one player outside the top 10 with more Win Shares than Erving, but a ton are from the ABA and that knocks him just below the Kobe/KG duo.  Garnett's better on both overall Win Shares and Win Shares/game than Kobe; they're both close, but KG has the better case. Bird's low man in this group for overall Win Shares, but high man on Win Shares/game.  

      15. Charles Barkley     196.7 PF                  1196       .164  1984-99  76ers
      14. Magic Johnson      188.4 PG                  1096       .172  1979-96 Lakers
      13.  Shaquille O'Neal   212.8 C                    1423       .150  1992-11 Lakers
      12. Jerry West              189.3 PG                  1085       .174 1960-74 Lakers
      11. Bill Russell            191.3 C                    1128       .170  1956-69 Celtics
      
      This five is unbelievably tight; you could order it nearly any way you liked.  The thing to note though is all five have the advantage of both metrics on Bird (except Shaq, his Win Shares/game is lower, but his overall Win Shares is higher than anyone on the list so far).  Really, it's so close it's impossible to go wrong in ordering these five in any direction.  

      10 Greatest Basketball Players Ever.

       10. Dirk Nowitzki 223.4 PF 1539 .145 Mavericks 1998-
         9. David Robinson 196.2 C      1110       .177                1989-03 Spurs
         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
    
      Duncan has more WS than anyone on the list so far, even as we see a slide in his WS/game, now below Shaq's.  Oscar has an enormous WS/game and that boosts him despite fewer WS than Stockton or Dirk.  The Admiral bests Russell by just a little bit on both metrics, when considering the time value of basketball, he was, not by a lot, the better player.  Oscar's the top point guard on the list.  

       5. Karl Malone        257.6  PF     1669     .154                 1985-04 Jazz
       4. LeBron James    234.1 SF      1186      .197                2003- Cavs
       3. Michael Jordan 253.8 SG         1251     .203                1984-03 Bulls
       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 solidly 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?  He's almost certain to pass both Wilt and Jordan - 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.

      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. Karl Malone 257.6 PF 1669 .154  1985-04 Jazz
4. Michael Jordan 253.8 SG 1251 .203 Bulls 1984-03
5. Tim Duncan 244.3 C/PF 1643 .149 Spurs 1997-16
6. LeBron James 234.1 SF  Cavaliers 1186 .197 2003-
7. John Stockton 229.1 PG 1686 .136 1984-03 Jazz
8. Dirk Nowitzki 223.4 PF 1539 .145 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. Dan Issel 173.7 C 1351 .129 Nuggets/Colonels 1970-85 aba 5 years
24. Larry Bird 170.6 SF/PF .161 1061 Celtics
25. Paul Pierce 166.2 SF 1481 .112 1998-17 Celtics
26. Ray Allen 163.1 SG 1471 1996-2014 .111 Bucks/Celtics/Sonics
27. Robert Parish 162.6 C 1795 .091 Celtics
28. Gary Payton 156.6 PG 1489 .105 Sonics 1990-07
29. Dolph Schayes 156.4 PF 1093 .143 1949-64 Nationals
30. Chris Paul 155.3 PG 842 .184 2005- Hornets/Clippers
31. Jason Kidd 153.1 PG 1531 .100 1994-13 Mavericks/Nets/Suns
32. Clyde Drexler 151.1 SG 1231 .123 Blazers 1983-98
33. John Havlicek 151 SF 1442 .105 Celtics 1962-78
34. Scottie Pippen 148.7 SF 1386 .107 Bulls 1987-04
35. Bob Pettit 147 PF 880 .167 1954-65 Hawks
36. Pau Gasol 145.2 C/PF 1170 .124 Lakers/Grizzlies 2001
37. Adrian Dantley 143.2 SF 1028 .139 1976-91 Jazz
38. Rick Barry 142.2 SF 1125 1965-80 .126 Warriors aba 4 years (40.4)
39. Steve Nash 141.6 PG 1337 .106 Suns/Mavericks 1996-2014
40. Chauncey Billups 141.4 PG/SG 1189 .119 Pistons/Nuggets 1997-2014
41. Patrick Ewing 140.5 C 1322 .106 Knicks 1985-02
42. Horace Grant 138.2 PF 1335 .104 1987-04 Bulls/Magic
43. Dwyane Wade 135.1 G 1024 .132 Heat 2003-
44. Walt Bellamy 134.7 C 1089 .124 1961-75 Hawks/Bullets
45. Shawn Marion 133.9 SF 1372 .098 Suns/Mavericks 1999-
46. Kevin McHale 133.7 PF 1140 .117 Celtics 1980-93
47. Elvin Hayes 132.5 PF 1399 .095 Bullets/Rockets 1968-84
48. Walt Frazier 129.4 PG 918 .140 Knicks 1967-80
49. Buck Williams 128.1 F 1415 .091 Nets/Blazers 1981-98
50. Chet Walker 127.7 SF 1137 .112 1962-75 Bulls
51. Dikembe Mutombo 126.9 C 1297 .098 1991-09 Nuggets/Hawks/Rockets
52. George Gervin 126  SG/SF 1144 .110 Spurs 1972-86 aba 2 years (31.6)
53. Vince Carter 125.8 G 1356 .093 1998- Raptors/Nets
54. George Mikan 125.7 C 509 .247 Lakers 1948-56
55. Bob Lanier 125.7 C 1026 .123 Pistons/Bucks 1970-84
56. Dwight Howard 125.2 C 975 .128 2006- Magic
57. Jeff Hornacek 123.3 SG 1217 .101 1986-00 Jazz/Suns
58. Kevin Durant 122 SF 732 .167 Thunder 2007-
59. Wes Unseld 122.8 C 1103 .111 1968-81 Bullets
60. Bailey Howell 122 PF 1036 .118 Pistons 1959-71
61. Terry Porter 122 PG 1398 Blazers .087 1985-02
62. Manu Ginobli 121.3 SG 1120 .108 Spurs 2002-
63. Dominique Wilkins 121 SF 1130 .107 Hawks 1982-99
64. Zelmo Beaty 120.6 C 1004 .120 1962-75 Hawks aba 4 yrs (55.9)
65. Jack Sikma 120.4 C 1209 .100 Sonics/Bucks 1977-91
66. Rasheed Wallace 120.4 F/C 1286 .094 Blazers/Pistons 1995-13
67. Elgin Baylor 119.6 SF 980 .122 Lakers 1958-72
68. Tony Parker 119 PG  1279 .093 2001- Spurs
69. Larry Nance 117 PF 988 .118 Suns/Cavaliers 1981-94
70. Maurice Cheeks 116.6 G 1234 .094 Sixers 1978-93
71. Bill Laimbeer 116.3 C 1181 .098 Pistons 1980-94
72. Detlef Schrempf 116.2 SF/PF  1250 .093 1985-01 Sonics/Pacers
73. Paul Arizin 116.2 SF 762 .152 1950-62 Warriors
74. Sam Perkins 115.9 PF 1453 .077 Mavericks/Sonics
75. Chris Bosh 115.4 C/PF 972  .119 Raptors 2003-16
76. Elton Brand 113.8 F 1098 .104 1999- Clippers
77. Otis Thorpe 111.9 PF 1335 .084 1984-01 Rockets/Kings
78. Hal Greer 109.9 SG 214 .091 1958-73 Sixers
79. AC Green 109.3 PF 1431 .076 Lakers 1985-01
80. Ben Wallace 108.9 C 1218 .089 1996-12 Pistons
81. Eddie Jones 107.9 SG 1035 .104 Heat/Lakers 1994-08
82. Sam Jones 107.5 SG 1025 .105 Celtics 1957-69
83. Bobby Jones 107.5 PF 1092 .098 Sixers 1974-86
84. Alex English 107.2 SF 1261 .085 Nuggets 1976-91
85. Jason Terry 107.1 SG/PG 1400 .077 Mavericks/Hawks  2000-
86. Allen Iverson 106.3 PG/SG  985  .108 Sixers 1996-10
87. Vlade Divac 105 C 1255 .084 1989-05 Lakers/Kings
88. Ed Macauley 104.8 C 688 .152 Celtics 1949-59
89. Andre Miller 103.5 PG 1372 .075 1999-16 Nuggets
90. Jerry Lucas 103.3 PF 901 .115 Royals 1963-74
91. Tyson Chandler 103.1 C 1106 .093 Bulls
92. Carmelo Anthony 102.8 SF 1032 .100  Nuggets/Knicks
93. Grant Hill 102.5 SF 1065 .096  1994-13 Pistons/Suns/Magic
94. Kevin Johnson 102.2 PG 840 .122 1987-00 Suns
95. Tracy McGrady 101.8 SG/SF  988 .103  1997-12 Rockets
96. Dennis Rodman 101.5 PF 1080 .094 1986-00 Pistons
97. Charles Oakley 100.9 PF 1426 .071 1985-04 Knicks
98. Bob Cousy 100.2 PG 1033 .097 1950-70 Celtics
99. Amare Stoudemire 100.1 PF 924 .108 Suns/Knicks 2003-16
100. Mark Jackson 100.1 PG 1427 .070 1987-04 Knicks/Pacers


101. Lenny Wilkens 99.8 G 1141 .087
102. Shawn Kemp 99 F 1139 .087
103. Sidney Moncrief 98.2 G 860 .114
104. Hersey Hawkins 98.2 G 1057 .093
105. Terry Cummings 98.1 F 1293 .076
106. Rashard Lewis 97.6 PF 1142 .085
107. Alonzo Mourning 97.2 C 933 .104
108. PJ Brown 97.1 PF 1195 .081
109. Chris Mullin 96.9 SF 1057 .092
110. Joe Dumars 96.3 SG 1130 .085
111. James Worthy 96 SF 1069 .090
112. Cliff Hagan 96 SF 934 .103
113. Dennis Johnson 95.8 PG 1280 .075
114. Dave Cowens 95.7 C 855 .112
115. Dale Davis 95.7 PF 1231 .078
116. Bob McAdoo 95.3 C 946 .101
117. Anthony Mason 95 PF 978 .097
118. Sam Cassell 94.4 PG 1129 .084
119. Neil Johnston 94.3 C 539 .175
120. Derek Harper 93.3 PG 1296 .072
121. Isiah Thomas 93.2 PG 1090 .086
122. Vern Mikkelson 92.6 PF 784 .118
123. Bill Sharman 92.1 SG 789 .117
124. Michael Finley 92.1 SF 1232 .075
125. Cliff Robinson 91.8 PF 1521 .060
126. Glen Rice 91.7 SF 1055 .087
127. Steve Smith 91.4 SG 1032 .089
128. Bobby Dandridge 91.3 SF 937 .097
129. Antawn Jamison 90.9 PF 1129 .081
130. Chris Webber 90.2 PF 911 .099
131. Jimmy Jones 90.1 PG 775 .116 7 aba seasons


     




      



























  






























      
























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