ESPN's Top 10 players in NBA history

Discussion in 'Duke Hoops Open Forum - Free' started by bullettoothtony, May 13, 2020.

  1. bullettoothtony

    bullettoothtony All Conference
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  2. Shatterthesky22

    Shatterthesky22 All Conference
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    Tim Duncan and LeBron over Kobe is an absolute farce.

    Edit: If I had to rank them I'd go

    10.Russell

    9.Wilt

    8.Duncan

    7. Kareem

    6. Bird

    5. LeBron

    4. Shaq

    3. Kobe

    2. Magic

    1. Jordan
     
    2 Shatterthesky22, May 13, 2020
    Last edited: May 13, 2020
  3. bleediteveryday30

    bleediteveryday30 Cameron Crazy
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    I'm a Spurs fanatic, so I am tickled to death with Duncan's placement. Having said that, I don't agree with it. I think Jordan, Kobe, and Magic are the 3 best all time. I won't disagree with that top ten as a whole though. Maybe just the order. I'd probably go from 10-1: 10. Wilt, 9. Lebron, 8. Shaq, 7. Russell, 6. Duncan, 5. Kareem, 4. Bird, 3. Magic, 2. Kobe, 1. Jordan. But, if Lebron wins another ring I put him closer to the top 5. Love the guy, but at times he defers too much. Duncan being that high may just be me being a homer. I can admit that. But, he deserves to be in that top ten for sure.
     
  4. christophero

    christophero Cameron Crazy
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    No Oscar Robertson?
     
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  5. jwill133

    jwill133 Devils Illustrated Hall of Famer
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    Lebron
    Jordan
    Kareem
    Russell
    Magic
    Wilt
    Kobe
    Shaq
    Bird
    Duncan
     
  6. skysdad

    skysdad Devils Illustrated Hall of Famer
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    You really think Shaq was better than Jabbar, Russell and Wilt? May I ask how old you are ? It's just a curiosity. OFC
     
  7. df64

    df64 Cameron Crazy
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    Not a stats guy, but I think Robertson should replace Shaq. If not, Shaq is 10 on that list. Certainly no dis either way. Wilt and Russel at 9 and 10 is hard to fathom. Maybe not wrong, but still hard to fathom.
     
    7 df64, May 13, 2020
    Last edited: May 13, 2020
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  8. Shatterthesky22

    Shatterthesky22 All Conference
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    I'm just turned 24 the other day. I knew someone would call me on it with that ranking. Though I do have a reason for ranking Russell and Wilt low, as from what I've heard, most guys back them were much shorter, and thus really bumping those rebounding numbers up a bunch.
     
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  9. christophero

    christophero Cameron Crazy
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    I wonder what would happen if you switched Russell and Wilt. Just curious. If Wilt was on those Celtic teams.
     
  10. skysdad

    skysdad Devils Illustrated Hall of Famer
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    Both could and would hold their own against Shaq, Jabber on anyone playing today. Shaq could not put his butt out and back either one down to the basket and turn around and either dink the ball or shoot an easy layup which was his signature move. Nothing against Shaq but he never went up against Wilt, Russell, Jabber or even Walton. He just would not be allowed to do that. OFC
     
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  11. df64

    df64 Cameron Crazy
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    Wilt was a freak in any day.
     
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  12. christophero

    christophero Cameron Crazy
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    Plus Shaq can't fly a plane.
     
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  13. VaBlueDevil33

    VaBlueDevil33 Cameron Crazy
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    Jordan and LeBron are #1 & #2 in whichever order you want...period
     
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  14. Mac9192

    Mac9192 Devils Illustrated Hall of Famer
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    Hard to argue against Jordan. I’m a Bird guy. He’s top 2, 3 at worst case. I wonder if some of you know just how good he was. His career only lasted 12 seasons, a lot due to him playing with reckless abandon. He averaged 6 assists a game for his career, in an era when the point guard initiated the offense.

    The year before he played, the Celtics were 29-53. His rookie season they were 61-21, with basically the same team. The worst season during his career, they were 42-40. He played 6 games. If they weren’t winning it all, the Lakers were. They won it all in 86, and then drafted Len Bias.
    Pat Riley once said if the game was on the line, he wanted Jordan to take the shot. If his life was on the line, he wanted Bird.
     
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  15. christophero

    christophero Cameron Crazy
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    Bird at his peak was nearly as good as Jordan but injuries shortened his career and effectiveness.
     
  16. CRAZIE4LIFE

    CRAZIE4LIFE Devils Illustrated Hall of Famer
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    Jabbar should be top 3, and Lebron is good but no Kobe.
     
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  17. christophero

    christophero Cameron Crazy
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    I remember Bird having to lie down on the floor by the bench because his back was so bad. Then he would go back into the game. Who would do that now? PS I hated Bird and the Celtics but just remember how great he was.
     
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  18. topps coach

    topps coach Devils Illustrated Hall of Famer
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    Players were measured in their bare feet as opposed to their shoes.Their were twelve teams then and off the top of my head Wilt and Russell played against at least six other centers that were 6-10 or better.I will agree with you if you say that due to improved nutrition and training advances today’s players are stronger
     
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  19. df64

    df64 Cameron Crazy
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    To think that the careers of such transcendent stars like Bird, Walton, Gretzky, Lemeuix etc were shortened by goonery is disgraceful. What a loss.
     
  20. fladuke65

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    I would say that between 1981 and 1986, the highest level of bb ever played was arguably played by Larry Bird. But I am ok with overall career of Bird falling behind Jordan, Lebron, Kobe, Wilt, Jabbar and Russel. I do not put Shaq in top 10 because he was a one trick pony. Not a great rebounder and limited offensive aresenal. By end of his career, he had few all star level C's to play against. I think Shaq is essentially even with Ewing if Ewing would have had teammates as good as Kobe or Wade!
     
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  21. jwill133

    jwill133 Devils Illustrated Hall of Famer
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    Considering the different era's of basketball, these rankings are impossible IMO.
    Consider Bill Russell, he won freaking 11 titles, shouldn't he be the greatest ever just off that???? No. Because I've seen images and footage of the guys he was playing against. Seemed like a lot of 6'6 slow, unathletic centers he was destroying. No fault to his own, Russell was a pioneer, he is the biggest reason the NBA became what it is today.
    Didn't Wilt have all the physical gifts one could ever want, put up all the numbers, but Russell did all the winning???

    I put Lebron over Jordan just because of how short Jordan's career was and I'm assuming Lebron gets 1 more title when his is done. When he retires, he's gonna be the #1 guy in just about every meaningful stat. What else can he do??

    I wasn't old enough to witness Magic and Bird in their primes but I've never seen a reputable NBA historian/author say Bird was better than Magic. Seems like the consensus is they are both legends, most have Magic anywhere 4-6 overall and Bird anywhere 6-8 overall.

    And Kareem doesn't get mentioned enough too, I'd have him 3, some say there is a case to be made he is the greatest ever, his style was just so boring it's hard to make that case.
     
  22. fladuke65

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    Put Jabbar on the Celts and Parrish on the Lakers and Bird has 5 rings and Magic likely only 3 and the perception of who is better player changes dramatically if you focus on rings. Honestly they are probably interchangeable and its like saying blue is a better color than red! Answer this question, how many players besides Bird could have taken Indiana State to the championship game??? Those would be the only players I would consider being equal or better than Bird!
     
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  23. christophero

    christophero Cameron Crazy
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    I watched all those Laker Celtics series in the 80's. Bird and Magic were equally great. They were great at different things. IMO there is no way you leave either out of the top 10. Mine would be Jordan, Kareem, Bird/Magic, Russell, LeBron, Oscar R., Kobe, Wilt, and Shaq or Dr. J.
     
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  24. Liftee

    Liftee All American
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    I was lucky enough to see Oscar Robertson when I was young. He was a very big man for a point guard, a great ballhandler and shot a high percentage. He also led his team in rebounding and was a tremendous competitor. There is no way I've seen 10 better players in the past 50 years.
     
  25. fladuke65

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    The Big O (as Oscar Robertson) essentially invented the triple double as he averaged one for the entire year! He is definitely 10 of all time and I put him in the group of great players like Dr. J, Tim Duncan and Kevin Durant which just trail Jordan, Lebron, the Centers (Kareem, Russel & Wilt), &Bird/Magic. There you go- that is my top 11!
     
  26. jamsession3

    jamsession3 Cameron Crazy
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    We put too much emphasis in 'recent popularity' and not the total body of work.

    That being said, Shaq was invisible 1992 - 1999. Then for three years he won a SHIP. After that...disappears. You would argue that Miami Ship, look at the roster. STACK!

    Wilt and Captain far better than Shaq!
     
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  27. christophero

    christophero Cameron Crazy
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    Also some of these guys were really dominant early in their careers when not many saw them. 2 examples are Jabbar with the Bucks and Dr. J in the ABA.
     
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  28. jamsession3

    jamsession3 Cameron Crazy
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    That's another good point. What did Captain look like 75 - 79? Who was on his team? We know with Magic he got 5 SHIPS, with Oscar two Finals and a SHIP. Sometimes the great of a player is what takes place when they don't have a stack team, but maintain a high level of Play.
     
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  29. springsportster

    springsportster All Conference
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    Eh... Shaq would not be in my top 10.
     
  30. jnastasi

    jnastasi All Conference
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    Don’t understand how anyone over the age of 35 can put Lebron over Jordan. I’m sure every who disagrees will throw out numbers and longevity or whatever. Nobody won titles on Jordan’s watch. Everybody won them on Lebrons.
    1. Jordan
    2. Kareem
    3. Russell
    4. Magic
    5. Lebron
    6. Bird
    7. Duncan
    8. Wilt
    9. Kobe
    10. Shaq
     
  31. jamsession3

    jamsession3 Cameron Crazy
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    To be honest I have a difficult time saying LeBron better than Mamba. 9 Finals...3 Rings???? Three teams???? I get it, his story is still being written.
     
  32. Fourteen44

    Fourteen44 All American
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    In no normal, sane reality is LeBron over Jordan. The argument is whether LeBron is better than Kobe.
     
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  33. VaBlueDevil33

    VaBlueDevil33 Cameron Crazy
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    Not to me...it's why would don't argue with people over Jordan and LeBron...because it's just each person's opinion
     
  34. Fourteen44

    Fourteen44 All American
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    So you believe LeBron is 1? Not sure if I’m reading your post right.
     
  35. VaBlueDevil33

    VaBlueDevil33 Cameron Crazy
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    As I said I don't argue about it because it's just an opinion and no way to say who is better...but yes I do think LeBron is #1...but just my opinion
     
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  36. jwill133

    jwill133 Devils Illustrated Hall of Famer
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    Lebron has played in 9 finals, his team was the favorite in 2 of those, he won 3.
    Jordan played in 6 finals, his team was the favorite in 6 of those, he won 6.
    In his last 3 Finals, Lebron averaged 32.9 ppg, 8.9 apg, 8.8 rpg.
    In his last 3 finals, Jordan averaged 29.3 ppg, 5.1 apg, 5.0 rpg.

    Lebron is going to be the all time leading scorer in the NBA, he will also be top 5 in rebounding and assists all time. His career is going to expand 20+ years. He has NEVER had a major injury, that is huge, playing and staying healthy is as important as anything. Jordan missed a whole season his 2nd year.
    Lebron is playing in a league that has never been deeper and rich with talent. Jordan dominanted the mid 90's which was a low point for the league, expansion killed the league for a few years and drugs/personal issues were still a massive factor for alot of the leagues players. There was no rookie scale back then, so guys were getting paid a ton way too early and it ruined careers, that's a fact.

    If I had to win one single game, I'm probably going with MJ, just because of how competitive he was.
    However, which guy had the best career? Which guy is the better overall basketball player? Which guy would I rather draft and have for TWENTY seasons??? Come on, it's not close, it's Lebron.
     
  37. Jtre

    Jtre Recruit
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    You make some good points, but a couple things I would like to counterpoint:

    27 of the 30 teams in the league scored at a higher point per game average than 1997-98 highest scoring team. The emphasis on the 3, style of play and officiating has changed things so much that I think it is fair to assume MJ would have picked up at least 3 additional points per game playing in this era.

    I think it is also fair to assume Jordan could have had heightened numbers across the board had he ever played in a Finals series like 2015. LeBron put up God-like numbers because somebody had to put them up. No Kevin Love and no Kyrie for 5 of the 6 games left all the scoring, most of the rebounding and being the defacto point guard up to LeBron. I think if Jordan had ever been in a similar situation he would have done the same.

    Additionally, you mentioned Jordan dominating the mid-90s. He didn't. He dominated the decade of the 90s. I do think Olajuwon's Rockets might have picked up a title in 94 or 95 even if Jordan had played but that's far from a lock.

    As far as your issues with the time period, it seems to have become commonplace to look down on the decade because Jordan so thoroughly dominated it. There were some very good teams led by very good players. The way guys like Reggie Miller and Charles Barkley have come to be viewed makes me wonder if players like James Harden Russell Westbrook will be diminished in the same way because they had the unfortunate luck of their peak years being during the dominance of the Warriors.

    As far as the drug/personal issues you mention I seem to recall that being the 80s and not the 90s. I might be misremembering and if so I apologize.

    Finally as far as my own all-time top 10 goes:

    1. Jordan
    2. LeBron
    3. Kareem
    4. Magic
    5. Bird
    6. Russell
    7. Wilt
    8. Olajuwon
    9. Duncan
    10. Kobe

    The most underrated players on ESPN's list of 74 are Isiah, Dominique and Drexler. Also I can't justify putting Giannis and Anthony Davis as high as they are based on the fact the writers even said it's based off potential and projection.

    As far as a pure overrated goes, CP3 and Damien Lillard jump out to me. Realistically, I don't know how Lillard is ranked, especially when there is really no way to say he's had a better career than Kyrie.

    The biggest snub is Dwight Howard. Just like Wade and Paul get elevated because media members like them, Howard gets knocked because apparently nobody likes him.
     
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  38. jwill133

    jwill133 Devils Illustrated Hall of Famer
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    All fair points. And I completely agree about Dwight Howard, guy was the best center in the league for 5 years, the media just hates him.

    Another stat I enjoy.
    In Lebron's 9 NBA finals, he played against 30 future hall of famers...3.33 per opponent.
    In Jordan's 6 NBA finals, he played against 9 future hall of famers....1.5 per opponent.

    Lebron has had some great players around him no doubt: Wade, Bosh, and Kyrie most notably.
    None of those guys were as good as Pippen.
     
  39. christophero

    christophero Cameron Crazy
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    I like LeBron but certainly wouldn't put him above Jordan. Jordan chose to play baseball for 2 years otherwise he'd probably have 2 more titles. He was also an amazing defender. I've never seen anyone play as hard as Jordan. Maybe Bird. After Pippen and Rodman those Bulls were not exactly all star teams. And as great a rebounder as Rodman was he almost never scored. And Rodman would take plays off as he was..well he admittedly liked to party. :) And you could argue that those teams were favored because of Jordan. Who the heck would bet against Jordan in the 90's?
     
    39 christophero, May 15, 2020
    Last edited: May 15, 2020
  40. Shatterthesky22

    Shatterthesky22 All Conference
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    One thing that needs to be considered when talking MJ v LeBron is the era's they played in. Let's be honest, MJ got the crap beat out of him routinely, and still found a way to not only win, but to dominate. Now in the NBA (Post-2010) you really aren't allowed to touch another guy without being called for a foul. While it might lead to a better product and more safety for the players, LeBron has been able to thrive in a league where he basically gets every call he wants and no one is allowed to apply the pressure needed to stop him. Imagine what MJ wouldve done in a league where hand checking is illegal, and hard fouls in the paint are flagrant? I think his numbers would've been even more insane.
     
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