Wednesday, February 21, 2007

So, who is the 60th greatest basketball player?

At this point, I'm willing to take suggestions: what player, either current or former, should be added to the PV list of the 60 greatest players?

Here's the original NBA 50 team, and here's the players we've added so far: Bob McAdoo, Dennis Rodman, Tim Duncan, Steve Nash, Kobe Bryant, Kevin Garnett, Reggie Miller, Allen Iverson, and Jason Kidd.

I really had no problem coming up with these nine players: the only questions I had concerned Reggie Miller, and I kept forgetting about Jason Kidd (though he clearly belongs), but I'm fairly confident in this list. I just don't know who else to add.

Hoops Hype looked at players 51-60 about a year ago, so you can look to that list for ideas.

Here are some players I'm considering:
Dominique Wilkins: the scoring averages from '85 through '93 are impressive.
Dirk Nowitzki: For six straight years he's been averaging 21+ points and around 9 rebounds per game. The last few years he's brought his game up a notch, and his best years could be in front of him.
Tracy McGrady: I'm not a fan, but he does have those two scoring titles.
Dwyane Wade: Is it too early? Players who win championships as the best players on their teams so early usually have historical status.

How about some of the ABA's MVPs? Choices not already on our list include Connie Hawkins, Mel Daniels, Spencer Haywood, and Artis Gilmore. Or should we consider two-time BAA scoring champion, Joe Fulks?

I'm open to suggestions. Let's hear your ideas.

And if you're interested in this subject, you should enjoy Elliot Kalb's book Who's Better, Who's Best? in Basketball. It's a good read and a good basketball history primer, even though his arguments are frequently fairly weak. For example, he ranks Shaquille O'Neal as the best player ever without really providing a sound argument for why he's better than Wilt or MJ. His arguments seem to be that Shaq almost won more scoring titles (so what?), that he's a great rebounder (OK...except that he NEVER led the league in rebounding. Not once), and that he's been great in the playoffs (he never really shows convincingly that his playoff performances were drastically superior to a lot of other all-time greats). Each chapter works fine as an essay on its own (except the George Gervin chapter--his analysis of how many points Gervin's poor defense cost the Spurs never really works), but his actual rankings of one player over another are unconvincing, almost like he's not bothering to try convince you of the rankings.


  1. I have alot of horrible memories of Adrian Dantley owning the Bulls. A low-post machine that you don't really see in the league anymore.

  2. I'd go Nowitzki now. Wade will be there in a few years.