100 Best Careers in the NBA (Part 1 of 5)


I had an epiphany. You see, I saw this blog article that recalls the 100 Best NBA players of All Time!

http://motownsportsrevival.blogspot.com/2008/05/top-100-basketball-players-of-all-time.html

It’s his take so it’s infallible. But there were a lot of things that didn’t suit me. First of all, let’s examine his Top Ten. Michael Jordan comes in first followed by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson, Shaquille O’Neal, Wilt Chamberlain, Bill Russell, Tim Duncan, Larry Bird, Oscar Robertson, and Karl Malone. This ten deserve a lot of praise so I wouldn’t mind this (although I can’t see Bill Russell dropping from the Top 4). The next 10 however is disputable. Kobe Bryant is at number 11 with Hakeem Olajuwon, Julius Erving, Moses Malone, David Robinson, Bob Pettit, Kevin Garnett, Charles Barkley, George Mikan and Jerry West rounding out the group.

That didn’t suit me…

Just like this… would not suit you probably.


Let me level something to you guys: I expect this article to have criticisms. Yes, some of the rank ratings are not satisfying. I hope I can channel my inner “writer” and produce an awesome article. However, to make this fair, I’ll institute a little thing I call… RULES!


THE RULES:

ELIGIBILITY: Only All-Star selected players are eligible in this list. Except for two notable players, all players mentioned should have at least played for 400 games. There is a two-point deduction to players that have yet to play more than 500 games. There is also a player I bumped off from the list. He will be replaced from one of the players that rated 101 to 110 in the rankings. The reason for the bump off is the fact that the player is currently playing in the NBA but isn’t making any waves… to the point of his career going downward spiral.

POINT SYSTEM: The list will undergo the PBfantasy system where PTS = 1, REB = 1.5, AST = 2, STL = 2.5, and BLK = 2.5. These five stats will be added and the sum will be divided to their games played. However, the sum of these stats will decrease when we subtract their turnovers. And if you ask the old players… don’t worry! They’ll fare well in the system even if they don’t have steals and blocks (since they also have no turnovers).

ADDITIONAL POINTS:
MVP = 3 points x number of awards
FINALS MVP = 3 points x number of awards
ROOKIE OF THE YEAR = 3 points x number of awards
ALL-STAR MVP = 3 points x number of awards
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR = 2 points x number of awards
ALL-NBA SELECTION = 1 point x number of selection
ALL-STAR CITATION = 1 point x number of citation
PART OF A CHAMPIONSHIP TEAM = 1 point x number of rings

EXCEPTIONS: Bill Russell, since he didn’t had a Finals MVP trophy, will get an automatic 20 plus points because he had 11 titles with Boston and the trophy is renamed in 2009 as the BILL RUSSELL FINALS MVP AWARD.


OUTSIDE LOOKING IN:

Before I see hate mails, let state my claim regarding why these guys were left out.

SOME 50’s GUYS – Sorry but, when they say you’re an All-Star then, you score an average of 15 points, pick up a high of 3 rebounds, and an assist or two. Even with the steals and blocks, guys like Joe Fulks, Max Zaslofsky, Andy Philip, Carl Braun, Slater Martin, Cliff Hagan, and Bobby Wanzer will find it hard to qualify even if they are certified Hall of Famers.

REGGIE MILLER, JOE DUMARS, EARL MONROE, DAVID THOMPSON, JAMAAL WILKES, ROLANDO BLACKMAN, LOU HUDSON, RIP HAMILTON, CHARLIE SCOTT, WORLD B. FREE, GAIL GOODRICH, MARK AGUIRRE, JERRY STACKHOUSE, JOE JOHNSON, GLEN RICE, OTIS BIRDSONG, PAUL WESTPHAL, CALVIN MURPHY – Names of some players that almost got in the list because of their abilities to sizzle in the outside… or score in the inside… or pretty much score.

DENNIS RODMAN, RED KERR, BILL LAIMBEER, TOM GOLA, BILL BRIDGES, CLYDE LOVELLETTE, RUDY LARUSSO, HARRY GALLATIN, CHET WALKER, RUDY TOMJANOVICH, LARRY NANCE, RALPH SAMPSON, MAURICE LUCAS, DAN ISSEL, CLIFF HAGAN, JACK TWYMAN, GEORGE YARDLEY, CONNIE HAWKINS, CARLOS BOOZER, DAN ROUNDFIELD, JERMAINE O’NEAL, SIDNEY WICKS, BAILEY HOWELL, SHAWN KEMP – Names of some players who almost got in the list because they had a great knack of acquiring rebounds.

TERRELL BRANDON, GUY RODGERS, MAURICE CHEEKS, MARK JACKSON, NORM VAN LIER, REGGIE THEUS, NORM NIXON, TONY PARKER, CHAUNCEY BILLUPS, MARK PRICE – Players that contributes in passing that were mere breaths away from getting a seat in the rankings.


(Note: this introduction would likely repeat in the following installments).


GAME STARTS NOW!

When I say best careers, you have to factor the best things that happened on why that player ranks high or very high in the list. Who knows? Definitely some choices will shock you! Remember Michael Jordan’s dismal Washington stint where his scoring averages decreased! Or how about Kobe Bryant first three seasons in the league! Tell me, will the fact that Karl Malone not having a championship gets some semblance when this gets factor in? How about the 50’s guys, those championship-less players, those that played on until their averages decreased considerably???

Anywho…


100 Dennis Rodman: I had the audacity to bump off Elton Brand (minus Rodman, he should have been 82) because I didn’t think Brand has done anything to make the NBA an international phenomenon. Rodman was weird and his antics were pretty crazy. David Stern’s version of popularity didn’t involve the Worm dressed in a wedding gown doing macho poses with Madonna. However, the Worm is a championship magnet. Rodman had 5 rings with the Pistons and the Bulls. He was also a rebounding champion for eight consecutive seasons. He was a 2-time All-NBA member, a 2-time All-Star, and a 2-time Defensive Player of the Year winner. Sure, Brand could blossom in the later years but until he gives people something to cheer at, Rodman takes his spot.

99 Sidney Moncrief: While the former Buck is a virtual unknown amidst the youngsters, Sid the Squid was an offense and defense gem during the 80’s. Appearing in 5 all-star games and 5 All-NBA citations, the first back-to-back Defensive of the Year winner was also one of those mentioned by Michael Jordan as one of his premier headaches when he was attacking the rim.

98 Dennis Johnson: The late great DJ was the ultimate chameleon. At the start of his career he was an off-the-bench scorer that helped Seattle win their first championship. In Phoenix he was the jump shooting go-to-guy. And then when he played in Boston, he was the hard-nosed quarterback who’ll likely pass the ball than shoot it. He got 3 rings in his career as well as a Finals MVP in Seattle, a 2-time All-NBA induction, and five appearances in the All-Star games.

97 Ed Macauley: This 11-year vet played when the league had a team called the St. Louis Bombers. He was a 4-time All-NBA member and a 7-time All-Star. He was also the first player to win the All-Star MVP award. He played for Boston and the St. Louis Hawks where he got his only championship. Alongside Cliff Hagan, they were traded to the Hawks for a St. Louis draftee called Bill Russell. Their departures paved the way for Boston’s rise in the 1960’s.

96 Sam Jones: Jones was never a big-time scorer and had to play behind the shadows of Russell, Havlicek, Heinsohn, Cousy, et al before getting fame. However, he played in 10 of 11 championship teams that Big Russell played. He was a key contributor for the Celts, being a 3-time All-NBA member and a 5-time All-Star. He is best known for his game-winning heroics, thus giving him the Mr. Clutch moniker.

95 Artis Gilmore: Gilmore was a player that played his best in the ABA. He is a 6-time All-Star in the NBA, but in the ABA, he was an MVP, a many-time mythical member, an All-Star MVP, Rookie of the Year, Playoff MVP, and is cited as part of the ABA All-time team. He remains to be the NBA’s career field goal percentage leader with a 59.9 percent clip.

94 Lenny Wilkens: The scrappy point guard was a one of the earliest playground legends to dazzle the NBA. With a streaky shooting and a gift to pass brilliantly, this former 9-time NBA All-Star (and a 1-time NBA All-Star MVP) was a crowd favorite. However, he was not inducted in any other citations. He didn’t even make any of the All-NBA teams in his more than decade-long tenure. He did become a playing coach, and then coached the Seattle Supersonics to the first championship, as well as becoming the winningest coach in the NBA.

93 Kevin McHale: He started out as a sixth man for Boston, replacing Cedric Maxwell every now and then. When Maxwell got hurt, he quickly owned the starting spot and completed the Celtics’ scary frontline. With an array of superb post-up moves he takes part of the defense away from Larry Legend. He won 3 rings with Boston, had a stint in the All-NBA Team, and appeared in seven All-Star games.

92 Michael Ray Richardson: One could wonder who this guy is – often in his career he wondered who he was too. During the 80’s, this 4-time All-Star was a star, finishing awesome numbers in four major statistical categories. However, this guy succumbs to the addition of booze and drugs – the typical NBA environment in the 80’s. He was banned twice in the NBA for failing the league’s drug policy. He did play 14 seasons in Europe and was known as a super guard-forward during his Knick and Net days.

91 Spencer Haywood: Ladies and gentlemen… we have an illegal player in our rundown. This more or less was the introduction Haywood received during his rookie season in the NBA. Because he has yet to finish college, the 1968 gold medalist played in the ABA (NBA prohibits early-entry players). The move was primarily to feed his poor family. When the Sonics obtained his rights, their owner launched an anti-trust suit against the league. He was a 4-time All-Star and a 4-time All-NBA team member. Drugs destroyed the end of his career (he’s basically Seattle’s first Shawn Kemp) but he did win his only NBA ring with the Lakers… while not playing due to drug suspension.

90 Bernard King: New Jersey, New York and Washington fans remember this guy’s athleticism and hard work. The world remembers him as an injury-plagued player. In his 14 seasons in the league, King was hardly healthy within a long period of time. Too bad, because this 4-time All-NBA member and 4-time All-Star could have been an awesome pair up if he reached Patrick Ewing in the Knicks. While he did, the tandem never got to play sweet music because he’s pretty much in the sidelines at this point.

89 Pau Gasol: Juan Antonio San Epifanio is considered as one of the best Spaniards to play in Europe. Why this doesn’t ring any bells? Well, “Epi” never played in the NBA. For the millions of basketball-crazy fans in the world, this distinction is reserved to Pau Gasol. Since getting drafted to Memphis, the 1-time All NBA member is seen as an exceptional big man with an array of shots. His stock increased significantly when he was traded to the Lakers for virtually nothing (Kwame Brown). This move gave the 2-time All-star a NBA ring aside from his Rookie of the Year award.

88 Ben Wallace: Funny how a player with zero offensive capabilities would rank so high in this list. This undersized center entered the league as an undrafted player that recently played in Italy. After being a second-string player for Washington and Orlando, he was part of the package that sent Grant Hill from the Pistons to the Magic. His presence rang a familiar sound in Motown as they became championship contenders. He captured an NBA crown despite opposition from the monstrous Lakers. He is a 5-time All-NBA member and a 4-time All-Star. Big Ben is tied for having the most Defensive Player of the Year citations of all time.

87 Gilbert Arenas: The former second round pick quickly rose to the top when he was given the chance by the Warriors where he became the league’s Most Improved Player in just his second season. However it was in Washington where he saw his stars bloom to the fullest. This awesome combo guard can dish out the goods as well as jam the lights out of any arena. Hibachi is a 3-time All-Star and a 3-time All-NBA member. He is also an excellent blogger who dreams of laying waste to the Cavs after a continuing struggle of botched missions.

86 Amar’e Stoudemire: Coming out of high school, this explosive and athletic mammoth conquered “high school”-ness to defeat Yao Ming in the Rookie of the Year race. Stat also won the battle of the Suns’ feuding forward (displacing long-time forward Shawn Marion). Sure, he is injury-prone and often plays the center spot undersized, but the guy is a prolific scorer and a great defender. In his short time in the pros he had 3-All NBA citations and he is a 4-time All-Star.

85 Jo Jo White: At first look, White looks like second-best to everybody. However, his admirable team leadership and the bringing of the other intangibles made him a force to reckon during the 70’s. He had two rings with the Celtics, where one of those runs earned him a Finals MVP trophy. He was part of two All-NBA teams as well as seven All-Star games. He was part of NCAA History when his Kentucky Wildcats coached by legendary mentor Adolph Rupp lost to the Texas Western Miners (now UTEP) in the finals of the 1966 NCAA Championship (Texas Western was the first team to start five black players in the championship). He was also part of the 1968 gold medal squad in the Mexico City Olympics.

84 Dave DeBusschere: At age 24, he was the youngest player-coach in NBA history. While it was unsuccessful, inside the shaded paint, he was unstoppable. Arguably he is one of the best power forwards the NBA has laid its eyes on. The 8-time All-Star’s trade from Detroit to New York gave DeBusschere two championships. However, sharing the limelight with a crop of superstars made his scoring a tad less of what he has been doing with the Pistons. Playing in an era dominated by Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlain, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, the former Major League Baseball player was also a 1-time All-NBA member.

83 Jack Sikma: He owns the distinction as one of the most accurate shooting centers in NBA history. Long before Dirk, Memo Okur, Chris Webber, and Vlade Divac went above the arc, no coach on his right mind would ever think of making their big man score triples. While he was still restrained, he is 33 percent accurate from that spot and a career 85 percent shooter. He helped Seattle claim a championship in the 78-79 season. Despite a 7-year All-Star though, he played quiet and steady while delivering the numbers in Seattle and later Milwaukee. Actually, he played TOO QUIET! These clubs were mere padding just to make the Boston-LA finals seem to not look “too obvious” and he didn’t do shit to make it otherwise for the Bucks.

82 George McGinnis: Here’s another player who traces his roots from the defunct ABA. As a member of the ABA’s Indiana Pacers, this 3-time NBA All-Star became a mythical team member, an All-Star, a scoring leader, a MVP and an owner of two ABA champ rings. As a member of the Sixers, he almost led the team to a crown in the 1977 Finals. But he also played his best years in the ABA. It also seemed that he a couple of trades made his rise to superstardom regress. The only team that gave him love was Indiana, which is why he returned to his stomping grounds a couple of years before his retirement.

81 Brad Daugherty: Under the tutelage of Dean Smith at NCAA’s North Carolina, Cleveland made him the team’s top pick in 1986. He was a consummate scorer and a hard-nosed defender. The 1-time All-NBA member and 5-time All-Star was not at all flashy… but his presence changed the then-luckless organization into an Eastern contender. Think of Big Dukie as the late 80’s version of Tim Duncan. However, recurrent back problems forced him to retire in just 8 seasons. He last played his NBA game at age 28 which is sad because prior to the injury he was averaging 20 points and 10 rebounds in 3 of his last four seasons. It seems like he was the perfect player to give the Cavs its first championship… which will now fall to the lap of LeBron.


Wow, writing 20 names is tough! How about the next 20? Catch the next installment to find out! You'll probably see a Keanu Reeves film, a giant, a crossover genius, a type of gun, a chief and RUN TMC! Until next time…


GAME OVER!

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