100 Best Careers in the NBA (Part 3 of 5)


First seen at www.hoops.blink.ph.

Damn it, I must say, compiling this is hard work! You have weigh what’s good for the haters, what will make people happy, will there be any backlash, etcetera… etcetera.

Anyway, before anyone forgets, this is a BEST CAREERS IN THE NBA ranking!

Get the rules and the first installment of the rank here:
http://sydrified.blogspot.com/2009/08/100-best-careers-in-nba-part-1-of-5.html

And if you want the previous installment, check it out here:
http://sydrified.blogspot.com/2009/09/100-best-careers-in-nba-2-of-5.html

So before you ask why Grant Hill is higher than Steve Nash… or Dwyane Wade is ranked high despite still having an active career… or who the hell are Hal Greer, Neil Johnston, Bill Sharman, Tommy Heinsohn and Sam Jones… you need to check these installments out!

Who had the best careers from start to finish? Check this out!


Now in terms of why defensive players rank high in the list? I am always bent to say that these guys are a notable few. Everyone when tasked can score 20 points a night but if they only get 2 rebounds and 2 assists, I’ll pass them up as one-dimensional players. The players likely in the top ten like Michael Jordan, Hakeem Olajuwon, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson, David Robinson, and Shaquille O Neal are excellent scoring threats but even more powerful defenders (I gave you a bunch of names that may or may not land in the top ten… ha!).

In order to see the positive and negative aspects of the name’s entry, the HITS and MISSES enumeration was in placed to hopefully quench those who ask for reasons.

Anyway, GAME STARTS NOW!


60 BILL WALTON (Portland Trail Blazers, San Diego/Los Angeles Clippers, Boston Celtics)
STATS:
468g – 13.3ppg, 10.5rpg, 3.4apg, 2.2bpg
ACHIEVEMENTS: MVP (1), Finals MVP (1), All-NBA Team (2), NBA All-Star (2), NBA Champion (2), Hall of Famer
HITS: He is one of the league’s most charismatic players in the 70’s. He looks like a hippie, he dresses as if he’ll be going to a disco, and his white afro is one of the most recognizable do’s in that era if you’re a NBA fan. He came from a very powerful college where under John Wooden, Walton piloted UCLA to back-to-back-to-back championships which led to him being called as the greatest college player ever (he won NCAA College Player of the Year thrice in his four years, with Christian Laettner rivaling the feat in the 90’s). In the NBA, he was out to win, claiming two wins in the course of his career with Portland and Boston. He was a gifted rebounder, an able defender, and a powerful blocker.
MISSES: Hmmm… Walton while great had one of the most unfortunate careers in the NBA. He was often injured and he barely played a season where performed in at least 75 games (although he did play in 80 of Boston’s 82 games in 1985). After winning the championship, Walton battled with the Blazers office for having crappy amenities for their injured stars when he got injured and did not play in the 1978-79 NBA Season. San Diego was a poor pit stop for the curly one and while getting temporary career resurrection in Boston, he was not the focal point of the offense. This is one of the factors why his stats are this low. Think of him as Alonzo Mourning-like… minus the offensive production.
EXTRA POINTS: You’ll often hear his voice as the hyperbole-heavy broadcaster during NBA games. Did you know he was once known for his stuttering?


59 BILLY CUNNINGHAM (Philadelphia 76ers)
STATS:
654g – 20.8ppg, 10.1rpg, 4.0apg
ACHIEVEMENTS: All-NBA Team (4), NBA All-Star (4), NBA Champion (1), Hall of Famer
HITS: Dubbed as the Kangaroo Kid for his unbelievable leaping ability, he could scour rebounds despite playing the shooting guard/ small forward role. He is tied with Michael Jordan for having the most points scored in a losing playoff game with 50 (Jordan holds the record when the Bulls played Boston and he erupted for 63). He assumed top dog rule when Chamberlain left, leading the Sixers in points and in rebounds in a very consistent basis.
MISSES: Like John Havlicek, he started his NBA career off the bench. Then Sixers coach Dolph Schayes thought of the idea of Cunningham playing point. The Kangaroo Kid was uncomfortable with the spot as this restricted his athleticism and gave him the starting SG/SF spot. This would translate to him helping the Sixers win the 1967 championship. Also Cunningham had a somewhat brief career in the NBA. This all started when contract disputes forced team leader Wilt Chamberlain to head to the Lakers. While playing his whole NBA career with Philly, Cunningham bolted to the Carolina Cougars of the ABA in 1972 where he won a MVP. Two years later he returned to the Sixers to resume his career but injuries sidelined him. He missed 52 games in with a clogged liver in Carolina and when he returned he was forced to retire for having a torn ACL (back then it was not treatable). Also when he did return to the Sixers, Philly went from contenders to rebuilders (This was a couple of years before Julius Erving signed with the Sixers).
EXTRA POINTS: After leading the Sixers to the crown as a player in 1967, he led the Sixers anew in 1983 – guiding the team to a 65-17 finish and a championship.


58 DIKEMBE MUTOMBO (Denver Nuggets, Atlanta Hawks, Philadelphia 76ers, New Jersey Nets, Houston Rockets)
STATS:
1198g – 9.8ppg, 10.3rpg, 1.0apg, 2.7bpg
ACHIEVEMENTS: All-NBA Team (3), NBA All-Star (8), Defensive Player of the Year (4)
HITS: He has one of the world’s most recognizable smiles and has one of basketball’s most popular trademarks. Why is he high on this list? He owns four Defensive Player of the Year titles! No shot is safe if he’s lurking below the basket. Expect him to wag the finger if you didn’t see his seven foot exterior manning the lanes! Whether its help defense or face-to-face coverage, Mount Mutombo Is poised to put a lid on the rim! This is why guys like Jordan, Malone, Kobe, Barkley, and Shaq all love to give this guy a facial. First of all, this is for their poster… another thing? Most of the time, this is merely for revenge.
MISSES: The Terror from Zaire is an overlord in defense. However, he lacks the moves to conquer defense. This is the reason why team owners can’t put faith on Mutombo to build people around him. Mostly in his later years, he was acquired for the main purpose of trying to limit Shaq. This also cemented his journeyman status. While he was one of the rare players that played in the league despite being over 40, his numbers dwindled dramatically during these stints.


57 ALONZO MOURNING (Charlotte Hornets, Miami Heat, New Jersey Nets)
STATS:
838g – 17.1ppg, 8.5rpg, 1.1apg, 2.8bpg
ACHIEVEMENTS: All-NBA Team (2), NBA All-Star (7), All-Star MVP (1), Defensive Player of the Year (2), NBA Champion (1)
HITS: He was the second overall pick in the 1993 Draft after Shaquille O’Neal. While he averaged 20 points and 9 rebounds as a rookie, he always gets overshadowed by Shaq. In Charlotte while there was in fighting between Zo and Larry Johnson, they managed to make the Hornets a East darkhorse. He then traded to Miami for sharpshooter Glen Rice where he joined another superstar, Tim Hardaway. In the late 90’s he’ll renew his rivalry with Larry Johnson but this time through the super rivalry called Miami versus New York. He is an awesome defender that also has offensive arsenal. At one point he was called the best center in the East.
MISSES: Zo’s kidney burst all chances for him to have a superstar end in his career. At one point, he almost finished his career early. When he returned from the injury, he was reduced to a second stringer, often spelling rest for Shaq. Except for his blocks, this stint decreased his career scoring and rebounding averages.


56 HAL GREER (Syracuse Nationals/ Philadelphia 76ers)
STATS:
1122g – 19.2ppg, 5.0rpg, 4.0apg
ACHIEVEMENTS: All-NBA Team (7), NBA All-Star (10), All-Star MVP (1), NBA Champion (1), Hall of Famer
HITS: Before the Sixers played in Philly, Philly’s team was called Warriors. When the Syracuse Nationals left for Philly, the Warriors moved in the Bay Area. Hal Greer was one of the Nats that went to the Sixers during the relocation. He was once called as the third best guard in the 60’s behind Oscar Robertson and Jerry West. When Warrior Wilt Chamberlain returned to Philly as a Sixer, Wilt became the focal point of Greer’s passes. Greer is a scorer and passer and with Wilt coming in, he had found the missing ingredients for a championship. In 1967, the Sixers ousted Boston and went on to win the finals.
MISSES: It’s a given that Greer wouldn’t have won that title if Chamberlain wasn’t his teammate. When “The Stilt” left, the Sixers dropped downwards. His last season in the league was a disaster. He retired in 1973 and in that season the Sixers just won nine games. Media called the team “Philadelphia nine and 73ers”.
EXTRA POINTS: Greer had one of the most effective but most awkward free throw shots in NBA history. He sinks a free throw via a jump shot.


55 TOMMY HEINSOHN (Boston Celtics)
STATS:
654g – 18.6ppg, 8.8rpg, 2.0apg
ACHIEVEMENTS: All-NBA Team (4), NBA All-Star (6), Rookie of the Year (1957), NBA Champion (8), Hall of Famer
HITS: Aside from Red Auerbach, Bill Russell, Bob Cousy and John Havlicek, Heinsohn ranks as one of the most beloved Boston players of all-time. He is the only player who has the distinction of being involved one way or the other in each of the Celtics’ championships (as player, coach and commentator). As a player, he won eight NBA titles in nine years. He played forward-center for Boston. He is a burly rough-houser on defensive but prefers finesse during offense. He also loves to instill work ethic and hustle to players. This motivation laid the foundation of his two NBA crowns during his coaching tenure in the 70’s.
MISSES: At 6’7 he gets rebounds because opponents set their sights on Bill Russell. Often he merely blends in the spotlight whenever Cousy, Russell, Bill Sherman, or Sam Jones gets hot. Other than that, I see Tommy Gun as a great cog for Boston’s winning run. If I could think of another flaw in his game, I’ll probably say that given that the games then were black and white… his legs were TOO white.
EXTRA POINTS: Heinsohn played college ball at Holy Cross University. This was the same school where Bob Cousy played. The day Bob Cousy retired, Tommy Heinsohn scored his 10,000th point.


54 STEVE NASH (Dallas Mavericks, Phoenix Suns)
STATS:
934g – 14.4ppg, 3.0rpg, 8.0apg, 0.8spg
ACHIEVEMENTS: MVP (2), All-NBA Team (6), NBA All-Star (6)
HITS: He is not a scoring monster but he is great playmaker, ball-handler, and three-point shooter. His passes are spell-binding. His free-wheeling game is pretty much similar to how a football game is being played. He is only one of eight players to win back-to-back MVP’s. He is a highly-intelligent player that loves to make his teammates look good. A perfect example of this is how Shawn Marion’s numbers dipped when he was traded away from Phoenix. His mastery of knowing his teammates’ strengths is awesome.
MISSES: His first stint with Phoenix was a dud, as he played barely 11 minutes and could only produce 3.3ppg. His first four years in the league he averaged under ten points. This is basically one of the reasons why this two-time MVP is ranked too low. But perspective-wise, it’s hard to imagine a two-time MVP that hasn’t had any Finals appearance. While he deserved his first MVP, critics pan at his second. In what could have been his third MVP, Nash played awesome. Unfortunately, the fact that he is not a champion doomed his chances. Despite a stellar 2006-07 NBA season, Dirk Nowitzki won the honor.


53 GRANT HILL (Detroit Pistons, Orlando Magic, Phoenix Suns)
STATS:
787g – 18.5ppg, 6.6rpg, 4.7apg, 1.4spg
ACHIEVEMENTS: All-NBA Team (5), NBA All-Star (7), Rookie of the Year (1995)
HITS: Grant Hill drinks Sprite? Grant Hill… drinks… Sprite. He was the first of many “Jordanesque” players that the league has ever seen. He starred in Duke where he helped the team play in 3 of the 4 NCAA Finals he was affiliated with the team. He was picked third in the 1994 Draft by the Pistons to re-start Detroit’s championship run. While people thought of him as the next Mike, Hill played a lot like Scottie Pippen – he takes his normal share of points but he also gets boards and passes. In fact, he was a triple-double magnet early in his career. Detroit became a great team when he was there but he had to opt out when the supporting players in the roster got weaker. He signed with Orlando who just acquired Tracy McGrady. He will leave the Magic before the 2007 season for Phoenix.
MISSES: Injuries. Lots and lots of injuries caused Hill to miss most of his career, particularly his Orlando stint. He shouldn’t have left for Orlando. Not only did his career stagnate, Detroit would acquire Ben Wallace and Chucky Atkins. Ben Wallace was an important player in their championship while they used Atkins as a tool to acquire another vital cog in Rasheed Wallace. Hill was a very sick man and him playing for the Magic seemed like a poor fit. Even if he played without any DNP’s in Phoenix last year, re-signing for the Suns will threaten his career to not have any championships (given the state of the Lakers, Celtics, and the rest of the league.


52 WES UNSELD (Washington Bullets)
STATS:
984g – 10.8ppg, 14.0rpg, 3.9apg
ACHIEVEMENTS: MVP (1), Finals MVP (1), All-NBA Team (1), NBA All-Star (5), Rookie of the Year (1969), NBA Champion (1), Hall of Famer
HITS: He was the second player in the NBA to win Rookie of the Year and MVP honors in the same year. Known for his amazing knack to conquer rebounds, Unseld made up for his lack of size by conquering the court with his brute strength and strong determination. The guy is 6’7 and he plays center/forward! For a player who’s willing to claw his way against Dave Cowens, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Spencer Haywood, and Bob Lanier, Unseld barely felt the height difference. His bone-jarring picks and crisp, accurate outlet passes pretty much ignites a victory for the Bullets. Actually he was the key man in Washington’s championship in 1978.
MISSES: If you want a brawl, he’ll give you a brawl. However, the only thing missing in his repertoire is inside scoring. He is a feared defensive player like Dikembe Mutombo, Dennis Rodman, and Ben Wallace. If the Bullets instead relied on him and not Elvin Hayes in the offensive end, his stature could have been a bit better.
EXTRA POINTS: The Bullets went to the Philippines in 1978 where they faced the likes of Robert Jaworski, Ramon Fernandez, and Atoy Co. The Bullets won against the PBA All-Stars 133 to 123.


51 VINCE CARTER (Toronto Raptors, New Jersey Nets, Orlando Magic)
STATS:
777g – 23.5ppg, 5.5rpg, 4.3apg, 1.2spg, 0.8bpg
ACHIEVEMENTS: All-NBA Team (2), NBA All-Star (8), Rookie of the Year (1999)
HITS: Remember the 2000 Sydney Olympics when he “poster”-ized 7-foot-2 French tower Frederic Weis? This is basically his bread and butter. Vince Carter, bar none is one of the most electrifying and explosive scorers of the league’s history. For players with 400 games and more, he ranks 19th in scoring average and 54th in most points scored. He is also a very decent defender and just like former North Carolina shooting guards Michael Jordan and Jerry Stackhouse, he can pile up rebounds and assists in an instant. Unlike Stackhouse though, coaches had credibility in him to be their team’s main man.
MISSES: It hurts his rep that he has yet or may not lead a team to the NBA championship. The teams he joined had the tools to claim a NBA crown but as it progress, the teams are always dismantled. Imagine if McGrady, Damon Stoudamire, and Marcus Camby played at least their first seven seasons with the Raptors or if Dikembe Mutombo, Kenyon Martin, Kerry Kittles and company still were in the squad when he, Richard Jefferson, and Jason Kidd were manning the Nets. I am not saying that he’ll be their savior. Actually thinking back, what most of those teams lack is a strong inside presence. Will Vinsanity and Dwight Howard play beautiful music together?


50 BOB LANIER (Detroit Pistons, Milwaukee Bucks)
STATS:
959g – 20.1ppg, 10.1rpg, 3.1apg, 0.8spg, 1.1bpg
ACHIEVEMENTS: NBA All-Star (8), All-Star MVP (1), Hall of Famer
HITS: The Dobber is a headache for opposing forces. He is unstoppable in the shaded area. He works best in offense and defense. At 6’10, he can make Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s job a nightmare. He could extend his range to those mid-range side jumpers a la Hakeem Olajuwon, he could elude defenders with his pivot skills and he could electrify the crowd with his rim-rattling dunks! He came from a successful NCAA stint at St. Bonaventure which led to him being the top pick in the 1970 Draft.
MISSES: Lanier was a great player but he came to the league battling the likes of Kareem, Dave Cowens, Jack Sikma, Wes Unseld, and Elvin Hayes, among others. Then, the NBA has yet to institutionalize the All-NBA Second Team and Third Team honors. In his NBA career, he never had an All-NBA citation.


49 MAURICE STOKES (Rochester/Cincinnati Royals)
STATS:
202g – 16.4ppg, 17.3rpg, 5.3apg
ACHIEVEMENTS: All-NBA Team (3), NBA All-Star (3), Rookie of the Year (1956), Hall of Famer
HITS: Despite playing for a mere 202 games, Stokes gained prominence because he was a seriously outstanding offense-defense player. While he lacked height, he was poised to give Neil Johnston, Dolph Schayes, and a young Bill Russell a slew of problems with his superb rebounding ability. Before Wilt Chamberlain entered, Stokes was the kid fans adored. After winning top rookie, he made the All-NBA and All-Star teams in all of his three seasons. He once grabbed 38 rebounds to average a high 16.3rpg in his rookie year. If he could move to the Sixers, Celtics, Knicks, or the Lakers, he will become a superstar.
MISSES: On March 12, 1958, Stokes drove to the basket and was knocked unconscious after receiving contact to his head. He was revived and he shrugged of the instance. Three days later, he fell ill, suffered a seizure, fell into a coma, and was left permanently paralyzed. He was diagnosed with “post-traumatic encephalopathy” which is a brain injury that damaged his motor-control center. He was 23 when it happened and he died in 1970 at age 36 despite his efforts to recover supported by former Hall of Famer, Jack Twyman. Had that head bump fail to happen, he could have been one of the best players seen by the league.


48 PAUL ARIZIN (Philadelphia Warriors)
STATS:
713g – 22.8ppg, 8.6rpg, 2.3apg
ACHIEVEMENTS: All-NBA Team (4), NBA All-Star (10), All-Star MVP (1), NBA Champion (1), Hall of Famer
HITS: Before the Warriors headed out to California, the team first settled in Philadelphia. The team starred a one-two punch combo of Neil Johnston and this guy… Pitchin’ Paul! Undauntedly one of the biggest names in the 50’s, the Pennsylvania native played his entire NBA career with the Warriors. In his early years he played alongside Jumping Joe Fulks and before his retirement, he played with Hall of Famer Tom Gola and Wilt Chamberlain. He was extremely gifted offensively, as he would twice lead the league in scoring. In his NBA career that spanned almost 12 years (although he was absent for two years due to military service in Korea), he only scored under 20 points per game once and that was in his rookie year.
MISSES: Even if he was that generation’s LeBron James or Carmelo Anthony, games back then lack the things current players enjoy. There was no 3-point area, no shot clock, and players then weren’t trained like players now. Also, Arizin could have been a force if he didn’t retire in 1962. Surely, with him and Chamberlain on board, the Warriors would have been insanely awesome. They could have at least prevented a championship or two from the Celtics’ grasp. The reason why Arizin retired? He loved Philly so much that when the Warriors left for San Francisco (later Oakland, then Golden State), Arizin didn’t join and simply retired. Come to think of it, Arizin lived and died in Pennsylvania.


47 WALT FRAZIER (New York Knicks, Cleveland Cavaliers)
STATS:
825g – 18.9ppg, 5.9rpg, 6.1apg, 0.8spg
ACHIEVEMENTS: All-NBA Team (6), NBA All-Star (7), All-Star MVP (1), NBA Champion (2), Hall of Famer
HITS: He is flamboyant, charismatic, and a loudmouth. Basically he’s a typical 70’s star. He would often arrive at the Madison Square Garden riding a Rolls Royce… wearing a mink coat… a broad-brimmed hat… basically he’ll wear what a modern day pimp would wear. On the court, he is a defensive mon-star. Sure, he could also score but his worth is seriously seen from his court smarts and wiliness. He would often “stage” a lazy act to all of a sudden swipe the ball as if like a blur. He is often associated as one of the all-best pointguards the NBA has ever produced.
MISSES: While he hardly did anything bad, Deron Williams and Chris Paul could stage a better career if they sustain their current state. Frazier’s number dropped when age sunk in. Injuries also caused his stint to somewhat get less than stellar. His Cleveland stint was played way past his prime.
EXTRA POINTS: He is nicknamed “Clyde”. It originated from the 1967 cops and robbers film Bonnie and Clyde. Warren Beatty’s character, Clyde Barrow, was a no-nonsense criminal who gained acclaim from his “Robin Hood-like” persona.


46 BOB MCADOO (Buffalo Braves, New York Knicks, Boston Celtics, Detroit Pistons, New Jersey Nets, Los Angeles Lakers, Philadelphia 76ers)
STATS:
852g – 22.1ppg, 9.4rpg, 2.3apg, 0.9spg, 1.3bpg
ACHIEVEMENTS: MVP (1), All-NBA Team (2), NBA All-Star (5), Rookie of the Year (1973), NBA Champion (2), Hall of Famer
HITS: He was seen as a precursor to shooting big men like Dirk, Chris Webber, and Rasheed Wallace. While he played center-forward, he had no problems in scoring long range. His perimeter scoring made him an offensive menace to his adversaries. He was the league’s scoring champion in three consecutive seasons (1973-74 to 1975-76). He is the last NBA player to average 30 points and 15 rebounds in a season.
MISSES: McAdoo was a journeyman. He played for too many struggling teams that don’t have the confidence to stick with him. A reason for this is his injuries. While he did enjoyed success with the Lakers, he was the sixth man in the team. He did find a home in Europe, where he became an MVP and was named as one of the 50 important players of the Euroleague’s history.


45 TRACY MCGRADY (Toronto Raptors, Orlando Magic, Houston Rockets)
STATS:
784g – 22.1ppg, 6.1rpg, 4.7apg, 1.3spg, 0.9bpg
ACHIEVEMENTS: All-NBA Team (7), NBA All-Star (7)
HITS: He was once called the best High School Player in the US, he plays like a shooting guard but his size says otherwise. He owns long arms and insane athleticism that made him an instant hit among the fans. He is a major merchandizing magnet across the globe. As his career lengthens, so has his shooting touch. His style of play is often compared to George Gervin. He is a two-time scoring champion and he once scored 62 points against Washington in 2004.
MISSES: Okay, why is his rank this low? Well this could be easily answered by his two-year residence in Toronto as a second stringer. Now why is this rank any higher? Well T-Mac in his almost 13 years of NBA experience has yet to advance to the second round of the playoffs. Also he is often injured. He has yet to win any career-altering citations. And yeah, there’s a possibility that this rank will decrease if he plays injured anew.
EXTRA POINTS: Did you know that in 1997 Draft, former Chicago Bulls GM Jerry Krause thought of trading Scottie Pippen to the Vancouver Grizzles for their draft pick which was the fourth pick overall? The deal didn’t push because Michael Jordan threatened to retire. Krause would opt to choose T-Mac pick had the trade happened. McGrady was picked ninth by Toronto while the fourth pick of Vancouver turned out to be Antonio Daniels.


44 DOMINIQUE WILKINS (Atlanta Hawks, LA Clippers, Boston Celtics, San Antonio Spurs, Orlando Magic)
STATS:
1074g – 24.8ppg, 6.7rpg, 2.5apg, 1.3spg
ACHIEVEMENTS: All-NBA Team (7), NBA All-Star (9)
HITS: A very, VERY explosive scorer, he could mash his way to the shaded area to a rim-rattling jam! This is the reason why Nique was dubbed as the Human Highlight Film. In his days with Atlanta, he never averaged less than 20 points with a high of 30.3ppg he obtained during the 1985-86 NBA Season. He is ninth in the list of all-time scorers as he basically gave the Atlanta fans something to cheer about in the 80’s. Actually, the world also cheered for him because the slam-dunk wars he had against Michael Jordan and Spud Webb which he won twice. While he was left off in the 50 Greatest Players List, he’ll likely headline the next ten for their 60th anniversary.
MISSES: The trade that sent him to the Clippers for Danny Manning was a bitter pill to swallow. Wilkins loved Hot-lanta. The Clippers had the distinction of taking early exits and winless campaigns. After that, he drifted from one league to another. He won championships in Europe but couldn’t get in to a title squad even if he will play backup to a player he’ll own in practice. Luckily Atlanta gave Wilkins an office job and retired his number… because that is his only consolation for them messing up his career.


43 PAUL PIERCE (Boston Celtics)
STATS:
813g – 22.9ppg, 6.3rpg, 3.9apg, 1.6spg
ACHIEVEMENTS: Finals MVP (1), All-NBA Team (4), NBA All-Star (7), NBA Champion (1)
HITS: Alongside Antoine Walker, the duo tried hard to relive the team’s glory days. But since Danny Ainge surfaced, Walker was traded, reacquired, and then traded again. In his career, The Truth suffered bouts of winless spells and various trade offers. Luckily with Ainge taking away Walker, Ainge gave him Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett to power the Celtics to a championship. He is currently the Celtics’ third leading scorer behind Larry Bird and John Havlicek.
MISSES: Luckily for Ainge’s entry but it was impossible for Pierce to win a championship with the pieces he was previously given. Instead of making the superstars become his deputies, Pierce also succumb to the awesome glare that is The Big Ticket.


42 DWYANE WADE (Miami Heat)
STATS:
394g – 25.2ppg, 4.9rpg, 6.7apg, 1.8spg, 1.0bpg
ACHIEVEMENTS: All-NBA Team (4), NBA All-Star (5), NBA Champion (1)
HITS: D-Wade came to a team where their leader was Lamar Odom (haha). Owning the starting spot, he quickly found stride… especially when he led the Heat to the second round of the 2004 Playoffs. When a blockbuster trade sent Shaquille O’Neal to the Heat, he basically gave Shaq a Kobe-less title (Shaq would name Wade “Flash”). He is a heavy-scoring threat with a knack for defense. He was a constant part of the US Team that had its downs before the “Redeem Team” re-captured the gold medal in Beijing.
MISSES: He has yet to capture glory without Shaq. While it is too early for people to say about Wade’s fate, he’ll likely end up as an NBA great… if he continues to play like how he’s been playing for at least seven years tops.


41 GEORGE MIKAN (Minneapolis Lakers)
STATS:
439g – 23.1ppg, 9.5rpg, 2.8apg
ACHIEVEMENTS: All-NBA Team (6), NBA All-Star (4), All-Star MVP (1), NBA Champion (5), Hall of Famer
HITS: He is the first main event of the league. Call him the Shaquille O’Neal of the 50’s. Because of his lengthy frame, he could score at will, especially in the inside. In terms of defense, he was unstoppable as well. Back then when goaltending was legal, Mikan would often swat the shots before it could pass the ball. Actually, he would often give the hardest of fouls and play against the stingiest of defenses.
MISSES: His career was too short. Had his career made the 1960’s, his fate would have been different. Fact is though, he is always injured. His height, while important in his dominance, never suited the 6’10, 245lb beanpole. As a boy he shattered his knee so badly that he had to rest if for approximately 18 months. This injury would still haunt him in his playing career.
EXTRA POINTS: Mikan participated in one of the league’s most notorious ball games. Mikan’s Lakers lost to the Fort Wayne Pistons after the Pistons led 19-18. During those times, the shot clock has yet to be invented so until the final buzzer the score was untouched. This was the lowest-scoring game in NBA history and it forced the league to institute the shot clock. As consolation, Mikan scored 83.3% of his team’s points (15 of the Lakers’ 18 points), setting a record that could never be broken.


So we are nearing the A-listers!

Who’ll make the list? You might see the Iceman, the Web guy, a King, a Doctor, a kid, a guy that loves to freeze… maybe you have the answers… you just don’t know it yet.

Until next time.

GAME OVER!

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