Wednesday, November 21, 2012

20 Greatest Playoff Performers in NBA History

1Michael Jordan*19891998CHINBA8 seasons
2Magic Johnson*19841991LALNBA6
3Kareem Abdul-Jabbar*19711984TOTNBA5
4Shaquille O'Neal19952004TOTNBA5
5Larry Bird*19811987BOSNBA4
6Kobe Bryant20012010LALNBA4
7Tim Duncan19992007SASNBA4
8LeBron James20072012TOTNBA4
9Jerry West*19661970LALNBA4
10Wilt Chamberlain*19621967TOTNBA3
11Karl Malone*19921998UTANBA3
12Bill Russell*19621966BOSNBA3
13Dwyane Wade20062012MIANBA3
14Chauncey Billups20052009TOTNBA2
15Kevin Durant20112012OKCNBA2
16Pau Gasol20092010LALNBA2
17Kevin McHale*19861988BOSNBA2
18Dirk Nowitzki20062011DALNBA2
19Hakeem Olajuwon*19861994HOUNBA2
20Isiah Thomas*19881990DETNBA2

You need a playoff PER in excess of 20 and at least 3 playoff Win Shares.  I have stopped the list at having 2 such seasons (coincidentally, there were 20 total players with multiple seasons) You can see as I do these entries that Michael Jordan was, in fact, as great as he was billed to be. 

This list also indicates that Magic and Bird and Kobe all rank far higher as playoff performers vs. regular season performers.

How rare is this accomplishment?  Well, consider Bill Russell had only 3 such seasons despite 11 titles.  Consider all of the other Celtics whom you would expect to be on the list but are not.  Consider that Scottie Pippen with 6 titles is not here.  This is another list where Karl Malone is on the list and Stockton is not, indicating, again, that at least statistically Malone was the better player.

Now, if you really want to see why Jordan was so remarkable, search for number of playoff seasons with a PER of 27 or more and at least 3.5 Win Shares:

1Michael Jordan*19891998CHINBA7
2Shaquille O'Neal20002002LALNBA3
3LeBron James20092012TOTNBA2
4Kareem Abdul-Jabbar*19741974MILNBA1
5Wilt Chamberlain*19641964SFWNBA1
6Tim Duncan20032003SASNBA1
7Kevin Durant20122012OKCNBA1
8Hakeem Olajuwon*19941994HOUNBA1

Jordan has 7 of the 17.  Over 41%.  Remember Hakeem's great 1994 playoffs?  Jordan had 7 of those.

Jordan, Shaq and LeBron are the only 3 players in history with multiple seasons of this sort.  Those three guys account for over 70% of such seasons.

If you want to assert that Jordan, Shaq and LeBron are the 3 greatest players in the history of the game, pull out that chart.  Or better yet, search for a playoff season with PER of 29 or more and at least 4 Win Shares:


1Michael Jordan*19891993CHINBA3
2LeBron James20092012TOTNBA2
3Shaquille O'Neal20002000LALNBA1


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