Tuesday, January 06, 2015

12 Greatest NBA/ABA Careers


Take everyone who ever played in the NBA and require 130 Win Shares, a PER of at least 20 and a Win Shares Per 48 of at least .12 and you get the above list of 27 guys.

Now, just sort by category to find Top 10 finishers and you can assign a guy 10 points for a first place finish, 9 for 2nd place, etc. all of the way down to 1 point for 10th.  You could be a great player, but if you are not top 10 in a category, you get 0 points.

I have included ABA statistics, because the NBA record keepers include those stats -- I believe it was part of the deal with the ABA for the merger.

There are only 3 guys who are in the Top 10 for each category:

Jordan 34 points (4th in Win Shares, 1st in WS/48 and PER, 4th in points)
Kareem 30 points (1st in Win Shares and points, 7th in PER and 5th in WS/48.
Wilt 29 points (2nd in Win Shares, 3rd in WS/48, 5th in PER and total points)

That is it -- as I have stated in the past, these are three of the guys on my Mount Rushmore of NBA Players.

What our review of the stats tells us is that there is an ENORMOUS drop off from these three guys' careers down to the rest.  One other guy appears in 3 of 4 categories -- Tim Duncan

Duncan -- 8 points (6th in WS, 10th in WS/48, 9th in PER).

But there are guys who have a higher overall score than Duncan but fill only two categories:

Karl Malone - 17 points (3rd in WS, 2nd in points)
David Robinson 16 points (2nd in WS/48, 4th in PER)
LeBron James 16 points (4th in WS/48 and 2nd in PER)
Shaq - 11 points (3rd in PER, 8th in points)

Then you have the guys who fill two categories at a worse score than Duncan:
Barkley 7, Petit 7, Magic 6, Dirk 2

Then you have the guys who fill only one category:
Kobe 8 (points)
Stockton 6 (WS)
Dr. J. 5 (points)
Moses Malone 4 (points)
Garnett 4 (WS)
Gilmore 3 (WS)
West 3 (WS/48)
Oscar 2 (WS)
Dan Issel 2 (points)

You have to start your sorting somewhere so let's kick the one category group out of the discussion. Dirk is in two categories (WS and Points) and is still playing, so he stays in. That leaves:

Top 3 -- Jordan Kareem, Wilt
Next Group -- Duncan, Karl Malone, David Robinson, LeBron, Shaq.
Honorable Mention -- Barkley, Petit, Magic, Dirk.

There are your 12 greatest NBA careers.

Guys whose careers are somewhat overrated -- Bird, Kobe, Bill Russell, Hakeem, West, Oscar, Mikan.

Guys Who are in the top 27 that surprise you -- Clyde Drexler, Paul Pierce, Dolph Schayes, Adrian Dantley, Dan Issel, Artis Gilmore.

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