Rick Barry, Elgin Baylor, Larry Bird
Kobe Bryant, Wilt Chamberlain, Clyde Drexler
Tim Duncan, Kevin Durant, Julius Erving
Patrick Ewing, Kevin Garnett, John Havlicek
LeBron James, Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan
Karl Malone, Moses Malone, George Mikan
Reggie Miller, Steve Nash, Dirk Nowtizki
Hakeem Olajuwon, Shaquille O'Neal, Chris Paul
Gary Payton. Bob Petit, Scottie Pippen
Oscar Robertson, David Robinson, Bill Russell
John Stockton, Dwayne Wade. Jerry West.
Here is my bottom 12 list, per the rules, these guys are on the Trash Heap:
36. Scottie Pippen -- never the #1 option on a great team, he failed in Chicago, Portland and Houston when asked to step up to the #1 spot. Great second banana with the Bulls.
35. Gary Payton - great player, great defender, just not as good as the rest of the list.
34. Reggie Miller -- extremely one-dimensional, no titles, played a long time, but not that awesome.
33. Patrick Ewing - very very good, just not an all-time top 24 player. The 1994 Knicks were better than the 1994 Rockets. He wasn't better than Hakeem.
32. John Havlicek -- consistent and played forever on winning teams. Stats don't match up to top 24 guys.
31. Dwyane Wade -- great player, durability a question mark, not someone who has put up huge overall numbers for his career given how long he has played.
30. Steve Nash -- cannot deny his 7 appearances on various all-NBA teams or his 2 MVPs, but is one of the worst defenders of all-time. There has to be some deduction for that.
29. Clyde Drexler -- extremely underrated. But he cannot make top 24 because, while he was great, his career accomplishments do not match up to those I have ranked above him.
28. Ray Allen -- at his best, he was a top 5 off guard all-time. Add in his success late in his career with championship teams and he is top 28, just not top 24.
27. Rick Barry -- A guy who no one but true basketball fans recalls. I probably rank him too high, but he was 9 times first team all-NBA or all-ABA and led his heavy underdog team to an NBA title. Led college, NBA and ABA in scoring.
26. Chris Paul -- there is probably no one in basketball history who is more underrated than Chris Paul. He is several times first-team all-NBA, his WS/48 number is ridiculous (top 3) and he just keeps going. Guys just don't regularly put up 14 assist/2 turnover games while being the best defensive PG in the league. It doesn't happen, except for CP3. Durability, shortness of career, and lack of playoff success keep him off the top 24 list........so far.
25. Kevin Durant -- do you realize that Kevin Durant has ALREADY been named 5X first-team all-NBA and won an MVP? Except for Steve Nash, no one else on the Trash Heap has won an MVP. Durant has become a ridiculous force in the NBA. He is kept out of the top 24 because he is young and now he is injured. If his career were to end today, he would not have the career that the top 24 guys have.
Next -- Part III, guys 13-24.