Wednesday, July 08, 2015

NBA's Greatest All-Around Players - James, Bird, Jordan, Havlicek, Oscar

Recall that I have already gone through and ranked the top 36 greatest players, so everyone do NOT freak out here.  The point of this entry is to identify guys who were great at every significant measurable aspect of the game of basketball -- scoring, rebounding, assists, and defense.

Now, judging a "great all-around player" is difficult, because you need to evaluate what makes a "great" all-around player.  If someone gets 7 points, 7 rebounds and 7 assists a game, are they "great"?  Does being a great all-around player mean you need to score 20 points a game?  25? Is 15 enough?

The hardest thing in evaluating guys from the ancient days of the NBA is the NBA didn't keep steals and blocks before, I believe, 1976, so you cannot really look at steals or blocks.  To fix this problem, I went with Defensive Win Shares where I considered defense.

What I did was considered a variety of season results to determine what guys consistently show up on the charts.  I did 5 searches on the database, using what I believe to be various examples of what a reasonable person would consider to be a great all-around season.  The guys who appear on all 5 lists:

LeBron James
Larry Bird
Michael Jordan
John Havlicek. 

That is it.  Oscar Robertson appeared on 4 of the lists (ranking highly on many) but failed to have 4 seasons or more with 4+ defensive win shares.  Nevertheless, I will place him 5th, to create a full starting 5.

What is most remarkable about the search results is the absolute and utter dominance of LeBron James.  Table 1:  first by 2 seasons; Table 2 - tied for first with 3 point guards; Table 3:  first by 4 seasons over Oscar, 7 over Bird, 8 over Jordan; Table 4:  tied for first; Table 5:  first by 6 seasons over Bird and Jordan.

Table 5 is perhaps the most shocking result I stumbled upon.  There have been only 19 total seasons in which a player has gone 25-6-6 with 4 DWS.  LeBron has NINE of them!!  Almost half. 

This would explain why James can take absolutely horseshit teams to the NBA Finals - he has the ability to do everything on the court and fill in enormous gaps left by his teammates. 

I used a variety of searches:

Table 1 -- Most seasons with 20 points/5 assists and 5 rebounds per game (see very bottom, I couldn't move it for some reason)

Table 2:  Most seasons with 7 points, 7 assist and 7 rebounds per game
Table 2
1LeBron James20052013TOTNBA6
2Magic Johnson*19801989LALNBA6
3Jason Kidd20002008TOTNBA6
4Oscar Robertson*19611966CINNBA6
5Larry Bird*19871991BOSNBA3
6Fat Lever19871989DENNBA3
7Wilt Chamberlain*19671968PHINBA2
8John Havlicek*19711972BOSNBA2
9Grant Hill19971997DETNBA1
10Michael Jordan*19891989CHINBA1
11Norm Van Lier19711971CINNBA1
12Darrell Walker19901990WSBNBA1
13Russell Westbrook20152015OKCNBA1

Table 3 -- 25 points, 6 rebounds and 6 assists a game, plus at least 2 Defensive Win Shares:
Table 3.
1LeBron James20052015TOTNBA11
2Oscar Robertson*19621970CINNBA7
3Larry Bird*19851988BOSNBA4
4Michael Jordan*19891992CHINBA3
5John Havlicek*19711972BOSNBA2
6Rick Barry*19741974GSWNBA1
7Clyde Drexler*19921992PORNBA1
8Richie Guerin*19621962NYKNBA1
9Jerry West*19661966LALNBA1
10Russell Westbrook20152015OKCNBA1

Table 4 -- Seasons With 15 points/4 rebounds/4 assist and 4 Defensive Win Shares
Table 4
1Kareem Abdul-Jabbar*19701980TOTNBA9
2Larry Bird*19801990BOSNBA9
3Kevin Garnett19982007MINNBA9
4LeBron James20052013TOTNBA9
5Michael Jordan*19871997CHINBA9
6Scottie Pippen*19901997CHINBA8
7Wilt Chamberlain*19641971TOTNBA6
8Walt Frazier*19691974NYKNBA6
9John Havlicek*19681973BOSNBA6
10Bob Cousy*19571961BOSNBA5
11Dave Cowens*19731978BOSNBA5
12Karl Malone*19942003UTANBA5
13Dwyane Wade20052011MIANBA5
14Kobe Bryant20002010LALNBA4
15Julius Erving*19791984PHINBA4
16Chris Webber19972003TOTNBA4

Table 5 -- Seasons with 25 points per game/6 rebounds/6 assist and 4 Defensive Win Shares:
Table 5
1LeBron James20052013TOTNBA9
2Larry Bird*19851987BOSNBA3
3Michael Jordan*19891992CHINBA3
4John Havlicek*19711972BOSNBA2
5Clyde Drexler*19921992PORNBA1
6Oscar Robertson*19641964CINNBA1

Table 1 (Seasons with 20-5-5 average)
1LeBron James20042015TOTNBA12
2Larry Bird*19811992BOSNBA10
3Oscar Robertson*19611970CINNBA10
4Kobe Bryant20022015LALNBA9
5Michael Jordan*19852002TOTNBA9
6Clyde Drexler*19871992PORNBA6
7Walt Frazier*19701975NYKNBA6
8John Havlicek*19691974BOSNBA6
9Tracy McGrady20022008TOTNBA6
10Jerry West*19621968LALNBA6
11Rick Barry*19741978GSWNBA5
12Grant Hill19962000DETNBA5
13Wilt Chamberlain*19641968TOTNBA4
14Magic Johnson*19811990LALNBA4
15Scottie Pippen*19921997CHINBA4
16Elgin Baylor*19611970LALNBA3
17Steve Francis20022005TOTNBA3
18Kevin Garnett20022005MINNBA3
19Richie Guerin*19601962NYKNBA3
20Dwyane Wade20052009MIANBA3
21Russell Westbrook20132015OKCNBA3


Al Swearengen said...

If you include "winning championships" as one of the analyzed metrics, where does James rate?

Al Swearengen said...

Listen to the sounds ... of silence ...

HM said...

2 titles, led his team to 6 finals, Al.

5th place.

Al Swearengen said...

Oh, yes. I'm recalling that, now.