Monday, January 25, 2016

ESPN Going Through and Ranking Top 100 NBA Players of All-Time and look for the hash tag #nbarank.  Some of the rankings are just straight out bizarre, but I will give ESPN credit for undertaking such a difficult task, so I will only start my criticism of them at rankings 70-61.

Here is their 70-61 list:

70.  Artis Gilmore
69.  Vince Carter
68.  Bob Lanier
67.  Dwight Howard
66.  Chris Webber
65.  Alonzo Mourning
64.  Dennis Rodman
63.  Tracy McGrady
62.  Alex English
61.  Manu Ginobili

Now, ESPN purports to rank guys based upon both their BEST years and their longevity, meaning that a younger player may not achieve the highest score he ultimately could as he plays longer.  (Example, James Harden and Steph Curry have put up ridiculous numbers in a couple seasons, but they should not rank above, say, Jerry West.

OK, so we assume that ESPN is doing what it says it is doing.  Let's see what we think of how well they are accomplishing that.

Well, Artis Gilmore has more career Win Shares (almost 190 total) than Oscar Robertson or LeBron James.  He has 107 NBA Win Shares, more than anyone else in this group except Vince, Lanier and Dwight Howard.  He was first-team All-ABA 5 times and is the career leader in WS and WS/48 in ABA history.   

If ESPN wants to give Artis 0 credit for his ABA play, OK.  But I will expect Dr. J. to be down around the low 20s based upon his NBA play only.  We shall see.

Vince should have been disposed of long before #69.  Vince is a great talent, but he is not the 69th best player in NBA history.  He has never once been first-team all-NBA and he finished top 9 in MVP balloting.....never.

Webber is too high.  Maybe he squeaks in back down at 70 and you move Gilmore way up.  But Webber did not have the career that Lanier or Howard have had. 

Mourning has under 90 career WS.  If you are going to rank Vince high because he has played forever, then Mourning must be marked down for longevity. 

I am not going to bitch too much on Rodman, T Mac, English and Ginobili -- they are all roughly 61-70 area, give or take a few spots.  Rodman was one of the game's great defenders and rebounders, won titles.  English was an epic scorer, played forever.  TMac had a top 10 all-time individual NBA season and was top 8 in MVP balloting 6 times.  Ginobili is one of the greatest winners and clutch performers of all-time.  But I will say that his overall statistics and honors in the regular season do not justify his lofty ranking.  So I'd drop him a little.

If you forced me to take these ten guys and rank them 70-61, here is my list:

70.  Vince Carter (-1)
69.  Chris Webber (-3)
68.  Alonzo Mourning (-3)
67.  Bob Lanier (+1)
66.  Dwight Howard (+1, it kills me, but he is 5X 1st team all-NBA)
65.  Alex English (-3)
64.  Manu Ginobili (-3)
63.  Dennis Rodman (+1)
62.  Tracy McGrady (+1)
61.  Artis Gilmore (+9)

Again, if the rules are that you cannot consider ABA stats AT ALL, then I will wait the rankings of Dr. J, Moses Malone and Rick Barry and we will see if they are similarly dropped 10-20 spots.  But it seems to me that you cannot just take a guy who was 5X first-team all-ABA and 5X first team all-defense and just completely ignore those stats/  That is particularly true when, after his athletic ability declined somewhat, Gilmore was still a 6X an all-star in the NBA and 62nd in career WS for only the NBA!

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