Best Season:25.7 pts 14.2 rebs 3.1 asts 49.3%FG PER 23.1
Career:20.1 pts 10.1 rebs 3.1 asts 51.4%FG PER 21.7 117.1 win shares
Peak:5 years 1970-75 22.3 pts 12.5 rebs 3.4 asts 49.2%FG PER 22.9 50.9 win shares
Accolades:8x All Star (’72-’75,’77-’79,’82) All Rookie First Team (’71)
Bob Lanier was the best player on a team that struggled for years to gain any traction and was lost in history because he played in the dreadful dark ages of the 70s, and was not the 2nd or even 3rd best center in a time that was loaded with them. He is famously known for smoking at halftime and Kareem specifically said he would use that to his advantage and try to wear him down in the 2nd half.
59. Jerry Lucas
Previous Rank: 47
Best Season:21.5pts 19.0reb 3.1ast FG%.519 PER 19.8
Career:17.0pts 15.6 reb 3.3ast FG%,499 PER 18.9
Accolades:NBA Champion (’73) 7xAll Star (’64-69,’71) 5x All NBA team(’64-’68) Rookie of the Year(’64) All Rookie First Team(’64)16th All-Time Career Leader in Rebounding
Why he moved: This was a result of me being stuck in that “it’s too soon” thing with modern day players when they had clearly passed him up. It’s not anything against Lucas or that I think lesser of him. It is about me being able to realize where players really stand today in comparison.
Jerry Lucas truly never wanted to play basketball. He insisted on getting an academic scholarship, because at the time basketball players were not getting paid like they do today. His freshman year he scored 98 points and had 40 rebounds in a game against the varsity. His destiny was pretty much set from that point on. He was named Mr. Basketball USA twice in 1957 and 58. As of today only LeBron and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar have been awarded that title more than once. His rookie year in the league he averaged 17.7 points 17.4 rebounds on 52% shooting. Lucas was always near the top of field goal percentage in the league despite most of his shots coming from outside of the paint. During the 60s Lucas was called a 20-20 guy and there was only one other guy in league that had the same title, Wilt Chamberlain. From 1964-69 Lucas was only behind Bill Russell and Wilt Chamberlain in rebounds. In the 71-72 season Willis Reed went down for the Knicks and Lucas had to takeover the center position. He had not played center since college because he was considered too weak to play that position. That season he lead the Knicks to the 1972 NBA Finals and they lost in 5 games. In the 72-73 season he was asked to facilitate the offense more through the post and it worked to perfection. Averaging 5 assists a game that year the Knicks got to the Finals and won off of a heroic appearance by Willis Reed in game 7. When Lucas retired he was ranked fourth all-time in rebounds per game behind Wilt, Bill Russell, and Bob Petit.58. Artis Gilmore
Best Season:23.7 pts 12.7 rebs 57.5%FG PER 22.3 12.7 win shares
Career:17.1 pts 10.1 rebs 2.4 blks 59.9%FG PER 20.2 107.4 win shares
Peak:21.7 pts 12.9 rebs 3.0 asts 2.2 blks 5.4%FG PER 22.5 36.4 win shares
Accolades:6x All Star (’78-’79,’81-’83,’86) All Defensive Team (’89)/em>
Many of Artis Gilmore’s career is lost due to his time in the NBA and this top 100 is strictly about NBA players so his ABA achievements are not included. Gilmore was a tremendous scorer and rebounder for the Chicago Bulls and before a man named MJ came around he was the best player they had ever had. He did the best he could for the team, but they never found much success due to the powerhouses on other teams. He was incredibly efficient in his scoring, and without delving deep into it he is probably one of the 3 most efficient big man scorers in histroy alongside Wilt Chamberlain and Shaq.
57. Russell Westbrook
Best Season:23.5 pts 7.8 rebs 10.4 asts 2.0 stls 45.4%FG PER 27.6 14.0 win shares
Career:21.5 pts 5.6 rebs 7.6 asts PER 22.9 67.0 win shares
Peak:2 years 2014-16 25.6 pts 7.6 rebs 9.6 asts 2.1 stls 44.0%FG PER 28.3 24.7 win shares
Accolades:5x All Star (’11-’13,’15-’16) 5x All NBA Team (’11-’13,’15-’16) Scoring Champion(’15) All Rookie First Team (’09)
Russell Westbrook is the personification of intensity. The man is a nonstop motor that want to pound the opposing team into submission. The last two years we have seen the best of Westbrook. Last year he did everything possible to will the Thunder into the playoff to come just short and this year he has shown us that he is one of the best playmakers in the league today. We have not seen the best of Westbrook yet and I fully expect him to be a top 30 player of all time when it is all said and done.
56. Carmelo Anthony
Best Season:28.7 pts 6.9 rebs 44.9%FG 37.9%3PT PER 24.8
Career:24.9 pts 6.6 rebs 45.3%FG 34.4%3PT PER 21.1
Peak:5 years 2009-14 26.6 pts 7.1 rebs 45.0%FG 37.0%3pt PER 23.0
Accolades:9x All Star (’07-’08,’10-’16) 6x All NBA Team (’06-’07,’09-’10,’12-’13) Scoring Champion (’13) All Rookie First Team (’04)
Carmelo Anthony is slandered constantly, some of it is warranted and some of it is overkill. He is one of the greatest scores of this century, with a diversified all around attack. Melo can post up, drive to the rim, pull up from 3, and anything else you can think of. Kobe Bryant and Paul Pierce are on record say Melo is the hardest player they have ever had to guard and that is saying something. Melo had some great years in Denver, particularly in the 2008-09 season. That year Melo led his team to the Western Conference Finals, but lost to the eventual champs in Kobe’s Lakers. He was later traded to the Knicks where they had one of their best seasons in years on 2012-13 season, but fell short to the Pacers in the 2nd round. Now Melo is old and in a rebuilding process in New York and it seems like the best of his years in the NBA are behind him.
55. Bill Walton
Best Season:18.6 pts 14.4 rebs 3.8 asts 1.0 stls 3.2 blks 52.8%FG
Career:13.3 pts 10.5 rebs 3.4 asts 2.2 blks 52.1%FG
Peak:3 years 1975-78 18.0 pts 13.7 rebs 4.3 asts 1.0 stls 2.5 blks 50.9%FG
Accolades:2x NBA Champion (‘77,86) Finals MVP (’78) 2x All Star (’77-78) All NBA Team (’77-’79) 2x All Defensive team (’77-’78) Sixth Man of the Year (’86) Rebounding Leader (’77) Blocks Leader (’77)
Bill Walton is the biggest “what if” in history. He had a dominating two years in the league and sadly after that constant injuries destroyed what could have been an amazing career. He led his Trailblazers over the Philadelphia 76ers in 1977 to give Portland their first and only championship. Walton was an amazing passer, had solid touch around the rim, and was the best defensive center in the league during his very short time in the league. Many place him in the top 50 which I feel like is unwarranted due to his very short prime, but he is an all time great.
54. Alonzo Mourning
Best Season:20.1 pts 11.0 rebs 3.9 blks 51.1%FG
Career:17.1 pts 8.5 rebs 2.8 blks 52.7%FG PER 21.2
Peak:3 years 1997-00 20.5 pts 9.9 rebs 3.3 blks 54.1%FG PER 24.4
Accolades:NBA Champion (’06) 7x All Star (’94-’97,’00-’02) 2x All NBA Team (’99-’00) 2x Defensive Player of the Year (’99-’00) 2x All Defensive Team (’99-’00) 2x Blocks Leader (’99-’00) All Rookie First Team (’93)
Alonzo is another player that I am afraid will be lost in time due to so many other great players playing at the same time. He was an amazing rim protector sending shots everywhere. He was efficient around the rim and his teams benefitted from it. He once finished top 3 in MVP race in the 98-99 season. His back to back defensive player of the year awards along with the 20+ plus point game season solidified him as an all time great.
53 Pau Gasol
Best Season:18.3 pts 11.3 rebs 3.4 asts 53.6%FG PER 22.9 11.0 win shares
Career:18.2 pts 9.5 rebs 3.3 asts 51.0%FG PER 21.6 130.6 win shares
Peak:3 years 2008-11 18.7 pts 10.3 rebs 3.4 asts 54.4%FG PER 22.8 39.6 win shares
Accolades:2x NBA Champion (’09-’10) 6x All Star (’06,’09-’11,’15-’16) 4x All NBA Team (’09-’11,’15) Rookie of the Year (’02)
Pau Gasol was looking like he would be a forgotten player in Memphis as they failed to put any pieces around him. Then the trade happened. Lakers traded Kwame Brown, Marc Gasol, and a bunch of other irrelevant things to receive Pau. It was a steal of a trade and started another legacy. Pau helped Kobe attain two more championship titles playing a crucial role in the triangle ran famously by Phil Jackson. Pau is an all time great and what he did in LA for Kobe should never be forgotten. The two years the Lakers won titles with him there he led the team in win shares, not Kobe.
52. Kevin Johnson
Best Season:22.5 pts 11.4 asts 49.9%FG PER 22.8 11.6 win shares
Career:17.9 pts 9.1 asts 49.3%FG PER 20.7 92.8 win shares
Peak:4 years 1988-92 21.2 pts 11.1 asts 50.0%FG PER 21.7 46.4 win shares
Accolades:3x All Star (’90-’91,’94)5x All NBA Team (’89-’92,’94) Most Improved Player of the Year (’89)
Kevin Johnson is who I believe to be the most underrated player of all time. He was putting up 20 points along with 10 assists for basically a 4 year span and there are few who have actually reached that feat. He was incredibly efficient attacking the basket and somehow even with Barkley on his team at one point, nobody talks about him like they should. He is one of the greatest point guards of all time. He did not get the accolades even that he deserved. Kevin Johnson only having 3 all star appearances is a crime.
51. Dave Cowens
Best Season:20.4 pts 14.7 rebs 4.6 asts
Career:17.6 pts 13.6 rebs 3.8 asts
Peak:5 years 1973-78 18.8 pts 15.0 rebs 4.5 asts
Accolades:2x NBA Champion (’74,’76) MVP (’73) 7x All Star (’72-’78) 3x All NBA Teams (’73,’75-’76) 3x All Defensive Teams (’75-’76,’80) Rookie of the Year (’71)
Dave Cowens was the center of the Celtics offense through the 70s with his elite passing in the post and was a solid defensive player on the other end. Many initially thought Cowens was too small to play center, but he proved everyone wrong by helping his team win two championships and won an MVP for his own individual accolades. Many debate if it was warranted, but he was regardless a top 5 player in the league for many years and is forgotten in history far too often.