BallnRoll’s 100 Greatest NBA Players of All Time: #31-40
This week we continue to edge closer to the top-ten!
In case you missed part 6, click here.
Refocusing on this week’s list, it’s time to prepare for a string of point guards who will crack this week’s edition. The point guard position may just be the most important position on the floor and in part 7, we will acknowledge the greatness of six point guards.
So without further adieu, let start our list off with our first playmaker!
40. Steve Nash
- Career Stats: 18 Seasons, 14.3 PPG, 8.5 APG, 20 PER, 129.7 Win Shares
We get our list started with a true magician and Canadian basketball icon.
Steve Nash could do whatever he wanted with the basketball. The two-time NBA Most Valuable Player of the Year could make passes that looked impossible look easy and shots that looked unmakeable a piece of cake. A shifty, quick, creative, and skilled point guard, Nash cracked the 50-40-90 club four times and retired third on the all-time NBA assists list. In his prime, there was no team more fun to watch than the Phoenix Suns and all eyes were on Nash to see what he would do next with the basketball.
Nash led the league in assists five times in his illustrious career with many of his dimes still head-scratching. Not bad at all ‘Captain Canada’.
39. Jason Kidd
- Career Stats: 19 Seasons, 12.6 PPG, 8.7 APG, 6.3 RPG, 17.9 PER, 138.6 Win Shares
From one point guard to another and of course, another magician with the basketball.
We now take a look at Jason Kidd, who ironically enough is one spot higher than Nash on the NBA all-time assists list. While not a great shooter like Nash, the former NBA champ was also a floor general in every sense of the word. In his career, he was one of the best rebounding guards the NBA has ever seen and even did plenty of work on the defensive end of the floor, being named to nine All-Defensive teams.
The three point shot was not his strong suit, but aside from that, Kidd could do it all, finishing his career with ten All-Star selections and 107 triple-doubles, could for third all-time.
38. George Mikan
- Career Stats: 9 Seasons, 23.1 PPG, 13.4 RPG, 27.0 PER, 108.7 Win Shares
We now throw it way, way back to one of the league’s original big men. George Mikan was a basketball pioneer and one of the game’s first superstars.
A four-time NBA All-Star and five-time NBA Champion with the Minneapolis Lakers (now Los Angeles Lakers), Mikan was a 6’10” giant who was a fierce competitor and a player that dominated the paint. He was so dominant, that there is a basketball drill named in his honour – the Mikan Drill.
Mikan was the NBA’s first main attraction and poster boy. The center played nine professional seasons, seven of which came in the NBA and accumulated seven championships over that span. A tough player, Mikan was known to play through a wide array of injuries, including broken bones – but ultimately, for that very reason, he was not able to sustain a long-term, 10-plus year career in basketball.
37. Gary Payton
- Career Stats: 17 Seasons, 16.3 PPG, 6.7 APG, 1.8 SPG, 18.9 PER, 145.5 Win Shares
Name me a better defensive point guard or even guard in NBA history. Take your time, I’ll wait.
There is a reason why Gary Payton was known as ‘The Glove’. Long arms, quick, and agile, Payton was a gritty defender, and not a single offensive player was ever able to solve him. What made things worse for the offensive player was that Gary Payton talked a whole lot of smack while shutting said player down as well.
The former NBA champion, nine-time All-Star, and Defensive Player of the Year was always a fierce competitor and a nightmare for opposing guards.
And of course, how can anyone forget the original ‘Lob City’ with Gary Payton and Shawn Kemp?
36. Allen Iverson
- Career Stats: 14 Seasons, 26.7 PPG, 6.2 APG, 20.9 PER, 99.0 Win Shares
For all the headaches that Allen Iverson caused off the floor, he was ‘The Answer’ on the floor.
The undersized guard never let his lack of height be his downfall. With a superstar personality, the 11-time All-Star and former MVP made up for it with heart, quickness, agility, and skill. In a career with plenty of highlights, from stepping over Tyronn Lue in the NBA Finals against the Los Angeles Lakers, to crossing over the great Michael Jordan, Iverson’s career had its ups and its downs.
Despite everything that went around in his personal life, on the court, Iverson was one of the greatest ever. The shooting sleeves, the dreads, the sense of style, the personality, Iverson was a superstar and deservingly, is one of the greatest of all time.
35. Elvin Hayes
- Career Stats: 16 Seasons, 21.0 PPG, 12.5 RPG, 17.7 PER, 120.8 Win Shares
An All-Star in each of his first 12-seasons, Elvin Hayes was a dominant big man, yet one who many people seem to egregiously forget.
This week, we will do Hayes’ career justice. One of the more talented power forwards in NBA history, the 6’9” Hayes used his vintage turnaround jumper and hard-nosed defence to secure a spot in NBA history and punch his name into NBA record books. A champion with the Washington Bullets, Hayes ranks tenth on the NBA’s all-time scoring list, fourth on the all-time rebounding list, and 24th on the all-time blocks list. When you put superior talent and durability together, you get Hayes, who only missed nine games in his 16-year career.0
Not a bad career for ‘The Big E’.
34. Dominique Wilkins
- Career Stats: 17 Seasons, 24.8 PPG, 6.7 RPG, 21.6 PER, 117.5 Win Shares
One of the greatest dunkers and scorers of all time, the Atlanta Hawks superstar Dominique Wilkins cracks the list at number 34.
Nicknamed the ‘Human Highlight Film’, Wilkins was one of the biggest stars of his decade. A former Slam Dunk champ and nine-time All-Star, Wilkins was unguardable in his prime. Starring in the NBA and in Europe, Wilkins was a scoring machine and easily the greatest player to ever put on a Hawks uniform.
33. Patrick Ewing
- Career Stats: 16 Seasons, 21.0 PPG, 9.8 RPG, 2.4 BPG, 21.0 Per, 126.4 Win Shares
Patrick Ewing was truly an unstoppable force.
A physical specimen, the big man was strong, athletic, quick, and ran up and down the floor like so few bigs could.
An 11-time NBA All-Star and two-time Olympic Gold Medalist, Ewing became an icon in New York while playing in the world’s most famous arena – Madison Square Garden – for the Knicks. A beast in the NBA, Ewing was also named the 16th greatest college basketball player ever by ESPN while at Georgetown.
Quite possibly, the greatest New York Knick of all time, Ewing revitalized a fanbase prone to losing, leading them to the NBA Finals and countless playoff appearances. Unfortunately, neither Ewing nor the Knicks were able to break through and return to championship glory.
32. Walt Frazier
- Career Stats: 13 Seasons, 18.9 PPG, 5.9 RPG, 6.1 APG, 19.1 PER, 113.5 Win Shares
Speaking of the New York Knicks and championship glory, Walt Frazier was the man who helped deliver the only two NBA titles to one of the biggest sports markets in the entire world.
‘Clyde’ helped redefine basketball and single-handedly boosted the sport’s popularity in New York and the NBA. One of the game’s greatest point guards, Frazier was named onto seven All-Star teams and seven All-Defensive teams. An aggressive defender, and a very willing and creative passer, Frazier brought some flare to ‘The Big Apple’.
31. Bob Cousy
- Career Stats: 14 Seasons, 18.4 PPG, 7.5 APG, 5.1 RPG, 19.8 PER, 91.1 Win Shares
Bob Cousy was the original point guard. The 13-time All-Star who was the backbone of six NBA championship teams in Boston.
‘The Houdini of the Hardwood’ brought the behind-the-back pass to the NBA, providing the league with flash before any sort of flash was cool. He was one of the greatest point guards and playmakers in NBA history and rightfully caps off this week’s list of BallnRoll’s 100 Greatest Players in NBA History!
Check back next week for part eight of our Top 100 list!