Archive for April, 2011

AND THE BEAT GOES ON: NFL Round 2 Mock Draft…

Posted: April 29, 2011 by The Cheap Seat Fan in NFL
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Last nights kickoff to the NFL Draft was one of the more random affairs in draft history, with plenty of teams making some eyebrow raising moves. While there was some shifting, a few players moving way up and some sliding out, most of the players stayed true to what was predicted here yesterday. Of the 32 new initiates to the NFL, 25 of them were included correctly here yesterday, and now let’s see if lightning can strike twice with a second mock-up.

The second round is the trade bait round, with more motion happening in this one than any other. It’s the round where teams are most likely to hear out teams looking to move up, especially teams with stockpiled picks such as the 49ers, Broncos and Patriots have this year. There are some big names that have slid into the second and a good amount of talent that easily could have found themselves in the champagne room yesterday. So without further ado, lets take a look at who will be the second day stars, as a very need based round kicks off in a few hours.

33. PATRIOTS: Akeem Ayers-OLB-UCLA

34. BILLS: Ryan Mallett-QB-Arkansas

35. BENGALS: Andy Dalton-QB-TCU

With Carson Palmer the ultimate wildcard, snagging Dalton early helps ease some worries in Cincy.

36. BRONCOS: Aaron Williams-CB-Texas

37. BROWNS: DaQuan Bowers-DE-Clemson

38. CARDINALS: Justin Houston-DE/OLB-Georgia

39. TITANS: Stephen Paea-DT-Oregon State

40. COWBOYS: Rahim Moore-S-UCLA

Moore is easily the best safety available and would become a needed security net in the Cowboy secondary.

41. REDSKINS: Torey Smith-WR-Maryland

42. TEXANS: Brandon Burton-CB-Utah

43. VIKINGS: Brooks Reed-DE-Arizona

44. LIONS: Curtis Brown-CB-Texas

45. 49ers: Colin Kaepernick-QB-Nevada

46. BRONCOS: Kyle Rudolph-TE-Notre Dame

47. RAMS: Bruce Carter-OLB-North Carolina

48. RAIDERS: Orlando Franklin-OT-Miami

49. REDSKINS: Ras-I Dowling-CB-Virginia

50. SAN DIEGO: Randall Cobb-WR-Kentucky

51. BUCCANEERS: Martez Wilson-LB-Illinois

52. GIANTS: Quan Sturdivant-LB-North Carolina

53. COLTS: Marvin Austin-DT-North Carolina

First round talent was dimmed by shady troubles, but is a big value and need in Indy.

54. EAGLES: Ben Ijalama-OT-Villanova

55. CHIEFS: Marcus Gilbert-OT-Florida

56. PATRIOTS: Greg Little-WR-North Carolina

57. SEAHAWKS: Rodney Hudson-G/C-Florida State

58. RAVENS: Allen Bailey-DE-Miami

59. BROWNS: Leonard Hankerton-WR-Miami

60. PATRIOTS: Ryan Williams-RB-Virginia Tech


62. BEARS: Drake Nevis-DT-LSU

63. STEELERS: Clint Boling-OG-Georgia

64. PACKERS: Mikel LeShoure-RB-Illinois

LeShoure would give Green Bay yet another weapon and a definite security net if Ryan Grant isn't full speed.

Ensured to get a lot more interesting, and I’ll be on it on Twitter. Come on over, @CheapSeatFan

Quite often, attempting to predict the NFL DRAFT is about as useful of an activity as putting faith in the Bengals. Between trades, leaps of faith and just completely not knowing what GM’s are really thinking, it can be quite pointless even after a few picks.

At any rate, this is a mixture if what makes sense to me, some rumors that are just too prominent to deny and some leaps of faith by me. I don’t agree with all of them (especially at the QB spot), but I don’t want to deny the obvious.

Gabbert could be the fix for several teams in the top 10, and could be too tempting to pass on early.

Here is my complete take on round one, with a second pick after the analysis of what could be the top second option that is still available. Tomorrow I will recap what actually happens tonight, and how much of a hit or miss I make in this effort below.

Welcome back to the real kick off of Football season….I think.

1. PANTHERS-CAM NEWTON-QB-Auburn: There are a lot of red flags that are getting waved around him, but what else is new? Concerns about a major system change, production approach, being a underclassman and well-known character issues are all out there. But also is the fact that he plain out makes plays happen, and when your entire team manages only 16 touchdowns a year ago, you have to address that problem immediately.  Carolina knows this, and while Newton isn’t a day one starter, having him on-board says there is at least a catalyst available now. Drafting for inspiration here. (Marcel Dareus)

If anything, picking Newton shows Carolina fans a definite move towards waking up their dead offense.

2. BRONCOS-MARCEL DAREUS-DT-Alabama: Every level of the Bronco defense has to improve, and Dareus can plug the run with the equal ease that he pressures the pocket with. Combine the fact that he could potentially help on the outside of the line as well, and you get a perfect match in need and talent here. (Patrick Peterson)

3. BILLS-VON MILLER-OLB-Texas A&M: They’ve gotten basically nothing from their pass rush in recent years, especially from the linebacker spot. Miller is the needed spark required on two levels to improve one of the most unproductive front seven in the game. Could be a close call though between this a QB fix. (Blaine Gabbert)

4. BENGALS-A.J. GREEN-WR-Georgia: With much turnover happening on their offense overall, snatching a potential cornerstone play maker at wide receiver is a definite upgrade to the future of the club. He could be the most talented overall player available, and is a steal at 4. (Julio Jones)

5. CARDINALS-ROBERT QUINN-DE-North Carolina: The Cardinals are in need of a number of things, and while QB may make the most sense, a rookie one does not. Quinn helps improve a porous defense that needs to get younger and quicker virtually everywhere. A plus is that he can potentially play stand up linebacker as well. (Blaine Gabbert)

6. BROWNS-JULIO JONES-WR-Alabama:  A go-to option has been needed here badly, and Jones is the quick, yet physical target needed that can fight for passes all over the field. This is exactly what a young Colt McCoy needs, a target he can develop confidence in. (Nick Fairley)

Jones would be a day one go-to guy for a Browns attack that lacks one.

7. 49ERS-PATRICK PETERSON-CB-LSU: The Niners have equal need at QB and corner, but there is no equal to the talent and ability of any player available at this point of Peterson. He is a potential shutdown corner that can also a be threat in the return game as well. (Blaine Gabbert)

8. TITANS-BLAINE GABBERT-QB-Missouri: With the Vince Young era over, the Titans have to start over under center. Gabbert is far from a certain thing, but if given the proper time to adjust to the game, he gives a clear future to an offense that needs some diversity, if just for the sake of extending Chris Johnson’s legs. (Nick Fairley)

9. COWBOYS-TYRON SMITH-OT-USC: If you’ve seen the catastrophe that is the Cowboys’ pass protection, this pick is a gimme. There are better players available, and Dallas could trade back, but taking an athletic tackle that can line up at either tackle is the smart pick. (Prince Amukamara)

10. REDSKINS-J.J. WATT-DE-Wisconsin: It seems to be that the Skins are committed to Watt, especially with no QB or WR worth this high of a pick on the board still. In a defense that got shredded basically every way it could a year ago, anything helps at this point, and Watt is the best 3-4 option available. (Jake Locker)

11. TEXANS-ALDON SMITH-DE-Missouri: This pick could go a number of different ways, as the Texans need a very specific type of player to boost their defense. The temptation could be to go cornerback for a second consecutive year in round one, but Smith fits a double need, as his versatility allows him to help at either DE or outside linebacker. (Prince Amukamara)

Smith is a diversely talented pass rusher that can help Houston in multiple areas.

12. VIKINGS-NICK FAIRLEY-DT-Auburn: A bit of a surprise pick, simply because of his availability still. But his sliding stock could be the Vikes big gain, as he would give them a plug-in to their aging, yet still highly effective defensive tackle group. A bit of a luxury pick, but his upside makes this far from a reach. (Anthony Castonzo)

13. LIONS-PRINCE AMUKAMARA-CB-Nebraska: A perfect scenario for Detroit, who have maybe the biggest need of any team at corner. They get a day one starter, and continue to improve their team quickly via the Draft at need positions. (Jimmy Smith)

14. RAMS-DaQUAN BOWERS-DE-Clemson: Rumored as a top pick candidate for months, he has fallen due to knee concerns. He would be the perfect pick for what Steve Spagnuolo likes to deploy from his pass rush, and after the success the Rams had with a rehabbing George Selvie a year ago, they’ll have no fear pulling the trigger on a more talented prospect here again. (Corey Liuget)

15. DOLPHINS-MARK INGRAM-RB-Alabama: Another perfect pick for a club in need. Ingram fits right in to a Miami backfield that deploys multiple attacks, similar to the matching he ran at Alabama. The Fins get a youthful boost to their backfield and replace the likely departed Ricky Williams as well. (Mike Pouncey)

16. JAGUARS-CAMERON JORDAN-DE-Cal: For the second year in a row the Jags turn to Berkeley to improve their defensive line (Tyson Alahu in ’10). Jordan is a hot riser right now, the type of guy teams will try to trade up for. But if he is still available it is a major boost to the Jags longtime search for an impact outside pass rusher. (Jake Locker)

17. PATRIOTS-ADRIAN CLAYBORN-DE-Iowa: The Pats have to get in on the lot of defensive line talent in this draft. Clayborn is a great fit for NE, with his great balance and burst, giving them a productive front line presence they’ve needed since Richard Seymour was dealt away, which is who they got this pick for ironically. (Anthony Castonzo)

18. CHARGERS-RYAN KERRIGAN-DE-Purdue: SD needs a high energy, ready to play lineman, and thats exactly what Kerrigan is. They have needed a true disruptor to the pocket since Shawne Merriman lost his steroid connect, and no one is a better value or fix than Kerrigan here. (Akeem Ayers)

19. GIANTS-ANTHONY CASTONZO-OT-Boston College: The Giants need to reshape their offensive line, and bring in a big presence to watch Eli Manning’s back. Costanzo is a steal this late, and is the most ready to play left tackle in the draft. He helps the Giants in an immediate way. (Gabe Carimi)

Anytime you can grab the best pure left tackle in the draft at 19, it's a winning year.

20. BUCS-JIMMY SMITH-CB-Colorado: Tampa needs help in the pass rush, but are showing up for that party a bit late. Instead, they get a big coverage help in the 6’3 Smith, who is an immediate fix for the recently released Aqib Talib. (Akeem Ayers)

21. CHIEFS-GABE CARIMI-OT-Wisconsin: The Chiefs were the most improved club in the game a year ago, and a lot of guys stepped up to erase a good number of needs they had. Offensive tackle is one of the new areas they still need to improve, and they fall into a great fit here. Carimi is tough as hole opener and will be a plus RT. (Nate Solder)

22. COLTS-NATE SOLDER-OT-Colorado: Peyton is still the most productive QB in the game, but is getting older regardless. Extending that production by keeping the heat off him, and improving an uninspired run game, is a must for the Colts. Solder does both of these things, and is a good value this late. (Corey Liuget)

23. EAGLES-MIKE POUNCEY-G-Florida: The Eagles need help across their line, and snagging Pouncey give them the ability to upgrade at either guard or center. His twin brother became Pro Bowler as rookie a year ago after being taken in this same range and high quality interior linemen are a definite plus. (Aaron Williams)

24. SAINTS-COREY LIUGET-DT-Illinois: They need more help at defensive end, and very well could reach here for one, but defensive tackle is a relevant enough need also, and Liuget may be the steal of the draft at this point. (Muhammad Wilkerson)

25. SEAHAWKS-JAKE LOCKER-QB-Washington: It’s very difficult to say what they do here, and predicting Locker to go here is a crap shoot simply because someone could have traded back into the first by now to take him, but if he remains this long I think the Seahawks could overlook other needs to take their potential QB of the future now, a round early. (Derek Sherrod)

Locker is the biggest wild card QB pick since Brady Quinn, and his stock is just as volatile on draft day.

26. RAVENS-AARON WILLIAMS-CB-Texas: This is basically a must pick for the Ravens. They have had a need at corner for at least three years now, but have consistently overlooked it. Now they have to pay attention to it, especially with their All-Universe safety net Ed Reed aging and floating retirement annually. (Cameron Hayward)

27. FALCONS-MUHAMMAD WILKINSON-DE-Temple: The Falcons should make a move to better their defensive line opposite of John Abraham, and land one of the better late first rounders available here. (Akeem Ayers)

28. PATRIOTS-AKEEM AYERS-OLB-UCLA: If they keep both first rounders (which we all know is virtually impossible to predict from the Pats front office), they can aggressive address the multiple issues they have on the front seven of their defense with Ayers. He gives them the tackling machine they desperately need, and could quickly make this unit a strength once a again for Belichick. (Danny Watkins)

29. BEARS-DEREK SHERROD-OT-Mississippi State: This answers a long time need for the Bears in pass protection, as they really have to hope to find a fix here that Chris Williams couldn’t give them a few years ago. Safety and receiver could just as easily be the move here, but Sherrod is the best option of any need position. (Jonathan Baldwin)

30. JETS-JUSTIN HOUSTON-OLB-Georgia: With the Vernon Gholston mega-flameout finally acknowledged, and Jason Taylor being basically an antique with only name value now, taking Houston is a good benefit to a team that already has a surplus of blitzing weapons. He’ll be well deployed in Rex Ryan’s constant blitzing attack. (Phil Taylor)

31. SETTLERS-BRANDON HARRIS-CB-Miami: They were able to reach Super Sunday despite featuring a cornerback group that was still prone to be torched over the top, which was exactly what sunk them the year before. Hopefully they take the hint and select Harris, who is solid coverage man that can play the type of physical game Pitt believes in. (Cameron Heyward)

32. PACKERS-CAMERON HAYWARD-DE-Ohio State: The Champs need more pressure to be brought from their front three, and Heyward is a high motor guy that can add that needed punch. Good value pick to fall to a championship team with a clear need. (Brandon Burton)

Don’t see what you think your squad needs? Somebody overrated or underrated? Later on there will be a brief 2nd round mock as well, where you those concerns may be addressed based on what’s left to go from or the potential sleepers that reveal themselves…

As usual, follow me on Twitter for an extensive live Draft Tweet up and more at @CheapSeatFan.

Now we are getting into the meat of it all, where there are some timeless and unique players in the mix that were (and are) among the elite of their various generations. Of the 10 players in this section there are six scoring champions, with more than 10 total titles between them. There are a total of 19 championship rings between this group, yet there are several of the greatest players who never reached the pinnacle of the sport. However, amongst those that are ringless, there is a total of 4 MVP awards between them, so did they really get shortchanged?

Basically, this is just a showing of how real its about to get in the rest of this countdown, as this is the first section in the lower 30. There are players that aren’t just average “greats”, but there are some of the best players that ever picked the ball up, including the first star in League history and one of it’s most phenomenal talents now.

I won’t delay any further, but just know it’s getting down to clutch time in the CHEAP SEATS’ countdown here.

30. ALLEN IVERSON-Shooting Guard-1996 to 2009-Philadelphia 76ers, Denver Nuggets, Detroit Pistons

THE NUMBERS: 26.7 ppg, 6.2 apg, 2.2 spg, .425 FG%

THE HONOR ROLL: MVP (’01), 11 x All-Star, 3 x All-NBA, 3 x All-NBA 2nd, Rookie of the Year (’96), 2 x All-Star MVP

THE +/-: The greatest small scorer ever….who never played with quite enough to make it over the top

Despite standing six feet on a tall day, Iverson was one of the most dominant scorers in the history of the game. Perhaps no player ever played with more heart than Iverson, who routinely did in much larger players, and often at the expense of his own body. His career points per game stand at sixth all-time, and he increased that average to 29.7 in the playoffs, good for second all-time. Using his blazing speed and fearless, unrelenting attack, he won four scoring titles. Far from a one trick threat, he averaged over seven assists in seven different seasons, and has the 12th most steals in history.

29. LeBRON JAMES-Small Forward-2003 to Present-Miami Heat, Cleveland Cavs

THE NUMBERS: 27.7 ppg, 7.1 rpg, 7 apg, 1.7 spg, .479 FG %

THE HONOR ROLL: 2 x MVP (’09, ’10), 7 x All-Star, 4 x All-NBA, 2 x All-NBA 2nd, 2 x All-Defense, Rookie of the Year (’04)

THE +/-: Incomparable guard/forward athlete….that has not been able to close what he starts yet

He is powerful at 6’8 and 270 lbs, yet possesses the speed and court vision of a guard, LeBron James is truly unlike any player to date. An unprecedented amount of attention heralded his road to the NBA, and wasted no time in making an impact. His all-around skill set has allowed him to compile 34 triple-doubles at age 26. No other player has averaged 27 points, 7 rebounds and 7 assists per game in their career, as he is currently doing. He has set several “youngest ever” records for his career achievements thus far, including being the youngest player to ever reach 15,000 points. His controversial move from Cleveland to Miami has been a highly debated move that will put a high level of pressure on him to continually deliver on the promise he has shown.

28. DAVID ROBINSON-Center-1987 to 2003-San Antonio Spurs

THE NUMBERS: 21.1 ppg, 10.6 rpg, 3 bpg, 2.5 apg, 1.4 spg, .510 FG %

THE HONOR ROLL: 2 Championships, MVP (’95), 10 x All-Star, 4 x All-NBA, 4 x All-Defensive, Rookie of the Year (’89), Defensive Player of the Year (’92)

THE +/-: Quick for a big man and amazing shot blocker….that could never win the big game as the primary guy

“The Admiral” had his NBA debut delayed for two years due to real military service, but when he arrived in the league in 1989 he made up for lost time in a hurry. As this career progressed, Robinson used his combination of quickness and left-handed deceptiveness to dominate on both ends of the court. He once scored 71 points in a single game, and also had 10 games where he blocked ten or more shots. Displaying his all-around talents, he notched a quadruple-double with 34 points, 10 rebounds, 10 assists and 10 blocks in 1994. He is also one of 2 players to ever lead the NBA in points, rebounds, and blocks at a point in his career.

27. ELVIN HAYES-Power Forward-1968 to 1984-Houston/San Diego Rockets, Baltimore/Washington Bullets

THE NUMBERS: 21 ppg, 12.5 rpg, 2 bpg, 1 spg, .452 FG %

THE HONOR ROLL: 1 Championship, 12 x All-Star, 3 x All-NBA, 3 x All-NBA 2nd

THE +/-: First high scoring pure power forward in the game….but rarely gave much more than was needed

Great scoring big man who was too fast for centers to stick with, yet too big for most forwards as well. He scored 54 points in November of his rookie season, which remained a career high. For the rest of that rookie season he averaged 28.4 points and 17.1 rebounds. He became the first player to lead the NBA rebounds besides Bill Russell or Wilt Chamberlain since 1957 when he averaged 16.9 in his second year. Later, Hayes joined Wes Unseld in Baltimore and formed one of the most dominant front court combos ever, leading the Bullets to three Finals. His 27, 313 points are the 8th most in history, and his 16,279 rebounds are the fourth most in history.

26. GEORGE MIKAN-Center-1946 to 1956-Minneapolis Lakers

THE NUMBERS: 23.1 ppg, 13.4 rpg, 2.8 apg, .404 FG %

THE HONOR ROLL: 5 Championships, 4 x All-Star

THE +/-: The first great player in NBA history….that never played against anyone who could match his ability

George Mikan is the pioneering figure in the beginning of the NBA. He innovated many post moves and tactics that have continued to be utilized underneath the rim. He was a fierce competitor who used his size to aggressively make his presence felt over mostly undersized comp. Presence around the rim was so great that it forced several rule changes that now define the game, including a widened key, the goaltender rule and the shot clock. Later as commissioner of the ABA, he created the three-point line. He was three-time scoring champ and was voted the greatest player of the first half-century.

25. ISIAH THOMAS-Point Guard-1981 to 1994-Detroit Pistons

THE NUMBERS: 19.2 ppg, 9.3 apg, 1.9 spg, .452 FG%

THE HONOR ROLL: 2 Championships, 12 x All-Star, 3 x All-NBA, 2 x All-NBA 2nd, Finals MVP (’90), 2 x All-Star MVP

THE +/-: Hard-nosed leader who defined some of the toughest teams ever….but was often over the “dirty” borderline

Known for both being a dazzling ball handler and distributor, as well as the leader of the some of the toughest teams in NBA history in the “Bad Boy” Detroit Pistons of the late 80’s/early 90s. His 9,061 assists are the seventh most of all time, and his 9.6 average is fifth best ever. “Zeke” is one also one of the greatest scoring point guards ever, he averaged over 20 points five consecutive times and only once did less than 15 points per night.

24. KEVIN GARNETT-Power Forward-1995 to Present-Boston Celtics, Minnesota Timberwolves

THE NUMBERS: 19.5 ppg, 10.7 rpg, 4.1 apg, 1.5 bpg, 1.3 spg, .498 FG%

THE HONOR ROLL: 1 Championship, MVP (’04), 14 x All-Star, 4 x All-NBA, 3 x All-NBA 2nd, 8 x All-Defense, Defensive Player of the Year (’08)

THE +/-: Multi-talented seven footer with rare intensity….that wasted many of his best years with terrible teams

He has the height of a center, the athleticism of a small forward and rolls them both into skills no other power forward has had. He is one of the best defenders to ever play the game, and long disruptive presence all across the floor. He led the resurgence of high school-to-pros draft picks when he came in to the league as the first such player to do so in 20 years. He has since gone on to become the only player to average 20 points, 10 rebounds and 4 assists for nine consecutive seasons, as well as being the only player to reach 20,000 points, 11,000 rebounds, 4,000 assists, 1,500 blocks, and 1,200 steals in his career.

23. RICK BARRY-Small Forward-1965 to 1979-San Francisco/Golden State Warriors, Houston Rockets

THE NUMBERS: 24.8 ppg, 6.7 rpg, 4.9 apg, 2 spg, .456 FG%, .893 free throw %

THE HONOR ROLL: 1 Championships, 8 x All-Star, 5 x All-NBA, Rookie of the Year (’66), Finals MVP (’75)

THE +/-: Propelled several underdog teams to overachieve….but was often too will to do it all himself

An elite forward who made a seamless transition from high scoring shooter to ball distributing point forward. Over his first 9 seasons he only averaged less than 25 points once, with a high of 35.6 in his second year. On the flip side, he averaged better than six assists a night 5 of his final 7 seasons. He is one of the most accurate shooters of all-time, and is especially regarded for his underhand free throw shooting style, that was still highly successful (second most accurate free throw shooter ever). In the 1967 Finals, he averaged 40.8 points per game, including a 55-point performance.

22. SCOTTIE PIPPEN-Small Forward-1987 to 2004-Chicago Bulls, Houston Rockets, Portland Trailblazers

THE NUMBERS: 16.1 ppg, 6.4 rpg, 5.2 apg, 2 spg, .473 FG%

THE HONOR ROLL: 6 Championships, 7 x All-Star, 3 x All-NBA, 8 x All-Defense

THE +/-: The greatest defensive forward of all-time….who could never get out the shadow of Jordan himself

While he may be known as the greatest “sidekick” in basketball history, not many lead men have been better than Pip was. Matter of fact, during Jordan’s brief retirement, he made two of his three consecutive All-NBA first teams. Capable of guarding any position on the floor, he was named to 10 consecutive All-Defensive teams, with 8 being first teams. He was the primary ball handler on offense for the lethal Chicago Bulls triangle offense, and often deferred points to set up teammates. He has more steals (2,037) than any forward ever, and is one of three players to have 200 steals and 100 blocks in one season.

21. CHARLES BARKLEY-Power Forward-1984 to 2000-Philadelphia 76ers, Phoenix Suns, Houston Rockets

THE NUMBERS: 22.1 ppg, 11.7 rpg, 3.9 apg, 1.5 spg, .541 FG%

THE HONOR ROLL: MVP (’93), 11 x All-Star, 5 x All-NBA, 5 x All-NBA 2nd, All-Star MVP

THE +/-: The best undersized power forward ever….who never could get the ring as the star or contributor

With a personality that was bigger than even his waistline, it’s easy to forget how much of a killer Chuck was on the court. But make no bones about it, despite being barely 6’5, he is one of the greatest overall forwards of all-time. He was especially dangerous on the offensive boards, which he led the league in for three consecutive seasons in Philly. He could run the floor, create on the move and finish hard at the rim. He average less than 10 rebounds a game once in his career, and from 1987 to 1996 he averaged less than 23 points per game once. There was a lot of action backing up those loud words.

For more and follow-up on this piece, follow me on Twitter at @CheapSeatFan

What defines greatness? Is it the ability to win regardless, being an exceptional talent or a mixture of both? Does not having one or the other of these elements exclude one from being truly considered amongst the immortals. As many of the individuals in part 3 of this countdown show, both factors go into consideration.

Many great players become so by having spectacular numbers and accomplishments, such as multiple scoring titles or highlights that are so amazing that they ascended to the heavens of the sport. However, others just keep winning…and winning…and winning, until they also join these same players in the hierarchy of greatness. It’s a multi-faceted road to the same place. Does a combination of both help? Of course, but the players who have successfully woven both elements together, especially as the focus player themselves, is small. Also, there are some who are exceptional talents that simply never overcome other amazing players of the same caliber. It happens, somebody wins and somebody loses.

However, to draw a line in the concrete about who qualifies and who doesn’t based on one criteria or the other is a major overstatement. And as this list progresses it has, and will continue, to show why this is. Of course as it goes along, the number of players with no, or even just one, championship will diminish, but that’s simply a result of being the greatest. But these guys below took it too those guys quite often, so they are deserving of respect in their own right as well.

With no more delay, the best of the next, numbers 40-31…

40. PETE MARAVICH-Guard-1970 to 1980-New Orleans Jazz, Atlanta Hawks, Boston Celtics

THE NUMBERS: 24.2 ppg, 5.4 apg, 4.2 rpg, 1.4 spg, .441 FG %, .820 FT %

THE HONOR ROLL: 5 x All-Star, 2 x All-NBA, 2 x All-NBA 2nd

THE +/-: One of the greatest showmen in the history of sports….but did little more than get solo numbers

“Pistol Pete” simply did things with the ball that nobody else could. He was one of the most all encompassing scorers of time, and did so without a three-point line that could have made his numbers even more impressive to look back at. Maravich entered the NBA after becoming the all-time leading scorer in college basketball history, averaging over 44 points per game at LSU. He went over 50 points six times and over 40 another 35 times in his brief, but memorable career.

39. DWYANE WADE-Shooting Guard-2003 to present-Miami Heat

THE NUMBERS: 25.4 ppg, 6.3 apg, 5.1 rpg, 1.8 spg, .484 FG %

THE HONOR ROLL: 1 Championship, 7 x All-Star, 2 x All-NBA, 2 x All-NBA 2nd, 1 All-Star MVP

THE +/-: Explosive scorer and finisher….who may have his career achievements watered down by association

It’s still early for D. Wade, but his place in history still can do nothing but go up. Known for his slashing and creative scoring style, Wade is a match up problem for either guard spot. He entered the League as a sleeper of sorts, but quickly became one of the best guards in all of the game. In his third year he stepped into the spotlight of the NBA Finals and pulled the Heat back from a 3-1 deficit to win their first championship, with Wade averaging 34 points per game along the way.

38. NATE THURMOND-Center-1963 to 1977-San Francisco/Golden State Warriors, Chicago Bulls

THE NUMBERS: 15 ppg, 15 rpg, 2.1 bpg, .421 FG %

THE HONOR ROLL: 7 x All-Star, 2 x All-Defense 1st, 3x All-Defense 2nd

THE +/-: One of the most dominant rebounders ever….wouldn’t could dominate both ends to the extent his peers could

One of the most dominant rebounders in the history of the game. Thurmond is praised by his peers (named Chamberlain, Abdul-Jabber and Russell no less) as the toughest match up they had to endure in their careers. He holds the record for rebounds in a quarter, with 18 in 1965. His averages of 21.3 and 22 rebounds per game in 1966-67 and 1967-68 are stand as the high totals ever compiled that aren’t Russell or Chamberlain seasons. His 22 point/14 rebound/13 assist/12 block quadruple-double in 1974 was the first recorded instance of this mark in NBA history.

37. WES UNSELD-Center-1968 to 1981-Baltimore/Washington Bullets

THE NUMBERS: 10.8 ppg, 14 rpg, 1.1 spg, 3.9 apg, .509 FG %

THE HONOR ROLL: 1 Championship, MVP & ROY (’68), 5x All-Star

THE +/-: One of the most intimidating presences ever….that wasn’t a threat to win games himself

Despite being only 6’7 at his tallest, Unseld is one of the most aggressive and successful rebounders in NBA history. He made little time making his impact felt, as he pulled the Bullets from last to first in rookie season, where he became the second player to take home both MVP and Rookie of the Year honors in the same year. He averaged better than 15 boards per game for his first five years and was a dangerous offensive weapon with his quick and accurate outlet passes.

36. KEVIN McHALE-Power Forward-1980 to 1993-Boston Celtics

THE NUMBERS: 17.9 ppg, 7.3 rpg, 1.7 bpg, .554 FG %

THE HONOR ROLL: 3 Championships, 7 x All-Star, 3 x All-Defense, 3x All-Defensive 2nd, 2 x Sixth Man of the Year

THE +/-: One of the greatest post defenders ever…who was never more than a super compliment guy

Both the best bench player and arguably the best interior defender of his time. McHale was just as capable of defending away from the rim down low as he was pressuring and contesting shots at the rim.  In his career he had two nine block single game efforts. He was far from a one trick pony however, as his field goal percentage ranks 13th all-time, and he shot under 50% only once in his career, during his final season.

35. GARY PAYTON-Point Guard-1990 to 2007-Seattle Sonics, Milwaukee Bucks, Los Angeles Lakers, Boston Celtics, Miami Heat

THE NUMBERS: 16.3 ppg, 6.7 apg, 3.9 rpg, 1.8 spg, .466 FG %

THE HONOR ROLL: 1 Championship, 9 x All-Star, 2 x All-NBA, 5 x All-NBA 2nd, 9 x All-Defense, Defensive Player of the Year (’96)

THE +/-: One of the most shutdown defenders of all-time….that had to hang around well past prime to get a ring

If there is ever a nickname that says it all, Payton’s does the trick. “The Glove” was a smothering defender who is the only point guard to ever win Defensive Player of the Year honors. His nine first team All-Defense selections tie him for the most ever with Michael Jordan. His 2,445 steals are the fourth most of all-time, but his offensive game also stands out among any point guard ever, as he averaged at least 20 points per game seven times and is the only player to total 20,000 points, 8,000 assists, 5,000 rebounds and 2,000 steals in his career.

34. WILLIS REED-Center-1964 to 1974-New York Knicks

THE NUMBERS: 18.7 ppg, 12.9 rpg, 1.1 bpg, .476 FG %

THE HONOR ROLL: 2 Championships, MVP (’70), 5 x All-Star, 2 x Finals MVP, Rookie of the Year (’65)

THE +/-: Brutally tough competitor….who had a single moment speak louder than his longevity

The centerpiece of perhaps the best teams of the 70’s, Reed was a brutally tough two-way player who enforced his will on any match up. He averaged at least 20 points and 13 rebounds for five consecutive years from 1967 to 71. He suffered multiple knee injuries, and his career was shortened as a result, which may have cost the Knicks a few more championships. However, his entire approach was epitomized by his legendary return during the 1970 NBA Finals to lead the Knicks to their first title.

33. WALT FRAZIER-Point Guard-1967 to 1980-New York Knicks, Cleveland Cavs

THE NUMBERS: 18.9 ppg, 6.1 apg, 5.9 rpg, 1.9 spg, .490 FG %

THE HONOR ROLL: 2 Championships, 4 x All-NBA, 7 x All-Star, 7 x All-Defense, 2 x All-NBA 2nd

THE +/-: Big game killer and lock down defender….who could never replicate his early team success individually

A master of both flash and dash, “Clyde” was one of the greatest big game players in league history, as well as a tenacious defender. While Willis Reed’s return to Game 7 of the 1970 NBA Finals is the most memorable story, Frazier’s 36 point, 19 assist effort is what won it for them. Few players played the passing lanes better than Frazier did, and he pioneered how steals are now calculated. His pairing with Earl Monroe was one of the greatest backcourt combos in history, with both being equally capable distributors.

32. PATRICK EWING-Center-1985 to 2002-New York Knicks, Seattle Sonics, Orlando Magic

THE NUMBERS: 21 ppg, 9.8 rpg, 2.4 bpg, 1 spg, .500 FG %

THE HONOR ROLL: 11 x All-Star, 1 All-NBA, 6 x All-NBA 2nd, 3 All-Defense 2nd, Rookie of the Year (’85)

THE +/-: Agile big man, capable of point and block outbursts….who never lived up to his expectations or potential

It’s often easier to look at what Ewing didn’t do as opposed to what he was, but don’t sleep on Big Pat’s career. He came into the League with a world of expectations after his amazing run at Georgetown, and answered quickly with a Rookie of the Year nod after being the first player taken in the Lotto Draft era. While he never got over the hill to snatch that elusive championship, he did have a unique combinations of shooting touch, shot blocking and rebounding prowess of any center ever, and was the 10th player to compile both 20,000 points and 10,000 rebounds.

31. GEORGE GERVIN-Shooting Guard-1972 to 1986-San Antonio Spurs, Chicago Bulls, Virginia Squires (ABA)

THE NUMBERS: 25.1 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 2.6 apg, 1.2 spg, .504 FG % .840 free throw %

THE HONOR ROLL: 9 x All-Star, 7 x All-NBA, 3 x ABA All-Star, 1 x ABA MVP

THE +/-: Tremendous scorer in two leagues….who’s numbers never transitioned to wins

The master of the finger roll, the long and gangly Gervin was one of the greatest scorers in the game’s history. “The Iceman” went over 40 points 68 times in his career with a high of 63 in 1978, which also secured him a scoring title. He followed this effort up with 2 more scoring titles to follow-up that one up, and until Michael Jordan arrived he held the record for most scoring titles by a guard. Upon his retirement, he had the most blocks all-time by a guard as well.

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Another week, another king. No team has been able to hold number one for more than a week, however there have been a couple that have stayed in the top 5 non-stop and have been in position to make the move for the spot. This week there are three new teams that will break into the mix, including one that was as far back as #26 just three weeks ago. Also, a rough week from the two party crashers in the American League has halted their ascension up the boards.

Doc and the rest of the Phils arms have finally pushed them to top of the list.

All of this, and my take on where the MVP and Cy Young races are shaking out.

1. Phillies (2): The Phils finally make the push over the hump and make it to number one, after a three-week stint at #2. Dropped the first series of the week in Milwaukee, but swept a weekend tilt in San Diego, including 18 scoreless innings to start the series.

2. Yankees (3): The only made it to the field four times last week, due to mixture of a light schedule and rain cancellations, but they won three of those showdowns, and Curtis Granderson made them count (.421 avg, 3 home run week).

3. Rangers (6): After a rough week, the Rangers came back to form, going 4-2 in LA and Kansas City. Adrian Beltre came alive for the first time for the club, with a seven RBI week.

4. Rockies (1): The Rockies fell from number won after dropping four of six against the Giants and Marlins. After knocking the ball around the week before, they struggled to get it started this week, only managing to go over three runs once.

5. Marlins (11): The hottest team in baseball took the fight to any and everybody that took the field against them, and after being a #26 ranked afterthought in this poll a few weeks ago, they have pitched their way into the mix with the best clubs in baseball. Anibal Sanchez took a no-hitter into the 9th inning against the Rockies and Josh Johnson led them to victories over the Pirates and Rockies.

6. Indians (4): The skyrocket season for the Tribe hit its first turbulence this season, as they went to a four game split with the Royals and then dropped two to the Twins over the weekend. However, they still have the most wins in the AL and control the AL Central.

7. Tigers (12): The resurgence in Detroit continues, as the Tigers went 5-1 last week, and pulled firmly into the middle of the AL Central free-for-all. Ryan Rayburn knocked in 8 runs, and Miguel Cabrera punished pitching to the tune of a .429 average.

8. Angels (5): After starting off strong against the Rangers, with another superb Jared Weaver start and taking two of three, they got handled by the Red Sox over the weekend, losing all four match ups and being shutout in the last two.

9. Cardinals (15): The streaking Redbirds have hit their way into the driver’s seat of the NL Central. Their bats were almost as loud as the storms that plagued the area, while they took two of three from the Nationals, and then did the same to their division rival Reds to move into first place in the Central. The Cards .293 team batting average is tops in all of baseball.

10. Royals (7): Back-to-back for the Missouri teams in this week’s poll, with Royals falling down to the second of the two. This happens due to a 2-5 week that featured alternating wins and losses versus the Indians in a battle for #1 in the AL Central, then was followed by a three game sweep at the hands of the Rangers. This became their first losing series all season.

11. Rays (22): The Rays have put their 2-10 start to the year far behind them, as they have been unconscious recently, going 9-3 since. Last week, their pitching made its presence felt continually, especially James Shields, who threw two complete game, four-hitters last week, surrendering one run in the first game, and making the second one a shutout.

12. Reds (8): The rough times in Cincy continue, as the Reds tied or dropped both series last week. The beginning of the week featured a four game losing streak at the hands of the Pirates and D’Backs, then a bad trip to St. Louis cost them control of the N.L. Central.

13. Red Sox (26): Will the real Red Sox please stand up? After notching six wins last week against the Blue Jays, A’s and Angels, the much-maligned Sox are starting to come around, and took five road victories in the process. Daisuke Matsuzaka picked up two wins and pitched 16 scoreless innings in the process, and Jed Lowrie ripped his way to a 10 hit week as well.

14. Brewers (18): They continued to live up their unpredictable nature this week, by looking like a completely different club than the week before. They started the week off by taking two or three from the Phillies (including beating Roy Halladay 9-0 on Tuesday), and finished it up by taking two of three from the Astros. In good news, Zack Greinke is rehabbing, and should bring some stability back with him.

15. A’s (14): Once again, the river ran dry for the A’s at the plate, and they turn in a so-so performance as a result. It’s all or nothing for the Athletics, as in their three wins they scored 5 or more runs, but in their three losses they notched a total of three runs…which all came in one game.

16. Giants (9): The Giants were cruising headed into last weekend, winners of their last four series. However, they ran into a wall in the second half of the week, dropping four straight to the Rockies and Braves. Tim Lincecum tied a great Giant record in the process (most double-digit strikeout games), but then set a bad personal one as well (most walks in a game, six, in losing to Atlanta Saturday).

17. Dodgers (21): Matt Kemp is on a tear this year, and what is most important is that he getting timely hits. No hit in the last week was more timely for the Dodgers than his two-run walk off homer in the 12th inning against the Braves, which gave them their 3rd of 5 wins last week.

18. Braves (19): The inconsistency that has defined the Braves season was either removed or reinforced by their performance last week, which started by losing three games in Los Angeles, then ended by sweeping the Giants. It’s hard to say so far, so the “wait and see” road is probably the safest assessment of them still.

19. Nationals (16): The N.L. Central has not been kind to the Nationals, as they lost two of three in St. Louis, then split a weekend trip to to Pittsburgh that will be decided on Monday. The Nats have been very solid to start the season, but their starting pitching has to stay solid for them to continue to be a tough out for them to continue to play the spoiler.

20. Blue Jays (17): The top of the A.L. East made last week an ugly one for their Canadian counterparts, as the Jays dropped a game to the Yankees, Rays and Red Sox each. This fortune could be changed if they could find a way to put someone on base in front of Jose Bautista (4 home runs last week, but only 4 RBI).

21. Cubs (24): Hosted a tight series against the Padres to start the week off, but then turned around and opened up the floodgates versus the Dodgers over the weekend, giving up 19 runs in two losses. The pitching staff continues to be inconsistent, but with Andrew Cashner and Randy Wells on the verge of rejoining their staff, perhaps it will start living up to its potential.

22. Twins (30): Even though Joe Mauer hasn’t taken back to the field yet, the Twins showed some life this week. A strong outing from Francisco Liriano and Justin Morneau coming back into form propelled them to four wins over the Orioles and their division leading Indians.

23. Orioles (13): The fall of the O’s continued, who after coming out the gates atop the A.L. East, they have gone into the tank. They dropped four of six last week, although they briefly broke an 8-game losing streak, they have dropped their last three behind that.

24. Mariners (27): A little more consistency out of Seattle, as they went 3-4 on the week against the Tigers and A’s. The highlight of the week was, as usual, Felix Hernandez’s outing, who threw 7.2 innings of 4-hit ball in a 1-0 win over the A’s. Ichiro contributed a MLB-leading 13 hits last week as well.

25. White Sox (10): No team is falling quicker than the White Sox right now, as their 15 spot fall from last week show here. 2 weeks ago seemed like a rough stretch, when they dropped 5 of 6, but then they followed it up last week with an even worst showing, that featured a 1-6 mark. Their last 11 games have featured 7 and 3 game losing streaks. It’s way too early to write them off, but this is a highly confusing futility streak they are on.

26. Mets (29): The Mets turned their fortunes around some, getting a much-needed boost in the return of Jason Bay (.333 avg, 2 doubles and a homer in his first week back), and got a sweep of the D’Backs at home to show for it. David Wright contributed 3 home runs as well, as the Mets offense is taking over where their pitching lacks.

27. Pirates (26): The Bucs are starting to settle into their usual role towards the bottom of the N.L., as they were swept in short order by the Marlins midweek, and then are struggling to overtake the Nationals now.

28. Astros (28): Holding down the #28 spot for the second consecutive week, they opened up the week taking two from the Mets, but then proceeded to drop three of their next four from those same Mets and the Brewers. And now they await the division leading Cardinals to come visit them. Tough break.

29. D’Backs (24): They continued to have the Reds card, as they picked up their third and fourth wins of the season against them, but then they were handled by the Mets over the weekend, and now take their former place in this poll as a reward.

30. Padres (20): Well the good news is that they got their ace Mat Latos back. The bad news is basically everything else, as they lost six games and were shutout three times last week.

M-V-ME: My Picks for the best of each League

NL: Matt Kemp The Dodgers’ center fielder is on a tear, and is taking his club’s win total along with him. His .402 average and 35 hits lead the N.L. in both categories, and he is top 5 in home runs, RBI, doubles and steals as well. Most importantly, he’s performing in the clutch and getting his numbers when they are most needed. His walk-off home run on Wednesday was his second of the season, and he continues to rise up amongst the most dangerous hitters in the game. (Runners Up: Ryan Braun, Troy Tulowitzki)

AL: Alex Rodriguez With three MVP’s already on his mantle, this isn’t a surprising place to find A-Rod in, however it is surprising to find him here already this year, considering he’s missed some action with a side injury already. He came back in a major way, including hitting his 22nd career grand slam and boosting his RBI total to the 10th best of all-time. His .354 average is currently fourth best in the AL and he is in the top 5 in home runs, RBI and on-base percentage. He’s maximizing his time on the field and pushing the Yanks to the top of the East in the process. (Runners Up: Alex Gordon, Jose Bautista)


NL: Josh Johnson: Last year’s ERA champ in the N.L. is proving to be just as difficult to cross the plate against this season. His 1.06 mark is the best in either league, and this time around the Marlins are capitalizing on them for him. He has three wins already this season, after only being able to be credited with 11 total last season. It takes a tremendous performance to knock Doc Halladay from this role, but Johnson is showing he’s up to the task early on this year. (Runners Up: Roy Halladay, Jaime Garcia)

Johnson is finally being rewarded for his dominance on the mound in 2011.

AL: Jared Weaver: It’s getting to the point where I can just cut and paste last week’s entry on Weaver into this slot, because he’s simply head and shoulders over everyone else in the American League that throws a baseball for a living this year. For good measure, here’s the current scorecard. Weaver leads the league in wins (5), strikeouts (39), ERA (1.23), WHIP (0.76) and is a disappointing (sarcasm) third in innings pitched (36.2). Any questions? (Runners Up: Dan Haren, Josh Beckett)

CREAM OF THE COURT: CSP’s NBA All-Time Top 60 (Part 2)

Posted: April 21, 2011 by The Cheap Seat Fan in NBA
Tags: , ,

Welcome back to the CHEAP SEATS for part 2 of my take on the top 60 players in NBA history. As explained in part 1, this list is going on a variety of criteria surrounding the player’s presence in the NBA based on several factors. One factor that cannot be denied is the evolution of the game, and it’s ever changing history.

Since 1996 when the NBA released it’s official list of it’s top 50 players in history to commemorate it’s 50th year, that group of players has been considered the benchmark for whether a player was truly great, especially if he was retired. However even at that time, some of the inclusions raised question marks about their validity (which is guaranteed anytime such an effort is undertook). This list is no different, as it will reflect a mix of what I agreed with the first time, who should have been in initially and who has made a substantial enough impact in the 15 years since to garner such an honor. The expansion of this list to include 10 more players helps to ease that effort, but there will still be some exclusions I couldn’t justify including even with the expanded listing.

To speak to this, there are four members of the original 50 that will not appear on this list: Dave DeBusschere, Lenny Wilkins, Bill Sharman and Paul Arizin. No slight to what they were and their legacy, but there have simply been greater players that have come after them that forced them out. Overall, there will be a total of 15 players who made the list who make this countdown who were not on the initial list because either there careers hadn’t started yet or were left out for one reason or another in ’96. 7 of the 10 players in part one were examples of this, and there are more to come below.

Just know it’s going to get interesting, especially with ranks playing into the game as well. This will be a far from consensus list as it continues. And with that, I present numbers 50 through 41…

50. SAM JONES-Shooting Guard-1957 to 1969-Boston Celtics

THE NUMBERS: 17.7 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 2.5 apg, .452 FG %, .801 free throw %

THE HONOR ROLL: 10 Championships, 5 x All-Star, 3 x All-NBA 2nd

THE +/-: Clutch finisher for the greatest dynasty in NBA history….who was a solid guy in the right place

Known as a clutch scorer, and as a wingman on 10 of the Celtics dynasty of the 60’s he got plenty of opportunities to to build that reputation. He won a title in 10 of his 12 seasons, the second highest total ever to teammate Bill Russell.

49. JAMES WORTHY-Small Forward-1982 t0 1994-Los Angeles Lakers

THE NUMBERS: 19.6 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 3.3 apg, 1.2 spg, .521 FG %

THE HONOR ROLL: 3 Championships, 7 x All-Star, 1 Finals MVP, 2 All-NBA 3rd

THE +/-: Explosive finisher for the Showtime Lakers….who’s rings make numbers much better.

An athletic, strong finisher at the rim, “Big Game James” made his living as the high flying wing option for the Showtime Lakers. Was at his best in pressure moments, raising all of his career averages in Playoff action. 1988 was his greatest example of this, when he notched a 36 point, 16 rebound and 10 assist triple-double in Game 7 of the Finals, securing another Laker win.

48. HAL GREER-Shooting Guard-1958 to 1973-Syracuse Nationals/Philadelphia 76ers

THE NUMBERS: 19.2 ppg, 5 rpg, 4 apg, .452 FG %, .803 free throw %

THE HONOR ROLL: 1 Championship, 10 x All-Star, 7 x All-NBA 2nd, 1 All-Star MVP

THE +/-: Highly active scorer….who never could climb to elite level over great peers solo.

Considered to be the third best guard of the 60’s behind Jerry West and Oscar Robertson. Greer averaged 27.7 points 15 playoff games in 1967. That season he was the lead guard for the 68-win Sixers team that went on to win the Finals. No regular season slouch, his 21,586 points are good for 22nd all-time.

47. DAVE COWENS-Center-1970 to 1983-Boston Celtics, Milwaukee Bucks

THE NUMBERS: 17.6 ppg, 13.6 rpg, 0.9 bpg, 3.8 apg, .460 FG %

THE HONOR ROLL: 2 Championships, MVP (’73), Rookie of the Year (’71), 7 x All-Star, 3 x All-NBA 2nd 1 x All-Defense

THE +/-: Rode hard work ethic to elite level….but was the best in a ABA watered down 70’s NBA

One of the most intense players ever, Cowens hustle his way to becoming one of the toughest post presences ever. His efforts showed the Celtics their first post-Russell championships. During his MVP season of 1973, the Celtics came within one win of the record for most single-season wins all-time. He is one of five players to ever lead his team in points, rebounds, blocks, assists and steals in one season (1977-78).

46. ROBERT PARISH-Center-1976 to 1997-Boston Celtics, Golden State Warriors, Chicago Bulls

THE NUMBERS: 14.5 ppg, 9.1 rpg, 1.5 bpg, .530 FG %

THE HONOR ROLL: 4 Championships, 9 x All-Star, 1 All-NBA 2nd

THE +/-: Finesse big that could just as easily get gritty….”great” when surrounded by greatness

One of the best shooting centers of all-time, he stretched defenses away from the basket with his spot up jumpers. For as finesse of an offensive presence as he could be, he was a rugged defender and rebounder, and his 14,715 rebounds are good for eighth all-time. “The Chief” was the centerpiece of a three-headed Hall of Fame front court for the 80’s Celtics with Larry Bird and Kevin McHale.

45. EARL MONROE-Shooting/Point Guard-1967 to 1980-Baltimore Bullets, New York Knicks

THE NUMBERS: 18.8 ppg, 3.9 apg, 3 rpg, 1.9 spg, .464 FG %, .807 free throw %

THE HONOR ROLL: 1 Championship, 1 All-NBA, 4 x All-Star, Rookie of the Year (’67)

THE +/-: Breath taking showman….who’s highlights made him more memorable than his stats.

Went by the nicknames “The Pearl” and “Jesus” to explain his unpredictable, yet breathtaking ball handling skills. He went from playground legend to NBA All-Timer using his still unequaled ability to weave both styles of play together. He was an impossible individual match up, and when he paired with Walt Frazier in New York in 1972, it became a rare instance of two future Hall of Famers playing together in the same backcourt.

44. DOLPH SCHAYES-Power Forward-1949 to 1964-Syracuse Nationals/Philadelphia 76ers

THE NUMBERS: 18.5 ppg, 12.5 rpg, 3.1 apg, 1.5 spg, .541 FG %

THE HONOR ROLL: 1 Championship, 12 x All-Star, 5 x All-NBA, 5 x All-NBA 2nd, All-Star MVP

THE +/-: Early pioneer of the forward position….was out of the game before the comp picked up

One of the early impact players of the young NBA, Schayes was the first penetrating/shooting scorers, that was also tall and a presence on the boards. When his career ended in 1964, he was the all-time leading scorer in league history, and led his club to the playoffs in 15 of his 16 campaigns.

43. JASON KIDD-Point Guard-1994 to present-Dallas Mavericks, Phoenix Suns, New Jersey Nets

THE NUMBERS: 13.4 ppg, 9.2 apg, 6.5 rpg, 2.0 spg, .408 FG %

THE HONOR ROLLS: 10 x All-Star, 5 x All-NBA, 4 x All-Defense, 5 x All-Defense 2nd, Rookie of the Year (’95)

THE +/-: Tremendous court vision and amazing creator….who has played for more playoff teams that have never won a Finals

Has an uncanny court vision and finds guys open that don’t even know they are. Is also stronger than some forwards, and is an active rebounder as well. Due to this combo of talents, he has the third most triple-doubles of all-time (107). Has led his various teams to the Playoffs for 14 consecutive seasons, most notably the 2002 Nets, who reached the Finals after a 26 game turnaround after Kidd joined their ranks.

42. CLYDE DREXLER-Shooting Guard-1983-1998-Portland TrailBlazers, Houston Rockets

THE NUMBERS: 20.4 ppg, 6.1 rpg, 5.6 apg, 2.0 spg, .472 FG %

THE HONOR ROLL: 1 Championship, 10 x All-Star, 1 All-NBA, 2 All-NBA 2nd

THE +/-: Overall dynamic athlete on both ends of the court….but never get over the hump as the #1 guy

One of the great overall talents at the guard position, there was nothing he couldn’t do above average. Drexler finished in the top 30 all-time in points and assists for his career, and sits at 12th in steals. Known as “The Glide” for his vertical game and athleticism, he is one of three players to total 20,000 points, 6,000 rebounds and 6,000 assists for his career.

41. BILL WALTON-Center-1974 to 1987-Portland TrailBlazers, San Diego Clippers, Boston Celtics

THE NUMBERS: 13.3 ppg, 10.5 rpg, 2.2 bpg, 3.4 apg, .521 FG %

THE HONOR ROLL: 2 Championships, MVP (’78), 2 x All-Star, 1 All-NBA, 2 x All-Defense, Sixth Man of the Year

THE +/-: Gifted shooter and passer from the post….who’s best years were shortened by injuries.

A great start to career that followed a legendary college run, Walton took home both a title and an MVP in his first five seasons before multiple foot injuries derailed his career. However he later redefined his career as a bench player in Boston, taking home Sixth Man of the Year honors in 1986. At his best, he was a uniquely athletic big man, who was one of the great passers of the rebound in the history of the game.

What is sports without debates? What is it without rankings? For as much as the game and its outcome matters, the idea on who is the best at doing it adds fuel to third fire more than anything. It can make two lifelong fans of the same club turn against each other like they swapped to their rival. It’s that serious.

So when you take that idea and apply it to every player that ever played, then not simply list them, but rank them as well, its bound to light multiple fires.

So that’s exactly what I did.

With a mixture of statistics, accomplishments, historical significance and flat out talent, I’ve compiled the Top 60 players in the history of the NBA, from all eras, starting here today with 60-51.

There will be different intro articles to each list, so we’ll cover details as the list unfolds, so here it is. Enjoy and you know where the comment box is.

60. STEVE NASH-Point Guard-1996 to present-Phoenix Suns, Dallas Mavericks

THE NUMBERS: 14.6 ppg, 8.5 apg, 3 rpg, 0.8 spg, .49 FG%, .903 free throw%, .429 3 pt %

THE HONOR ROLL: 2 x MVP (’05 & ’06), 7x All-Star, 3x All-NBA 1st, 2 All-NBA 2nd

THE +/-: Innovative high speed creator….who has never led a team to the Finals

Had one of the more remarkable mid-career shifts ever, moving from a talented compliment player, into one of the most success creators in the history of the game. Known for his uncanny knack to get the ball in just the right places (5-time assist champ), but is also one of the most accurate shooters ever as well (all-time free throw percentage leader).

59. DENNIS RODMAN-Power Forward-1986 to 2006-Chicago Bulls, Detroit Pistons, San Antonio Spurs, Los Angeles Lakers, Dallas Mavericks

THE NUMBERS: 13.1 rpg, 7.3 ppg, 1.8 apg

THE HONOR ROLL: 5 x Champion, 2 x Defensive Player of the Year, 7 x All-Defensive 1st, 2 x All-Star

THE +/-: Best rebounder of his era….who was one moment away from a technical, at least.

One of the greatest catalysts in the history of the game. His work on the glass, despite being the smallest guy under the rim, made his teams tremendously better, and arguably was one of the greatest psychological advantages ever for them as well. From 1992 to 1998, he won every rebounding title, with a high of 18.7 per game in ’92, the highest season total since 1972.

58. REGGIE MILLER-Shooting Guard-1987 t0 2005-Indiana Pacers

THE NUMBERS: 18.2 ppg, 3 rpg, 3 apg, 1.1 spg, .471 FG%, .888 free throw %, .395 3pt %

THE HONOR ROLL: 5 x All-Star, 3 x All-NBA 3rd

THE +/-: Huge clutch producer and great shooter….who gave little else

Great shooter who always found a way to get open, and became even greater under pressure. Held the all-time 3 point record for six seasons. Made his biggest impact during Playoff basketball, especially his 8 point outburst in 8 seconds versus the Knicks in 1995.

57. ALEX ENGLISH-Small Forward-1976 to 1992-Denver Nuggets

THE NUMBERS: 21.5 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 3.6 apg, .507 FG %, .832 free throw %

THE HONOR ROLL: 8 x All-Star, 3 x All-NBA 2nd

THE +/-: Top scoring guard of a decade….but never broke into the spotlight with the big win

Prolific scorer in the 1980’s, where he lead the decade in total points. First player to score 2,000 points in eight consecutive seasons, and his career total is 13th most all-time. Over a nine year stretch starting in 1980, he never averaged less than 24 points per game, and took Denver to the Playoffs each season.

56. RAY ALLEN-Shooting Guard-1996 to present-Boston Celtics, Milwaukee Bucks, Seattle Sonics

THE NUMBERS: 20.2 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 3.6 apg, 1.2 spg, .452 FG %, .399 3 pt %, .893 free throw %

THE HONOR ROLL: 1 Championship, 9 x All-Star, 1 All-NBA 2nd

THE +/-: Top three point shooter ever….who’s never been an absolutely elite player

Has perhaps the most picture perfect jumper ever, and it has led him atop the all-time list for most threes ever (2612). Took his status to another level once he joined the Celtics and helped shoot them to their first title in 22 years. Two years later he set the record for most three pointers in one Finals game with 8.

55. DOMINIQUE WILKINS-Small Forward-1982 to 1999-Atlanta Hawks, Boston Celtics, Los Angeles Clippers, San Antonio Spurs

THE NUMBERS: 24.8 ppg, 6.7 rpg, 2.5 apg, 1.3 spg, .461 FG %, .811 free throw %

THE HONOR ROLL: 9 x All-Star, 1 All-NBA 1st, 4 x All-NBA 2nd

THE +/-: One of the most exciting scorers ever….couldn’t outplay the other top stars of his era

The “Human Highlight Film” was one of the most exciting high flyers in NBA history. He made many of the most memorable attacks on the rim ever, especially in the Slam Dunk Contests (which he won in ’85 and ’90). However he was far from a one trick pony, and had many memorable performances, such as his 47-point outburst in game 7 of the 1988 Eastern Semifinals vs. Larry Bird. His 30.3 led the NBA in 1986 and he had seven seasons of averaging 28 points or better

54. NATE ARCHIBALD-Point Guard-1970 to 1984-Cincinnati Royals, KC Kings, New York Nets, Boston Celtics, Milwaukee Bucks

THE NUMBERS: 18.8 ppg, 7.4 apg, 1.1 spg, .467 FG %, .810 free throw %

THE HONOR ROLL: 1 Championship, 6 x All-Star, 3 x All-NBA, 2 x All-NBA 2nd, 1 All-Star MVP

THE +/-: Nearly un-guardable ball handler…..who pushed numbers over results at times

The only player to lead the NBA in points and assists in the same season (1972-73). Has the 20th most assists all-time, and became a great off the bench player with the 80’s Celtics, helping them to become one of six future Hall of Famers on the club at once.

53. BILLY CUNNINGHAM-Power Forward-1965 to 1976-Philadelphia 76ers, Carolina Cougars (ABA)

THE NUMBERS: 21.2 ppg, 10.4 rpg, 4.3 apg, .452 FG %]

THE HONOR ROLL: 1 Championship, 4 x All-Star 3 x All-NBA, 1 x ABA MVP

THE +/-: Great rebounder and workhouse….who was never “the guy” for any team in the NBA

Crucial part of the 1967 Sixers club that set the long time record for wins with 68. His efforts contributed to that team ending an 11 year streak of the Celtics being in the Finals. He briefly played in the ABA, where he won the league’s MVP honors in 1973, before returning to the NBA again. His winning ways continued as a coach in Philly, where he won the 1983 Finals and reached 200, 300 and 400 wins faster than any coach ever.

52. JERRY LUCAS-Power Foward-1962 to 1974-Cincinnati Royals, San Francisco Warriors, New York Knicks

THE NUMBERS: 17 ppg, 15.6 rpg, 3.3 apg, .499 FG %

THE HONOR ROLL: 1 Championship, 7 x All-Star, 3 x All-NBA, 1964 Rookie of the Year, 1 All-Star MVP

THE +/-: Great tall shooter who also could rebounder….but was never a #1 option

The first true jump shooting big man, he teamed with Oscar Robertson in Cincinnati to become a highly/successful inside-outside combo in the early 60’s. He later moved on to win his only title with the 1973 New York Knicks. He is fourth all-time in rebounding per game, and his the first player to win championships at the high school, college, Olympic and professional levels.

51. DIRK NOWITZKI-Power Forward-1998 to present-Dallas Mavericks

THE NUMBERS: 23 ppg, 8.4 rpg, 1 bpg, .471 FG %, .381 3 pt %

THE HONOR ROLL: 1 MVP (’07), 9 X All-Star, 4 x All-NBA, 4 x All-NBA 2nd

THE +/-: Became the prototype for tall shooters….has had multiple big game failures

Redefined what tall shooters can be, becoming one of the great shooters of all-time at 7 feet tall. Of all the European imports to the NBA, is has been the best of the lot, and a player that many teams have sought to duplicate, unsuccessfully. Became the first (and only) European-born MVP, and led the Mavs to their first Finals appearance in the 2006.