Greatness in the NBA

By on January 16, 2012

(photo by PR Photo)

As I sit and watch the NBA I get drawn into the debate of who are the great players on the court, who is the best clutch shooter of all time and so. It’s all very subjective and your #1 guy might be my #9 guy and vise versa. I’ve decided to go public with a few of my lists and I’m ready for a debate if anybody dares to step up and try. I didn’t go with the best of all time, although I could have but many people can’t honestly say they’ve seen a lot of the guys on the all time list play.

 Here is what I did, since most pro sports are based on the phrase “What have you done for me lately” I went back to the 2001 season until the present season and the players must have 5 years in the league at some point in that time frame. This was not an easy list to make, just great regular season play and amazing stats does not make one great. So what is greatness? Championship rings do not make you great, it means you played for a great team. Being the MVP doesn’t mean you are great, it means without that one player the team wouldn’t have had such a good season. So what is great? Skill, drive, competitive fire, being able to raise the game of those around you when it matters most or being the one to take the team on ones shoulders and carry them, and of course being a master at your craft. But it doesn’t stop there. To be truly great you need to improve your skills, adapt your game and play through the tough times and never be a quitter.

So then, who are my 10 greatest in the NBA since 2001? Here is my list;

10. Jason Kidd

9. Chauncey Billups

8. Dirk Nowitzki

7. Dwight Howard

6. Steve Nash

5. Kevin Garnett

4. Dwayne Wade

3. Shaquille O’Neal

2. Tim Duncan

1. Kobe Bryant

I’m sure some will quickly point out I left a few names off. Kevin Durant has not been in the league for 5 years, he can score and his long arms help on defense but he has not hit the level of GREATNESS that others have. Allen Iverson, well he took his team to the finals, led the league in scoring, multiple all-star, and was a never ending problem. Chris Paul was left off even though he averages a double-double, he is amazing to watch, but I just can’t slide him over the guys on my list.

Lebron James was also left off, physically he is a monster, but after that he is just another good player, not great. I see him being more like a Shawn Kemp than a Magic, Kobe or Jordan.  If he were great he wouldn’t have quit on his Cleveland team on more than one occasion while in the playoffs. He has about as much clutch in him as Fred Flintstones car does, and on a psychological level he may be one of the weakest players on the court on any given day on any given court in any given city. His individual stats, his athleticism and his ability to slam dunk a ball does not make him great. Time and time again he has failed to make “THE SHOT” or even “THE FREE THROW” his mental lapse in crunch time made it easy for me to leave him off my list. Since we are talking about crunch time let’s move on to my list of the 5 best Clutch shooters of all time. Stats show that Jordan beasts everybody in that aspect, I was at that Cleveland game in 1989 when he famously pulled up and hit a jump shot to win, I saw him hit clutch shot after clutch shot, but he didn’t have that ice in his veins like a few others, Jordan’s clutch shots were not long 3 point shots to win games, they were not turn around jumpers while being double teamed, they were simply jump shots in which he had the ball last with a few seconds to go. Sorry Jordan fans, like I said I’m open for debates. Here are my top 5 Clutch shooters in Recent History.

5. Robert Horry

4. Reggie Miller

3. Michael Jordan

2. Kobe Bryant

1. Larry Bird

Clutch does not mean it has to be the last shot, it just mean they hit shots when absolutely  necessary and nobody did that better than Larry Bird, he would tell you he was going to turn left, give a head fake and then jump and put it in, and he did, over and over again.

So we have the greatest of the past decade, the greatest clutch shooters, and lastly I will give you the GREATEST OF MY TIME, this is more of a personal list, but I could argue that my list is unbeatable.

 5. Hakeem Olajuwon

4. Larry Bird

3. Michael Jordan

2. Kobe Bryant

1. Magic Johnson

I’m sure there will be people questioning my lists but I welcome any and all debates. Did I leave somebody out? Was my order wrong? Step up and debate me, leave your comments here so we can all discuss this topic, tell your friends to step up and challenge me on it; come one, come all!

Don’t forget to follow me on twitter at @otts_thoughts

Categories: Basketball, Sports

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