To this day that is still one of the most amazing individual performances on a basketball court that I've ever seen. If your team doesn't have a big man that can shoot from 3, you're not winning anything. And no sole will ever approach his 23,924 career rebounds. Robinson averaged a 21.1 PPG and 10.6 RPG double-double for his career while racking up 3.0 BPG in the process. It's wild that it's even a debate. Prev. Nicknamed “The Glove” for his fantastic defense, Gary Payton is perhaps the best defensive guard of all time. 17 because of the way he changed the game. That’s why even though he could barely get loose enough to play at the end of his final season, Bird was one of the most celebrated members of the legendary Dream Team. Chandler won DPOY in 2011-12 with the Dallas Mavericks and has made an All-Defensive Team 3 times in his career. Probably agreed with half of it, but was so respectful he wouldn’t say anything until later.” After hashing things out, Pop often let Duncan have his way. 3 LeBron James LeBron Raymone James is an American professional basketball player for the Los Angeles Lakers of the National Basketball Association. We’re already seeing Steph's impact on basketball as kids start launching from deep earlier than ever in their young careers and on the league with NBA teams putting the mid-range jumper out to pasture and fully embracing the 3-pointer. However, having played in the 60s and 70s, DeBusschere played in a time where defensive statistics were not recorded. He has been named to an All-Defensive team twice and won MVP in 2019. What a waste of a name if he didn’t make it.” Malone made that name synonymous with rebounding, winning, and ultimately, immortality. But I’m still going to remind you that he never played in a Finals Game 7 in six appearances and won a Defensive Player of the Year award (‘88) along with his five MVPs and six Finals MVPs. The three-time MVP and 1983 Finals MVP was a 13-time All-Star, eight-time All-NBA selection, and a rebounding machine practically unrivaled during the 70s and 80s. However, the best player to ever play basketball from somebody who's actually seen all the players on your list play AS they played was unequivocally Wilt Chamberlain, and he didn't even crack your Top 10. The Miami Heat currently have the 2 best players in basketball with Lebron and Wade and I believe they will win multiple championships to bump them up to maybe the top 5-7 players to ever play the game. Give Dirk his flowers. He was a first overall pick out of LSU, and after a few years in Orlando, he made his presence felt in Los Angeles. Even more impressive for the context of Hakeem's career is that he did all of this while big men ran the NBA (outside of Michael Jordan). We can talk about the way Kobe impacted the game and the culture of basketball but that shouldn’t even be a measurement. He was truly a one of a kind and easily one of the most entertaining players—on and off-the-court—that the NBA has ever seen. Dennis Johnson played 14 seasons in the NBA and held crucial roles on three different NBA championship teams. Some are obvious. Throughout his career, Andre Iguodala has been a stud on defense, whether it be in a starting role when he was with the 76ers or as a role player with the Warriors. There’s virtually no formula to stop him. In his career, Cooper made an All-Defensive Team 8 times, won DPOY in 1986-87, and was a part of all 5 Showtime Lakers championships. Dr. J floated through the air as his lanky limbs cut to the rim and his hair blew in the wind. With his unique skillset offensively, it was on the defensive end where KG was at his best. We’re ranking the best NBA players of all time. Still, Malone is the No. Defenses have to stay up on him full-court, which his handles and elusiveness make impossible to do. The discourse never dies and we're here for it. In his 21 years playing, Malone made 2 All-Defensive Teams and was a 6x rebounding champ. 1. Wilt Chamberlain is ranked higher on this list because his numbers are just too ridiculous, but he couldn’t beat Bill even with Jerry West and Elgin Baylor’s help. Duncan’s consistency and skill make him one of the best players and defenders of all time. Kareem is known best for being the NBA’s all-time leading scorer, but he is also one of the game’s greatest defenders of all time. It’s hard to be successful in the NBA as a guard without much of an offensive game. 21 on our list. But just because Baylor technically never won a title in his 14 years with the Lakers, two of which he spent in Minneapolis, don’t let that cloud how incredible of an offensive force he was and GOAT candidate during the league’s early days. Nobody could.” —AC, The Admiral. Is Michael Jordan still number one? George has the size and athleticism to guard most positions, making him a versatile defender. BODY. —AC, Boston’s had more than its fair share of Hall of Famers roll through the old Boston Garden, but nobody was as lethal a scorer or as clutch at the end of games like Larry Legend. There are so few players in this league that have an overall mastery of the game of basketball. He has the full offensive package with no weaknesses. He was a two-time NBA MVP, appeared in 14 All-Star games, and made First Team All-NBA an insane 11 times. Others argued it should be about the numbers and that awards don’t always end up belonging to the most deserved individual. It was based on brief research and the current statuses of the athletes. LeBron not only matched the hype, but he exceeded it. Of course Michael Jordan is No. People forget that he dominated for years as a 6’6” power forward. Not only were Robinson's numbers at an elite level, but he brought an athleticism to the center position that was rarely seen for his era. Can’t argue with the results. He reached a different plane of basketball greatness that only himself and Jordan occupy. Best NCAA basketball players ever from every state by Trevor Sinodhinos 4 months ago Follow @sinodhinos Tweet Share x Pin Comment Next 2 … But Robertson broke the mold almost 20 years before Magic Johnson made his debut. LeBron James has called him the pound-for-pound best ever. This was just the start for Magic, who at his size, completely changed the way the basketball world looked at guards. That really shows you how hard it is to rank these guys. Despite being a somewhat controversial player, he is recognized as one of the game’s best defenders. NCAA DIVISION II PLAYERS WHO HAVE PLAYED PROFESSIONALLY IN U.S. (Through 2017-18 season) The following list consists of players who played NCAA Division II basketball who have or are currently playing in either the AI is unquestionably a top 30 NBA player ever. As each individual involved in this incredibly difficult and necessary endeavor lobbied for the player they thought deserved proper billing, we quickly realized it was going to be hellacious coming to a consensus. The saying often goes in sports that “Defense Wins Championships”, and that is no exception in the NBA. For Malone, this is even more the case because of his two NBA Finals defeats at the hands of MJ and company. The largest states (Texas, California and Florida) are bound to be on the list, but where else? He was truly ahead of his time. For you guys, know there’s still never been a player quite like him. Jordan never took a game off, he was a maniac for better or worse. The younger generations gets to enjoy the Chuckster in ways older NBA fans never imagined. In fact, CP3’s career numbers blow Nash’s out of the water. Several organizations sponsor an award for the nation's top player. This article lists U.S. men's college basketball national player of the year awards. I think Kawhi could end up in the 15-20 range when it’s all said and done, but this seems like a fair spot to start. All other big man bow down to The Captain. Nicknamed “The Stifle Tower”, the French-born Gobert has undoubtedly made a name for himself defensively in the NBA. Since he wasn’t flashy, often was called dirty, wore those short shorts, wasn't an athletic outlier, and benefited immensely from playing his entire career with Karl Malone, his brilliance is easily forgotten. From Michael Jordan to LeBron James, here are the 30 best basketball players to ever play. Has a Division 2 or 3 college basketball player ever been selected in the NBA Draft directly out of college? He ranks #2 in all-time steals, trailing only John Stockton. He also has the 2nd most blocks of any guard in NBA history. He is also ranked #4 on the all-time steals list. Allen was selected to 6 All-Defensive Teams during his career. Bill Russell is grossly disrespected when talking about the greats. O’Neal was physically and statistically unlike any center the NBA has seen. Jordan is one the best defenders of all time, having led the league in steals three times, made 9 All-Defensive Teams, and won DPOY in 1987-88. The toughest debates may not be the obvious ones. Splitting his time between the Bucks and Lakers, Abdul-Jabbar won three MVPs with each franchise and five of his six rings in Los Angeles. In 251 playoff games, he averaged 19.9 PPG and 11.0 RPG. —AD, The Big Ticket is one of those players where the “rings” convo holds little to no weight. Earvin "Magic" Johnson dominated the court as one of the world's best basketball players for more than a decade. CP3 is one of the best point guards of all time, and the guy is still getting it done at 35 years old. I valued statistics, accolades, and the eye test when creating this list. He was a consistent defender and solid role player on any team he played for. For this list, he lands at No. From the first dribble he took in an NBA game up until now, he's done nothing but live up to the massive hype that was placed on his shoulders coming out of high school in Akron, Ohio. Howard is a 5-time All-Defensive selection, 2-time blocks leader, and 3-time DPOY. —ZF, Way more than just a sidekick to you know who, Scottie Pippen’s greatness is sadly taken for granted by many, including those who saw it with their own two eyes along with the ones basing their assessments solely on what they saw in The Last Dance. Having to argue how Stockton, a 2009 inductee into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame, is inarguably one of the greatest point guards gets laborious. … Through end of 2019-2020 season, which was truncated due to the spread of COVID-19: Top 25 archive # School (No. There was no way the greatest basketball squad ever assembled could leave off the greatest small forward the game had ever known at that point. He was the gold standard and wholly worthy of being cast as the league’s logo, even if he not so secretly disdains the honor. With as many dominant scorers as there are in today’s game, having a lockdown defender on your team is critical for winning games, especially in the playoffs. With the exception of Hakeem Olajuwon, Mutombo may have been the best shot-blocker that the NBA has ever seen. He’ll then pull-up from halfcourt and make it 43.5 percent of the time. The Pistons were known for their swarming defense, and Dumars was the team’s best on-ball defender. —AC, The Most Dominant Ever. Jordan's greatest accoplishment was done off the court. And though this isn't all that important, Dirk was able to do it with the same franchise for his entire career. He’s a 7' guard. When you think of LeBron James, you simply think of greatness. He helped revolutionize the power forward position even more so than Tim Duncan did (he’s a center! There’s only one other point guard in NBA history with a higher win shares mark than CP3 and that’s John Stockton. Now he’s the first unanimous MVP in league history (which is pretty stupid, but still) and has three rings to go with another MVP. Despite going to nine NBA Finals with the Lakers, West won only one title in 1972. 1 spot on this list when his career is over. He was the premier shot-blocker of his era and continues to provide meaningful minutes and defense today with the Lakers. RAJON RONDO, 6-1 Rondo is consistently talked about as one of the smartest players in the NBA, and it shows. Russell only averaged 15.1 ppg for his career, but he was the best defender of his era and gave opposing teams nightmares. Please subscribe and enjoy weekly episodes featuring coaches, players, administrators, and more! If he gets drafted by the Spurs, KG would have had more than just one ring to his name. The Dream Shake will forever be one of the most iconic moves in NBA history and for that, we will always be thankful for Hakeem Olajuwon. Wes Unseld proved that height isn’t the only thing that determines how great a center can be. Best basketball backpacks for any player in 2020 from the top brands like Nike, Under Armour, Wilson, and more. Piedmont runs to record-breaking win December 11, 2020 Twitter Facebook. I can only imagine how that shit looked back in those days. KD has only averaged under 25 points per game ONCE in his 12 seasons and that came in his rookie campaign. He also ranks ahead of Dennis Rodman, Kobe Bryant, and Gary Payton in all-time defensive win shares. Nonetheless, he was still a dominant defensive player with the Knicks. Russell won 11 NBA Championships in his career, and he has the highest defensive win shares in NBA history at 133.64. But you have to understand, like in D1 there are different level of D3 basketball. Since coming out of high school to enter the NBA in 2001, Chandler has enjoyed a long and successful NBA career thanks to his defensive talents. We may never see a 7'1", 365-pound big that was as explosive, athletic, and quick as Shaq. That Doesn’t Mean You Have To Be One Of Them. He was selected to an All-Defensive Team 3 times in his career. Standing at 7’1 325lbs, O’Neal was not exactly a pushover on the defensive side of the ball. Defensively, you’re looking at a guy who’s a nine-time All-Defensive honoree and has led the league in steals six times. The Mound Round of Rebound was a beast on the boards, averaging 11.7 for his career even with his “down” years in Houston. Dwyane Wade has said AI is part of the reason he wore No. If you look at PER, CP3 is at 25.1 while Nash is at 20.0. men's Top 25, final. —AC, Zeke’s legacy has been somewhat tarnished over the years by the opinions of his peers and the off-the-court issues he brought on himself while in the Knicks' front office. Players don’t choose the era they play in, all we can do is look at who dominated it. Standing at an impressive 7’7 feet tall, Bol is tied as the tallest player in NBA history. The players coming out of college and the international game have only gotten better, as each ... Read more The Best Women’s Basketball Players In WNBA History—ranked A lot of people might bring up him being ranked over a guy, like two-time MVP Steve Nash. He sits at #2 in blocks all-time with 3,289, roughly 600 behind Olajuwon. Mourning is one of the best centers of all time, and his defensive accolades certainly reinforce that claim. Now just look at the NBA today. Height is might when it comes to the game of basketball. The No.1 overall pick in the 1958 NBA Draft, the Rookie of the Year in 1959, an 11-time All-Star, and an astounding 10-time First-Team All-NBA selection, Baylor more than lived up to the hype when he entered the league and left it averaging 27.4 points and 13.5 rebounds per game. Camby led the NBA in blocked shots four times, made an All-Defensive Team 4 times, and won the DPOY in 2006-07 with the Nuggets. His best season came in 1984-85, where he started all 82 games and averaged an absurd 5.6 blocks per game. Clutch. He made 7 All-Defensive Teams in his career. 1 votes) W-L: Pts. Did you really watch Kobe Bryant for 20 years and say to yourself, "Well he’s not that efficient so I don’t think he’s great as he’s portrayed"? 11-time NBA All-Star. Even though Russell played in an era before defensive statistics were recorded, what he was able to accomplish during his career makes him #2 on this list. Here are 5 truths about playing D2 basketball that will help with misconceptions and uninformed opinions about quality basketball at the D2 college level. That's flat out impressive. The NBA today has an average height of 6 ft. 6, which goes to show the league is ruled by players … But you can only dominate the competition in front of you and the NBA did its best to reign in The Big Dipper when opponents couldn't. Despite being an undersized center at 6’9, he made up for it with his effort on defense. Not … There were passionate pleas to weigh unprecedented accomplishments over sustained excellence. His career will undoubtedly always be tied to the failures to win a ring, but the production was always there for Malone. “The Dream” being atop this list should not come as a surprise to anybody. Previous men's Top 25 polls. Kareem averaged over three blocks seven times in his career, and that includes his first four seasons in which blocks weren’t recorded. —AD, Karl Malone falls into a long list of players from the 90s who were really good but ultimately overshadowed by Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls. The arena on Biscayne will always reside in Wade County. 4 overall and for good reason. Manning was the Big 8 Player of the Year three times, a Consensus First-Team All-American twice, and a Wooden Award winner in his senior season. Take Oak Hill, Mater Dei, Spire Institute, or even Chino Hills with the Ball brothers, they would beat the WNBA We chat with coaches who have found games for their programs. Haters will counter that Wilt played against a bunch of stiffs in the 60s and 70s when the idea that a 7’1” center could be the most athletic player on the court was reserved for comic books. He has been a reliable defender and rebounder his whole career, and he still is playing in the league to this day. I can go on and on about CP3 being top 7 and counting all time in steals and assists, but there’s a word limit so I’ll just say it’s time to respect what the Point God has done in his career. Playing this role led to much success for Rodman, who was a 7-time Rebounding Champ, 8-time All-Defensive Player, 2-time DPOY, and a 5-time NBA Champion. It was either a bucket or a foul. Since coming into the league in 2011, Paul George has established himself as a star and one of the game’s premier defenders. Although it is still early in his career, I think that it is safe to say that Giannis Antetokounmpo is already one of the best defensive players ever to do it. However, he has made a name for himself from his defense. 4. Technically, Baylor earned one since he was part of the 1971-72 Lakers squad that won it all, but he only played 9 games that season, retiring well before the playoffs started because of a nagging knee injury at age 37. Many of my teammates saw themselves as basketball minions who just wanted to play their years at our D3 … Favorite Answer . The EuroLeague is the basketball version of soccer's Champions League, with the top European clubs qualifying each year. He can shoot from anywhere on the court, he can get to the rim at will, and if you end up contesting his shot it probably won’t matter because he can shoot over you with ease. So I wanted to explain what level I was at before I committed to play college basketball at Mont Union. Abdul-Jabbar wasn’t physically dominant the way Wilt or Shaquille O’Neal was, but his fluidity was something special for someone of his gargantuan size. He has been named to 4 All-Defensive Teams in his career and led the NBA in steals during the 2018-19 season. But as great as he was in the regular-season, West shined in the playoffs. But only Westbrook has put up the seasonal averages (three times) to match Robertson’s brilliance and Russ isn’t anywhere near the offensive juggernaut Robertson was. The debate could have lasted until July 30, when the NBA finally returns to bless us with games again. With March Madness upon us, it’s always fun to see who on the court might be the next big NBA superstar. But we will not tolerate any talk about Stockton being unworthy of top 30 status. Bobby Jones is not exactly a household name when it comes to Hall of Fame basketball players, but he should be remembered due to his outstanding play on defense. That’s a pretty large gap for a two-time MVP. We’ve seen talented defensive players carry their teams to championships, such as the 2004 Pistons or Kawhi Leonard in 2019 with the Raptors. Nor we’re they expected to rip down double-digit boards on a nightly basis. Maybe we have Robinson too low, but when you get to this point, and you're comparing ultra great players to ultra great players, it's basically like splitting hairs. Robertson was a defensive stalwart with the Spurs and Bucks in the 1980s and 90s. Find the Top products of 2020 with our Buying Guides, based on hundreds of reviews! One of the greatest What Ifs in NBA history revolves around Bird’s back that he infamously injured while paving his mother’s driveway during the summer of 1985. Golden State won their first championship in four decades three years later. Rodman carved out his role in the NBA as the ultimate team player, grabbing boards and playing tough defense night in and night out without needing the ball. Yeah, injuries cut him down his last few seasons, but from his Rookie of the Year campaign during the ’97-98 season through the 2009-10 season, Duncan was good for a double-double. And who do you give the nod to between three legendary point guards—Chris Paul, Steve Nash, and Jason Kidd—when there's only room for one? Anybody else going to averaged 22.9 RPG during their career like Wilt did? The man many regard as the GOAT was a whole lot more than just a scorer. Basketball players interested in pursuing four-year degrees at D3 basketball schools should know that these institutions provide student-athletes with non-athletic scholarship and grants, in the form of financial, need-based aid Jones was an 11-time All-Defensive Team selection during his career and won 6th Man of the Year in 1983, a season that his 76ers won the NBA championship. The Big O is easily one of the best college basketball players ever. He averaged three or more steals in 5 of his first seven seasons, a feat that very few players can say that they have done. Of course the best shooter in the NBA has a basketball … Zeke not being on the Dream Team is the biggest snub ever, no exaggeration. Younger players want cool basketballs and the Wilson Killer Crossover Basketball is sure to impress. He's an all-time great and one of the best big men to ever play in the league. His accomplishments speak for themselves, as does his outstanding tournament record. He averaged 30 or more seven times, including a preposterous 40.6 per over 11 games in 1965. —ZF, Crazy that Chuck is now underrated. While the Diesel collapsed defenses, Steph expands them, taking the 3-point philosophy of Mike D’Antoni and turning it up a couple notches. You get that because it’s Bird and Magic we’re talking about and they basically saved the NBA in the 80s. Indeedy. He’s still in the top five in assists (he averaged 13.9 apg in ‘85) and still gets under MJ’s skin. You could quibble about Hakeem only winning his two NBA titles while Michael Jordan was retired, but if you do, you don't understand how hard it is to win a championship. In his 14 seasons in the NBA, Allen routinely guarded the opposing team’s best scorer and was a pest for opposing offenses. He’s often ridiculed for his lack of postseason success and zero NBA Finals appearances, but when it’s all said and done,CP3 is going down as one of the greatest point guards to ever play the game. Above all of that impact, Dirk's numbers and accolades back up his spot on this list. Some are obvious. With the exception of his rookie season where he didn’t start a single game, Gobert has averaged two or more blocks every season of his career. He was a crafty guard known for being dominant on defense with the ability to guard many different positions. Six times Malone, nicknamed the Chairman of the Boards, led the NBA in rebounds and for 14 straight seasons, he averaged double-digits cleaning up the glass. His hybrid play, like Magic Johnson’s, was way ahead of its time. We all know Russell Westbrook, LeBron James, and at least a handful of other stars can mess around and get a triple-double practically whenever they want. He was always one of the most entertaining players on and off-the-court, leading him to becoming an Emmy Award-winning studio host on Inside the NBA. He was one of the greatest college basketball players in the country by the time he was a senior, sporting averages of 24.8 points and 9.0 rebounds in his final season with the Jayhawks. 50 Greatest Players in NBA History From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia The 50 Greatest Players in National Basketball Association History (also referred to as NBA's 50th Anniversary All-Time Team or NBA's Top 50) were chosen in 1996 to honor the 50th anniversary of the founding of the National Basketball Association (NBA). Highlighting the best NCAA basketball players from every state in the country. But other than potentially Leonard, Duncan will shine brighter than all the other great players who have ever played for the Spurs—and just about every other power forward in NBA history—because of how rock steady solid he was. He played from 1967-1980, and the NBA didn’t start recording defensive statistics until 1973. A few months back, my PSB Co-founder, Logan Kosmalski, wrote a blog titled, “The Truth About D3 Basketball“, which was really eye-opening for parents and players, so now I’d like to attempt to do the same thing with D2 college basketball. Not only is he the greatest winner in all of American sports, Russell is also both the smartest and best defensive player to ever pick up a basketball. The Big Fundamental was not famous for his defense, but he was undoubtedly one of the game’s best defenders during his era. “The Admiral” certainly left his mark defensively during his time in the NBA. And I didn't even mention how magical he was during the 2011 NBA Finals when his Mavs upset LeBron James and the Miami Heat. Dr. J is the Godfather of the Modern NBA. The largest states (Texas, California and Florida) are bound to be on the list, but where else? Many NCAA D3 Players Have No Ideas Or Aspirations Of Playing Basketball Beyond College. 9- Shaquille O’Neal. D3 basketball players, for the most part, play ball for reasons other than an NBA dream. Tayshaun Prince was one of the best perimeter defenders of his time and was a huge contributor for the Pistons in that championship season. —AD, Some of us are willing to die on the “Wilt Chamberlain Belongs on the NBA’s Mt. Nor did we particularly labor over why Tim Duncan, for instance, deserved top 10 status over Kevin Garnett and Kevin Durant (for now). —AC, You want to talk about underrated? The Bad Boys wreaked havoc on the NBA’s Holy Trinity of Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, and Michael Jordan and most of the damage that was done was on the orders of the 6’1” point god. It was not until 1968 that the NBA began naming players to All-Defensive teams. I mean, even at 35 years old he put together an All-Star year after everyone was so quick to label him as a deteriorating star. Here’s our list of the best short players ever (6-2 and under). For his first seven seasons in the league, Robinson averaged three or more blocks per game. Standing at 6’11 245lbs, Giannis has the size and speed to guard any position on the floor. His wide frame and build allowed him to out-muscle many of his opponents, making him an excellent rebounder and post defender. A true GOAT. Everyone remembers the Showtime Lakers of the 1980s with Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and James Worthy. With that being said, here is my list of the top 50 defenders in NBA history. 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