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FraziersKnicks
06-07-2015, 08:40 AM
So with all this talk about LeBron's legacy it got me thinking... When people are discussing the greatest players of all time, do we focus on legacy a bit too much? Surely the greatest players ever are the players that played the greatest? Surely a better way to determine how great a player is at the game of basketball is by looking at how well he played when he was at his absolute peak of performance. Is a players legacy and his ability to play basketball very different?

The consensus top 10 players amongst the majority of PSD are probably similar (MJ, Kareem, Magic, Shaq, Wilt, Duncan, Kobe, Hakeem, LeBron, Bird in no order). I found the best 5 year stretch of each of their careers, what would be considered their absolute peak, when they were playing the best basketball they had ever played. Surely this is a better barometer of judging a player's greatness than a team result, such as a Finals loss or a championship as a sidekick? After all these players are only responsible for what they do on the court.

I understand that winning is important but it's not like any of these guys didn't win. Every single one of them has at least 2 championships, 1 MVP and 1 Finals MVP. I'm aware I didn't include Kobe's MVP year, but a 5 year peak seemed like a fair round number to judge ever player and I think Kobe played better basketball in 2002-03 than he did in 2007-08. If people feel it's unfair and want me to change his peak years I will.

Anyway, this is what I came up with. If anyone disagrees with the 5 year peak stretch I had for the players then I can change it.

Michael Jordan (1987-1992)

32.5 PPG, 6.6 RPG, 6.4 APG, 2.8 SPG, 1.0 BPG, 2.9 TOPG, .531/.309/.845
30.7 PER, 60.2 TS%, 98.0 WS, .296 WS/48, 11.0 BPM, 52.0 VORP
3 MVP's, 2 Finals MVP's, 1x DPOY, 5x All-Star, 5x 1st Team All-NBA, 5x 1st Team All-Defense

LeBron James (2008-2013)

27.8 PPG, 7.6 RPG, 7.3 APG, 1.7 SPG, 0.9 BPG, 3.3 TOPG, .518/.351/.767
30.4 PER, 60.6 TS%, 88.0 WS, .296 WS/48, 11.3 BPM, 48.0 VORP
4 MVP's, 2 Finals MVP's, 5x All-Star, 5x 1st Team All-NBA, 5x 1st Team All-Defense

Kobe Bryant (2002-2007)

30.0 PPG, 5.9 RPG, 5.4 APG, 1.7 SPG, 0.6 BPG, 3.3 TOPG, .449/.349/.846
25.6 PER, 56.1 TS%, 62.1 WS, .199 WS/48, 5.5 BPM, 28.1 VORP
5x All-Star, 4x 1st Team All-NBA, 1x 3rd Team All-NBA, 4x 1st Team All-Defense

Wilt Chamberlain (1959-1964)

41.7 PPG, 25.3 RPG, 3.0 APG, .506/.568
30.3 PER, 52.8 TS%, 104.9 WS, .272 WS/48
1 MVP, 5x All-Star, 4x 1st Team All-NBA, 1x 2nd Team All-NBA

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (1970-1975)

30.8 PPG, 15.5 RPG, 4.3 APG, 1.2 SPG, 3.4 BPG, .553/.707
27.6 PER, 58.2 TS%, 100.9 WS, .295 WS/48
3 MVP's, 1 Finals MVP, 5x All-Star, 4x 1st Team All-NBA, 2x 1st Team All-Defense, 1x 2nd Team All-Defense

Shaquille O'Neal (1997-2002)

28.2 PPG, 12.0 RPG, 3.1 APG, 0.6 SPG, 2.4 BPG, 2.8 TOPG, .577/.530
30.0 PER, 58.2 TS%, 66.0 WS, .256 WS/48, 7.2 BPM, 28.9 VORP
1 MVP, 3 Finals MVP's, 4x All-Star, 4x 1st Team All-NBA, 1x 2nd Team All-NBA, 2x 2nd Team All-Defense

Larry Bird (1983-88)

27.3 PPG, 9.8 RPG, 6.8 APG, 1.8 SPG, 0.9 BPG, 3.1 TOPG, .512/.400/.899
26.1 PER, 58.8 TS%, 75.3 WS, .237 WS/48, 8.7 BPM, 41.1 VORP
3 MVP's, 2 Finals MVP's, 5x All-Star, 5x 1st Team All-NBA

Magic Johnson (1986-1991)

21.6 PPG, 6.8 RPG, 12.2 APG, 1.6 SPG, 0.3 BPG, 3.8 TOPG, .498/.326./.882
25.8 PER, 61.1 TS%, 74.8 WS, .251 WS/48, 8.2 BPM, 36.7 VORP
3 MVP's, 1 Finals MVP, 5x All-Star, 5x 1st Team All-NBA

Hakeem Olajuwon (1990-1995)

25.1 PPG, 12.3 RPG, 3.1 APG, 1.8 SPG, 3.9 BPG, 3.1 TOPG, .518/.756
25.4 PER, 56.3 TS%, 59.2 WS, .202 WS/48, 6.5 BPM, 30.3 VORP
1 MVP, 2 Finals MVP, 2x DPOY, 4x All-Star, 2x 1st Team All-NBA, 2x 3rd Team All-NBA, 2x 1st Team All-Defense, 1x 2nd Team All-Defense

Tim Duncan (2000-2005)

22.8 PPG, 12.3 RPG, 3.3 APG, 0.8 SPG, 2.6 BPG, 2.8 TOPG, .504/.683
26.3 PER, 55.2 TS%, 71.8 WS, .239 WS/48, 6.9 BPM, 32.2 VORP
2 MVP's, 2 Finals MVP, 5x All-Star, 5x 1st Team All-NBA, 4x 1st Team All-Defense, 1x 2nd Team All-Defense

How would you rank the peak years of these players? Is this not a better way of judging who were the better, more impactful players?

KnicksorBust
06-07-2015, 10:19 AM
So with all this talk about LeBron's legacy it got me thinking... When people are discussing the greatest players of all time, do we focus on legacy a bit too much? Surely the greatest players ever are the players that played the greatest? Surely a better way to determine how great a player is at the game of basketball is by looking at how well he played when he was at his absolute peak of performance. Is a players legacy and his ability to play basketball very different?

The consensus top 10 players amongst the majority of PSD are probably similar (MJ, Kareem, Magic, Shaq, Wilt, Duncan, Kobe, Hakeem, LeBron, Bird in no order). I found the best 5 year stretch of each of their careers, what would be considered their absolute peak, when they were playing the best basketball they had ever played. Surely this is a better barometer of judging a player's greatness than a team result, such as a Finals loss or a championship as a sidekick? After all these players are only responsible for what they do on the court.

I understand that winning is important but it's not like any of these guys didn't win. Every single one of them has at least 2 championships, 1 MVP and 1 Finals MVP. I'm aware I didn't include Kobe's MVP year, but a 5 year peak seemed like a fair round number to judge ever player and I think Kobe played better basketball in 2002-03 than he did in 2007-08. If people feel it's unfair and want me to change his peak years I will.

Anyway, this is what I came up with. If anyone disagrees with the 5 year peak stretch I had for the players then I can change it.

Michael Jordan (1987-1992)

32.5 PPG, 6.6 RPG, 6.4 APG, 2.8 SPG, 1.0 BPG, 2.9 TOPG, .531/.309/.845
30.7 PER, 60.2 TS%, 98.0 WS, .296 WS/48, 11.0 BPM, 52.0 VORP
3 MVP's, 2 Finals MVP's, 1x DPOY, 5x All-Star, 5x 1st Team All-NBA, 5x 1st Team All-Defense

LeBron James (2008-2013)

27.8 PPG, 7.6 RPG, 7.3 APG, 1.7 SPG, 0.9 BPG, 3.3 TOPG, .518/.351/.767
30.4 PER, 60.6 TS%, 88.0 WS, .296 WS/48, 11.3 BPM, 48.0 VORP
4 MVP's, 2 Finals MVP's, 5x All-Star, 5x 1st Team All-NBA, 5x 1st Team All-Defense

Kobe Bryant (2002-2007)

30.0 PPG, 5.9 RPG, 5.4 APG, 1.7 SPG, 0.6 BPG, 3.3 TOPG, .449/.349/.846
25.6 PER, 56.1 TS%, 62.1 WS, .199 WS/48, 5.5 BPM, 28.1 VORP
5x All-Star, 4x 1st Team All-NBA, 1x 3rd Team All-NBA, 4x 1st Team All-Defense

Wilt Chamberlain (1959-1964)

41.7 PPG, 25.3 RPG, 3.0 APG, .506/.568
30.3 PER, 52.8 TS%, 104.9 WS, .272 WS/48
1 MVP, 5x All-Star, 4x 1st Team All-NBA, 1x 2nd Team All-NBA

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (1970-1975)

30.8 PPG, 15.5 RPG, 4.3 APG, 1.2 SPG, 3.4 BPG, .553/.707
27.6 PER, 58.2 TS%, 100.9 WS, .295 WS/48
3 MVP's, 1 Finals MVP, 5x All-Star, 4x 1st Team All-NBA, 2x 1st Team All-Defense, 1x 2nd Team All-Defense

Shaquille O'Neal (1997-2002)

28.2 PPG, 12.0 RPG, 3.1 APG, 0.6 SPG, 2.4 BPG, 2.8 TOPG, .577/.530
30.0 PER, 58.2 TS%, 66.0 WS, .256 WS/48, 7.2 BPM, 28.9 VORP
1 MVP, 3 Finals MVP's, 4x All-Star, 4x 1st Team All-NBA, 1x 2nd Team All-NBA, 2x 2nd Team All-Defense

Larry Bird (1983-88)

27.3 PPG, 9.8 RPG, 6.8 APG, 1.8 SPG, 0.9 BPG, 3.1 TOPG, .512/.400/.899
26.1 PER, 58.8 TS%, 75.3 WS, .237 WS/48, 8.7 BPM, 41.1 VORP
3 MVP's, 2 Finals MVP's, 5x All-Star, 5x 1st Team All-NBA

Magic Johnson (1986-1991)

21.6 PPG, 6.8 RPG, 12.2 APG, 1.6 SPG, 0.3 BPG, 3.8 TOPG, .498/.326./.882
25.8 PER, 61.1 TS%, 74.8 WS, .251 WS/48, 8.2 BPM, 36.7 VORP
3 MVP's, 1 Finals MVP, 5x All-Star, 5x 1st Team All-NBA

Hakeem Olajuwon (1990-1995)

25.1 PPG, 12.3 RPG, 3.1 APG, 1.8 SPG, 3.9 BPG, 3.1 TOPG, .518/.756
25.4 PER, 56.3 TS%, 59.2 WS, .202 WS/48, 6.5 BPM, 30.3 VORP
1 MVP, 2 Finals MVP, 2x DPOY, 4x All-Star, 2x 1st Team All-NBA, 2x 3rd Team All-NBA, 2x 1st Team All-Defense, 1x 2nd Team All-Defense

Tim Duncan (2000-2005)

22.8 PPG, 12.3 RPG, 3.3 APG, 0.8 SPG, 2.6 BPG, 2.8 TOPG, .504/.683
26.3 PER, 55.2 TS%, 71.8 WS, .239 WS/48, 6.9 BPM, 32.2 VORP
2 MVP's, 2 Finals MVP, 5x All-Star, 5x 1st Team All-NBA, 4x 1st Team All-Defense, 1x 2nd Team All-Defense

How would you rank the peak years of these players? Is this not a better way of judging who were the better, more impactful players?

Do you think it is fair to ignore the other 14 seasons where Kareem was an all-star?

FraziersKnicks
06-07-2015, 10:44 AM
Do you think it is fair to ignore the other 14 seasons where Kareem was an all-star?

In regards to his legacy, absolutely not. I think Kareem has the 2nd greatest legacy easily. Some players have much longer peaks/more sustained play, but most players have an ultimate peak of about 4-6 years when they play at their absolute best. This thread is more to discuss who were the most dominant, impactful players when they were at the top of their games.

I personally think that when we're discussing who the greatest players of all-time were, their peak play over a number of years is more important than anything else. Especially when the whole top 10 are NBA champions, MVP's, Finals MVP's and have double figures in All-Star and All-NBA selections over their careers.

I think there's a difference in comparing a players legacy and a players ability to play basketball. My top 10's of both would be different anyway.

D-Leethal
06-07-2015, 01:42 PM
Many players can put up peak numbers on non-contenders even if they aren't at their peak. That is why winning matters.

Tony_Starks
06-07-2015, 02:05 PM
Many players can put up peak numbers on non-contenders even if they aren't at their peak. That is why winning matters.

Ditto

mngopher35
06-07-2015, 02:58 PM
As always it always depends on the context but prime play vs. Longevity/accolades etc is something that is always going to be mixed among people. When people consider a persons legacy they all value prime just some do it more than others.

I tend to side with you and value an amazing prime more than other things (have to sustain it but like 10 year prime is important generally speaking). I think the best players in their prime were MJ/Shaq/Wilt/Lebron/KAJ and right now all but Lebron are in my top 5 (and he may be able to get there but would bump Shaq out).

FraziersKnicks
06-07-2015, 04:11 PM
Many players can put up peak numbers on non-contenders even if they aren't at their peak. That is why winning matters.

The common factor with the top 10 greats is they mostly put up their peak numbers whilst their teams had the most success. In all those examples, pretty much every player was winning and on a contender whilst playing their peak basketball. I think only Kobe and Wilt had losing seasons in their peak years, Wilt missing the playoffs in '63 when he averaged 45/24 but the Warriors only went 31-49 and Kobe in 04-05.

That's not a knock on either of those guys though because Kobe's roster wasn't great. That's why I didn't emphasize team success in their peak years. With the all-time greats though, peak performance and winning kinda go hand in hand.