15. John Havlicek- I could just say 8 championships and leave it, but here's a guy that was one of the best perimeter defenders in the league and also dropped 25 a game. That's the kind of stuff 'You Know Who' did but of course 'You Know Who' did it at a higher level. He was clutch and he continued winning AFTER he played with Russell, Cousy and Sam Jones, now that's getting it in.
Why He's Not Higher: When researching Hondo, I can't help but think about what Sport Illustrated said about him in the 60's 'He was 6'5 and was too strong for guards and too quick for big guys' ... um that's how a lot of point guards are built today, and that to me says that he played in a different era. Now with that being said, I think that Hondo could have easily played and excelled in todays game but maybe not to the same level in his era. Lastly, his 1st seven years, he was the 6th man and even though he played big minutes he didn't really start to dominate until he moved into the starting line up and out of the eight championships he won, he was the MVP in the finals only once, never was a regular season MVP and I couldn't see him ever carrying a team like this next guy did ...
14. Moses Malone single-handedly made his team a championship contender. He played with sub-par talent and still dominated. He was easily the best offensive rebounder in the history of the NBA. In his prime he was good for 27 pts and 15 boards while averaging an insane 7 offensive rebounds a game. He took a 40-42 Houston Rocket team to the NBA finals which is more impressive than Lebron James taking the Cleveland Cavaliers to the finals in '07, cause the Cavs were swept by the Spurs that year and the Rockets took the Celtics to 6 games. When he went to the Sixers it was HIS team not Dr. J's, and he dismantled Kareem Abdul Jabbar in sweeping the Lakers for their only championship. Plain and simple Moses dominated the paint like few others.
Why he's not higher: I get why he didn't win with the Rockets. Playing with Robert Reid, Calvin Murphy and Mike Dunleavy will not get you a championship but that '83 Sixers team was talked about as being possibly the greatest of all time and yet the following year they were bounced in the 1st round and never even returned back to the finals. Moses still put up quality numbers but 18 years in the league and only 2 NBA finals appearances is unacceptable.
13. I really go back and forth between 13 and 12. In Bill Simmons 'The Book of Basketball', he has them flip flopped but it's all about how you choose to nitpick and I say Jerry West is my 13th best NBA baller ever. He lit Mofo's up. He averaged more points in the playoffs than the regular season and that's hard to do. He was 1st team NBA 10 times and all defensive 4 times. The only player to be the MVP of the finals on a losing team, he shot at a really good percentage .475 from the field and .81 from the FT. If you are #13 on any list you better bring it and he Mr. Clutch was un-guard-able.
Why he's not higher: There really is not much bad to say about West except that he only won one championship, sadly he played those juggernaut Celtics team and until he teamed up with Wilt he couldn't get it done. That and for some odd reason he was never a regular season MVP. However after reading about his f**ked up childhood I came really close to moving him ahead of Mr. Triple double himself...
12. In his 1st 3 years Oscar robertson averaged roughly 30 points, 11 rebs and 10 ast... yep that's a triple double. While we go ape shit over someone getting a triple double in this day and age, The Big O averaged one for his 1st 3 years in the league. Just from a statistical perspective The Big O could make a case for being the best player ever. He played with less talent than West and it's been well documented that the Big O had to deal with extreme racism and that gives him the slight edge over Mr. Clutch. Yes Racism trumps an abusive father when rating the best players ever.
Why he's not higher: He only had mediocre success in the playoffs and his only championship came was when he played second fiddle to Lew Alcindor. (Notice how I referred to Kareem as both Kareem and Lew, that's called being historically accurate). If you want to be in my top 10 you gotta have more than one ring which is exactly why this next guy stands at...
11. When the playoffs started I had Lebron James at number #20, before the finals I had moved him up to number 16 and after the finals he slid safely into the 11th spot. A lot of people think Lebron is some kinda Magic-Jordan hybrid. I personally think that he's #17 squared. He does everything but close out games and after this year you can now start to argue that point. His playoff performance this year was one for the ages. He's a 3 time MVP and in a few years I expect him to be higher on this list. He's already one of the five best regular season players ever, taking mediocre teams to 60 win seasons. How he feels out his playoff resume will ultimately define where his legacy will stand but this year was a great start.
Why he's not higher: This year doesn't totally erase his last year finals performance. He was the main reason they lost. I said it once and I'll say it again, the only player on both teams that didn't play like they played all season in that Mavs-Heat Finals was King James, that and his uneven performances in the playoffs the previous 2 years means he 's still got work to do before he cracks the top 10.
Coming Monday the most difficult to rate #10-6