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Old 05-01-2019, 02:34 PM   #1
G.O.A.T
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Default The GOAT List 2019: Tenth Anniversary



The GOAT List:
The Greatest Players in American Professional Basketball History




In recognition of ten years passed since I first posted the GOAT List on Inside Hoops, I wanted to revisit the concept and present a new list ranking the players on a season-by-season basis instead of evaluating their entire careers. This allows for a more thorough and ever-green discussion to emerge and is less likely to be influenced by recency bias.

I will begin with the 1954-55 season, the first in the shot clock era. The number of players ranked will vary from year to year depending on the number of teams in the league or leagues.

Additionally I will share the information and insights I find most relevant to each season to help provide a context as to what the league was like at the time and why certain players or types of players may be more or less valuable than they are today, or were a generation before or after they played.

As with the previous iteration of this list, I enthusiastically encourage participation, feedback, criticism and commentary from anyone and everyone and hope we can all learn something and enjoy the discussion on the history of the sport we all love.




1955 - #1 Dolph Schayes
1956 - #1 Bob Pettit
1957
1958
1959
1960
1961
1962
----------------------------------------------------------
1963
1964
1965
1966
1967
1968
1969
----------------------------------------------------------


Last edited by G.O.A.T : 05-01-2019 at 03:55 PM.
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Old 05-01-2019, 02:36 PM   #2
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Default 1954-55

1954-55


NBA Finals: Syracuse Nationals defeat Ft. Wayne Pistons in seven games
MVP: not awarded
Finals MVP: not awarded
Rookie of the Year: Bob Pettit, Milwaukee Hawks


Top Players
1. Dolph Schayes - Syracuse Nationals
2. Bob Pettit - Milwaukee Hawks
3. Neil Johnston - Philadelphia Warriors
4. Bob Cousy - Boston Celtics
5. Larry Foust - Ft. Wayne Pistons
6. Harry Gallatin - New York Knickerbockers
7. Vern Mikkelsen - Minneapolis Lakers
8. Clyde Lovellette - Minneapolis Lakers
9. Paul Arizin - Philadelphia Warriors
10. George Yardley - Ft. Wayne Pistons
11. Ed Macauley - Boston Celtics
12. Bill Sharman - Boston Celtics
13. Paul Seymour - Syracuse Nationals
14. Bobby Wanzer - Rochester Royals
15. Slater Martin - Minneapolis Lakers


AT A GLANCE...

This was the first year of the shot-clock era and it saw a dramatic change in the way the game was played. Scoring jumped from just under 80 points per game to over 93 per game. The increased pace and flow also led to better shooting as the league average rose from 37% to 39%. It would continue to rise over the next three decades peaking at just over 49% in 1984.

In addition to the change in style of play, the previous decades dominant team, the Minneapolis Lakers were entering a new era after the retirement of star George Mikan (he would return briefly the next season). The Lakers, winners of the previous three titles and five of the last six were still the leagues third best team, but they fell to the Pistons in the Western Finals.

It was an eight team league, evolving to be sure, but still a far cry from where the sport was headed in the coming decades. This was a man's league. Paul Arizin, a star forward for Philadelphia had sat out the previous two years fighting in the Korean War. As you can imagine. toughness was as essential as talent for the first generation of players post-WWII. The shot clock had been introduced to open things up and put an end to the incessant fouling and stalling that plagued the sport and made it's marquee match-ups almost unwatchable. Guards rarely looked to be scorers, though Bob Cousy was changing that. Centers were the dominant position, though most still played a plodding, below the rim style. The Forwards were called corner men because they, well, stood in the corners on offense. There were more fights than dunks and probably, more enthusiasm for the former than the latter. But that was all going to change and this crop of stars were the first to put that change in motion.
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Old 05-01-2019, 03:46 PM   #3
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Default Re: The GOAT List 2019: Tenth Anniversary

I still remember your last thread. I hope it wasn't deleted but have any of your opinions of the 1955-2009 seasons really changed in the last 10 years?

That being said, Non Lebron threads are not allowed on the board but this one shouldn't get locked since it does implicitly reference Lebron (references GOAT).
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Old 05-01-2019, 03:53 PM   #4
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Default Re: The GOAT List 2019: Tenth Anniversary

Quote:
Originally Posted by FKAri
I still remember your last thread. I hope it wasn't deleted but have any of your opinions of the 1955-2009 seasons really changed in the last 10 years?

That being said, Non Lebron threads are not allowed on the board but this one shouldn't get locked since it does implicitly reference Lebron (references GOAT).


Without a doubt my opinions have changed. There is just a massive amount of new information available that was not at that time. From all the new video available on youtube, to the evolution of advanced box score stats and impact metrics and even all the new books that have been written and the number of former NBA players on social media who will engage with fans and talk about the sport and their careers, there is a whole new understanding available if you're willing to look.

Back in 2009 I was trading old VHS tapes with guys online and writing to teams asking for media-guides, video and anything else they'd share.

Also, this list is much different than a top 100 players list.

I'm going season by season and sort of doing a chronological cliff notes version of NBA history with some lists mixed in because they are good discussion/debate starters.
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Old 05-01-2019, 03:53 PM   #5
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Default 1955-56

1955-56


NBA Finals: Philadelphia Warriors defeat Ft. Wayne Pistons in five games
MVP: Bob Pettit, St. Louis Hawks
Finals MVP: not awarded
Rookie of the Year: Maurice Stokes, Rochester Royals


Top Players
1. Bob Pettit - Milwaukee Hawks
2. Paul Arizin - Philadelphia Warriors
3. Neil Johnston - Philadelphia Warriors
4. Dolph Schayes - Syracuse Nationals
5. Bob Cousy - Boston Celtics
6. George Yardley - Ft. Wayne Pistons
7. Larry Foust - Ft. Wayne Pistons
8. Clyde Lovellette - Minneapolis Lakers
9. Maurice Stokes - Rochester Royals
10. Bill Sharman - Boston Celtics
11. Tom Gola - Philadelphia Warriors
12. Chuck Share - St. Louis Hawks
13. Ed Macauley - Boston Celtics
14. Harry Gallatin - New York Knickerbockers
15. Vern Mikkelsen - Minneapolis Lakers


AT A GLANCE...

A couple of major changes happened in 1955-56. Geographically, Milwaukee moved to St. Louis, retaining the Hawks moniker. Demographically, the league had its first Black superstar. Maurice Stokes, won rookie of the year while averaging 17 points, 16 rebounds and 5 assists for the Rochester Royals. A 6’7” “center” Stokes was a capable ball handler and playmaker and played the game like no one else in the NBA at that time. His efforts did little to help the last place Royals in 1955-56 however and sadly his career would come to a tragic end in less than three years time.

Scoring jumped to 99 points per game as the league average. The NBA Champion Warriors averaged 103 points per game and shot a league best 41% from the field, the best number of all-time to that point led by superstars Neil Johnston and Paul Arizin, who finished first and second respectively in field goal percentage that season. Arizin, the scoring champion in 1951-52, had spent the previous year getting back into shape and rhythm and adjusting to the new rules like everyone else. He took off in 1955-56, averaging 24.2 points per game, second only to MVP Bob Pettit and was even better in the playoffs averaging over 25 a game on 45/84 shooting. Numbers that would be excellent today and were unheard of then. In the biggest game of the postseason, a do-or-die game between Philadelphia and defending Champion Syracuse, Arizin poured in 35 points on 13 of 25 shooting and added 10 rebounds. Johnston had 25-18-8 and Schayes 28 and 16 caroms in a 109-104 Warrior win.

For the Pistons, 6’9” center Larry Foust was also a very efficient scoring threat. He led the league in 1955 with a then record 49% field goal percentage. Foust was a rugged, physical and imposing presence, he owned the paint and was the prototypical big man in the Mikan era, whose agility and skill level allowed him to transition in the modern-NBA’s infancy in the dawn of the shot clock era. His teammate George “Bird” Yardley was a harbinger of things to come, an athletic high scoring forward, Yardley would set multiple scoring records before he retired. Finally, the Celtics set an NBA record by averaging 106 points per game and did it while instituting coach Red Auerbach’s fast-break offense led by a trio of All-Stars in guards Bob Cousy and Bill Sharman and center “Easy” Ed Macauley. The Celtics would be the premier scoring team of the 1950’s, but up until and again in 1956, their defense would be their ultimate demise.
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Old 05-01-2019, 04:01 PM   #6
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Default Re: The GOAT List 2019: Tenth Anniversary

i would've suggested you do what realGm does with some of their lists and start with most recent years first. Those will get the most interest. This is fine however and really appreciated
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Old 05-01-2019, 04:04 PM   #7
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Default Re: The GOAT List 2019: Tenth Anniversary

were your old threads deleted?
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Old 05-01-2019, 04:45 PM   #8
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Default Re: The GOAT List 2019: Tenth Anniversary

Quote:
Originally Posted by NBAGOAT
i would've suggested you do what realGm does with some of their lists and start with most recent years first. Those will get the most interest. This is fine however and really appreciated

I'm going for a chronological narrative. I agree to drum up the most interest I'd start with the most recent years, but I think this works better if you start from the beginning. Seeing the rise and fall of players over the years based on their ranking is a pretty good way to get a sense for their career as a whole if you have some understanding of them going in.

I think if it does get interest, it will be later and all the previous posts will provide effective context to the discussion.
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Old 05-01-2019, 04:50 PM   #9
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Default Re: The GOAT List 2019: Tenth Anniversary

Quote:
Originally Posted by FKAri
I still remember your last thread. I hope it wasn't deleted but have any of your opinions of the 1955-2009 seasons really changed in the last 10 years?

That being said, Non Lebron threads are not allowed on the board but this one shouldn't get locked since it does implicitly reference Lebron (references GOAT).

ThickAri
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Old 05-01-2019, 08:53 PM   #10
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Default Re: The GOAT List 2019: Tenth Anniversary

Welcome back and thanks for posting, G.O.A.T.!

I always enjoy reading your posts, unlike 99% of the dreck here. Which is why I stick to posting my 2 cents for the playoffs. But every now and then, a classic thread emerges from the usual dreck.



But what I am really looking forward to is what opinions of yours have changed over these past few years. Unlike most of us who get older, we get more stubborn and set in our ways.


Moreover, you have some competition in this regard:
http://www.backpicks.com/2017/12/11/...n-nba-history/

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Old 05-01-2019, 09:14 PM   #11
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Default Re: The GOAT List 2019: Tenth Anniversary

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gotterdammerung
Welcome back and thanks for posting, G.O.A.T.!

I always enjoy reading your posts, unlike 99% of the dreck here. Which is why I stick to posting my 2 cents for the playoffs. But every now and then, a classic thread emerges from the usual dreck.



But what I am really looking forward to is what opinions of yours have changed over these past few years. Unlike most of us who get older, we get more stubborn and set in our ways.


Moreover, you have some competition in this regard:
http://www.backpicks.com/2017/12/11/...n-nba-history/


I'm pretty sure I know Ben from the last two decades online and I am pretty sure we don't like each other. But there is no doubt he is a brilliant basketball mind and I loved the back picks Goat list.
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Old 05-01-2019, 10:41 PM   #12
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Default 1956-57

1956-57


NBA Finals: Boston Celtics defeat St. Louis Hawks in seven games
MVP: Bob Cousy, Boston Celtics
Finals MVP: not awarded
Rookie of the Year: Tom Heinsohn, Boston Celtics


Top Players
1. Bob Pettit - Milwaukee Hawks
2. Dolph Schayes - Syracuse Nationals
3. Bill Russell - Boston Celtics
4. Bob Cousy - Boston Celtics
5. Paul Arizin - Philadelphia Warriors
6. Neil Johnston - Philadelphia Warriors
7. George Yardley - Ft. Wayne Pistons
8. Maurice Stokes - Rochester Royals
9. Clyde Lovellette - Minneapolis Lakers
10. Harry Gallatin - New York Knickerbockers
11. Bill Sharman - Boston Celtics
12. Tom Heinsohn - Boston Celtics
13. Jack Twyman - Rochester Royals
14. Slater Martin - St. Louis Hawks
15. Ed Macauley - St. Louis Hawks


AT A GLANCE...

As much as 1954-55 is a clear line between how the game was played and how it will be played going forward, 1956-57 was the realization of that change. The arrival of Bill Russell in January of 1957, fresh off the 1956 Olympics, changed the landscape of the NBA forever. Over Russell’s 13 NBA seasons, the Boston Celtics would dominate the NBA claiming 11 Championships led by a historically great defense the likes of which we will never see again. Russell invented rim protection and vertical intimidation and led by owner Walter Brown and coach Red Auerbach (a general manager before such a title existed) the Celtics assembled a near perfect team around him year after year.

In 1957 the first of the Celtics three principal rivals during the Russell years would emerge. The St. Louis Hawks, formerly of Milwaukee and of the Tri-Cities of Moline and Rock Island, Illinois and Davenport, Iowa, had had just one winning season and one playoff appearance since the BAA/NBL merger in 1949. They drafted Bob Pettit in 1954 and traded the rights to #2 pick Bill Russell to the Celtics in 1956. These two moves transformed their franchise and the NBA. The Hawks got back Ed Macauley and Cliff Hagan to pair with Pettit and the two teams would clash in four finals over the next five seasons. Arguably 1957 was the most memorable. Russell’s chase down block on Jack Coleman to force overtime in game seven preserves as the series’ signature play and fellow rookie Tom Heinsohn posted 37 points and 23 rebounds in that series finale.

One of the more fascinating stories of 1957 is that of St. Louis player-coach Alex Hannum. The Hawks were owned by Ben Kerner, a notoriously miserly and impetuous man famous for firing coaches and getting punched in the nose by Red Auerbach after a dispute over the height of the basket. Kerner had a penchant for firing or forcing out coaches before most of the fans even learned their names, even firing Auerbach In 1950. Hannum was the Hawks second coach that season and the tenth different Hawks head man in the last seven years. Hannum took over for Slater Martin who had taken over for Red Holzman. Martin, an all-star guard who played big minutes and didn’t think he was effectively able to manage both jobs. Hannum would become coach after Martin had started leaning on him to manage the team while Slater was on the court. Hannum would go on to be one of the great coaches in NBA history and a constant thorn in the Celtics side through the next decade.
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Old 05-01-2019, 11:02 PM   #13
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Default Re: The GOAT List 2019: Tenth Anniversary

What is this shit ain’t nobody got time for all this. Give us some sort of list or something
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Old 05-02-2019, 08:43 AM   #14
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Default Re: The GOAT List 2019: Tenth Anniversary

Fun read, thanks
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Old 05-02-2019, 10:53 AM   #15
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Default Re: The GOAT List 2019: Tenth Anniversary

Quote:
Originally Posted by G.O.A.T



Bird, Magic and Jordan, always my starting 5 in any era.
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