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Old 06-16-2010, 09:51 AM   #1
ginobli2311
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Default 10 best players since MJ retried

I wrote this after last year's title and totally forgot about it until now with all these "best players of the decade threads"....i figured it would be a good time to post it. Its long...but i put a lot of time into it:

1. Tim Duncan

This was a no brainer for me. Although Iím sure almost everyone that reads this (if anyone ever does) will disagree with ranking Duncan first. Duncan came into the league and dominated from the get go. His first year included a Rookie of the Year trophy, an All-NBA first team selection, and an All-Defensive second team selection. In his second year, Duncan led the Spurs to a championship. No player since Magic Johnson has had similar success so quickly in their career. So far, Duncan has won 4 NBA Championships and has won 3 Finals MVP awards. His regular season success is unmatched. He has collected 2 MVP awards and has led the Spurs to 10 straight seasons of at least 50 wins. Every year of his career he has made the All-Star game, has been named either first or second All-NBA, and has made the first or second All-Defensive team. He is one of the most efficient players both on offense and defense not only in the last decade but of all time. His consistent quality play has allowed Duncan to put up the 7th best career Player Efficiency Rating of all time in the NBA. His averages of 21points/12rebounds/3assists/2blocks are the 3rd best stat line of the decade (more on who is #1 and #2 later). While the above accomplishments are no doubt important, it has been Duncanís defensive prowess that separates him from the other great players since MJ retired. Duncan has been the all important anchor to the best defense in the NBA over the last 10 years. He is able to show on high screen and rolls with the foot speed to recover to protect the rim. He is an excellent one on one defender that has the ability to guard 17 feet from the basket and bang on the low block. Duncanís defensive rebounding played a vital role in the Spursí ability to not give up second chance points. It is no mystery as to why the Spursí defense has been so overwhelming the past decade as Duncan has the 3rd best career Defensive Rating of all time in the NBA. Although he has been labeled as boring and is certainly not as spectacular as some of the other players on this list, Duncan is easily the best player of the last decade.

2. Shaquille O'neal

I rank Shaq in the top 8 NBA players of all time, so by any measure I think he is a truly great player. Shaq came into the league and averaged 23 points and 14 rebounds and shot 56% from the field. It is truly remarkable how dominant Shaq was from day one. Shaq has 4 championships, 3 Finals MVP Awards, a regular season MVP Award, and a Rookie of the Year trophy. His career averages of 25points/11rebounds/3assists/2blocks while shooting over 58% is simply the best stat line of the decade and one of the best ever. Shaqís Player Efficiency Rating is 2nd all time only behind Jordan. He is fouled on nearly every play yet he complains to the officials much less than other players. The league essentially had to change the way the game was called because of Shaq. Shaq was so dominant for the stretch of titles that he suffered from his own greatness. He was expected to put up huge numbers and win, and it cost him a couple of MVP Awards. In the 2000 NBA Finals, Shaq averaged 38 points, 17 rebounds, 2 assists, and 3 blocks while shooting 61% from the field. It was flat out an amazing performance for the ages. The most impressive thing about his dominance was that it was against a 7 footer in Rik Smits who was by no means a slouch. The following year in the finals, Shaq put up 33 points, 16 rebounds, 5 assists, and over 3 blocks on 57% shooting from the field. How anyone can say that Kobe is better than Shaq still boggles my mind. However, even with all his greatness, Shaq has 2 main problems in his game that keep him behind Duncan. The first is free throw shooting. You simply are at a huge disadvantage in close games if your best player can only make 50% of his free throws. There is no way around that fact and it will cost you a big game (ask Dwight Howard). Shaqís second problem is his defense. He is a fine one on one post defender because of his size and strength and he protects the rim well enough. However, he is not able to anchor a defense the way Duncan and KG can. He does not move well enough to guard anyone outside the low block and he acts like a fish out of water on high screen and rolls. This is evidenced by Shaq only being named to the All-Defensive team 3 times in his career. His career defensive rating is 81 which is way behind other centers of his era such as Robinson, Hakeem, Mourning, and Ben Wallace. If Iím going to knock Kobe for his on court selfishness and meltdowns, I have to bring up the fact that Shaq did not stay in playing shape at times. This was a big problem for the Lakers between 2002 and 2004 and was one of the reasons I think Kobe took it upon himself to do more than he needed to. A couple years ago I would have said I thought Shaq was done. Now, it looks like he is enjoying the game again and he has regained his hunger for a title. Putting up 18 points and 8 rebounds on 61% shooting at the age of 36 is more than impressive. Hopefully he stays in shape and keeps it up. Kobeís title this year has to be driving him crazy. Now that Shaq has joined Lebron, the Cavs have to be considered the big favorite to win it next year. What is crazy about the Cavs is that they could have potentially gotten Shaq or another big time player this year en route to easily winning the title. Instead, Ferry sat on his ass and didn't do a thing and it cost them the title. Having said that, I might pay my life savings to see the Kobe led Lakers play the Cavs with Shaq in the 2010 NBA Finals.
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Old 06-16-2010, 09:52 AM   #2
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Default Re: 10 best players since MJ retried

3. Kobe Bryant

After this yearís title and finals MVP, Kobe is without a doubt one of the 10 best players of all time. So before I am characterized as a Kobe ďhaterĒ, remember that I think he is one of the 10 best to ever lace them up. Kobeís accolades and numbers are already extraordinary and yet they should continue to grow over the next few years as he potentially reaches mind boggling levels. Kobe has 4 titles, a finals MVP, and a regular season MVP. He has been an All-Star in every year of his career except for his rookie year. Since 1998, Kobe has made either first or second All-NBA and All-Defensive teams every year. His career Player Efficiency Rating is the 15th best of all time. His career averages of 25points/5rebounds/5assists while shooting over 45% from the field are rock solid. The best thing I can say about Kobe is that when he is at his best, nobody can touch him. The only player in history that could match what Kobe does when he gets in that zone was MJ. Kobe plays, at times, so similarly and so dominantly that it warrants comparisons to Jordan. However, having said all the above, I still believe that Kobe is slightly over-rated. Keep in mind that I firmly believe that Kobe is the most fundamentally sound player ever. This assessment is strictly based on his performance, not his skill set or talent. Also, to say that Kobeís three championships with Shaq donít count is idiotic. What does have to be said is simply that Shaq was by far the best player on those championship teams. So it was obviously easier for Kobe to have success in the postseason than many other players in the league during his run with Shaq. It is almost identical to the Pippen/Jordan dynamic. It was obvious to anyone watching that Pippen was a great player that played a vital role, but clearly Jordan was the best player on the Bulls. The exact same thing can be said about Shaq and Kobe on the Lakers. Pippen embraced his role and it led to 6 championships. Kobe, on the other hand, refused to embrace his role and it led to the dismantling of what should have been the greatest duo of all time. After the third straight championship, Kobe became a more selfish player on the court. In the 2003 playoffs Kobe put up 32 points a game but he only shot 43% from the field. He was essentially stealing shots from Shaq, who was shooting 53% from the field on a limited number of touches due to Kobeís selfishness. Not surprisingly, the Lakers lost in the second round to the Spurs. In the 2004 playoffs, everything boiled over. Kobe flat out refused to pass for most of the playoffs. He shot a total of 460 times while Shaq only got up 307 attempts. To make matters worse, Kobe was only hitting 41% of his attempts. In the Finals against the Pistons, Kobe shot 38% from the field. Tayshaun Prince and the Pistons had his number. Prince was long enough to bother Kobeís jumper and when he drove, the lane was shut down by Rasheed and Ben Wallace. Yet Kobe did not stop shooting. In total, Kobe took 29 more shots than Shaq in a 5 game series that should have been a sweep. Whether or not Kobe ran Shaq out of town in the offseason isnít important. The damage was done on the court over the last 2 years. What is interesting is that Shaq went to the Heat and was more than willing to take a back seat to a second year player in Wade. So it was obviously not an ego thing for Shaq, it was a Kobe thing. The next three years for Kobe were somewhat uneventful as he played on mediocre teams that had little chance to get out of the first round. The one thing I did find interesting in this stretch was that Kobe absolutely bailed on his team in the 2nd half of game 7 against the Suns in 2006. He just flat out stopped playing and that is not acceptable for someone that openly spoke about how he wanted to be the leader of his team. Kobe and the Lakers were then gifted Gasol. The Lakers were instantly title contenders as the vastly under-rated Gasol brought them a much needed big man on both ends of the floor. In the 2008 NBA Finals Kobe came up short again. No doubt the Celtics were very good, but that does not excuse what happened. Kobe took twice the amount of shots Odom and Gasol took and once again only hit 40% from the field. Kobe was not the best player in the series. In fact, Kobe was the third best player in the series behind Pierce and KG. This yearís championship and finals MVP really helps Kobeís resume a lot. However, what happened between 2002 and 2008 cannot be ignored. Kobe, in his prime, got shut down in 2 straight NBA Finals and failed to get out of the first round 3 straight years. For whatever reason, Kobe has gotten somewhat of a free pass for the above 6 years. Lastly, it also needs to be said that Kobeís reputation as the best ďcloserĒ in the game is mostly hype with little substance. 82games.com posted some interesting studies on game winning plays and clutch performances over the last 5 years. The summary is that Kobe has been below the league average in game winning situations and averaged 56 shot attempts for 1 assist. Lebron, Vince Carter, Ray Allen, Carmelo, Iverson, Ben Gordon, Dirk, Wade, and Paul Pierce have all performed better in these situations. Kobe is one of the best closers, but nowhere near the best as the media has perpetuated the last few years. What is great about Kobe is that he is still playing at an unbelievably high level for his years in the league. If Kobeís success continues I will be the first one to give him credit. For now though, he still remains a slightly over-rated great player in my book.

4. Kevin Garnett

After last yearís title, KG is without a doubt one of the 20 best players of all time. Although he plays a different style than Duncan, KGís impact on both offense and defense is very similar. He is slightly behind Duncan offensively and even with him defensively. Unfortunately, some of KGís greatness has been masked by 12 forgettable years in Minnesota and unfair criticism from the media. His career averages of 20points/11rebounds/4assists/2blocks while shooting 50% from the field are even more impressive when you factor in the weak teams he played on (more on this later). KG now has a title, an MVP Award, and a Defensive Player of the Year Award. He has made the All-Defensive team 10 times and the All-NBA team 9 times. His career Player Efficiency Rating is the 14th best ever and his defensive rating is ranked 34th. KGís career is a perfect example of why individual awards and championships are not the end all be all when determining a playerís place in history. Until last year, he never played on one team with a legitimate chance to win the title. His best team in Minnesota consisted of a bunch of role players and a big 3 of KG, Cassell, and Sprewell. Both Cassell and Sprewell were past their primes, but KG still led the Wolves to 58 wins and the 1 seed in the playoffs. The knock on KG has always been that he can't win the big game. Really? Did we all forget his legendary performance in game 7 in 2004 against the Kings? KG had 32 points, 21 rebounds, 2 assists, 4 steals, and 5 blocks in a 3 point win. Did everyone in the basketball world just simply fail to watch that game or the entire playoffs that year? In the 2004 playoffs Garnett averaged 24 points, 15 rebounds, and 5 assists en route to a Western Conference Finals loss to the Shaq/Kobe Lakers. Not only were the Wolves big underdogs before the series, but became even less likely winners after Cassell went down with an injury in game 4. Since then, and even some time before, the media has been critical of KGís inability to lead a team to a title. I simply would respond with the following questions. Could Duncan win without either Parker or Ginobili? Could Kobe win without Gasol? The answer to both is obviously no. Do sports writers and fans alike think itís merely a coincidence that the teams that win have great talent and great coaching? Of course KG wasnít as successful as Duncan, Kobe, and Shaq. He played on significantly worse teams and played for significantly worse coaches. In his 13th year, Garnett was able to put up 20 points, 11 rebounds, and 3 assists in the playoffs. He was also, by far, the best defensive player throughout the playoffs as he anchored an all time great Celtics defense. I know discussing defense is sometimes boring, and it is difficult to measure, but what Garnett does on defense impacts the game just as much or more as scoring 30 points on offense does. Similar to Wade, I could easily see KG ranking as high as number 2 on this list if his career had played out differently. His offensive numbers are there and he is the most versatile defender the league has seen in some time. Garnett, especially in his prime, could go out and guard on the 3 point line with ease, guard forwards 17 feet and in, and bang with any center in the league other than Shaq. Unfortunately, we can only create hypothetical scenarios for him at this point, which is a shame because it would have been a lot more interesting if he had played on some quality squads. But that is what keeps sports so interesting, we will never know, but itís a fun debate and discussion to have.
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Old 06-16-2010, 09:52 AM   #3
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Default Re: 10 best players since MJ retried

ohh lord help this guy
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Old 06-16-2010, 09:52 AM   #4
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Default Re: 10 best players since MJ retried

5. Dirk Nowitzki

A good friend of mine recently told me that he thought Chauncey Billups was the most under-rated NBA player of the last decade. At first, I immediately agreed and thought that for whatever reason Billups didnít get enough credit for his ability to lead a team. However, after thinking long and hard on the subject and doing research for this post, I firmly believe that Dirk is the most under-rated player of the decade. What Dirk has been able to accomplish in Dallas is nothing short of amazing. He has averaged 23points/9rebounds/3assists on over 47% shooting from the field and 38% from the three point line. He is a 7 footer that can make threes, midrange shots, can post smaller forwards, and can finish at the rim with either hand. Dirk has an MVP Award, 9 straight selections to the All-NBA team, and has the 13th best Player Efficiency Rating of all time. He has led the Mavericks to 9 straight 50 win seasons averaging over 56 wins a year including a 67 win season in 2006. That kind of consistent success has only been accomplished by teams with multiple hall of fame players. The fact that Dirk has been able to accomplish this on a team that has consisted of mostly specialists and role players without the help of another superstar is remarkable. The Mavericks have also made the playoffs 9 straight years. His career playoff numbers of 26 points, 11 rebounds, and 3 assists are outstanding on their own, but Dirk definitely deserves a bonus for not having another great player to help shoulder the load. In the game 7 victory of the 2006 Western Conference Semifinals, Dirk had 37 points, 15 rebounds, and 3 assists on 55% shooting and made the game tying play in San Antonio to send it into overtime. Obviously the Mavs made the finals in 2006 and lost to the Heat. Dirk played poorly as he only shot 39% from the field and scored 23 a game in the series. Itís a shame that the Mavs collapsed because that series alone is what separates KG and Dirk in the rankings. KG came through and Dirk did not. However, what is unfair to Dirk is that one poor performance in the finals has somewhat tarnished a truly great career. This is where circumstances play such a large role in playerís legacies. Kobe performed just as poorly if not more so than Dirk in both the 2004 and 2008 NBA Finals. Luckily for Kobe, he has had the luxury of playing on much more talented teams that have given him the chance to remedy his errors. Dirk, on the other hand, has not had as many chances at a title like Duncan, Shaq, and Kobe have. Dirk has had 2 big knocks against him his entire career. One is well founded and the other is completely inaccurate. The first and biggest knock on Dirk is his defensive ability. This criticism is accurate as he really struggles on the defensive end of the floor. There really isnít one type of player that Dirk matches up well with on defense. He doesnít have the quickness to guard quicker forwards away from the basket and he doesnít have the size and strength to guard on the low block. He does not protect the rim well and rarely fouls hard enough to prevent 3 point plays. Having said the above, Dirk has improved throughout his career in this area while becoming an adequate defender that is no longer a huge liability. The second knock on Dirk is that he doesnít close out games well and struggles down the stretch of close games. This criticism is just flat out wrong. In the last 5 years Dirk has been one of the best players in the league in the clutch. Here is a quick comparison between Dirk and the supposed best ďcloserĒ in the game. Dirk has made 12 game winners on 37 attempts and has gone to the free throw line 18 times. Kobe has made 14 game winners on 56 attempts and has gone to the free throw line 15 times. Wouldnít you rather have the guy that makes over 32% in these situations over the guy that makes 25%? I know I would. The above numbers include both the playoffs and regular season over the last 5 years. Dirk gets an unfair shake simply because he does not look as good as Wade, Kobe, Lebron, or Carmelo in these situations. I donít care how ugly or pretty your game is, itís the results that matter, and Dirkís results are about as good as anyoneís in this category. While I donít think Dirk is on the same level as the above 4 ranked players or Wade and Lebron for that matter, I do think that Dirkís level of play and accomplishments speak for themselves and still remain vastly under-rated. Unfortunately, the future does not seem very bright for Dirk. The Mavs are way behind every potential title contender and I donít see any scenario short of Chris Paul coming to town that can change this. Itís just going to have to be enough for Dirk and Mavs fans alike to appreciate his greatness as he continues to pile up more 50 win seasons in the years to come.

6. Dwayne Wade

Wade was extremely difficult to place on this list. I first had him at number 5 then I moved him to 7, but ultimately settled on number 6. If Wade had remained healthy and hadnít been the victim of horrible teams the last 2 years, I could see him being ranked as high as number 3 ahead of Kobe on this list even after only playing 6 seasons. Similar to Duncan, Wade came into the NBA and was immediately one of the best players. In his first year, Wade led the Heat to victory in a first round 7 game playoff series against the Hornets. Very few rookies in the history of the game could have stepped in and led a team as well as Wade did in 2004. As evidenced by Kobe's success, having Shaq on your team is a huge advantage in the quest for championships. The big difference was that the Shaq that played on the Heat was vastly inferior to the Shaq from the Lakers. Even still, Wadeís results in both 2005 and 2006 were remarkable. In 2005, Wade averaged 27 points, 7 assists, 6 rebounds, and shot over 48% from the field in the playoffs as he led the Heat to the Eastern Conference Finals. Unfortunately Wade got hurt in Game 5 against the Pistons. Up 3 games to 2 in the series, he was unable to play game 6 in which the Heat lost by 25 without him and he was not close to 100% in a game 7 loss. Wade and the Heat got their revenge in the following season en route to the NBA Championship. In the finals against the Mavericks, Wade put on one of the best performances of all time. He single handedly willed his team to victory as he averaged 35 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 steals, and still managed to shoot 47% from the field. His performance was simply legendary. Unfortunately for Wade, the three years since the championship have been injury plagued and he has suffered from poor supporting casts. However, even with the unfortunate circumstances, Wade has a championship and a finals MVP which is more than most players in league history can say. Wade attacks the basket better than anyone since Jordan. He is flat out fearless and has an uncanny ability to finish tough shots while getting fouled. His career averages of 25points/6assists/5rebounds while shooting over 48% is phenomenal. His performance this year is hopefully a sign of more good things to come and should get his career back on track to going down as one of the best ever.
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Old 06-16-2010, 09:53 AM   #5
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Default Re: 10 best players since MJ retried

7. Lebron James

If Lebron had won the title this year I would have put him number 3 on this list behind Duncan and Shaq. He is that good. In fact, although it seems crazy, I think Lebron remains under-rated. In his 6 year career, Lebron has a Rookie of the Year trophy, 2 All-Star MVP Awards, a regular season MVP, a first team All-Defensive selection, and has made the All-NBA team 5 times. Does everyone remember that this kid came into the league out of high school? What he has been able to accomplish is mind boggling. He has been the best player on his team every year of his career and has still not played with another legit all-star let alone another great player. However, Lebron has been able to put up the 2nd best stat line of the decade by averaging 28points/7rebounds/7assists/2steals while shooting over 47% from the field. Not surprisingly, Lebron has the 3rd best Player Efficiency Rating ever. Lebron is asked to do everything for the Cavs and has been more than up to the task. He also has had a ton of post season success as well. He has made the playoffs 4 straight years and has never lost in the first round. His legendary performance against the Pistons in 2007 that ultimately led to an Eastern Conference Championship is under-appreciated. He took a squad of Gooden, Hughes, Ilgauskas, Eric Snow, Donyell Marshall, Daniel Gibson, and Damon Jones past a Pistons team only 2 years removed from a title and 1 year removed from a finals appearance. Although he played poorly in the finals, by his standards, I give Lebron somewhat of a free pass. Just getting his team of scrubs to the finals was impressive enough. He was only 22 and he simply could not win a championship by himself, which no other player in NBA history ever really has. Iverson and Lebron got the closest, but were not really threats to win it all. Again, this is why you have to take circumstances into account when comparing players. Lebron has overachieved nearly every year of his career so far. He made the finals in 2007 after upsetting the Pistons, he took the Celtics to 7 games in 2008 and came much closer than any other team to beating them, led the Cavs to 66 wins this year, and his performance against the Magic was breathtaking. Look at the huge difference a great supporting cast can make. Lebron averaged 39points/8rebounds/8assists/4turnovers while shooting 49% from the field against the Magic. Lebron was forced to play 1 on 3 most of the series. Not only was it a nightmare matchup on both ends for the Cavs other players, but every single player besides Lebron was ice cold the entire series. For Lebron to still dominate a team that designed their defense solely to stop him seems impossible. Lebron also played great in clutch time throughout the series which seems to have slipped through the cracks. He scored 8 points and had 1 assist in the final 4 minutes of game 1 which included a 3 point play with 25 seconds left to put the Cavs up 2. In game 2 Lebron made a 3 point buzzer beater that gave new life to a team that looked done. In game 4 Lebron sunk 2 of the most pressure filled free throws in playoff history with no time left to send the game into overtime. In game 5 Lebron went 1 on 5 and either scored or assisted on every basket for the Cavs in the 4th quarter. What more can any one player do? Contrast that with Kobeís performance in the finals with twice the talent and ten times the coach. Kobe put up 32points/6rebounds/7assists/3turnovers on 43% shooting. Obviously those are great numbers, but they pale to what Lebron did. Lebron averaged only 1 more turnover per game even though he had no help and handled the ball twice as much as Kobe. That in itself is amazing. Lebron shot over 5% higher from the field even though he had no help and the Magic knew what was coming. For the Lakers, it was Fisher and Gasol that came through in the big moments of the series, not Kobe. The point being, you simply cannot knock Lebron for what happened this year. For his career in the playoffs, Lebron has averaged over 29 points, 8 rebounds, and 7 assists. To accomplish that at the age of 24 is just so far ahead of any other young player in the history of the league itís crazy. Also, Lebron has been by far the best clutch player in the league over the last 5 years. He has made the most game winners with a shooting percentage well above the league average. He now also has the most game winners in the playoffs. He has 6 game winning assists even further proving Lebronís willingness to trust his teammates. If Lebron keeps this up I truly believe that he will go down as the 2nd best player of all time. Missing out on the title this year really hurts his chances to challenge MJ, but I just canít imagine that Lebron wonít find a way to win at least 3 titles and 4 MVP Awards. If he does that, he will be the 2nd greatest to ever play. Just take an objective comparison of Kobe and Lebron. Lebron scores the ball better and more efficiently, is a much better rebounder and passer, has become one of the best defenders in the league, is a much better teammate and team player, and has performed significantly better in the clutch since coming into the NBA. Now that Lebron has Shaq, and potentially Bosh after next year, there are no more excuses. If he fails to win multiple titles then my analysis is way off, but as I said before, my money is on Lebron going down as the 2nd greatest ever with a sliver of a chance to surpass MJ. The league should be scared.

8. Allen Iverson

I think the majority of the basketball world has forgotten just how good Iverson was in his prime. He has 7 All-NBA selections, 2 All-Star MVP Awards, a Rookie of the Year trophy, and a regular season MVP. For his career, Iverson has averaged 27 points, 4 rebounds, and 6 assists on 43% shooting. Iverson has the 5th best career points per game average, the 39th best Player Efficiency Rating, and has the 13th most steals in NBA history. Iverson is relentless on offense. He attacks the rim from the first play on and remains aggressive at all times. He plays through pain as well as anyone ever and has enough confidence and belief in himself to be willing to leave it all on the floor every night. The same cannot be said for many other players in the NBA. While his shooting percentage is not great, it is impressive to break 40% with the pressure Iverson played under with his surrounding teammates. The big knock on Iverson throughout his career is that he is selfish. While he does shoot a lot, I donít think it comes out of selfishness. Iverson played in tough situations his entire career. During his prime, he never had the chance to play with another all-star player (Webber was past his prime) and his supporting casts were inept offensively. Also, Iverson has averaged a solid 6 assists per game. His assist to turnover ratio is rock solid beating out the likes of another great scorer named Kobe Bryant. For Iverson to play so efficiently in this category is truly remarkable because he had to shoulder the offensive load alone and that kind of pressure usually leads to a lot of turnovers. Iverson came the closest to winning a title without the help of another great player. No player has ever been able to accomplish this, but Iversonís led Sixers went into Los Angeles and stole Game 1 in the 2001 NBA Finals. What Iverson accomplished that year was incredible. He led a team of misfits to the NBA Finals under Larry Brown. I know I am repeating myself from other posts, but this is a perfect example of how important coaching and team design are. Iverson got to play for a great coach and had a team built around him that made sense. Although they lacked talent and scoring other than Iverson, they played great defense and had solid chemistry on the floor. Unfortunately, Iverson did not play for solid teams with good coaching very often in his career and it showed in the results. 3 years ago I would have had him ranked in the top 5. Now, it was almost a struggle to put him in the top 10. The 2 years in Denver and this year in Detroit have really hurt him in my opinion. Although he played well in Denver, he never really fit in with his teammates and the Nuggets underachieved both years. In Detroit, he refused to swallow his pride for the good of the team. That is not acceptable for a 33 year old player that is not efficient enough anymore to be the best player on a championship caliber team. Iverson should have come off the bench and done everything he could to help. Instead, he chose not to play and that hurts him in these rankings. Similar to Kobe, Iverson is still playing at an extremely high level for his age. If Iverson can go to a team and help them improve it would do a lot for his legacy. I think the Dallas Mavericks are a great fit for him. The Mavs have always needed someone that can create his own shot in tough situations and I can think of no better value out there than Iverson that can fill that void. Although his style of play and ego have gotten in the way a few times throughout his career, Iverson is still a great player and one of the most exciting guards to ever play. It would be a shame if he didnít find himself in a situation that will showcase his rare abilities for at least a couple more years.
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Old 06-16-2010, 09:53 AM   #6
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Default Re: 10 best players since MJ retried

9. Paul Pierce

Paul Pierce has always been an extremely solid and well-rounded NBA player. Pierce has averaged 23 points, 6 rebounds, and 4 assists on over 44% shooting for his career. He now has a title and a NBA Finals MVP Award. He has the rare skill, size, and strength to play any position other than center on the floor. He is not super athletic or great in one particular area, but he is simply just an awesome basketball player. He has a great midrange jump shot, can take smaller players into the post and score with ease, can finish strong at the rim with either hand, and can be deadly from the 3 point line. In fact, over the last decade, only Kobe has had a more skilled and well rounded offensive game. Pierce is also an excellent defender. Although Garnett gets most of the credit for Bostonís defense, Pierce plays a vital role as well. He is a versatile defender that can guard shooting guards, small forwards, and power forwards. Before the Celtics won the title two years ago, I would not have had Pierce anywhere near my top 10. However, after watching nearly every game over the past 2 years my opinion has changed a great deal. It seems every time Pierce plays he is the best player on the floor. Whether he is going up against Wade, Kobe, Carmelo, or Lebron, Pierce seems to find a way to outplay them. This was evident in the 2008 NBA Playoffs more than ever. In game 7 against Cleveland, Pierce found a way to outduel Lebron in a classic battle between two great players. Pierce made the game defining play by beating Lebron to a loose ball with 1 minute to go. Pierce finished with 41 points, 4 rebounds, 5 assists, and 2 steals on an extremely efficient 57% shooting for the game. Not more than a handful of players, if any, can match Lebron like that when he gets going. However, it was Pierceís performance in the 2008 Finals that cemented his legacy. Say what you want about his exaggerated reaction in Game 1 when Perkins fell on him, but Pierce came back just minutes later and drilled two huge 3 pointers to steal back the momentum for the rest of the game. Pierce finished with an efficient 22 points on only 10 shots while helping defend Kobe and limiting him to only 24 points on 26 shots. Who knew, at the time, that Paul Pierce would outplay Kobe throughout the entire series? Pierce was able to defend Kobe and give him a lot of trouble all over the floor. There were even a couple of instances in which Pierce blocked Kobeís turnaround jump shot. By the end of the 2008 NBA Finals, there was no way around the fact that Paul Pierce had been the best player on the court. To outplay one of the best players ever in Kobe on the biggest stage in the world goes a long way for Pierceís legacy. Ultimately, it will be the defining moment of his career and should lead to the Hall of Fame someday. Similar to Garnett, the next 2 years are really interesting for Pierce. If the Celtics win another title, Pierce will skyrocket up the all-time rankings and start getting more of the credit he deserves. The recent addition of Rasheed Wallace is a great signing and I would put the Celtics, if healthy, as favorites to win it all. Whether it is Boston or Cleveland playing the Lakers for the championship next year, we are in for some compelling drama either way.

10. Pau Gasol

This will probably be the most controversial pick on the list, although I feel that Gasol deserves to be in the top 10. The success Pau Gasol has had so far in his career is both overlooked and underappreciated. He came into the NBA and was immediately one of the best big men in the league. In fact, Gasol is one of the most skilled 7 footers the NBA has ever seen. Similar to Duncan, some of Gasolís greatness is lost with fans and the media because he is not a highlight machine. What he does do, is go out and perform like one of the most efficient players in the league on both ends of the floor. Gasol has averaged 19points/9rebounds/3assists/2blocks on over 52% shooting from the field for his career. His career Player Efficiency Rating is the 28th best of all time. He is also an excellent free throw shooter at 74%. As I have stated before, the importance of your big man being able to make free throws in close games cannot be overstated. So why do I have Gasol so high? Simply because he is one of the most efficient big men to every play and has made every team he has played on infinitely better. His addition turned a 23 win Grizzlies team into a 50 win team in just 2 years. He led the Grizzlies to the playoffs 3 straight years, averaging 48 wins a year in that stretch. Why Gasolís accomplishments in Memphis arenít talked about more is a mystery. Most importantly though, Gasol instantly made the Lakers title contenders. Now, Iím not saying that Kobe isnít by far their best player or that the Derek Fisher addition wasnít really important, but Gasol coming to town turned a 7th seed into a championship caliber team. Since Gasol joined the Lakers, they have won over 70% of their games. He has been a great team player and has remained extremely unselfish. How many other players as good as Gasol would be willing to average less than 13 shot attempts a game? I know the playoffs this year were all about Kobe and Lebron, but did anyone not take the time to realize Gasol was averaging 18 points and 11 rebounds on over 58% shooting from the field? That borders on Shaq type efficiency. What was also overlooked was how well Gasol defended in the playoffs this year. He protected the rim well all playoffs in addition to playing great one on one post defense. Obviously the Lakers had a great team effort to stop Howard, but Gasol was the biggest part of it as he could defend Howard one on one with no help. He is truly the perfect 2nd best player for a championship team. Some might view that as a back handed compliment, but I see it as a huge plus. Could Gasol score 25 points a game? Of course he could, but what makes a player like him so great is that he doesnít want to unless his team needs it to win, and that is a refreshing stance to see a superstar player take in todayís game.
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Old 06-16-2010, 09:53 AM   #7
ginobli2311
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Default Re: 10 best players since MJ retried

Honorable Mention:

Jason Kidd
Chris Webber
Steve Nash
Ray Allen
Yao Ming
Vince Carter
Tracy McGrady

Ranking explanation:

I know the last 2 rankings of Pierce and Gasol might leave some scratching their heads. Back to back MVP Steve Nash is noticeably absent from the list. Although Nash would definitely make my top 15, I just couldn't find a rational reason why he deserved to be put ahead of any of the above 10. The 2 simple reasons why I don't have him in the rankings are defense and his inability to win a championship. He played with more than enough talent in Phoenix, but was never able to even get that squad to a NBA Finals let alone win it all. Also, as good as he is on offense, he is equally as bad on defense. He simply can't guard any type of player. Point guards are too fast for him and shooting guards are too big and strong. It also has to be mentioned that his impressive offensive numbers are inflated to some extent because of the system he played in. As evidenced by Chris Duhon and David Lee, clearly the 7 seconds or less offense can lead to great offensive numbers for even mediocre players. Jason Kidd was also tough to leave off. He is a walking triple double and is one of the best defending guards the league has ever seen. In his prime, he was quick enough to guard other point guards and big and strong enough to guard shooting guards. His well rounded game and leadership got the Nets to the NBA Finals twice in the last decade. If the list was longer, I would have Kidd ranked higher than Nash. However, Kiddís offensive efficiency is just flat out not good enough to crack the top 10. He is a career 40% shooter and has failed to improve this aspect of his game. Simply put, Kidd could have easily been in the top 5 on the above list if he could make a 17 foot jump shot with consistency. Unfortunately, he canít and he hasnít.

The rankings on the list were based on a combination of each playerís accomplishments, consistency, and my opinion. For example, I believe that Lebron and Wade are better players than Dirk. Dirk is higher simply because he has consistently performed in the league longer. If I was to do the list in 3 years, there is no doubt that both Wade and Lebron, and potentially others will have moved way up. I put a lot of work into these rankings and feel very confident I will not change them anytime soon. However, I created this list to engage in conversations and debate. Whether you agree or disagree with something, please voice your opinion so we can get a nice dialogue going. Looking forward to it.
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Old 06-16-2010, 09:58 AM   #8
Yung D-Will
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Default Re: 10 best players since MJ retried

I question who Lebron, Pierce and Gasol got it over.
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Old 06-16-2010, 10:01 AM   #9
ginobli2311
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Default Re: 10 best players since MJ retried

Quote:
Originally Posted by Yung D-Will
I question who Lebron, Pierce and Gasol got it over.

yea......its really hard to balance everything out. but i feel pretty confident about gasol deserving to be in the top ten after watching him play this year and same goes for lebron. pierce was the toughest person to rank on that list. but i thought his play in 08 warranted a pretty big boost because he went toe to toe with kobe/lebron in the playoffs and outplayed both of them.
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Old 06-16-2010, 10:03 AM   #10
Yung D-Will
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Default Re: 10 best players since MJ retried

Quote:
Originally Posted by ginobli2311
yea......its really hard to balance everything out. but i feel pretty confident about gasol deserving to be in the top ten after watching him play this year and same goes for lebron. pierce was the toughest person to rank on that list. but i thought his play in 08 warranted a pretty big boost because he went toe to toe with kobe/lebron in the playoffs and outplayed both of them.

I'd give you about 20 reasons why Kidd,Nash and A.I should be above Gasol. But that'd require to much typing whiles I'm supposed to be studying
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Old 06-16-2010, 10:06 AM   #11
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Default Re: 10 best players since MJ retried

Quote:
Originally Posted by Yung D-Will
I'd give you about 20 reasons why Kidd,Nash and A.I should be above Gasol. But that'd require to much typing whiles I'm supposed to be studying

lol...i hear you. i have a.i. over gasol. i think kidd has an argument.....but i don't really think nash does. nash is a great regular season player and i love watching him....but his play in the playoffs has not warranted a top ten ranking.
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Old 06-16-2010, 10:06 AM   #12
mamba24
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Default Re: 10 best players since MJ retried

Wow talk about boring.....you really have no life do you?

Probably sits in front of the tv watching cartoons and a laptop on your lap with bags of crisps and fast food all around you.

You probably weigh in around 300 pounds and tell all your internet buddies you'd dunk over them if you ever played against them in real life.

The only thing im not sure is if your black / white / asian or a Pygmy

But most topics have an agenda and bringing up the same topic about best player of the decade

1) you cant accept the fact, on the real player voted for no1 ( by the fans around the world.

2) These topics come on the heel of a crucial game 7 ( bad mouthing him trying to persuade others to believe your crap)

3) If the lakers lose game 7 ( id expect atleast about 30-45 kobe sucks, kobe over rated kobe this and kobe that posts)

4) No one gives a crap about shaq, duncan, anymore old sawdust just like your hated player will be in 2 years time, then you'd probably hate on lebron or wade.

5) dude seriously get a life

6) atleast get a fat girlfriend

7) Im not kidding get off those fries

8) stop laughing fattie get some excercise

9) try watch a game and not highlights after your cartoons are done

10) man ive been reading alot of your posts and all i can say is .....eh cant be bothered your that bloody boring.
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Old 06-16-2010, 10:08 AM   #13
Yung D-Will
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Default Re: 10 best players since MJ retried

Quote:
Originally Posted by mamba24
Wow talk about boring.....you really have no life do you?

Probably sits in front of the tv watching cartoons and a laptop on your lap with bags of crisps and fast food all around you.

You probably weigh in around 300 pounds and tell all your internet buddies you'd dunk over them if you ever played against them in real life.

The only thing im not sure is if your black / white / asian or a Pygmy

But most topics have an agenda and bringing up the same topic about best player of the decade

1) you cant accept the fact, on the real player voted for no1 ( by the fans around the world.

2) These topics come on the heel of a crucial game 7 ( bad mouthing him trying to persuade others to believe your crap)

3) If the lakers lose game 7 ( id expect atleast about 30-45 kobe sucks, kobe over rated kobe this and kobe that posts)

4) No one gives a crap about shaq, duncan, anymore old sawdust just like your hated player will be in 2 years time, then you'd probably hate on lebron or wade.

5) dude seriously get a life

6) atleast get a fat girlfriend

7) Im not kidding get off those fries

8) stop laughing fattie get some excercise

9) try watch a game and not highlights after your cartoons are done

10) man ive been reading alot of your posts and all i can say is .....eh cant be bothered your that bloody boring.

Lol I like you as a poster but let me say this.
Kobe is not the player of the decade.

He has the most fans of the decade though

That's no reflection on Kobe. But this decade was owned by Duncan/Shaq
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Old 06-16-2010, 10:10 AM   #14
ginobli2311
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Default Re: 10 best players since MJ retried

Quote:
Originally Posted by mamba24
Wow talk about boring.....you really have no life do you?

Probably sits in front of the tv watching cartoons and a laptop on your lap with bags of crisps and fast food all around you.

You probably weigh in around 300 pounds and tell all your internet buddies you'd dunk over them if you ever played against them in real life.

The only thing im not sure is if your black / white / asian or a Pygmy

But most topics have an agenda and bringing up the same topic about best player of the decade

1) you cant accept the fact, on the real player voted for no1 ( by the fans around the world.

2) These topics come on the heel of a crucial game 7 ( bad mouthing him trying to persuade others to believe your crap)

3) If the lakers lose game 7 ( id expect atleast about 30-45 kobe sucks, kobe over rated kobe this and kobe that posts)

4) No one gives a crap about shaq, duncan, anymore old sawdust just like your hated player will be in 2 years time, then you'd probably hate on lebron or wade.

5) dude seriously get a life

6) atleast get a fat girlfriend

7) Im not kidding get off those fries

8) stop laughing fattie get some excercise

9) try watch a game and not highlights after your cartoons are done

10) man ive been reading alot of your posts and all i can say is .....eh cant be bothered your that bloody boring.

thanks dude. classy. i wrote this for a friend of mine for a debate he was doing and decided to post it here. lol at a person on a message board making fun of someone for being on a message board.
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Old 06-16-2010, 10:10 AM   #15
asdf1990
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Default Re: 10 best players since MJ retried

plz tell me you copy/pasted that. if you wrote all that idk what to say.
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