The Best Players in the NBA: A Year-by-Year Analysis
This thread is dedicated to the best players in the NBA, from the first year in the NBA to the last. Not only is the best player in the NBA named year-by-year, but the 2nd and 3rd best are as well. Remember, these are the "best" players. Not most talented 3 (Players with the most skill), nor the most valuable 3 (MVPs). Talented players are the ones who have all the talent and skill in the universe, however it isn't applied correctly or isn't necessary in order to win. MVPs or valuable players are the ones who are good, however they also require a great situation teamwise. Furthermore, MVPs are given in the regular season, however the best players are made in the playoffs. This analysis concentrates strictly on the best players. So how do we define best? The player is the one who can lead any particular or average team to more wins than the other player. The objective of the game is to win, and the player who can win you more games on any particular team or average team is the better player. The year by year analysis is based on empirical evidence, objective data, observational judgment, balanced criteria, inducible reasoning, and respected opinion. Let's get started from the start.
The 1st official year of the NBA. The league wasn't very competitive early on. Nonetheless, George Mikan was clearly the best player in the NBA. He led the league in scoring and won the NBA title that year. He was a force on the rebounding and defensive end as well. After Mikan comes Groza. Groza also was a Center who knew how to score the ball as well as anyone in the league at the time. He led the league shooting 48%, while 2nd in place was near 42%. He was also solid on the rebounding glass. Lastly Schayes was a Top 3 player in 1950. He finished Top 5 in scoring, assists, and most likely rebounds. All this while leading his team to the NBA Finals. t
Mikan's dominance continued. Though he didn't lead his team to the title this time, he won the scoring championship assuredly, while finishing 2nd in the league in rebounding. Groza was again the 2nd best with his superb scoring, while Schayes achieved Top 3 status again. The league during this time wasn't very strong.
Now with the entrance of Cousy the league became slightly more competitive. Groza leaves the NBA and Schayes couldn't keep up with new competition such as Arizin and Cousy. Mikan still was considered the best player in the NBA finishing 2nd in scoring and 1st in rebounding. He lead his team to another NBA championship demonstrating why he is the best player in the game. Arizin led the league in scoring that year and was named to All-NBA 1st. Cousy also had a amazing year finishing 3rd in scoring and 2nd in assists. Arizin though not only led the league in scoring, but he also led the league in FG%, making him clearly the best scorer in the game. Lastly he finished 7th in the league in rebounding. This pushed him over Cousy to become the 2nd best player in the NBA in 1952.
Mikan's era of dominance continued. He once again lead his team to the NBA championship while putting up great numbers finishing number 1 in PER. This was actually a difficult year to rank after Mikan. Cousy, Macauley, Schayes, and Neil Johnston all had good arguments as Top 3 players. Bob Cousy's impact on the offensive end, Top 5 in both assists and points while operating the top offense in the league gave him the #2 spot. After this it was Schayes, who continued to be an elite player providing decent scoring, rebounding, and defense. If it wasn't for his choking playoff performance he may have been higher.
Mikan was considered the best player in the NBA for 5 years in a row now. His team won yet another championship and he was the clear cut leader in PER putting up great numbers. Not to mention he was still force on the defensive end. He finished Top 5 in scoring and rebounding yet again. And though he only shot 38% in the season, he shot 46% in the playoffs stepping up when it counted the most like all great players do. After that, the debate was once again between a similar group of guys. I gave the edge to Dolph Schayes, his tough style of play is what will win more games. After that it Bob Cousy who was an offensive mastermind in the 50s, 2nd in the league in scoring and 1st in assists.
Mikan leaves the NBA, meaning we will have a new best player in the NBA. After Mikan, Neil Johnston, Bob Cousy, and Dolph Schayes, were in the lookout for Top 3. In the end, Dolph Schayes winning the NBA Championship in 1955 gave him the title of the best player. Cousy and the Celtics once again lost to Schaye's team in the playoffs. Neil Johnston was simply amazing in 1955, but he put up his amazing numbers on a non-playoff team. Schayes stepped it up in the playoffs and won the championship in 1955 displaying that he was the best player in the NBA. His individual numbers were pretty good as well. He had the highest PER of all the players that made it to the playoffs.
With the Mikan era over, the Pettit era started. In his 2nd year in the NBA Pettit had separated himself and become the next dominant big man. He led the league in scoring and finished 2nd in rebounding while taking his team to the playoffs. He was also given the MVP that season. After Pettit comes Arizin. He was a true superstar perimeter player who took over games like no other in the playoffs winning his team the championship and earning him the 2nd best player label. After these 2 it was Schayes, who I felt still had the abilities and talents to better win games than Johnston or Cousy.
Bob Pettit was the best player in the NBA back to back years now. He lead the league in PER and put up 25/15 in the regular season. In the playoffs, where you prove to the league you are the best in the NBA, Pettit led his medicore St.Lous team to the NBA finals. He put up an incredible 30/17 in the playoffs stepping up where it counted the most. After him was Dolph Schayes, who was still very much in his prime. Also it was the 1st time Dolph had now been overtaken as the best PF in the game. Cousy won the NBA MVP in 1957 and the championship take the 3rd spot, while rookie Russell was their Playoff MVP. Russell might've been 2nd or 3rd, had he not missed 25 games during the regular season that season.
It was between Russell and Pettit in 1958 for who the best player in the NBA was. Russell had gained respect with the league in 1957 and was named NBA MVP in 1958. Russell did get hurt in the finals which was arguably the biggest reason they did not win it. Nontheless, he was already making a great impact in the game and was already the best player in the NBA. Pettit was also fantastic, just as good as he has been in the years past, but just a little below Russell. Lastly Schayes shows that he still remained one of the best players in the NBA with 1958 arguably his best year.
The battle between Pettit and Russell continued. Russell was finally victorious and now considered the best player in the NBA. Where did he prove his superiority? In the NBA Playoffs, and more specifically, the NBA Finals. Russell averaged an unbelievable 29.5rpg in the NBA Finals including 3 30+ rebound games as his team swept the Lakers in the Finals. Russell in the rest of the playoffs averaged 20ppg, showing that he did what it took when it was needed. Pettit was named MVP in 1959 and also had a great season, however when the best players were supposed to step up the most, Pettit sort of failed. Baylor was impressive in 1959 finsihing Top 5 in scoring and rebounding and leading his team single handedly to the NBA Finals in his rookie season. With Cousy/Schayes/Arizin aging now, a prime Baylor enters Top 3
Last edited by Gifted Mind : 06-20-2014 at 02:14 PM.
Re: The Best Players in the NBA- A Year-by-Year Analysis
Enters Wilt Chamberlain in 1960 definitely turning up the competitiveness in the NBA. Now 4 of the best players ever, Wilt, Pettit, Russell, Baylor, all had good cases for being Top 3 players in the NBA. But who was the best? They all went toe to toe in the playoffs. Wilt Chamberlain proved right away he was an amazing basketball player. He won the MVP and led the league in scoring. As great as he was, it was still his first season in the NBA. He shot a career low 46% from the field and most likely wasn't as comfortable playing in the NBA yet. He would never come near a shooting % that low again. Bill Russell once again had a phenomenal season and he proved it further in the playoffs raising his game. He averaged an incredible 19/26 during the playoffs, and he delivered when his team needed him the most in the NBA Finals. Again defeating Pettit's Hawks in 7 games, with a 22/35 performance in Game 7. Russell just did not know how to lose. Pettit was also spectacular in 1960 averaging 26/17 and leading his team to Finals past Baylor's Lakers. Baylor just missed Top 3 status, kind of tough when you are going against a prime Wilt, Russell, and Pettit.
The competition of the 60s got tougher as Oscar Robertson made his debut into the NBA as a superstar. Bill Russell won the NBA Championship and NBA MVP in 1961 and was considered a the best player once again. Wilt Chamberlain was once again amazing, however in the playoffs he lacked what it took to take his team anywhere. They were swept by the National's in the 1st round 3-0 and that was the end for Wilt. He did not step up when it counted again. Meanwhile Russell averaged an incredible 20/30 average in the playoffs. Quite an astounding feat. In the championship clinching game against Pettit's Hawks again Russell put up 30/38. Pettit just missed the Top 3 this year mainly because Elgin Baylor had a legendary season. You could argue him being the best player in the game as he put up 35/20 in the regular season and led the league in PER. He stepped his game up in the playoffs as well averaging 38/15.
In 1962, several players had their statistical peak years. It was very close deciding between Russell and Wilt this season. Wilt had arguably the best statistical season of all-time. However, you still had to give the edge to Russell. I felt his defense was just more impactful than anything Wilt was able to provide. Also, Wilt had not become a dominant defender at this point in his career. After Russell/Wilt, who's next? Pettit/Bellamy both missed the playoffs while putting great numbers. West was consdiered inferior to Oscar and Baylor in the early 60s. So Baylor or Oscar? Close call, however Baylor missed nearly half the season therefore Oscar Robertson got the nod as being the 3rd best in the NBA.
Russell again was the best player in the NBA in 1963. He won yet another championship, while Wilt couldn't even get his team to the playoffs. Furthermore, Russell was named MVP, and delivered once again in the playoffs. In the Final's this time Russell got it done in the scoring end averaging 20ppg/25rpg in the NBA Finals. The 3rd spot went to Robertson, who was now a superstar in the NBA. Baylor took the 4th sport with an excellent 34/14 season.
Once again in 1964, it was between Russell and Wilt for who was the best player in the NBA. For the 5th consecutive year they have been the Top 2. Wilt this year had the winning instnict as he was able to get his team all the way to the NBA Finals for the first time. In the Finals it was Russell vs. Wilt. Though Russell's Celtics won the series, Wilt outscored and outrebounded Russell. Russell once again was great, but this year Wilt proved that he can also win when given the right teammates. Robertson was placed 3rd, since after all, he did win the MVP in 1964 over both Russell/Wilt.
After seemingly becoming more mature, Wilt once again failed in 1965. He seemingly quit on his first team, was traded, and didn't improve his new team after that. Nonetheless he was still very good that year, good enough to be 2nd behind Russell. Russell once again was considered the best player in the NBA in 1965 as he won the MVP. Russell once again stepped up in the NBA Playoffs and put up 17/25 overall. In the NBA Finals Russell shot an amazing 71% 18ppg. The 71% was a record. West enters the Top 3 players in the NBA for the 1st time with his fantastic performances in the Playoffs. He averaged over 40ppg in the playoffs through 11 games. In the Finals he averaged around 34ppg, which was a record for a 5 game series.
For the first time in Wilt's career, his team posted a better record than Russell's team. Though Russell's Celtics were able to defeat Wilt's 76ers in the playoffs, Wilt played brilliantly averaging 28ppg/30rpg/5apg, outplaying Russell nearly everywhere. Wilt also won MVP that season and easily led the league in PER. Russell though once again was brilliant. Russell and West had quite a duel in the NBA Finals. West finished with another brilliant playoffs and Finals averaging over 34ppg. Russell though once again came through when his team neeeded him the most with 25pts/32 rebounds in Game 7 of the NBA Finals. While in the Final's, Russell stepped up in scoring averaging over 23ppg, proving he himself is still one of the very best in the NBA. Nonetheless, West again proved he can hang with the best taking the Celtic's to the 7 games and really stepping up in the playoffs like the best do.
This year Wilt was not only able to post a better record than any of Russell's teams, but also defeat Russell's Celtics in the playoffs for the first time. Russell's numbers went down in the playoffs for the first time in his career. Age seemingly had caught up with him at 32. Though he was still one of the best, he wasn't Top 2 material in 67. West's injuries prevented him from staying in Top 4. Robertson, who was a Top 3 contender since his rookie year, finally got the number 2 spot this year. Thurmond also emerged as one of the best Centers in the league taking his team to the NBA Finals. Many saw him as the younger version of Russell.
Once again Wilt was considered the best player in the NBA and was named the MVP. Robertson was once again in his prime and given the number 2 spot. Both Wilt and Robertson were clear cut leaders in terms of PER. Russell was still the best player on his team and won his 10th championship. He was still a dominant defender in the league and now even was coaching. West had more injury problems this year though came back and stepped up in the playoffs, however missing 31 games hurts.
J.West healthier than his last couple of years and was the leader of the Lakers and Finals MVP scoring 38ppg in the NBA Finals. He had overtaken his teammate Wilt as the best player in the NBA. Many who saw the 1969 Finals would call West the best player in the series. Although Wilt was still the 2nd best, his game had slipped a little. After West/Wilt, the best player in the NBA was Reed. Russell and Havlicek come close, however Reed was now considered one of the best Centers in the NBA,he too was a team player and stepped up in the playoffs improving his season numbers.
Last edited by Gifted Mind : 06-25-2013 at 02:24 PM.
Re: The Best Players in the NBA- A Year-by-Year Analysis
For the 2nd straight year, Jerry West was the best player in the NBA. He had yet another very strong season. He led the NBA in points, finished Top 5 in assists, and was once again very strong defensively. Furthermore, he kept up his strong play in the playoffs and took his team to the NBA Finals losing in 7 games to the team with the best record. Kareem and Reed had cases for 2nd. Both quite didn't make the impact West did for 1st. Kareem was a rookie, and still was not very strong defensively, and Reed was on a great team but individually not very dominant. Though Reed won MVP and Finals MVP this season, it was more due to his team and many think the Final MVP was undeserved. Kareem on the other hand, was already better in many aspects of the game, led the biggest turnaround in NBA history (at the time), and to clinch it, outplayed Reed in the ECF.
The Kareem Abdul-Jabbar era of dominance has begun. Kareem was clearly the best player in the league in 1971 winning the MVP and Finals MVP while averaging 32/16. He was without a doubt the best player in the NBA. West, who was the best player last year, fell to the #2 spot this year. He was still a Top guard. Wilt was healthy again and still a Top 3 player.
For the 2nd straight year Kareem was the best player in the NBA. He won another MVP, though he couldn't win the title, he was still clearly the best. After Kareem the selection process this year was tough. Wilt, West, Frazier, Havlicek, and Gilmore all had good arguments. Chamberlain at this point though still seemed the best player who would give a team the most wins. He was the best defender in the league and highly efficient on offense. West and Havlicek remained Top 4 players in the NBA with Frazier just missing the cut.
Kareem was the best player in the NBA in 73. It was once again quite obvious that Kareem was the best. After him it got a little tougher. Julius Erving and the ABA had become more competitive and Julius was just excellent in 1973 leading the ABA in PER and scoring. He also finished Top 5 in FG% and rebounds. It was a prime Dr.J. After that it was Wilt Chamberlain once again, still a great defender and super-efficient on offense. Gilmore took the last spot, he was the other force in the ABA, good on offense and a monster defender.
For the 4th straight year Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was considered the greatest player in the NBA. He won another MVP and was simply dominant once again. After Kareem the 2nd best player once again had to Dr.J. He was not only the MVP of the ABA, but also the Finals MVP leading his team to the title. He led the league once again in PER and scoring. Bob McAdoo was the 2nd best in the NBA with 30/15 year bringing in some competition against Kareem. Though in the playoffs McAdoo did not win a playoff series.
Once again, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was the best player in the NBA. This was probably the closest year though. Both Barry and McAdoo had big years themselves. Though Kareem's team missed the playoffs, he still was himself dominating. The impact he created on his teams was still large. McAdoo finished with 34pts/15reb in 75 winning the MVP. It was arguably his best season. The 3rd best player in the league was Rick Barry. He led his Warrior's to the NBA Finals and won the championship. He was named Finals MVP as well. Simply a special year for him. Though both Barry and McAdoo were good, their impact on defense was nowhere near Kareem's. While Kareem was just as good on offense as both McAdoo and Barry.
Despite not making playoffs, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was given the MVP. That's just how great he was individually in 1976. He led the league in rebounding while dominating on the scoring end. He even blocked 4+ shots while dishing out 5 assists. 1976 was Dr.J's best year. Dr.J won the ABA MVP and Finals MVP in the peak year of the ABA. He dominated his competition and proved himself in the playoffs. McAdoo was great once again, however he was inferior to Kareem this year. Kareem was better than McAdoo at basically everything from scoring, rebounding, passing, and defense; that wasn't the case last year.
Kareem was once again noted as the best player in the NBA. At age 29 he was still good enough to be called the best. He was given the NBA MVP as well in 77. After Kareem came Bill Walton. Walton led his Blazers past Dr.J's 76ers in the Finals and was brilliant with his team play all season long. Bill Walton was an excellent team player who wasn't all about the stats as he was about winning. Dr.J was still considered a Top 3 player in 77 leading his team to the Finals.
Kareem was once again the best player in the NBA in 1978. This is the 6th time in his career that he is considered the best player in the NBA, that is more than anyone else in the history of the game at this point. Walton once again finishes runner up. Last year Walton won the Finals MVP, this year Walton was the NBA MVP. After Walton it is Dr.J who was still a top player in the NBA. The iceman, George Gervin, was recognized as one of the best for the 1st time.
Kareem remained the best player in the NBA for the 3rd straight year. He had the highest PER again and stepped his game up in the playoffs. Moses Malone was a Top 3 player for the first time in his career winning MVP, however his team was swept in the playoffs 1st round therefore wasn't quite ready to be called the best player in the game. Dr.J finished as a Top 3 player once again, with the Iceman 4th once again.
Last edited by Gifted Mind : 06-28-2014 at 02:50 AM.
Re: The Best Players in the NBA- A Year-by-Year Analysis
For the 5th straight year in the NBA Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was the best player. He won the MVP and eventually led his team to the NBA Title. He was very dominant in the playoffs proving he was the best player in the game even at age 32 averaging 32/12. After a couple of off years Dr.J was once again considered a Top 3 player in the game leading his team to the NBA Finals. Moses Malone also remained as a Top 3 player in the NBA getting his team out of the 1st round this year.
Kareem's dominant stretch on the NBA ended in 1981 as Moses Malone's era of domination started. Though they were pretty even at the end of the season, Moses Malone led his team to the NBA Finals, while Kareem's Lakers suffered a 1st round exit to Moses's Rockets where Moses outplayed Kareem in the NBA playoffs establishing himself as the best player in the game. The last spot was between Bird and Erving. They had a tough series in the NBA playoffs ECF, however Bird's Celtics were victorious and went on to win the NBA Finals. Erving sort of struggled in the playoffs while Bird stepped up.
Moses Malone was the best player in the NBA for back to back years now. He was nearly unstoppable in 1982 averaging 31/15, winning MVP, and leading the league in PER. Dr.J was also fantastic in 82 leading his team over Bird's Celtics this time and going to the NBA Finals and falling short. Kareem at age 34 was not considered a Top 3 player for the 1st time in his career., while Bird remained a Top 3 player.
Moses Malone for the 3rd straight year was the best player in the NBA. He lead the league in PER, clear cut favorite for MVP, and won the Finals MVP leading his team to the title. Who came after Moses Malone? Most would say Larry Bird. Bird was 2nd in MVP voting, 2nd in PER, and really the 2nd best player in 83. Magic Johnson also made his debut into the Top 3 leading his team to the Finals. Dr.J had fallen due to age now giving Magic entry.
With Moses's era of dominance over, Bird showed that now he was the best player in the NBA. Bird was considered Top 3 for the past 3 years, but finally he became the best player in the game. He won the NBA MVP, and eventually the Finals MVP as he led his team to the NBA title. After Bird was Magic. Magic now was considered the 2nd best player, taking over more PG duties. He averaged what was at the time a career best 13.1apg and led his team to the finals again. King was a monster in 84 and got the last place. He was named All-NBA 1st and was a scoring machine. He finished 2nd in MVP voting and then had a monster playoffs nearly upsetting Bird's Celtics.
For back to back years Bird was the best player in the NBA. He was even more dominating in 85 than he was in 84. He was the clear cut MVP and led his team all the way to the NBA Finals. He also led the league in PER. After Bird came 2 PGs: Magic and Isiah. Magic's Lakers eventually went on to win the title where Magic was brilliant in his performances. Isiah also had his best season in his career in 85 averaging 21/14 and playing even better in the playoffs
For the 3rd straight year Bird was the best player in the NBA. By now he was getting GOAT arguments as he also won his 3rd straight MVP. After Bird it was between Magic and Olajuwon for who the 2nd best player was. Both had exceptionally well seasons and both went far into the playoffs. Following a precedence, Magic got the edge. He had arguably his best season of his career, and in the playoffs averaged an impressive 22/15 through 14 games. Hakeem Olajuwon was a top 3 in the NBA already and had a good case for #2. Though in experience and intangibles he was below Magic.
Magic Johnson officially has entered his peak in 87 and was the best player in the NBA. Not only did Magic win the NBA MVP, but he also won the Finals MVP. It was the best season of his career and he was at least called the best player in the world for 1 year. Larry Bird remained the 2nd best player in the NBA in 87 having yet another phenomenal season. After Bird was Jordan. Jordan though great in 87, still lacked the killer instinct in the playoffs as he was swept out in the 1st round in 87 with a below average season performance. But he was still good enough to be a Top 3 player in the league by 87.
Jordan-Magic-Bird remained the Top 3 players in the NBA in 88 but this time Jordan was the best. He won the NBA MVP and was peaking out in 88. Bird and Magic also both in their primes, but both also had to witness Jordan at his best. Bird came into the playoffs and his game fell a little, however Magic kept it sharp and led his team to NBA title. Though Worthy, not Magic, was the Finals MVP taking away the last hope for Magic's repeat as the best player in the game.
Jordan for the 2nd straight year was the best player in the NBA. Unfortunately for Magic, Jordan in these years was peaking in terms of his play. Therefore right after Jordan came the peaking Magic Johnson as the 2nd best player. With Bird fallen after 8 years as a Top 3 player, the 3rd spot was now open. Malone, and Barkley had good arguments, but neither possessed the defensive impact Hakeem could make. Hakeem's ability to drop 25/14 on offense, and then play great defense made him a Top 3 player. I also believe it was the only year a player got over 200 steals and 200 blocks in a season.
Last edited by Gifted Mind : 07-03-2012 at 02:35 AM.
Re: The Best Players in the NBA- A Year-by-Year Analysis
Similar story to the year before. Michael Jordan number one, and Magic number 2. And once again after that it was between quite a few great players. Barkley, Malone, Ewing, Robinson, and Olajuwon were in the hunt for the 3rd spot. But this year it had to go to Barkley, he got more 1st in place MVP votes than anyone else in the league and did a great job leading his 76er team shooting over 60% from the field, highly efficient.
In 1991 Jordan was the clear cut best player in the NBA more than ever as Magic had slipped and Jordan went on to win his first NBA title. After Jordan, there were many players in the hunt for 2nd and 3rd. Robinson, Magic, Barkley, and Malone all had strong cases. However Robinson and Magic got the next 2 spots. Magic still finished right behind Jordan, he was still 31 and producing at a higher level than any other player in the league. Robinson at this point had become a dominant 2 way player.
Jordan continued his domination over the league for the 5th straight year. With Magic gone, the 2nd and 3rd spots were open. The spots essentially opened up for Malone and Drexler. Barkley had a off year and Robinson was not a Top 3 player due to some injuries which caused him to not even show up in the playoffs. Meanwhile Malone finally received recognition as a Top 3 player with the competition lessening. Though you have to credit Malone for playing well consistently. Drexler also had his best season in 92 leading his team to the NBA Finals and was 2nd to MJ in MVP voting.
Jordan for the 6th straight year now was the best player in the game. He proved it again in the NBA Finals winning his 3rd straight title. Jordan-Olajuwon-Barkley though were pretty much the clear cut Top 3 this year. Both Olajuwon and Barkley were enjoying one of their best seasons, however Olajuwon simply was a better player at his best because of his impact on both sides of the game. Barkley though clearly a Top 3 player once again leading his team to the NBA Finals.
With Michael Jordan retired, we were to have a new best player after 6 years of MJ. And that player was easily Hakeem Olajuwon. At age 31 Hakeem was playing his best basketball. He won the league MVP and then led his team to the NBA title winning Finals MVP. After Olajuwon, Robinson was the 2nd best player. Robinson led the league in scoring and also was very good in 1994 making an impact on both sides of the game. O'Neal, for the first time was considered a Top 3 player in the NBA averaging 29ppg/13rpg, simply unstoppable.
For back to back years now Olajuwon was the best player in the game. It wasn't very apparent at the end of the regular seasons but the best players in the game become the best when it counts the most. In the playoffs Olajuwon outplayed both O'Neal and Robinson, his 2 main competitors, and went on to win the NBA title again. Though Robinson was the league MVP in 95, O'Neal gave a much better fight than him against Hakeem in the NBA Finals. Though all 3 of them had brilliant years once again being Top 3 back to back years with MJ gone.
Jordan returned to the NBA in 96 and was instantly the best player again. He won yet another MVP and another Finals MVP in 1996. After MJ came Robinson, who for the 3rd straight year was a Top 3 player. Olajuwon also made his appearance to the Top 3 players for the 4th straight year. Though at age 33 age was starting to catch up Olajuwon and he wasn't as effective as the 3 years younger Robinson.
Once again Jordan was the best player in the NBA. He led the league in scoring, finished 2nd in PER and MVP voting, however stepped up in the playoffs and won the NBA championship outdoing Malone when it counted the most. Karl Malone though himself was fantastic in 97. He not only won MVP, but also led the league in PER. After Malone/Jordan comes O'Neal. O'Neal might've been number 2 had he been healthier, however he only played 51 games in 97. Nonetheless, that was enough for O'Neal to be called a Top 3 player
Toss-up between Jordan and O'Neal this year. O'Neal was a superior offensive player, but he was not a dominant defender like he could have been. Jordan on the other hand had the intangible, clutch, and health edges over O'Neal while still being a solid defender. For the 3rd straight year Michael Jordan was the best player in the NBA. All together that is 9 times MJ was the greatest player in the world. He won another MVP as well. After Jordan was O'Neal and Malone. O'Neal could've been number one however he couldn't get his team over the hunch in the playoffs. He was swept by Karl Malone and the Jazz in 1998 and had injuries overall in 98. Malone comes after O'Neal. Malone was just a worse player than O'Neal despite sweeping the Lakers. Malone might've been 2 or even 1 had he won the title, however Jordan was the one who once again proved his superiority.
With Jordan gone, the NBA had a new best player. Malone and O'Neal finished 2nd the last 2 years so most thought it would be between them. Tim Duncan also had a strong season in 99 winning the championship. However, Shaq, who was close to the being the best player in the past, was finally at the top. He had another great season, and by the argument of precedence he was the best player in 99. Duncan was also great, but in his 2nd year he was just not as good as O'Neal, even though they swept the Lakers in the playoffs. Alonzo was now a Top 3 player in the league with his 2 way impact. Karl Malone was the MVP in 99 and came in 4th
Last edited by Gifted Mind : 04-09-2013 at 02:16 AM.
Re: The Best Players in the NBA- A Year-by-Year Analysis
O'Neal was clearly the best player in the NBA in 2000 for the first time in his career. There was no doubt about this one. Who was the best after O'Neal? Duncan was the best last year and I would say he was the 2nd best in 2000. Injuries did hurt his status, but due to the lack competition Duncan was still the 2nd best player in the NBA. After that come Mourning and Malone once again, both played at a similar level and still were the top in the league.
O'Neal reclaims his spot as the number one player in the NBA. Duncan once again finished as the 2nd best player in the NBA for the 2nd straight year. After them it gets a little open for who will be the 3rd best player in the league. This year the 3rd best player was Kobe Bryant. His play in the playoffs was spectacular and is what you would want out of your top guard. Garnett took the 4th spot, as he was starting to become a dominant player on his own.
For the 3rd straight year O'Neal was the best player in the NBA. He led his LA Lakers to yet another NBA championship. Duncan for the 3rd straight year comes in 2nd, he did though win the MVP. And once again, it was wide open after O'Neal and Duncan. This year it was between McGrady and Kobe for who was the 3rd best player in the NBA. There statistics were nearly even, however Kobe played for the championship team, while T-Mac couldn't even get his team out of the 1st round. Furthermore, Kobe played well in the Finals and was the better defender.
In 2003 we had a new best player in the league. Tim Duncan for the 2nd time in his career was called the best player in the NBA. He won the NBA MVP and proved his superiority outplaying O'Neal in the playoffs when it counted the most. Tim Duncan was able to deliver for the Spurs while O'Neal didn't play as well as Duncan. In 2003 the 3rd best player was harder to choose than usual. McGrady/Kobe/KG all played great in 03 and had good arguments. However KG was now establishing himself as a very good NBA player and was just ahead of Kobe or McGrady with his 23/13/6 and All-Defensive 1st selection. He also was clearly 2nd in MVP voting not to far behind Duncan clinching him as a Top 3 player in the league.
In 2004 Garnett was peaking as an NBA player. He won the MVP by a landslide as great as or greater than O'Neal in 2000 or Jordan in 96. He by far had the best PER in the league, and led his Timberwolves to the best record in the west and took them to the WCF. He was simply brilliant in 2004. Duncan and O'Neal remained Top 3. Their difference from 2003 remained about the same in 2004.
Duncan-Garnett-O'Neal were once again the Top 3 players in the NBA for the 3rd straight year. Toss-up between Duncan and Garnett this year. Duncan was as good in 2005 as he was in 2004, but Garnett had a fallen a bit from 2004. He wasn't as assertive on defense and had fell a tiny bit for Duncan to overtake him. Duncan for the 3rd time in his career received the label of being the best in the NBA leading his San Antonio Spurs team to yet another title. He was great all throughout the playoffs and eventually won the Finals MVP for the 3rd time in his career. KG, though a great player again, failed to make the playoffs in 2005. Keep in mind the Wolves were competitive all season long, and if KG slipped from 04, it was only a little. O'Neal at age 32 was still dominating and a Top 3 player finishing 2nd in MVP voting.
In 2006 the Duncan-KG-O'Neal era had finally ended. These 3 players were Top 3 material for 3 years in a row. Kobe Bryant was considered the best player in the game in 2006 with an outstanding 35/5/5 season while being named to All-Defensive 1st. After Kobe comes Dwyane Wade. The NBA Finals MVP was just spectacular in the NBA Finals. He singlehandedly lifted the Miami Heat over the Dallas Mavericks to give his team the NBA championship. He outplayed Dirk Nowitzki, who also had a shot at top 3. Tim Duncan remained Top 3, had a sluggish season, but proved in the playoffs he can still compete with the best. LeBron James just missed the Top 3 cut.
After averaging a career low 18.6ppg, Duncan bounced back in 2007 proving to the league he was still an amazing player. He was still as good as he was in 2004-2005 and was the best player on a championship team. After Duncan came Kobe and LBJ. Kobe once again put up great numbers while being a great defender. LBJ's numbers fell in 2007, however he stepped up in the playoffs and took his team to the NBA Finals. Dirk Nowitzki had a good argument for Top 3 in 2007, however he choked miserably in the NBA playoffs.
In 2008 Kobe Bryant had regained his title as the best player in the NBA. He won the NBA MVP and led his Laker team to the NBA Finals. And once again following Kobe was LBJ. He had another great year on a horrible team yet managed to take them to the 2nd round. Chris Paul made his debut as a Top 3 player in the NBA with a brilliant year averaging 21/11 while leading his team to a 2nd seed in the West. Duncan might've had an argument for Top 3, however in the Spurs vs. Hornets series , CP3 showed that he was the best player on the floor.
The LeBron era begins. Fantastic year for LBJ. Leading his team to 66 wins with little talent around him. Furthermore, he led the league in PER and won the MVP award. He also was very dominant in the playoffs, averaging over 35ppg and leading his team to the conference finals. After LeBron, it's the epic season of Dwyane Wade. He probably had his best individual season, playing spectacular all season long. Kobe Bryant also was amazing this year. Leading his team to the championship and winning Finals MVP. He also had a great individual season and stepped up whenever his team needed him to in the playoffs. I had Wade over Kobe because he was just a better player overall, Kobe had lost a step since his peak in 06.
Last edited by Gifted Mind : 11-17-2015 at 04:57 PM.
Re: The Best Players in the NBA- A Year-by-Year Analysis
For the 2nd straight year, I felt LeBron was the best player in the NBA. Now I know he has become very hated, but this doesn't change how great of a player he was last year. He once again led his less than spectacular starcast to the best record in the NBA. It's actually very applaud worthy to lead a team like that to over 60 wins. In the playoffs, they once again didn't get too far, nonetheless, besides for 1-2 games, LeBron James himself played well. After LeBron it was between Kobe, Wade, and Howard. Wade had regressed a bit from last year's phenomenal season while Kobe was playing at about the same level. I gave Kobe the edge because he still possessed the leadership and ability to lead his team to the championship. And he proved it by winning his 5th championship. It was even closer between Howard and Wade. Wade though not as effective as last year, was still a superstar and able to dominate games. I felt Howard still lacked the superstar takeover ability, averaging less than 20ppg. But he was still very close due to his rebounding and defensive presence.
For the third consecutive season, I had to side with LeBron James as the best player in the NBA. This year he made it tougher than ever. But at the end of the day, if I had #1 pick in a draft playing just 1 season (2011), I would still have chosen LeBron James. He just impacted the game more than any other player in the league. He could score, rebound, defend, and pass very well for his position. After him is Dwight Howard, who had his best offensive production up to date and was actually playing like a superstar this season. Dirk Nowitzki finishes 3rd due to his strong playoff performance. Wade remains a Top 4 player in the NBA despite now playing with LeBron and seeings his stats fall.
LeBron James was once again the best player in the NBA. It was much easier choosing him than the year before. He played consistent all the way until his team won the NBA championship. Kevin Durant is recognized as a Top 4 player for the 1st time in his career, nearly winning the NBA championship. Chris Paul takes the 3rd spot reminding everyone he is the best PG in the league. Dwight Howard fell a little from last year due to his off-court issues and injuries.
LeBron James remained the best player in the world. And there was no debate about it again as he had another strong year showing no signs of slowing. Kevin Durant is once again 2nd best. He did not make any great improvements to overtake LeBron as the best in the league. After James and Durant it got a little tougher. Paul, Kobe, and Melo had an argument. I gave Paul #3 due to his ability to score and create for his teammates while playing the best defense out of the 3. Carmelo got the small edge over Bryant.
For the 6th consecutive season, LeBron James remained the best player in the NBA. He was still one of the top scorers in the NBA, and possessed that all-around ability to rebound, pass, and defend very well for his position. The gap to 2nd was closer now though. Durant has continued to improve as a player, mainly his playmaking skills, and LeBron was not good as he was the season prior. Honestly the big separation between James and Durant remained on defense. After these 2 it was Chris Paul again. At age 28 he was more or less the same player was a season ago. Blake Griffin entered the Top 4 for the 1st time in his career. He was a special talent on offense able to post and shoot while possessing above average passing skill for his position.
Make that 7 straight seasons LeBron James is the best basketball player in the world. Only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has gone more consecutive seasons as the best player in the NBA, and only Jordan and Kareem have overall finished more times as the best player. It's quite a feat as LeBron continues to build his legacy. He really had to carry the load this year especially in the playoffs having to play harder than I've ever seen him. Injuries also seem to have slown him down a bit from last year. Nonetheless, he was still exceptional. Following James this year was Curry. Who just seemed to get better and better every year. This year he was good enough to win MVP and take his team to the title. He has an unstoppable offensive game that is essentially unguardable. Following Curry was Chris Paul, who once again finishes as the 3rd best player in the NBA. He still has not lost a step from the years before. James Harden makes his 1st appearance into this thread as the 4th best player. He has further improved his game all-around as he was one of the best offensive players this game has seen. Anthony Davis just missed the cut, honestly may have been #2 this year if he was able to stay healthier.
Now let's quickly analyze all the information given in the last 6 posts
First let's see which NBA Player has been considered the best player in the league the most:
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has been considered the best player in the NBA for the most years. Following him is Jordan. Then Russell and Mikan. This by no means is implying that those are the 4 GOAT players, since this is all relative to competition.
Last edited by Gifted Mind : 11-17-2015 at 04:49 PM.
Re: The Best Players in the NBA: A Year-by-Year Analysis
Originally Posted by loot
good work! i think payton was top 3 in 97.
Really? 1997 was a season where after Malone and Jordan it was difficult to choose who was next. The problem issue was that no player had an outstanding season after Malone and Jordan. Robinson and Hakeem had fallen due to age and injuries, while Duncan had not entered the NBA yet. Gary Payton did not even make All-NBA 1st therefore you would need a strong argument to place him at Top 3. No one really had a potent argument therefore I gave it to O'Neal. O'Neal would easily have been Top 3 if he had stayed healthier. But since no one came close to being a great player as O'Neal, I gave Shaq the nod for Top 3.