Greatest Players to Never Win an NBA Title: Top Ten Thursdays
The 2021 NBA Finals features two players who should land in the Basketball Hall of Fame after their NBA careers are done: 11-time All Star Chris Paul and Two-time NBA MVP Award winner Giannis Antetokounmpo are both playing in their first NBA Finals. One of them will lose the dubious label as "Great player who hasn't won a Championship" by the end of this month, removing them from a list of infamous great players from NBA history.
For this week's Top Ten Thursday, here is my ranking of the Ten Greatest Players to Never Win an NBA Championship. My stipulations for this list are that these players must be retired (so Chris Paul and Russell Westbrook are not candidates despite their resumes) along with placing added value on honors such as NBA MVP plus All-NBA Team selections over cumulative career statistics. Here are the honorable mentions who did not make my top ten:
*Reggie Miller (3x All-NBA Third Team, 5x All-Star Selections)
*Yao Ming (2x All-NBA Second Team, 3x All-NBA Third Team, 8x NBA All-Star Selections)
*Tracy McGrady (2x All-NBA First Team, 3x All-NBA Second Team, 7x All-Star Selections)
*Grant Hill (1x All-NBA First Team, 4x All-NBA Second Team, 7x NBA All-Star Selections)
*Chris Mullin (1x All-NBA First Team, 2x All-NBA Second Team, 5x NBA All-Star Selections)
So two former Sixers players make my list and both of them won NBA MVP Awards; checkout the full list below and you can debate the list with me on Twitter: @JoshHennig and catch me on GameNight at 6pm Monday-Friday on 973 ESPN plus Sports Bash Saturdays at 12pm:
10. Pete Maravich (2x All-NBA First Team, 2x All-NBA Second Team, 5x All-Star Selections)
-Even though six of his eleven NBA seasons were impacted by injuries, "Pistol Pete" was one of the most talented Scoring Guards in the NBA during the 1970's and his style of play looked more like what you would expect to see in future decades. An elite ball-handler, Maravich averaged at least five assists per game in eight seasons and he was the NBA Scoring Champion in 1976-77 (31.1 Points Per Game). He was also an underrated defender, averaging at least one steal per game in six different seasons and the analytics rate him Top 20 in the NBA during the 1970's in Player Efficiency Rating for five different seasons.
9. Dominique Wilkins (1x All-NBA First Team, 4x All-NBA Second Team, 9x All-Star Selections)
-More than just a prolific dunker, Wilkins was one of the elite scorers in the NBA over a 12-year period and was the NBA Scoring Champion during the 1985-86 season (30.3 PPG). Wilkins was also a very good Rebounder, averaging 2.9 Offensive Rebounds per game during his 12 seasons in an Atlanta Hawks uniform and 6.9 Total Rebounds per game. Wilkins was a phenominal athlete who used his length and power to impact the game during his NBA career.
8. Dikembe Mutombo (4x NBA Defensive Player of the Year, 1x All-NBA Second Team, 2x All-NBA Third Team, 8x NBA All-Star Selections)
-Mutombo was never going to be a dominant force on Offense like Wilkins and Maravich, but he was one of the most impactful defensive big men in the NBA during his 18 years playing. Mutombo won the Defensive Player of the Year Award more than any other player in NBA History; His four wins are tied with Ben Wallace and ahead of the three wins by Dwight Howard and Rudy Gobert. Mutombo led the NBA in Block Shots Per Game three times and Total Rebound twice. In fact, Mutombo averaged double digit rebounds per game 11 times and averaged at least three blocks per game eight time!
7. Patrick Ewing (1x All-NBA First Team, 6x All-NBA Second Team, 11x All-Star Selections)
-In an era of great big men, Patrick Ewing was one of the most talent in the NBA during his career and he was the face of the New York Knicks franchise. Ewing was a incredible combination of power and athleticism allowing him to be a dominant force on both the Offensive and Defensive ends of the court. Over a 13 year period, Ewing averaged at least 20 Points Per Game, Two Blocks Per Game, and Eight Rebounds per game.
6. John Stockton (2x All-NBA First Team, 6x All-NBA Second Team, 10x All-Star Selections)
-One of the most underrated players in NBA History, John Stockton was the model of consistency during a career that spaned three different decades in the league. Stockton is considered one of the greatest Point Guards in NBA History and finished his career with the most Total Assists and Total Steals in league history. Stockton averaged at least 10 Assists Per Game for ten straight years and at least Two Steals per game in ten different seasons. Stockton was an elite passer, had a great jump shot, proved to be very durable in his NBA career, and was a tough defender.
5. George Gervin (5x All-NBA First Team, 2x All-NBA Second Team, 9x NBA All-Star Selections)
-One of the most talented scorers in NBA History, the "Iceman" is often forgetten because he played most of his career with the San Antonio Spurs during an era long before Tim Duncan and Gregg Popovich led that franchise to their NBA Championships. Gervin was the NBA Scoring Champion four times and he averaged at least 25 Points Per Game seven different seasons during his NBA career. Aside from being a great scorer, Gervin used his length and athleticism to also be a dangerous defender also; He averaged at least one steal per game plus one block per game for seven straight seasons.
4. Steve Nash (2004-05 and 2005-06 NBA MVP Awards, 3x All-NBA First Team, 2x All-NBA Second Team, 8x All-Star Selections)
-After first couple years of mediocre play, Nash began to showcase why he is one of the top Point Guards in NBA History at age 27 when he was selected to his first All-Star Game. Nash had a nine year run where he averaged at least Eight Assists Per Game while shooting 39 Percent from Three Point Range. Being the Orchestrator of the Phoenix Suns high powered offenses during the 2000's put the organization in position to reach the Western Conference Finals three times in six years.
3. Allen Iverson (2000-01 NBA MVP Award, 3x All-NBA First Team, 3x All-NBA Second Team, 11x All-Star Selections)
-Arguably Pound-for-Pound the greatest scorer in NBA History, "The Answer" is one of only three Superstar NBA Players to lead the 76ers franchise to an NBA Finals appearance. The Four-time NBA Scoring Champion, Iverson averaged at least 26 Points Per Game ten times and over 30 Points per game four times. Also he averaged at least Two Steals Per Game for nine straight seasons and averaged at least Six Assists per Game in seven different seasons; Iverson was more than just an elite scorer, he was a competitior in every aspect of the game.
2. Karl Malone (1996-97 and 1998-99 NBA MVP Awards, 11x All-NBA First Team, 2x All-NBA Second Team, 14x All-Star Selections)
-"The Mailman" is considered by many the greatest Power Forward in NBA History and his resume of excellence in undeniable. Malone was incredibly durable, playing all 82 Regular Season games in 10 of his 19 seasons in the NBA. Malone averaged at least 20 Points per game and at least 10 Rebounds per game in 10 seasons along with averaging at least One Steal per Game every year of his 19 seasons of his time in the NBA.
1. Charles Barkley (1992-93 NBA MVP Award, 5x All-NBA First Team, 5x All-NBA Second Team, 11x All-Star Selections)
-One of the greatest Power Forwards in NBA History and an elite athlete who maximized all his physical abilities, Charles Barkley was an undeniable force of nature in the NBA during his career. Barkley averaged at least 20 Points per game and 10 Rebounds per game for eleven straight seasons along with showcasing incredible efficiency on offense leading the NBA in Two Point Field Goal Shooting Percentage for five different seasons. Barkley was also an underrated defender who averaged at least one steal per game for 15 straight seasons.