Author Topic: All Time - Greatest Player in league from start to today  (Read 3683 times)

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All Time - Greatest Player in league from start to today
« on: October 14, 2016, 10:29:09 AM »

Offline Moranis

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I thought it would be interesting to see which players in league history were widely regarded as the best player in the world for an extended period of time. 

Mikan
Pettit
Russell/Chamberlain (back and forth for much of 60's)
Kareem
Bird/Magic (back and forth for much of 80's)
Jordan
Shaq
Lebron

There are only a couple of years in between those guys where other players could get in there, but I think those are the 10 guys that you would call the greatest of their generation with the two ties of course (at least a 5 year period).   Obviously there are players that would hit for a couple of years Duncan/Garnett between Shaq/Lebron, Hakeem during Jordan's break, etc.
« Last Edit: October 14, 2016, 01:38:59 PM by Moranis »
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Re: All Time - Greatest Player in league from start to today
« Reply #1 on: October 14, 2016, 11:03:13 AM »

Offline td450

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I counted up the number of championships these ten players won and attempted to only count championships when players were the best in the league. This meant:

Chamberlain's second championship didn't count
Kareem and Magic shared 5 titles, so these were counted once
Shaq only gets credit for his first 2 titles

These ten guys have won 38 of the 67 available titles while they were the dominant player in the league since 1949. Also keep in mind that, as Moranis said, there were a number of other guys who were clearly the best player in the league for a year or two that also won titles.

I think the lesson here is that often, no one guy dominates everyone else in the league, but when there is, their team has historically won the title a very high percentage of the time.

Re: All Time - Greatest Player in league from start to today
« Reply #2 on: October 14, 2016, 01:31:45 PM »

Offline Celtics17

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I have to go with Wilt as the best player to ever play in the NBA. I know he has his detractors but the guy was the most dominant presence the league has ever seen. You need a player who can score, well no one ever did it better. Keep in mind, Wilt scored 50 or more at least 10 times more in one season then MJ did in his career!

You need rebounding, Wilt was the best rebounder the league has ever seen, leading it 11 times in his 13 year career. Russel was a close second but I give the edge to Wilt due to his height and strength.

If you need defense Wilt can supply that at whatever level you need it. I know Russ gets credit for being a better defensive player, and maybe he was, but let's not forget that Wilt's teams asked him to do both, play D and score as well as rebound. Russ really was not counted on to score to make his teams win.

Now, if you think another player should be listed try substituting Wilt onto that team and take away the other player. Would the Celts have won 11 titles in 13 years with Wilt as their starting center instead of Russ? It's hard to say for sure but they may have won em all!

How about MJ's Bulls? With the teams they faced putting Wilt in their instead of MJ might have made them much better. Wilt could do everythig Jordan did and much more!

Re: All Time - Greatest Player in league from start to today
« Reply #3 on: October 14, 2016, 02:37:16 PM »

Online eja117

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I don't think you can say Russell and Wilt went back and forth. That's like saying Peyton Manning and Tom Brady and Ben Rothlisburger went back and forth. No they didn't

Re: All Time - Greatest Player in league from start to today
« Reply #4 on: October 14, 2016, 02:59:04 PM »

Offline Moranis

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I don't think you can say Russell and Wilt went back and forth. That's like saying Peyton Manning and Tom Brady and Ben Rothlisburger went back and forth. No they didn't
Sure you can, Bill and Wilt were very close and some seasons one was clearly better, some the other was clearly better.  I mean MVP's were 5 to 4 (4 each while the other was in the league).  I think you could actually make the stronger case for Wilt as the better player more years than Russell (MVP's aside), but with the team success it does skew a bit back towards Russell. 
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Re: All Time - Greatest Player in league from start to today
« Reply #5 on: October 14, 2016, 03:22:50 PM »

Online eja117

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I don't think you can say Russell and Wilt went back and forth. That's like saying Peyton Manning and Tom Brady and Ben Rothlisburger went back and forth. No they didn't
Sure you can, Bill and Wilt were very close and some seasons one was clearly better, some the other was clearly better.  I mean MVP's were 5 to 4 (4 each while the other was in the league).  I think you could actually make the stronger case for Wilt as the better player more years than Russell (MVP's aside), but with the team success it does skew a bit back towards Russell.
It's just that rings are the only thing that matters.

Re: All Time - Greatest Player in league from start to today
« Reply #6 on: October 14, 2016, 03:33:22 PM »

Offline showtime

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To me, it's about who is the second best player of all time. Wilt is clearly number one.

Re: All Time - Greatest Player in league from start to today
« Reply #7 on: October 14, 2016, 03:42:56 PM »

Offline Moranis

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I don't think you can say Russell and Wilt went back and forth. That's like saying Peyton Manning and Tom Brady and Ben Rothlisburger went back and forth. No they didn't
Sure you can, Bill and Wilt were very close and some seasons one was clearly better, some the other was clearly better.  I mean MVP's were 5 to 4 (4 each while the other was in the league).  I think you could actually make the stronger case for Wilt as the better player more years than Russell (MVP's aside), but with the team success it does skew a bit back towards Russell.
It's just that rings are the only thing that matters.
Not at all.  Was Pau better than KG?  I mean they were pretty similar as a possible best player (but more likely 2nd best player) on their title teams, of course Pau got 2 to KG's 1.    Was Kobe better than Lebron?  Kobe has more rings, must mean he is better.  Rings are won by the best team.  Bill was surrounded by HOFers.  Wilt generally was not.  That matters to rings, not to who is the better player.  Now there are definitely seasons where Bill was better than Wilt, but if you were really going to pick who the better player was and did so not on a Celtics web-site, I would imagine Wilt would get the nod.   
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Re: All Time - Greatest Player in league from start to today
« Reply #8 on: October 14, 2016, 04:08:59 PM »

Offline gift

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I feel like Tim Duncan should be on the list if you're including more than one guy per time period.

Re: All Time - Greatest Player in league from start to today
« Reply #9 on: October 14, 2016, 04:55:01 PM »

Online eja117

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I don't think you can say Russell and Wilt went back and forth. That's like saying Peyton Manning and Tom Brady and Ben Rothlisburger went back and forth. No they didn't
Sure you can, Bill and Wilt were very close and some seasons one was clearly better, some the other was clearly better.  I mean MVP's were 5 to 4 (4 each while the other was in the league).  I think you could actually make the stronger case for Wilt as the better player more years than Russell (MVP's aside), but with the team success it does skew a bit back towards Russell.
It's just that rings are the only thing that matters.
Not at all.  Was Pau better than KG?  I mean they were pretty similar as a possible best player (but more likely 2nd best player) on their title teams, of course Pau got 2 to KG's 1.    Was Kobe better than Lebron?  Kobe has more rings, must mean he is better.  Rings are won by the best team.  Bill was surrounded by HOFers.  Wilt generally was not.  That matters to rings, not to who is the better player.  Now there are definitely seasons where Bill was better than Wilt, but if you were really going to pick who the better player was and did so not on a Celtics web-site, I would imagine Wilt would get the nod.   
So you theorize that if you trade Pau for KG straight up Pau's teams get worse and KG's get better or there's no change at all?

Very interesting. I always felt the implication was in an apples to apples way. If we assume Bill and Wilt are both apples (and they aren't anyway) then only rings will matter.

Now if you want to go across eras the rings aren't quite the same because Bill played before globalization. But within the era...when comparing alphas to alphas.....only rings matter. Especially when they went head to head so much. That's why they play the championship games. Otherwise you're like Euro soccer with no post season or something

Re: All Time - Greatest Player in league from start to today
« Reply #10 on: October 14, 2016, 06:22:12 PM »

Offline Celtics17

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Is it only rings that matter when determining the 'best player'? If the Warriors and Cleveland meet and Lebon outplays everyone but the the Warriors win the title, does that make Durant the best player? Or would it be Curry who is then the best player in the league? After all, his team beat Lebron's so he  must be better, right?

Rings are the factor in the 'best team' but not necessarily the best player. Wilt's teams took the Celtics to I think 4 game seven's and lost by a total of nine points. If Wilt's teams win those games they probably win the title that year. If so, does that then make him a better player then Russ?

I have played many sports and I do understand that some players just know how to win. They are willing to do whatever the team needs to do to win and even more impressive is that they can do those things, and do. But what about the players who carry their team the entire game? The players who have already done everything the team needs to get to within a few points of the victory? Doe that make them less of a player when that team doesn't win? I think the word 'team' answers that question.



Re: All Time - Greatest Player in league from start to today
« Reply #11 on: October 14, 2016, 06:27:43 PM »

Online eja117

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Is it only rings that matter when determining the 'best player'? If the Warriors and Cleveland meet and Lebon outplays everyone but the the Warriors win the title, does that make Durant the best player? Or would it be Curry who is then the best player in the league? After all, his team beat Lebron's so he  must be better, right?

Rings are the factor in the 'best team' but not necessarily the best player. Wilt's teams took the Celtics to I think 4 game seven's and lost by a total of nine points. If Wilt's teams win those games they probably win the title that year. If so, does that then make him a better player then Russ?

I have played many sports and I do understand that some players just know how to win. They are willing to do whatever the team needs to do to win and even more impressive is that they can do those things, and do. But what about the players who carry their team the entire game? The players who have already done everything the team needs to get to within a few points of the victory? Doe that make them less of a player when that team doesn't win? I think the word 'team' answers that question.
Take Duncan and put him on any team and that team becomes the Spurs. Take Jordan. Same thing. Take Bill Russell. Same thing.  That's why dynasties are usually built around one or two players.

Re: All Time - Greatest Player in league from start to today
« Reply #12 on: October 14, 2016, 06:58:28 PM »

Offline Celtics17

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Ok, let's put Duncan on Wilt's teams and take Wilt off. Does that mean Duncan's team beats Russell's Celtics?

Re: All Time - Greatest Player in league from start to today
« Reply #13 on: October 14, 2016, 07:05:14 PM »

Offline walker834

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I think players like Wilt and Lebron get hyped up by the masses and annointed the greatest before they even win anything mainly due to their physical ability.  Russell was still considered an underdog against wilt and not as good even thugh Russell was beating him all the time.  People still don't consider Russell to be that good.  There's just something inside players like Russell who have a higher understanding of the game and team basketball.   Most people wouldn't even mention Pierce in the same sentence as Lebron because Lebron has better stats. 

I don't consider those players the best because if you really watch them they are beatable and take away from other players on the floor.

Duncan didn't need to be the leading scorer on those spurs teams.  Neither did KG here.  Lebron took his teams to the conference finals and bad teams much like KG did.  It wasn't until Lebron had Wade and Bosh and the same thing with KG here.  Allen Iverson even lead teams to the finals on his own.  Pierce took this team to the conference finals.  They all needed each other.  The fact of the matter is Russell was better than Chamberlain when he had that.  It's arguable Duncan was better than Lebron too for the same reasons.

Kidd did the same stuff in Nj and then when he had Dirk they were able to beat Lebron.

The fact of the matter is there were better players than Lebron when they all had that.  Russell was better than Chamberlain too.
« Last Edit: October 14, 2016, 07:13:19 PM by walker834 »

Re: All Time - Greatest Player in league from start to today
« Reply #14 on: October 14, 2016, 07:10:51 PM »

Offline Csfan1984

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 Based on that list. Id go most dominant player. Because there are a ton of better skill players than some of those big guys. If you go dominant player then the list makes sense. And you can put Wilt or Russell without issue or debate.
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