Saturday , Jun , 04 , 2011 J.N.

NBA Legends who are not the GOAT

This comes up every playoff time involving great active players such as Kobe Bryant and LeBron James right now in 2011. Whenever one of them goes deep in a playoff run putting up good statistics and highlight plays, the media and former players gas these guys up. The method is definitely a “prisoner of the moment” type thing. Why do you guys do it? There is a lot of front running and some trolling. All good though. I’m ready. We’re ready. My body is ready. Let’s do this. Remember that the standards are extremely high and strict. These legends have great accomplishments. However, further scrutiny causes them not be the ultimate GOAT.

The all time greats
Larry Bird, Shaquille O’Neal, Tim Duncan, Kobe Bryant, Magic Johnson, Bill Russell, and Oscar Robertson all have a case to be the Greatest of All Time. They do. Their cases are just not convincing. This isn’t a knock on any of them. They are all great legends. However, they just did not measure up to the last men standing according to the NBA Greatest of All Time criteria.

Stuff that held these men back:

Career PER is 24.1
Career total win shares is 155.8
No All Defensive team selections

Career PER is 23.5
Career total win shares is 145.8

Bill Russell
11 titles are impressive, but low field goal percentage, low true shooting percentage, PER (18.9), and win share is 163.5. Yes, I know they did not keep track of steals and blocks for the innovator of defense, but that’s not my fault. I can only look at what is presented to me in the record books. Whatever is missing, that’s too bad. I’ll give him the title of the man with the most rings.

O. Robertson
Only one ring and one league MVP

Shaquille O’Neal
Only one league MVP and win share is 181.7

Tim Duncan (not retired as of this writing)
Career PER is not 25 or more; currently at 24.8.
Total win share is 170.

Kobe Bryant (not retired as of this writing)
Current career PER is 23.5
Current total win share is 156.3
One league MVP

Bob Pettit
Total win share is 136
One ring

Moses Malone
One ring
NBA win share is 167.1
NBA PER is 22.3

Julius Erving
One NBA ring
NBA win share is 106.2
NBA PER is 22.0

Hakeem Olajuwon
PER is 23.6
Win share is 162.8
Only one league MVP

Karl Malone and John Stockton
No rings, no Finals MVPs.

Nice achievements all around, but they are eliminated from “the best NBA player ever” arguments because they did not accumulate enough. The significant advanced metrics show that they do not meet the rigid requirements either. You can debate endlessly, but the line has to be drawn somewhere. No negotiations or bending rules. Nope, that cannot happen here. You can sit at a computer and write long essays in a message board on why your favorite player up above should not be eliminated. It will not change anything. They are all great players yet elimination has to occur to arrive at one player.

Fight through the pain. In other words, deal with it. The facts show it so keep the emotions in check. Be happy that your player was even mentioned. It’s already tough making the list.

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