Nerd Numbers here. Arturo let me post the first part of a follow up piece to Mosi of the Miami Heat Index and Devin of NBeh?. Both looked at the top 50 NBA players list from a few year back and updated it. In terms of stats the NBA is an odd bird. It wasn’t until 1978 when individual turnovers (an important piece of several advanced stats) were tracked. As a result I kept my picks in this era. To keep it interesting I limited my choices to 25 players. I based my picks on individual and playoff performances. My top 10 was a lot of fun. Anyway, here are my final 15 picks for the top 25 players of the turnover era.
#11 Dennis Rodman
- Regular Season – 28838 Minutes, 246 Wins Produced (12th Overall), 0.409 Career WP48
- Playoff – 4789 Minutes, 28 Wins Produced (12th Overall), 0.282 Career WP48
Check out Rodman’s 1992 season. It is the best season of any player in the last 33 years. The only reason Rodman’s out of the top 10 is the fact he did not play as many minutes as some of the other top players. Definitely one of the most underrated players of all time and a key piece of two repeat title teams.
#12 Kevin Garnett
- Regular Season – 41417 Minutes, 282 Wins Produced (6th Overall), 0.327 Career WP48
- Playoff – 3755 Minutes, 19 Wins Produced (25th Overall), 0.247 Career WP48
Kevin Garnett has the second most regular season wins of any active player. Unfortunately he hasn’t gotten a lot of playoff time. If he can stay healthy and help the Celtics to more playoff success he’ll climb this list before his career is through.
#13 Ben Wallace
- Regular Season – 31799 Minutes, 207 Wins Produced (18th Overall), 0.313 Career WP48
- Playoff – 4524 Minutes, 30 Wins Produced (11th Overall), 0.318 Career WP48
Ben Wallace is definitely a player that deserved more playing time in his prime. He was an absolutely beast for Detroit and arguably should have earned an MVP in his time there. Some health issues and age ruined what could have been a great tandem with him and LeBron in Cleveland.
#14 Moses Malone
- Regular Season – 42553 Minutes, 236 Wins Produced (16th Overall), 0.266 Career WP48
- Playoff – 3278 Minutes, 19 Wins Produced (29th Overall), 0.275 Career WP48
I’m a big fan of the only MVP in the turnover era on a team with fewer than 50 wins. Some more playoff time could have helped his standing. That said he still ranks as the fifth best center in the last 33 years by my measure.
#15 Clyde Drexler
- Regular Season – 40265 Minutes, 238 Wins Produced (15th Overall), 0.283 Career WP48
- Playoff – 5572 Minutes, 25 Wins Produced (17th Overall), 0.211 Career WP48
The second best shooting guard after Jordan. 1989-1991 was a rough stretch where Portland had the chance to be a champion three years in a row and ran into Johnson, Jordan and Rodman instead. He was a great player that got to be a savior and a champion but arguably for the wrong team.
#16 Karl Malone
- Regular Season – 54852 Minutes, 322 Wins Produced (2nd Overall), 0.282 Career WP48
- Playoff – 7907 Minutes, 28 Wins Produced (13th Overall), 0.167 Career WP48
I had a rough time placing Malone this low. The truth is he wasn’t a great playoff player. He had a long and great career for Utah. He did a LeBron like move to end it but sadly it didn’t work out. That said, he ended his career as a member of the 300 win club and a top power forward.
#17 LeBron James
- Regular Season – 21804 Minutes, 139 Wins Produced (43rd Overall), 0.305 Career WP48
- Playoff – 3089 Minutes, 19 Wins Produced (27th Overall), 0.295 Career WP48
I have to agree with Mosi. A lot of the Anti-LeBron sentiment is just hater talk. As a Denver fan that’s seen domestic abuse, drug use and driving issues with “star” players I can’t honestly say being a prima donna is that offensive. LeBron’s short career has been amazing. Excluding the 2007 finals against the Spurs, LeBron’s career performance has been great. I’m genuinely curious to see how much higher he’ll climb before his career is over.
#18 Dikembe Mutombo
- Regular Season – 39211 Minutes, 243 Wins Produced (13th Overall), 0.297 Career WP48
- Playoff – 3177 Minutes, 16 Wins Produced (36th Overall), 0.245 Career WP48
It’s hard as a Nuggets fan not to wonder what could have been if Dikembe had stuck around. He was a defensive powerhouse that is definitely underrated. It’s a shame he didn’t get as much playoff time as some of the other big names but he still made an impact and did manage to get to two finals.
#19 Shawn Marion
- Regular Season – 34880 Minutes, 198 Wins Produced (21st Overall), 0.272 Career WP48
- Playoff – 2790 Minutes, 14 Wins Produced (45th Overall), 0.235 Career WP48
Marion was the first superstar on Phoenix. When they got Amare and Nash it was a thing of beauty. Sadly that time ended too soon with a bad trade for Shaq. Marion is a player that could do it all and definitely racked up some impressive numbers in his prime. He’s still a productive player and here’s hoping he can pull a title before his career ends.
#20 Mark Jackson
- Regular Season – 44763 Minutes, 204 Wins Produced (19th Overall), 0.219 Career WP48
- Playoff – 3775 Minutes, 17 Wins Produced (34th Overall), 0.220 Career WP48
In a world of scorers someone has to get them the ball. Jackson had a career average of almost 8 assists a game. Mark Jackson was a key piece of a strong Indiana team that did make it all the way. Sadly, the truth is Mark Jackson won’t get much love on other top lists but that’s what the Wages of Wins Network is here for.
#21 Marcus Camby
- Regular Season – 27779 Minutes, 168 Wins Produced (27th Overall), 0.290 Career WP48
- Playoff – 2075 Minutes, 10 Wins Produced (64th Overall), 0.231 Career WP48
Marcus Camby has been a great player that probably hasn’t gotten enough credit. He was a key playoff member of the 99’ Knicks that made it all the way to the finals. In Denver he made Melo look like a star and in Portland he has kept an injury ridden team respectable. It’s my hope he can end his career with a ring as I’m sure he’ll be ignored from the hall.
#22 Scottie Pippen
- Regular Season – 41068 Minutes, 194 Wins Produced (22nd Overall), 0.227 Career WP48
- Playoff – 8105 Minutes, 38 Wins Produced (6th Overall), 0.225 Career WP48
Easily the best side kick in the NBA. Pippen put up great regular season and playoff numbers and was a key members of one of the best teams of all time, twice! The Bulls and the Jazz are amazing in that they both drafted two of the top 25 players in the last 33 years.
#23 Dirk Nowitzki
- Regular Season – 33405 Minutes, 152 Wins Produced (32nd Overall), 0.219 Career WP48
- Playoff – 4301 Minutes, 23 Wins Produced (18th Overall), 0.251 Career WP48
The greatest European I can think of. Dirk is a crazy player. He’s a 7 footer that is a threat from anywhere on the floor. It’s a shame he missed his shot at the title but he will leave a great legacy. He should be a walk for the hall and will end his career as one of the best of all time.
#24 Bill Laimbeer
- Regular Season – 35785 Minutes, 158 Wins Produced (29th Overall), 0.212 Career WP48
- Playoff – 3735 Minutes, 17 Wins Produced (33rd Overall), 0.223 Career WP48
Forget Isiah and Dumars the bad boy Pistons were all about Rodman and Laimbeer. Devin and Mosi both left him off their lists, which I consider a huge snub. Laimbeer was a top player in the regular season and the playoffs and definitely was underrated by everyone outside of Detroit.
#25 Steve Nash
- Regular Season – 31404 Minutes, 148 Wins Produced (34th Overall), 0.226 Career WP48
- Playoff –4228 Minutes, 18 Wins Produced (31st Overall), 0.204 Career WP48
How can I not put a mullet wearing Canadian that was the two time MVP on my list? He won’t stay here long with players like Dwight Howard just waiting to take this spot. That said, Steve Nash has a had a great career and somehow is still playing at a top level. It’s a shame he missed his title shot but somehow he’s stayed classy and is a great follow on twitter.
Well there’s my list. Devin and Mosi smartly didn’t order their lists but where’s the fun in that? Feel free to chime in with your thoughts.