Ignoring career performance, who at their peak was the best NBA basketball player ever?

By peak do you mean prime? Who had the best primes?

I have a few suggestions, can’t pick just one so I’ll list them out:

These are some players with great primes:

1952–1960 Bob Cousy

1957–1965 Bill Russell

1956–1964 Bob Pettit

1960–1968 Wilt Chamberlain (by the numbers he would be the GOAT here)

1961–1970 Oscar Robertson

1962–1972 Jerry West

1967–1972 Connie Hawkins

1959–1965 Elgin Baylor

1967–1974 John Havlicek

1969–1977 Elvin Hayes

1969–1980 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

1966–1975 Rick Barry

1977–1978 Bill Walton (yes this short 2 year prime was one of the greatest i’ve seen)

1972–1981 Julius Erving

1973–1978 Pete Maravich

1976–1981 David Thompson

1978–1983 George Gervin

1979–1985 Moses Malone

1983–1987 Isiah Thomas

1984–1985 Bernard King

1980–1988 Larry Bird

1983–1991 Magic Johnson

1986–1996 Hakeem Olajuwon

1987–1998 Michael Jordan

1987–1996 Charles Barkley

1988–1997 John Stockton

1988–1998 Karl Malone

1990–1996 David Robinson

1996–2000 Grant Hill

1994–2003 Shaq

1999–2007 Allen Iverson

1998–2007 Tim Duncan

1999–2007 Kevin Garnett

2001–2007 Tracy McGrady

2002–2011 Dirk Nowitzki

2001–2013 Kobe Bryant

2005–2011 Dwayne Wade

2008–2014 Dwight Howard

2008–2016 Chris Paul

2005–2020 Lebron James (seriously one of the longest primes ever!)

2009–2019 Kevin Durant

2014–2019 Stephen Curry

2015–2019 Russell Westbrook

2013–2020 James Harden

Out of these primes I think the top 10 best primes were:

  1. 1960–1968 Wilt Chamberlain
  2. 1987–1998 Michael Jordan
  3. 2005–2020 Lebron James
  4. 1969–1980 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
  5. 1980–1998 Larry Bird
  6. 1994–2003 Shaq
  7. 1961–1970 Oscar Robertson
  8. 1959–1965 Elgin Baylor
  9. 1966–1975 Rick Barry
  10. 1979–1985 Moses Malone

Where should I settle next?

As some people know, I am currently taking a break from work and this is the first time I’ve been unemployed since 2011. This was by my own choice – I needed break and some time off from work to think and reflect on what I want to do with my life and where I want to go next.

Right now I’m in Korea and will be traveling Asia while I relax and think about things and meeting my Korean friends again. There is some choices I have to make – I think I will continue doing programming as my main career since it is one of the best jobs you can get right now – salary wise and flexibility wise. I am fortunate that I am a career programmer and one of the few people I know that have done this since I was young. It is one of the few jobs in the world that can give me good pay and good flexibility on location – I can work almost anywhere in the world since software engineers are popular worldwide.

But even then there are some choices I have to make – now that I’ve sold my San Francisco home, I don’t have a real ‘residence’ anymore and am free to choose where I should settle next. So I have a few choices on where to go but they all have pros and cons, and I’m still deciding between them. I have to take into consideration salary differences, location, do I have friends there or not, how easy is it to meet friends, (and for my personal future) how likely am I to meet the right Korean girl to marry?

Option 1: Seoul, Korea – the best choice if I want to get married soon

-Awesome atmosphere. Lots of things to do. Lots of people to meet. With population of 10 million, easily the biggest city out of my choices
-Obviously lots of single Korean women, easiest to meet the right person
-Lots of Korean friends here
-Rent is cheap – can get decent studio for around $600 a month

-Low salary for engineers, around $40k USD/yr
-Work/Life balance is difficult – probably have to work overtime regularly
-Probably won’t get much opportunity to meet those Korean friends because Koreans are usually busy bodies. Even close friends I only met once a month here.
-Take home pay: roughly $2700 USD a month after rent/taxes

Option 2: Vancouver, Canada – the best choice if I want to be closer to family

-Most convenient for me, don’t need a visa to get a job
-family and friends can visit me easily
-Lots of Korean women, probably #3 in North America after LA and Toronto

-Rainy weather
-Salary is relatively low – $80k CAD on average for engineers which is roughly $61k USD and taxes is similar to California so it’s roughly $40k/yr after taxes, so basically same salary as Korea (without the overwork though).
-Cost of living is high, around $1400 USD/mo for studio
-Take home pay: roughly $2000 USD a month after rent/taxes

Option 3: San Francisco, California – the best choice for the best tech companies

-Very familiar with the city, still have some friends left there (including one really good friend)
-High salaries and lots of jobs – around $130k/yr average for engineers
-Very nice temperate climate and scenery

-Cost of living is very high, around $2500/mo for studio
-Not a lot of women in general let alone Korean women, probably the worst place to meet girls on my list of choices
-High taxes, so take home salary (net income) would be about $84k/yr
-Take home pay: roughly $4500 USD a month after rent/taxes

Option 4: Seattle, Washington – the best choice for earning and saving money

-High salaries, lots of jobs – around $130k/yr average for engineers, but even higher than San Francisco due to no income tax which means net income is around 7% higher, around $94k/yr the highest out of any city on my list

-Not many friends in Seattle, I have maybe one or two
-Not as many Korean women as LA/Seoul/Vancouver
-Cost of living is also expensive like Vancouver, around $1400/mo for studio
-Rainy weather
-Take home pay: roughly $6400 USD a month after rent/taxes

Option 5: Los Angeles, California – the balanced choice

-Sunny warm weather all year round
-the most Koreans outside of Korea
-Have a few close friends there
-Nightlife better than other American cities. second biggest city on my list after Seoul

-Not as many tech jobs as Seattle/SF. Average salary is around $110k/yr for engineers, and after CA taxes would be around $72k/yr, firmly in the middle of my list
-Cost of living is expensive, around $1500/mo for studio
-Take home pay: roughly $4500 USD a month after rent/taxes
-I would probably need a car (which is a hassle), which is something I cannot say for the other cities on my list…

So… where should I go? decisions, decisions.


Top 10 what-if? careers in NBA history and unluckiest NBA franchise

Top 10 NBA (hall of fame) what-if careers:

1. Bill Walton
2x champion, 1x mvp, 1x finals mvp, 2x all star, 2x first team. What if Walton was healthy is the biggest what if in hall of famer history because he only had 2 healthy seasons when he was in the NBA. during those 2 healthy seasons, he won 2 rings, an MVP, a finals mvp, 2x all star and 2x all-NBA. That’s as good a 2 year stretch as any of the greatest players ever. He had various foot and ankle injuries after 1978, that season was also his best season averaging 19/13/5 the most Russell like stats out of any center in recent memory. Had he not been injured? Maybe he would be considered on par with Kareem who is one of the top 3 greatest players of all time.

2. Arvydas Sabonis
Considered one of the best European players of all time, he was never able to play for the NBA in his prime due to the Soviet Union restricting him. By the time he came to the NBA in 1995 (he was drafted in 1986) he was a shell of himself due to many injuries. We will never know how good a prime Sabonis would have been in the NBA, but his best season was in 1998 averaging 16/10/3. If he hadn’t been injured? Maybe he would have become a top 5 center of all time.

3. Maurice Stokes
3x All star, 3x All NBA, HOF the most tragic story on here, Maurice stokes led the league in rebounds in 1958, and only played 3 seasons before suffering a career ending head injury and stroke thus becoming permanently paralyzed on his last regular season game in 1958. one could only imagine how good he could have been. his average was 17/18/6 in 1958 before the injury. Maybe he could have ended up a top 20 or top 15 player of all time.

4. David Thompson
4x All star, 2x all NBA, HOF the player who stopped UCLA’s 88 game winning streak. Had 73 points in a game before and was considered Michael Jordan’s idol. never got injured but had a drug problem. Because of his cocaine habits, he was averaging 27/5/5 a game in 1978 his best season before those stats steadily declining since. He wasn’t even in his prime yet, and who knows? He could’ve been a pseudo-Jordan if he didn’t do drugs.

5. Grant Hill
7x All star, 5x all NBA, was a triple double machine and considered the next Magic or Oscar when he was playing with the Pistons. Right after he got traded to the Magic he had various ankle injuries and was never the same again. best season was in 1997, averaging 21/9/7/2. Maybe he could’ve been a top 5 SF of all time if he wasn’t injured.

6. Drazen Petrovic
Never an All star or all NBA, but was a rising star on the Nets before his untimely death at age 28 in a car accident. the previous season in 1993 he was averaging 22/3/3.5. Maybe he would’ve been a top 15-20 shooting guard if he didn’t die.

7. Tracy McGrady
7x All star, 8x all NBA, was scoring champion 2x, since 2006 suffered recurring injuries and never was able to sustain his excellence. Was considered on par with Kobe for being the best shooting guards at that time before those injuries. Best season was in 2003 averaging 32/6.5/5.5. Maybe he would have been a top 10 shooting guard if he wasn’t injured.

8. Bernard King
4x All star, 4x all NBA, HOF was the 1985 scoring champion when he tore his ACL which at that time was a career ending injury. He was averaging 33 points a game before this injury. best season was in 1985, averaging 33/6/4. Could have been a top 10 SF if he wasn’t injured.

9. Derrick Rose
3x All star, 1x all NBA, 1x MVP – No one will know what Derrick Rose could have been if he didn’t suffer his ACL tear in 2012 during the playoffs; he was considered one of the best players in the league before then, and won an MVP before in his best season in 2011, averaging 25/4/8 a game. Could’ve been similar to Russell Westbrook, a top 15 point guard, if he wasn’t injured.

10. Penny Hardaway
4x All star, 3x all NBA, had persistent injuries from the 1998 season onwards. Was considered then next Magic Johnson due to his combination of size and passing ability. Best season was in 1996, averaging 22/4/7. Maybe would have been a top 15 point guard if he wasn’t injured.

Honorable Mention: Yao Ming
8x All star, 5x all NBA, HOF, had persistent ankle foot injuries during 2006 and never was fully healthy again. only had 3 full healthy seasons in the NBA, best season was in 2007 averaging 25/9/2. Maybe would have been a top 15-20 center if he wasn’t injured.

The Blazers have to be most unluckiest NBA franchise:

1972 – Larue Martin, possibly the biggest #1 draft pick bust of all time
1975 – Bill Walton – only had 1.5 healthy seasons for the Blazers
1984 – missed Jordan and picked Sam Bowie who was also injured his whole career
1995 – got Sabonis who was far past his prime and also injured
2006 – Brandon Roy, had to retire from degenerative knee condition
2007 – Greg Oden, another one of the biggest draft busts ever

has there been an unluckier NBA franchise?