If all NBA players were judged by their best season, what would the new greatest of all time list look like?

Let me take a crack at this. I’m just gonna focus on the statistical best seasons. First lets get the ridiculous 1962 seasons out of the way where 4 all time players peaked at the same time..

  1. 1962 Wilt Chamberlain – 50.4 PPG / 25.7 RPG / 2.4 APG
  2. 1962 Oscar Robertson – 30.8 PPG / 12.5 RPG / 11.4 APG
  3. 1962 Elgin Baylor – 38.3 PPG / 18.6 RPG / 4.6 APG
  4. 1962 Bob Pettit – 31.1 PPG / 18.7 RPG / 3.7 APG
  5. 1972 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar – 34.8 PPG / 16.6 RPG / 4.6 APG
  6. 2017 Russell Westbrook – 31.6 PPG / 10.7 RPG / 10.4 APG
  7. 2000 Shaquille O’Neal – 29.7 PPG / 13.6 RPG / 3.8 APG
  8. 1989 Michael Jordan – 32.5 PPG / 8 RPG / 8 APG
  9. 1967 Rick Barry – 35.6 PPG / 9.2 RPG / 3.6 APG
  10. 1971 John Havlicek – 28.9 PPG / 9 RPG / 7.5 APG
  11. 1973 Julius Erving – 31.9 PPG / 12.2 RPG / 4.2 APG
  12. 1968 Connie Hawkins – 26.8 PPG / 13.5 RPG / 4.6 APG
  13. 2017 James Harden – 29.1 PPG / 8.1 RPG / 11.2 APG
  14. 2014 Kevin Durant – 32.0 PPG / 7.4 RPG / 5.5 APG
  15. 1968 Nate Thurmond – 20.5 PPG / 22 RPG / 4.2 APG
  16. 1960 Bill Russell – 18.2 PPG / 24 RPG / 3.7 APG
  17. 1966 Jerry Lucas – 21.5 PPG / 21.1 RPG / 2.7 APG
  18. 1962 Walt Bellamy – 31.6 PPG / 19 RPG / 2.7 APG
  19. 2008 Lebron James – 30 PPG / 7.9 RPG / 7.2 APG
  20. 1994 David Robinson – 29.8 PPG / 10.7 RPG / 4.8 APG

Jaw dropping numbers from these guys I know…

Who was the best defensive player in NBA history?

Probably Bill Russell. The man was so intimidating on defense that opposing teams would settle for low percentage shots farther and farther from the basket because they knew Russell was waiting in the interior waiting to block any shots near the rim. The guy would have averaged 10+ blocks a game had they been counted back then and numerous DPOY awards..

BTW if anyone is interested I can give a list of the best defensive players by the decade my votes are:
1960s: Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlain, Jerry West

1970s: Walt Frazier, Kareem Abdul Jabbar, John Havlicek

1980s: Bobby Jones, Joe Dumars, Sidney Moncrief, Alvin Robertson, Michael Cooper

1990s: David Robinson, Hakeem Olajuwon, Dikembe Mutombo, Dennis Rodman, Scottie Pippen, Gary Payton, Michael Jordan, Alonzo Mourning

2000s: Dwight Howard, Ben Wallace, Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett

2010s: Kawhi Leonard, Draymond Green

The 90s really had a lot…

Top 20 greatest defensive players of all time
1. Bill Russell (4x rebounding leader, 1x All-D 1st team)
2. Wilt Chamberlain (11x rebounding leader, 2x All-D 1st team)
3. Hakeem Olajuwon (2x rebounding leader, 3x blocks leader, 2x DPOY, 5x All-D 1st team)
4. Dikembe Mutombo (2x rebounding leader, 3x blocks leader, 4x DPOY, 3x All-D 1st team)
5. Nate Thurmond (2x All-D 1st team)
6. Ben Wallace (2x rebounding leader, 1x blocks leader, 4x DPOY, 5x All-D 1st team)
7. David Robinson (1x rebounding leader, 1x blocks leader, 1x DPOY, 4x All-D 1st team)
8. Kevin Garnett (4x rebounding leader, 1x DPOY, 9x All-D 1st team)
9. Dennis Rodman (7x rebounding leader, 2x DPOY, 7x All-D 1st team)
10. Scottie Pippen (1x steals leader, 8x All-D 1st team)
11. Michael Jordan (3x steals leader, 1x DPOY, 9x All-D 1st team)
12. Dwight Howard (5x rebounding leader, 2x blocks leader, 3x DPOY, 4x All-D 1st team)
13. Gary Payton (1x steals leader, 1x DPOY, 9x All-D 1st team)
14. Sidney Moncrief (2x DPOY, 4x All-D 1st team)
15. Tim Duncan (8x All-D 1st team)
16. Walt Frazier (7x All-D 1st team)
17. Kawhi Leonard (1x steals leader, 2x DPOY, 3x All-D 1st team)
18. Bobby Jones (8x All-D 1st team)
19. Mark Eaton (4x blocks leader, 2x DPOY, 3x All-D 1st team)
20. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (1x rebounding leader, 4x blocks leader, 5x All-D 1st team)

What would the list of the 50 greatest NBA players look like if they selected the players today?

That’s a hard one. Inevitably some really good players will get bumped off… here’s the list of NBA’s 50 greatest players originally selected in 1996: 50 Greatest Players in NBA History | Basketball-Reference.com

Let’s see who should be added in today’s NBA:

-Lebron James, obvious no brainer best SF ever to play

-Kobe Bryant, another no brainer 2nd best SG

-Tim Duncan, another no brainer best PF ever

-Dirk Nowitzki, a top 5 PF of all time

-Dwayne Wade, a top 5 SG of all time

-Allen Iverson, a top 5–10 SG of all time

-Kevin Durant, top 10 SF by this point

-Stephen Curry, another top 10 PG

-Russell Westbrook, top 10 PG

-Dwight Howard, top 15 center ever

-Chris Paul, top 10 PG

-Steve Nash, top 10 PG

-Jason Kidd, top 10 PG

-James Harden, top 10 SG

-Kevin Garnett, top 5 PF

So that’s 15 guys right there… which means 15 guys need to bumped off the old 50 greatest list. It’s hard but IMO here’s the 15 that should be bumped off

-James Worthy

-Lenny Wilkens

-Nate Thurmond

-Bill Sharman

-Robert Parish

-Earl Monroe

-Pete Maravich

-Jerry Lucas

-Hal Greer

-Dave Debusschere

-Billy Cunningham

-Dave Bing

-Tiny Archibald

-Bill Walton

-Paul Arizin

Sorry these are all great players but, you gotta make room for someone right? I’d rank these guys in the top 50–80 range rather than the top 50 now that better players have come up. This is by my estimates going by stats and awards etc and also I would add Bob McAdoo, Ray Allen, Dominique Wilkins, Paul Pierce to the top 60 range as well.

If instead, we were to expand the list to top 75 players (75 at 75 – year 2021) then my answer would be:

from PGs: Chris Paul, Stephen Curry, Jason Kidd, Steve Nash, Russell Westbrook, Gary Payton, Dennis Johnson (7)
from SGs: Kobe Bryant, Dwayne Wade, Allen Iverson, James Harden, Ray Allen (5)
from SFs: Lebron James, Kevin Durant, Dominique Wilkins, Paul Pierce, Carmelo Anthony, Adrian Dantley (6)
from PFs: Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett, Dirk Nowitzki, Pau Gasol, Chris Webber, Bob McAdoo (6)
from C: Dwight Howard (1)

Those are my 25 players.

There are a few key defensive players that could be up there as well.. Dikembe Mutombo and Dennis Rodman come to mind. But they are really hard to rank given how one dimensional they were.

if ABA players are included (and they should be IMO because they are often forgotten), George McGinnis, Roger Brown, Mel Daniels, Artis Gilmore, Dan Issel and Connie Hawkins should be added to the list as well.