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.

Here’s my take on the 50 greatest players in NBA/ABA history as of 2018:

  1. Michael Jordan “Air Jordan” – 6x Champion, 5x MVP
  2. Wilt Chamberlain “The Big Dipper” – 4x MVP, 11x Rebounding leader
  3. Bill Russell “Russell” – 11x Champion, 5x MVP
  4. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar “Cap” – 6x Champion, 6x MVP
  5. Lebron James “King James” – 4x MVP, 3x Finals MVP
  6. Magic Johnson “Magic Man” – 5x Champion, 3x MVP
  7. Tim Duncan “The Big Fundamental” – 5x Champion, 2x MVP
  8. Larry Bird “Larry Legend” – 3x Champion, 3x MVP
  9. Kobe Bryant “The Black Mamba” – 5x Champion, 1x MVP
  10. Jerry West “Mr. Clutch” – 1x Champion, 1x Finals MVP
  11. Oscar Robertson “The Big O” – 1x Champion, 1x MVP
  12. Shaquille O’Neal “Diesel” – 4x Champion, 3x Finals MVP
  13. Hakeem Olajuwon “The Dream” – 2x Champion, 2x Finals MVP
  14. Julius Erving “Dr. J” – 3x Champion, 4x MVP
  15. Moses Malone “Chairman of the Boards” – 1x Champion, 3x MVP
  16. Karl Malone “The Mailman” – 2x MVP, 13x All-NBA
  17. Kevin Durant “Durantula” – 1x MVP, 2x Finals MVP
  18. John Havlicek “Hondo” – 8x Champion, 1x Finals MVP
  19. Bob Pettit – 2x MVP, 11x All-NBA
  20. Bob Cousy “Houdini of the Hardwood” – 6x Champion, 1x MVP
  21. Elgin Baylor “Mr. Inside” – 10x All-NBA
  22. Kevin Garnett “The Big Ticket” – 1x MVP, 12x All-Defensive
  23. Rick Barry “The Miami Greyhound” – 2x Champion, 1x Finals MVP
  24. David Robinson “The Admiral” – 2x Champion, 1x MVP
  25. John Stockton – 8x All-NBA, 9x Assist leader
  26. Chris Paul “CP3” – 7x All-NBA, 9x All-Defensive
  27. Stephen Curry “Chef Curry” – 3x Champion, 2x MVP
  28. Scottie Pippen “Pip” – 6x Champion, 10x All-Defensive
  29. Dwayne Wade “Flash” – 3x Champion, 1x Finals MVP
  30. Allen Iverson “The Answer” – 1x MVP, 4x Scoring leader
  31. Jason Kidd “J-Kidd” – 6x All-NBA, 9x All-Defensive
  32. Charles Barkley “Sir Charles” – 1x MVP, 10x All-NBA
  33. Dirk Nowitzki “The German Juggernaut” – 1x MVP, 1x Finals MVP
  34. Walt Frazier “Clyde” – 2x Champion, 7x All-Defensive
  35. George Gervin “The Iceman” – 9x All-NBA/ABA, 4x Scoring leader
  36. Willis Reed “Captain” – 1x MVP, 2x Finals MVP
  37. Steve Nash – 2x MVP, 5x Assist leader
  38. George Mikan – 5x Champion, 3x Scoring leader
  39. Artis Gilmore “A-Train” – 1x MVP, 1x Finals MVP
  40. Mel Daniels “Big Mel” – 3x Champion, 2x MVP
  41. Dolph Schayes – 1x Champion, 12x All-NBA
  42. Dwight Howard – 6x All-NBA, 5x Rebounding leader
  43. Russell Westbrook “Russ” – 1x MVP, 7x All-NBA
  44. Isiah Thomas “Zeke” – 2x Champion, 1x Finals MVP
  45. Paul Arizin “Pitchin Paul” – 1x Champion, 2x Scoring leader
  46. Elvin Hayes “The Big E” – 1x Champion, 6x All-NBA
  47. Gary Payton “The Glove” – 7x All-NBA, 9x All-Defensive
  48. Bob McAdoo – 1x MVP, 3x Scoring leader
  49. Patrick Ewing – 7x All-NBA
  50. James Harden “The Beard” – 1x MVP, 4x All-NBA
  51. Dennis Rodman “The Worm” – 8x All-Defensive, 7x Rebounding leader
  52. George McGinnis – 1x MVP, 1x Finals MVP
  53. Connie Hawkins “The Hawk” – 1x MVP, 1x Finals MVP
  54. Dave Cowens – 2x Champion, 1x MVP
  55. Neil Johnston – 1x Champion, 3x Scoring leader
  56. Spencer Haywood – 1x Champion, 1x MVP
  57. Dave Debusschere – 2x Champion, 6x All-Defensive
  58. Sam Jones – 10x Champion, 3x All-NBA
  59. Tom Heinsohn – 8x Champion, 4x All-NBA
  60. Dennis Johnson – 3x Champion, 1x Finals MVP
  61. Dan Issel “The Horse” – 1x Champion, 5x All-ABA
  62. Bill Sharman – 4x Champion, 7x All-NBA
  63. Kevin McHale “The Black Hole” – 3x Champion, 6x All-Defensive
  64. Billy Cunningham “Kangaroo Kid” – 1x Champion, 1x MVP
  65. Bill Walton – 1x MVP, 1x Finals MVP
  66. Wes Unseld “Big Wes” – 1x MVP, 1x Finals MVP
  67. Jerry Lucas “The Computer” – 1x Champion, 5x All-NBA
  68. Clyde Drexler “The Glide” – 1x Champion, 3x All-NBA
  69. Tracy McGrady “T-mac” – 5x All-NBA, 2x Scoring leader
  70. Dominique Wilkins “The Human Highlight Reel” – 5x All-NBA, 1x Scoring leader
  71. Paul Pierce “The Truth” – 1x Champion, 1x Finals MVP
  72. Tony Parker – 4x Champion, 1x Finals MVP
  73. Bobby Jones – 1x Champion, 9x All-Defensive
  74. Anthony Davis “The Brow” – 3x All-NBA, 3x All-Defensive
  75. Adrian Dantley – 2x All-NBA, 2x Scoring leader
  76. Carmelo Anthony “Melo” – 2x All-NBA, 1x Scoring leader
  77. Kawhi Leonard “The Claw” – 1x Champion, 1x Finals MVP
  78. Roger Brown – 3x Champion, 1x Finals MVP
  79. Tiny Archibald – 1x Champion, 5x All-NBA
  80. Hal Greer – 1x Champion, 7x All-NBA
  81. James Worthy “Big Game James” – 3x Champion, 1x Finals MVP
  82. Robert Parish “The Chief” – 4x Champion, 2x All-NBA
  83. David Thompson “Skywalker” – 3x All-NBA/ABA
  84. Pau Gasol – 2x Champion, 2x All-NBA
  85. Chris Webber – 4x All-NBA, 1x Rebounding leader
  86. Alex English – 3x All-NBA, 1x Scoring leader
  87. Sidney Moncrief – 5x All-NBA, 5x All-Defensive
  88. Joe Dumars – 2x Champion, 1x Finals MVP
  89. Amar’e Stoudemire – 5x All-NBA
  90. Ed Macauley – 1x Champion, 4x All-NBA
  91. Dikembe Mutombo – 6x All-Defensive, 2x Rebounding leader
  92. Bernard King – 3x All-NBA, 1x Scoring leader
  93. Mitch Richmond – 1x Champion, 3x All-NBA
  94. Alonzo Mourning – 1x Champion, 2x All-Defensive
  95. Ray Allen – 2x Champion, 1x All-NBA
  96. Pete Maravich “Pistol” – 4x All-NBA, 1x Scoring leader
  97. Nate Thurmond “Nate the Great” – 5x All-Defensive
  98. Jo Jo White – 2x Champion, 1x Finals MVP
  99. Dave Bing – 3x All-NBA, 1x Scoring leader
  100. Ben Wallace – 6x All-Defensive, 2x Rebounding leader