Fan votes have been collected and combined with those of Overtime Heroics writers to reveal the first edition of the Basketball Golden Hall. As previously covered, fans and writers will convene once a decade to take stock of the greatest athletes to have graced the court. We will reveal the First Edition in eleven parts followed by a wrap-up article.
This article reveals the five players who constitute the eighth-best possible starting lineup in basketball history. The next seven articles will feature the remaining top fives of all-time, with each team made up of a point guard, shooting guard, small forward, power forward, and center.
Without further ado and in order of votes received, the Basketball Golden Hall Eighth Team (be sure to comment with whom you think we missed):
Chris Paul, PG
194.4 WS, 18.2 PPG, 9.4 APG, 4.5 RPG, 2.1 SPG, 0.1 BPG
Some players experience the somewhat odd phenomenon of being recognized as an all-time great in the twilights of their careers. Michael Jordan, LeBron James, and Magic Johnson all started in the NBA as recognized great talents and rose to the occasion. Chris Paul was always known as a skilled player, but it is only recently that fans have truly taken notice.
Yet Paul has always been a great player. With New Orleans, he led the NBA in steals and assists in back-to-back campaigns. He restored glory to United States basketball as part of the 2008 Redeem Team and followed that performance with repeat gold in London. He led the league again in steals and assists another four and two times respectively. His drive for that elusive ring was nearly complete with the 2021 Phoenix Suns, and he aims to accomplish that task this season. Regardless of what happens next, Chris Paul is a Golden Haller.
Ray Allen, SG
145.1 WS, 18.9 PPG, 4.1 RPG, 3.4 APG, 1.1 SPG, 0.2 BPG
Raining threes has become commonplace in today’s game. Just before this triple revolution, Ray Allen was widely acknowledged as arguably the greatest three-point shooter of all-time. Allen led the league in threes thrice, and he ranks second all-time. Those three also came at pivotal moments, including in the postseason. Few can forget his clutch performances with the Boston Celtics and Miami Heat.
John Havlicek, SF
131.7 WS, 20.8 PPG, 6.3 RPG, 4.8 APG, 1.2 SPG, 0.3 BPG
You know the call. You know the name. John Havlicek’s pivotal steal in the 1965 Eastern Finals cemented his name in the basketball annals, and his career play established him as a certain Golden Haller.
That particular steal was par for the course when it came to the Celtics legend’s postseason performance. Havlicek averaged 21.7 points, 7.4 rebounds, and 4.1 assists in 47 Finals games. Boston won all eight Finals in which the Ohioan participated.
Dennis Rodman, PF
89.8 WS, 7.3 PPG, 13.1 RPG, 1.8 APG, 0.7 SPG, 0.6 BPG
Some players develop a particular skill and utilize this to achieve greatness. Dennis Rodman is one such person. His fearlessness when it came to grabbing boards is perhaps unparalleled in basketball history, and the statistics show it. Despite being a relatively small six feet, seven inches, the Worm led the NBA in rebounds per game seven times and ranks twelfth all-time.
The rest of his game could seem lacking, though the Texan did lead the league in field goal percentage in 1989. Contemporaries recognized his greatness with MVP votes in four seasons, two Defensive Player of the Year awards, and seven All-NBA Defensive First Team honors.
126.4 WS, 21.0 PPG, 9.8 RPG, 2.4 BPG, 1.9 APG, 1.0 SPG
Few defensive acts in the game are more satisfying than the block. Just when a player thinks he has the opportunity to test his accuracy with the net, a behemoth interrupts the contest to remind him that this is not his house. Patrick Ewing regularly achieved this satisfying moment. With 2,894 blocks, the Jamaican-Massachusite ranks eighth all-time.
Of course, Ewing’s might was not limited to the defensive end of the court. He averaged 20.2 points per game across 14 postseasons. He finished in the top ten in PPG in the regular season eight years in a row. Though his New York Knicks failed to secure a Finals title, Ewing can boast on receiving MVP votes in eight different seasons.
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