Basketball

Overtime Heroics NBA 75th Anniversary Team: 50 – 26

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The 75th season in NBA history came to an exciting end with yet another NBA Championship for Stephen Curry and his Golden State Warriors, it was their fourth in the last eight years. Curry also finally won the elusive Finals MVP award to better fill out his resume.

Where does that resume stack up, exactly, though? Let’s dive into the next portion of our NBA 75th Anniversary Team.

For more on our selection process and to see the rest of the 76 players selected, click one of the links below.

Other Rankings

76 – 51

50. Anthony Davis

Davis has only been in the NBA for 10 seasons, and despite only averaging 60 games per season so far in his career, he’s still managed to appear in eight All-Star games. He’s also been selected to four All-NBA teams and four All-Defensive teams to go along with his NBA Championship with the Lakers in 2020. Davis is also averaging 27.3 points, 10.0 rebounds, and 1.8 blocks per game over the course of 39 career playoff games.

49. Tom Heinsohn

Heinsohn had a relatively short NBA career, especially to be in the Top 50 careers of all time, but he made the most of his 9-year career. In that span, he won 8 NBA Championships, made 6 All-Star appearances, was selected to 4 All-NBA teams, and won the Rookie of the Year award in 1957. His Championship totals may be boosted some by playing alongside Bill Russell on the Celtics, but make no mistake, Heinsohn was a vital part of that dynasty.

48. Dwight Howard

Early in his career, Howard was selected to eight consecutive All-Star games before playing for six different teams in six seasons. He was also selected to eight All-NBA teams and five All-Defensive teams during that span. He led the league in rebounds five times and blocks twice while also winning Defensive Player of the Year three different times. He finally won his first NBA Championship serving as the primary backup big man for the Lakers in 2020 when he was 34 years old.

47. Gary Payton

Gary “The Glove” Payton was the last guard to win a Defensive Player of the Year award (1996) before Marcus Smart took home the title in the 2022 season. Widely considered one of the best defensive players of all time Payton was named to nine All-Defensive teams and finished with a career average of 1.8 steals per game including eight seasons of over 2.0 steals per game. He also made nine All-Star teams and nine All-NBA teams along with his long NBA Championship with the Miami Heat in 2006.

46. George Gervin

George “The Iceman” Gervin made 12 All-Star appearances in his 14 seasons in the league (his first four seasons were in the ABA). Gervin continues to draw comparisons to Kevin Durant since both players are tall, lanky scorers. This argument is supported by Gervin’s 26.5 playoff PPG average and his four scoring titles. He was also selected to seven All-NBA teams over the course of his career.

45. Walt Frazier

Frazier is another guard considered to be one of the better defensive players of all time. Steals were only recorded for the second half of his career, so we don’t have an accurate total or per-game average for Frazier, but he did average 1.9 steals per game over his last seven seasons including his list two seasons where he averaged only 1.0 steals per game. Regardless, Frazier did win two NBA Championships with the Knicks and was selected to 7 All-Star teams, 7 All-Defensive teams, and 6 All-NBA teams.

44. Clyde Drexler

Drexler spent most of his career being known as “the 2nd best shooting guard in the league behind Michael Jordan,” but he put together an impressive resume in his own right. Over 15 seasons, Clyde “The Glide” Drexler made 10 All-Star appearances and was selected to five All-NBA teams. He was also the second-best player on the 1995 NBA Champion Houston Rockets squad. He was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2004.

43. Patrick Ewing

The all-time great New York Knick made 11 All-Star teams in his first 12 seasons in the league, averaging 23.6 points, 10.4 rebounds, and 2.8 blocks during that same span. Throughout his career, Ewing was also named to seven All-NBA teams and three All-Defensive teams as well as winning Rookie of the Year in 1986. Ewing is often regarded as one of the better players to never win an NBA Championship, largely due to the fact that his prime coincided with the ’90s Bulls’ dynasty.

42. Steve Nash

One of the best floor generals of all time, Nash finished his career averaging 8.5 APG (8.8 APG in the postseason) and led the NBA in assists five different times over his 18-year career. He also won back-to-back league MVPs during his time with the Phoenix Suns to go along with eight All-Star appearances and seven All-NBA selections. Nash was a four-time member of the 50/40/90 club and was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2018.

41. George Mikan

Mikan was one of the first giants of the game, regarded by many as the first star center in league history. In his short-lived seven-year career, Mikan managed to make four All-Star teams and win five NBA Championships. He led the league in scoring on three separate occasions and was named to six All-BAA/NBA teams.

40. Nikola Jokic

Perhaps one of the more surprising names on this list so far, Jokic has already had an all-time great career in his first seven years in the league. The reigning back-to-back MVP is only the 13th player in league history to win the award in consecutive seasons. He’s viewed as arguably the best passing big man of all time already thanks to his impressive highlight reel of assists and career 6.2 APG average (7.3 APG in his last five seasons). Jokic has also already been named to four All-Star teams and four All-NBA teams all before his 28th birthday.

39. Allen Iverson

Surprising for perhaps a different reason, Iverson’s biggest impact during his basketball career arguably came off the court in the cultural impact he brought to the NBA. This isn’t to say he was anything other than an all-time great NBA player either, though – top 40 all-time isn’t half bad. Iverson was named to 11 All-star teams and seven All-NBA teams. He also led the league in scoring four times while being named the 2001 league MVP and winning Rookie of the Year in 1997. In eight playoff runs, Iverson averaged 29.7 points per game on roughly 40% shooting.

38. Isiah Thomas

Thomas checks in as one of the most significant point guards of all time, averaging over nine assists and nearly two steals per game in his 13-year, Hall of Fame career. He was selected to 12 All-Star teams and five All-NBA teams during this stretch while also leading the league in assists in 1985. Thomas is most well-known for being the floor general of the Bad Boys, a physical group of players that brought the Detroit Pistons back-to-back NBA Championships in 1989 and 1990 – Thomas won the Finals MVP award during the second Championship run.

37. Jason Kidd

Kidd is one of the most creative passers the game has ever seen. He led the league in assists per game four times during his 19-year career and boasts a career 8.7 APG average. He made 10 All-Star appearances and was selected to 9 All-Defensive teams and 6 All-NBA teams to go along with winning Co-Rookie of the Year in 1995 alongside Grant Hill. Kidd finally won his lone NBA Championship with the Dallas Mavericks in 2011 when he was 37 years of age alongside Dirk Nowitzki.

36. Kawhi Leonard

Leonard is one of the hardest players to rank on the all-time list, largely due to his tendency to miss large portions of games due to injury. His accolades are undeniable, however, as he’s already won two NBA Championships and two Finals MVP awards before turning 30. He’s also been selected to 7 All-Defensive teams, 5 All-NBA teams, and 5 All-Star appearances. Leonard is also one of 10 players in NBA history to win multiple Defensive Player of the Year awards, winning twice during his first 10 seasons.

35. Bob Cousy

Bob Cousy earned his nickname “The Houdini of the Hardwood” for his spectacular playmaking ability that was ahead of his time. He started his career in Boston and stayed there for 13 years – making an All-Star team in all 13 seasons – before returning to the Cincinnati Royals for seven games after six years of retirement. Cousy won six NBA Championships with the Celtics and made 12 All-NBA teams along with winning the 1957 regular season MVP award.

34. Artis Gilmore

Gilmore played the first five seasons of his career in the ABA where he made five of his 11 career All-Star appearances and averaged over 22 points, 17 rebounds, and 3 blocks per game. He also won both the Rookie of the Year award and league MVP during the 1972 season. Along with five All-Defensive team selections, Gilmore also won the ABA Championship in 1975.

33. James Harden

Despite being intertwined with the recent drama in Brooklyn, James Harden will forever be known for his historic offensive onslaught during the 2018-2020 seasons. He led the league in scoring all three years, averaging a combined 33.7 PPG and a career-high 36.1 PPG in 2019. Harden has been named to 10 All-Star teams and seven All-NBA teams along with winning 6th Man of the Year in 2012 and league MVP in 2018. And although Harden’s strong suit is being an isolation scorer, he also led the league in assists per game in 2017 and boasts are a career 6.8 APG average – that average climbed to 9.3 APG in the last six years.

32. Russell Westbrook

Westbrook quickly became the scapegoat in the public eye for the 2022 Lakers’ historically underachieving season, but he remains one of the greatest players to ever grace the court. Oscar Robertson averaged a triple-double for one season in 1962, and no one else accomplished the feat until Westbrook did it in 2017 – a season in which he also led the league in scoring and won the league MVP. He’s now averaged a triple-double four times in his 14-year career to go along with nine All-Star appearances and nine All-NBA selections.

31. Elgin Baylor

Baylor made 11 All-Star teams and 10 All-NBA appearances during his 14-year career. The last two years of Baylor’s career only included 11 total games; during his first 12 seasons, he averaged 27.6 points and 13.6 rebounds per game, including a career-high 38.3 PPG in 1962. The all-time Laker great won Rookie of the Year in 1959 and was a pioneer in advancing the game with his advanced scoring ability and tendency to play above the rim in a time when a majority of guards and forwards did not.

30. David Robinson

David “The Admiral” Robinson spent his first two seasons after being drafted and serving in the Navy, but that didn’t stop him from winning Rookie of the Year in 1990. He went on to appear in 10 All-Star games and be selected to 10 All-NBA teams and 8 All-Defensive teams. Robinson was also named Defensive Player of the Year in 1992 and league MVP in 1995 to go along with a scoring title in 1994. The legendary Spurs center finished off his career with two NBA Championships within his last five seasons in the league.

29. Rick Barry

Barry started his career winning Rookie of the Year in 1966 while being named to his first of 12 consecutive All-Star games across the NBA and ABA. He was named to 10 All-ABA/NBA teams and won Finals MVP to go along with his lone NBA Championship in 1975. Barry also led the league in scoring with 35.6 points per game in 1967 and led the NBA in steals with 2.9 per game in 1975.

28. Charles Barkley

There are only three players ranked higher on this list than Barkley who haven’t won an NBA Championship. “Sir Charles” ranks 13th when only considering average and total statistics, including career averages of 22.1 points and 11.7 rebounds per game. He was named to 11 All-Star teams and 11 All-NBA teams, as well as winning the 1993 league MVP award and leading the league in rebounds in 1987.

27. Giannis Antetokounmpo

Antetokounmpo is the second-youngest player on this list behind only the reigning back-to-back MVP, Nikola Jokic. “The Greek Freak” has only played nine NBA seasons, but he’s already shown plenty of potential to one day be considered in the GOAT conversation. He’s already won Most Improved Player of the Year in 2017, a Defensive Player of the Year award in 2020, two league MVPs, an NBA Championship, and a Finals MVP award. He’s also been named to six All-Star teams, six All-NBA teams, and five All-Defensive teams. Over his last five seasons, Antetokounmpo has averaged 28.4 points, 11.7 rebounds, 5.6 assists, 1.3 blocks, and 1.2 steals per game.

26. Moses Malone

Malone posted one of the longest careers in NBA history, tied for second with 21 seasons in the league – two were in the ABA. He was named to 13 All-Star teams, eight All-NBA teams, and two All-Defensive teams. Malone led the league in rebounding six different times and finished with a career 12.3 RPG average, including a 15.0 RPG average during his six seasons with Houston. He was named league MVP three times and won Finals MVP in 1983 when he won his lone NBA Championship with the Philadelphia 76ers.

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