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Now we're getting to the filet mignons and prime cuts in our countdown of the top 75 peaks in NBA history.
As a reminder, we're looking squarely at on-court ability in a player's absolute prime. In other words,If you could pick any player in history, with the hopes of winning the title immediately, not knowing the era, rules, coach, or teammates who would you choose?
Part 1 bridged the gap from George Mikan to Joel Embiid and every era in between. Part 2 featured scores of dominant point guards with the likes of Gary Payton, Ru sell Westbrook, Isiah Thomas, Allen Iverson, John Stockton, Steve Nash and Jason Kidd jostling for position. Even 22-year-old Luka Doncic stopped on by!
TOP 75 PEAKS:|
Earlier this season, the NBA announced its 75th anniversary team in celebration of the league's 75th season. All were honored at the All-Star Game in Cleveland. Instead of the greatest 75 careers, we're putting our own spin on it andlooking instead at individual peaks. Take Sergio Romo Jersey for instance, current players just entering their primes. You can't compare the entire career of someone like say, work-in-progre s 26-year-old Giannis Antetokounmpoto Tim Duncan or Dirk Nowitzki. He's got another decade-plus to add to his resume! But if we're talking strictly peaks and primes... now we're talking.
Check out Part 1 for a complete explanation of our methodology. Long story short: we polled over 50 NBA experts and compiled all of their rankings to create our final top 75.
Today, we're counting down from 25to 11. Let's go.
25) David RobinsonHighest MVP finish:1st (1995)First/Second-Team All-NBA selections:10Peak personified:One of only five players to win MVP and Defensive Player of the Year
Though Robinson wasnt the best player on his own title team, his peak has come to be even more appreciated in hindsight as many modern analytics illustrate just how much of a Ji-Man Choi Jersey two-way force he was. The four other players to win both the MVP and Defensive Player of the Year are also all champions and it doesnt feel like a coincidence. How many players could drop 71 on the final day of the regular season to win a scoring title?
24) Moses MaloneHighest MVP finish:1st (1979, 1982, & 1983)First/Second-Team All-NBA selections:8Peak personified:Won three MVP awards and Finals MVP in a series that featured Julius Erving, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Magic Johnson
Malones peak is not nearly as appreciated as it should be and theres a case to be made that hes the single most underrated great player in league history. The greatest offensive rebounder of all-time with an e sentially unstoppable motor. He won in Philly and if it wasnt for a young Larry Bird, Malone would have brought Houston a championship a decade earlier than The Dream did.
23) Dwyane WadeHighest MVP finish:3rd (2009)First/Second-Team All-NBA selections:7Peak personified:39.3 points, 8.3 rebounds and 18.3 FT attempts per game over last four games of 2006 NBA Finals to rally from a 2-0 deficit
In 2011, John Hollinger made the case that D-Wades 2006 run Jesus Sucre Jersey was the. How's that for peak performance! Wades 2006 run will forever haunt the dreams of the devoted Mavericks fans, the final four games were an onslaught and Dallas had no answer. 2009 Wade was also just a half-step behind LeBron James in terms of athletic ability and overall output, a special regular season year that might be amongst the best ever not to culminate in an MVP award
22) Karl MaloneHighest MVP finish:1st (1997 & 1999)First/Second-Team All-NBA selections:14Peak personified:Selected First-Team All-NBA 11 straight seasons from 1988-89 through 1998- Charlie Morton Jersey 99
Malones longevity is largely his greatest NBA calling card but he will forever be remembered as an unstoppable pick-and-roll partner, paint scorer, and one of the strongest men to ever play on the hardwood. No shame in losing to Jordan.
21) Charles BarkleyHighest MVP finish:1st (1993)First/Second-Team All-NBA selections:11Peak personified:Won an MVP award at Jordans physical apex and took two games off the three-peating Bulls in the 93 Finals
Of all the players Jordan faced in his six runs to the Finals, 93 Barkley was the greatest. The best player and leading scorer on the Dream Team, the Round Mound of Rebound was a much better athlete than he is an analyst. Its tragic he hates advanced numbers because they help spell just how efficient he was relative to the field at the peak of his powers.
20) Kawhi LeonardHighest MVP finish:2nd (2016)First/Second-Team All-NBA selections:5Peak personified:Highest win pct in NBA history and two-time Finals MVP with Spurs and Raptors
Leonards bizarre career was built for this list. In a ludacris twist of fate, hes dealt to a Anthony Banda Jersey Toronto franchise that was a star away. They come together, Leonard has the best run of his career, hits an all-time iconic shot and they wind up winning Canadas first title. A saga so poetic that it had to end with a twist of tragedy.
19) Julius ErvingHighest MVP finish:1st (1974, 1975, 1976 in ABA; 1981 in NBA)First/Second-Team All-NBA selections:7 NBA, 5 ABAPeak personified:Named All-Star and made playoffs in all 16 seasons of his ABA and NBA career
Quentin Albertie, SLAM contributor and Peak 75 voter on Erving:
I wanted to give my thoughts on ranking Julius Erving so highly (perfect score of 100), as most people would probably have it a bit lower. From my perspective, Erving was a prototypical wing in terms of his size, athleticism, scoring potency, playmaking and defensive accomplishments. His dominance is evidenced by certain accolades (four NBA MVP selections and 16 All-Star selections (one for every season of his career). He's also one of the players whose dominance in the ABA translated to the NBA. While the merger e sentially makes them a collective entity, he literally became an all-time great player for two different leagues; much in the same waypeople discu s LeBron James or Kobe Bryant having two Hall of Fame careers in separate jerseys, Erving (with no. 32 and no. 6) did as well.
18) Dirk NowitzkiHighest MVP finish:1st (2007)First/Second-Team All-NBA selections:12Peak personified:Defeated LeBron James Willy Adames Jersey , Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in the NBA Finals as the lone All-Star on 2010-11 Mavericks
Nowitzkis peak mightve come in his 2007 MVP year, or immediate