Dominique Wilkins was known as the Human Highlight Reel. ‘Nique was known for his vicious dunks and his ability to just put on a show.
Bob Pettit. Well, most of us reading this probably haven’t seen Bob Pettit play.
Joe Johnson has been a staple in our life for what I feel like forever. He was at one point the highest paid player in the NBA at a time where Kobe Bryant was still in the NBA.
When The Hawks signed Dikembe Mutombo as a free agent in 1996 he was just coming off being named Defensive Player of the Year.
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You can make a case for Bill Russell being on the Mount Rushmore of all time NBA greats not just Boston Celtics greats. He played 13 seasons and was named an All-Star 12 times.
Larry Legend is another candidate for the Mount Rushmore of all-time NBA players. He was credited (Along with Magic Johnson) for saving the NBA in the 1980s after the darker days of financial instability in the 1970s . He won 3 titles for the Boston Celtics and was the face of an era for the team.
Now, that’s a look of a legend. Bob Cousy, is just that. A legend. Bob Cousy was one of the first great NBA Point Guards. He was a great scorer and passer, and once Bill Russell joined the team he helped key the early part of Boston’s dominant dynasty.
Paul Pierce aka “The Truth”, was a key clog in the Boston Celtics latest championship win. He was part of what we like to call “The Original Big 3”.
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Jason Kidd came to New Jersey and immediately changed the culture of the franchise on arrival after the Nets made a trade with the Phoenix Suns to bring the triple double machine. Kidd was a seven-time All-Star for the Nets, a three-time All-NBA performer and was named All-Defensive six times.
This one is a bit tragic. June 7, 1993, at the age of 28 when a car in which he was riding was crashed into by a truck that lost control on a rain-slick autobahn between Nuremburg and Munich, Germany.
The New Jersey Nets selected Buck Williams third overall in the 1981 NBA draft out of the University of Maryland. He became the face of the franchise for most of the 1980s, earning Rookie of the Year honors in 1981-82, three All-Star bids, an All-NBA selection in 1982-83 and an All-Defensive nod in 1987-88.
The Brook Lopez era in Brooklyn was definitely a stat stuffing but not winning producing era. Lopez was a an All-American in Stanford before being taken 10th overall by the Nets in the 2008 NBA draft. In eight seasons in New Jersey and Brooklyn,
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Mugsey Bogues could possibly be the most recognizable player in the history of the Charlotte Hornets. Why? Well he is the shortest player to ever play in the NBA at 5 foot 3, and he even made a cameo appearance in the original Space Jam with Michael Jordan.
Larry Johnson played five seasons for the Hornets. And frankly, you won’t find his stats all over the Hornets record books. This is all about impact. Larry Johnson was the Charlotte Hornets first ever star. He was the number 1 pick in the 1991 NBA Draft. And he didn’t fail make an impact right away. He won Rookie Of The Year and led the hornets to their first ever playoff appearance as a rookie.
Dell Curry might be known more for being the dad of Steph Curry. But this doesn’t mean that dad didn’t know how to ball. He was a huge part of the original Charlotte Hornet franchise.
Still playing today, Kemba Walker has an infectious smile and a game that just screams awesome! Kemba came to the Bobcats in 2011.
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Michael Jordan. Arguably, the greatest player to ever play the game of basketball. The most influential basketball player of all time with his Jordan Brand sneakers; to say he is a legend, would be the world’s biggest understatement. Jordan was athletic, Jordan was competitive, and Jordan was fun to watch.
Scottie Pippen was more then just a second banana to Jordan. He finished his carers as one of the greatest and most versatile NBA players in history. Pippen was one of the greatest perimeter defenders of his era and could also score and shoot.
Derrick Rose’s Bull career was ultimately a major disappointment due to injuries. And he was only at his peak for a short lived time. But man, that short lived peak was awesome. The Bulls selected Rose as the #1 overall pick in the 2008 NBA draft and he went on to win rookie of the year.
Yeah, Phil Jackson did not play for the Chicago Bulls. But he did coach them during their most iconic and memorable era in franchise history. So, we had to put him on the mountain. You can’t possibly tell the story of the Chicago Bulls franchise without mentioning Phil Jackson.
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LeBron James. There is no argument that could leave him off the Cavaliers Mount Rushmore. None. Zero. Nada. Some consider LeBron the greatest player of all time. And if you don’t he is universally recognized as a top 5 players in the history of the NBA. LeBron left Cleveland for Miami but redeemed himself later by returning home and leading the Cavs to their franchise’s first ever NBA title.
Kyrie hit the most iconic shot in Cleveland Cavaliers basketball history to help win the NBA finals against the Golden State Warriors. Irving was selected #1 overall in 2011 out of Duke. He was a 3 time All-Star as a Cavalier and was regarded as one of the best point guards in the league.
Mark Price was on the Cavaliers for 9 seasons. And he led them to the playoffs 7 of those seasons. Price was a great passer and a great shooter. He shot over 40% from 3 and 90% from the free throw line during an era where this was extremely rare.
Brad Daughtery and Mark Price were an inside and outside combo. The 7 foot center played his entire 8 year career for the The Cleveland Cavaliers.
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Dirk is Dallas Mavericks basketball essentially. Dirk Nowitzki is the greatest Mavericks player of all time. Dirk led the Mavericks to their first ever NBA finals appearance and their first ever NBA finals title both against the Miami Heat.
Mark Aguirre was the 1st overall pick in the 1981 draft. And he was spectacular from day one. As a rookie he averaged 18.7 points per game and 4.9 rebounds. As a rookie he helped take the Mavericks from a 15 win team to a 28 win team.
Rolando Blackman could put up buckets. Rolando joined the Mavericks as a rookie in 1982 and spent 11 season in a Dallas Maverick uniform.
Our one and only owner on the list. Mark Cuban purchased the Mavericks in 2000 for 285 million dollars. In the 20 years before Cuban bought the team the Mavericks won only 40% of their games and had a playoff record of 21-32.
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Alex English was a ahead of his time. He was a 6 foot 7 long and athletic small forward who would be a prototypical player in today’s NBA. English averaged 25.9 points per game, 5.6 rebounds, and 4.4 assists per game in his 10 and a half season with the Denver Nuggets.
Dikembe Mutombo only played 5 seasons for the Nuggets. But he was there for arguably the team’s most iconic moment. In the 1994 playoffs, he helped Denver overcome an 0-2 deficit on their way to upsetting the #1 seed Seattle Supersonics as the Nuggets were the #8 seed.
Carmelo Anthony was originally drafted #3 overall by the Denver Nuggets in the same draft class as LeBron James. During his 7 and a half seasons as a Nugget they team had some good success.
Dan Issel came with the Denver Nuggets when the ABA and NBA merged and was the center for the team as they tried to find their way in the new league.
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Everyone who knows basketball knows about the Bad Boy Pistons. And Isiah Thomas was the leader of the Pistons during their back to back championships. He could shoot, he could pass, and he could dribble as good as anyone in NBA history.
Joe Dumars was a perfect complimentary shooting guard to Isiah Thomas for the Pistons. He was a great defender and was a good 3 point shooter in an era where the 3 wasn’t as prevalent. Dumars was the MVP in the 1989 NBA finals and helped the Detroit Pistons sweep the LA Lakers.
Chauncey Billups was the leader and heart and soul of the Pistons Championship team in 2004.During his time in Detroit he earned the nickname “Mr.Big Shot. He is the all time FT % leader for the Pistons, 2nd in Three Pointers made, and 4th in assists.
Ben Wallace couldn’t score. Who cares. Wallace never averaged double digits in points per game in any of his NBA seasons. However, he was the best defensive player in the league.
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Golden State Warriors
Wilt played 5 and a half seasons for the Warriors based between Philadelphia and San Francisco, and he was putting together some of his most dominating performances of his career during that stretch.
His impact ain’t done yet. But one can argue that even if he retired tomorrow Steph would arguably be the greatest Warrior of all time.
Rick Barry was famous for shooting free throws under handed. He was a dominating scorer for the Warriors during the 1970s. Rick Barry was the best player on the Warriros 1974 NBA championship team.
Yikes. This was a tough one between Klay Thompson and Chris Mullin. Kevin Durant, will most likely take a spot as well if he stays with the Warriors. But how can you argue against Klay. Klay is one of the two Splash Brothers and many argue is the 2nd greatest shooter of all time.
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Hakeem Olajuwan (formely Akeem) was one of the most skilled bigs to ever play the game of basketball. A true force of nature and a great two way player, Hakeem didn’t even start playing basketball until he was 18 years old when he figured he was too tall for soccer.
Moses Malone was a force. And a physical one at that. He was one of the most dominant rebounders in NBA history.
Yao might be one of the most under rated NBA players of our generation. Because Yao Ming was actually really good but was plagued by injuries.
James Harden came to Houston VIA trade from Oklahoma City. And he has not been disappointing. He has led the Rockets to two Western Conference Finals appearances and many argue if it wasn’t for an injury to Chris Paul, that the Rockets could have won the NBA championship.
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Reggie Miller was one of the greatest shooters and one of the most clutch players we have seen in NBA history. Miller was basically the face of The Pacers franchise for nearly 2 decades.
Rik Smits gets extra points for having such an incredible nickname. Being from Holland he was nicknamed “The Dunking Dutchman” and he could do a lot more then dunk.
Even though Paul George’s tenure in Indiana did not end so smoothly after he requested a trade it’s hard to argue that his impact wasn’t one of the best.
This could be a bit of cheating. But technically the beginning of George McGinnis’s career began on the Indiana Pacers of the ABA.
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Los Angeles Clippers
Chris Paul is most probably the best Los Angeles Clippers player of all time. But one thing for sure is that he is the most important Clipper of all time. Chris Paul alongside Blake Griffin were the backbone of “lob city” and frankly the only high end stretch of basketball in Clippers history.
Bob McAdoo was the franchise’s first real star. He led them to three straight playoff appearances from 1974-1976 at the time they were still called the Braves.
Blake alongside Chris Paul helped make the Clippers relevant and led them to their best stretch in franchise history. Griffin was the most famous Clipper of all time appearing in commercials and TV quite often.
The Clippers decided they wanted to build around Brand, and rightfully made him their franchise centerpiece He continued to become more efficient, grabbed more rebounds, and became a much tougher defender.
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Los Angeles Lakers
Where do we start? Magic Johnson averaged 19.5 points per game, 11.2 assists and 7.2 rebounds. But that’s just the start. Magic led the Lakers to 9 NBA final appearances in his 13 year career and they won 5 of them.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was the model of consistency for two entire decades for fans in the 1970’s and 80’s. Kareem is the all time leading scorer in NBA history.
Kobe is universally loved by Laker fans. Kobe was an 18-time All-Star and won five titles in Los Angeles. He is third on the NBA’s all-time scoring list trailing only Kareem and Karl Malone.
This was tough. We had to make a decision between Jerry West and Shaq and we gave a slight edge to Shaq. Why? Well in his prime there was no one more dominant then Shaq.
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Conley took a few years to grow, but by 2010-11, he became a strong caretaking floor general and a heady defender. After averaging 13.7 points and 6.5 assists per game, he bumped it to 15.2 points per game in the playoffs.
Before Pau Gasol was traded to the Los Angeles Laker’s he was a Memphis Grizzly. He was the first true superstar for Memphis and helped take them from a cellar dweller to a playoff contender.
Marc Gasol is the best Memphis Grizzly of all time. He’s won a defensive player of the year award and he has led the Grizzlies to multiple playoff appearances and a Western Conference finals appearance.
The union of Zach Randolph and the Grizzlies was the best thing ever to happen to both parties. Randolph had become a punchline due to his erratic play and off-court incidents. Meanwhile, the Grizzlies had resumed their place as a Western Conference cellar dweller, winning fewer than 25 games three straight times.
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This was an easy choice. D-Wade is the face of the Miami Heat franchise even before LeBron James took his talents to South Beach. Sure, LeBron James has been the better player over the course of his career, and it isn’t particularly close.
Mourning is a an all time Miami Heat fan favorite.Mourning dominated the league in a Heat jersey, averaging 23.2 points and 10.4 rebounds in his first season in Miami, also his age-25 season.
Pat Riley is the architect behind all the Heat NBA championships, and all the final appearances. How can you not include Riley on this list?
You’d think we’d LeBron off of this list? No way. LeBron brought his talents to South Beach and did not disappoint. The Heat made the NBA Finals in each of LeBron’s 4 seasons in Miami winning 2 NBA championships along the way.
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There’s one Buck above the rest and that’s Kareem. Kareem led the Milwaukee Bucks to their one and only NBA championship in 1971. Look at some these accolades that Kareem achieved during his Bucks tenure. Drafted first overall by the Bucks in 1969. All-Star for his entire Bucks tenure, from 1970-75.
One of the greatest players across the history of the entire NBA, Bucks fans were lucky enough to get just four years of Oscar Robertson. The Big O is still one of the finest all-around players in Association history–he averaged a triple-double in 1962.
Sid The Squid has one of the coolest nicknames and won the most underrated players in Bucks and NBA history. Not only could he score but he could play some real defense.He was a 6-foot-3 combo guard, played 10 seasons in Milwaukee, leading the team to the playoffs every single year.
Giannis Antetokounmpo (The Greek Freak)
The Greek Freak is absolutely amazing. And yes, it might be too early to put him on a Mount Rushmore but this time we had to make an exception (well the first 3 were easy this one was hard). A bit early? Maybe. But Giannis is a splendid mix of athleticism and raw power.
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KG played the first 12 seasons of his career with the Timberwolves, coming back before retirement for a final season-and-a-half. Postseason success largely eluded Garnett and the Timberwolves, but that initial 12-year stretch established him as one of the greatest and most unique big men in NBA history.
Stephon Marbury was a more of experiment gone wrong. However, it was exciting to watch the potential of Kevin Garnett and Stephon Marbury playing together in Minnesota before they went their separate ways (Marbury was traded).
Kevin Love made his biggest splash in the NBA history books while he was with the Cleveland Cavaliers. In his 6 seasons with T’Wolves K-Love averaged 19.2 points per game and 12.2 rebounds per game. He also made the All-Star game with The Timberwolves 3 times.
Wow. The Timberwolves might have been the hardest to find four players worth of being on their Mount Rushmore. So enter Tom Gugliotta. Gugliotta averaged 18.2 points, 8.5 rebounds and 3.8 assists with the Timberwolves and made the All-Star team one time as a Minnesota Timberwolf.
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New Orleans Pelicans
“The Brow” Anthony Davis is one of the best and young stars in the league and even though he is only 25 is already a 5 times All-Star and a All-Star Game MVP.
Chris Paul played six seasons for the franchise, winning Rookie of the Year, and making four All-Star teams and three All-NBA teams and two All-Defensive teams with the organization.
David Westjoined the then New Orleans Hornets as a rookie in 2003-04, one season after their franchise history is separated from the Charlotte Hornets in the NBA’s official record books.
Baron Davis came to New Orleans as an All-Star, the point guard of the Hornets for a new generation after the team moved from Charlotte in 2002.
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New York Knicks
From 1985 to 2000, Patrick Ewing was the New York Knicks. He was the heart and soul of the team and the city and the Garden loved him. Ewing really fit into the Knicks grind it out style while still possessing flash.
Talk about style. Walt “Clyde” Frazier until today still is all about style with his suits as he announces Knicks games.
Willis Reedplayed his whole 10-year career with the Knicks, and was a key member of both the 1970 and 1973 title-winning teams. Reed averaged 18.7 points and 12.9 rebounds per game for The Knicks.
Man if it wasn’t for injuries who knows what could have been. In only 4 seasons King made sure he made enough noise to make sure he was on the Mount Rushmore of Knicks. He was arguably the greatest scorer in franchise history and in 1985 he won the scoring title while averaging 32.9 points per game and shot 53 percent from the field.
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Oklahoma City Thunder/ Seattle SuperSonics
Gary Payton was a force of nature for the then Seattle Supersonics, one of the best backcourt defenders in NBA history. Payton won the 1995-96 Defensive Player of the Year Award and made nine All-Defensive teams in his 13 seasons in Seattle.
The Reign Man was electric and embodied the spirit of Seattle. Shawn Kemp was a dominant force and him alongside of Gary Payton led the Sonics to an NBA Finals appearance where they eventually lost to the Chicago Bulls.
What Durant accomplished in his nine seasons with the organization is amazing. Durant won both Rookie of the Year and an MVP Award with the franchise, making seven All-Star games and leading the league in scoring four different times.
Russell Westbrook spent a good chunk of his career in the shadow of Durant, but he’s stepped out of that in an amazing way.
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Shaq only played 4 seasons with the Orlando Magic. O’Neal’s was just amazing. In just four seasons with the Magic but he won Rookie of the Year, made four All-Star teams, led the league in scoring, took the team to the NBA Finals and helped put the Orlando Magic on the NBA map.
Dwight Howard might not have been a fan favorite by the time he left Orlando.
Penny Hardaway was special. From the commercials with “Lil’ Penny” and his run to the finals with Shaq, Penny was a special player in the hearts of The Orlando Magic and their fans.
Tracy McGrady “T-Mac” played just four seasons with Magic but gets credit for the absurd peaks he reached during that time.
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Allen Iverson changed the culture of basketball. From his cornrows on and off the court to his baggier then baggy shorts he literally brought hip hop to the NBA in ways we had never seen before. Because of Allen Iverson the NBA even established a dress code.
Julius “Dr.J” Irving
Larry Bird and Magic Johnson may have put the NBA on the map, but Julius Erving “Dr.J” was the league’s first “cool” superstar. Between the afro, the tall tales that surrounded his game from his ABA days and the graceful way he would glide through the air toward the rim, Dr. J was one of the most aesthetically pleasing players to watch in NBA history.
Charles Barkley might be more remembered for his time in Phoenix. But that does not mean his time in Philadelphia was shabby. He was an absolute beast.
Wilt only played four seasons on the Sixers. Remeber, he did play for the Philadelphia Warriors at one point. Still, Wilt The Stilt won the MVP award in all three of his full seasons with the Sixers and was an All-Star and All-NBA selection in each of those seasons as well. It probably didn’t hurt that he led the league in minutes, field goal percentage AND rebounding for each of those three seasons,and even led the Sixers to the 1968 NBA Championship.
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Steve Nash was a lottery pick of Phoenix in the 1996 NBA Draft, but it wasn’t until he returned to the team after a six-year stint with the Mavericks that he really made himself as an all-time great Sun. Nash led the Seven Seconds or Less Suns in assembling some of the most efficient offenses in league history.
Kevin Johnson was the head and face of the Suns for most of the 1990s other then when Charles Barkley came, averaging 17.9 points and 9.1 assists per game over 12 seasons in Phoenix.
Charles Barkely is probably the greatest NBA player to ever play for the Phoenix Suns. In his first season with the Phoenix Suns he was able to win the NBA MVP and take the Phoenix Suns to the NBA Finals.
Tom Chambers only played 5 seasons in Phoenix. But those were the best 5 seasons of his career. In his first season in Phoenix.
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Portland Trail Blazers
Clyde Drexler was smooth in his transition game and high-flying dunks, were the face of the Trail Blazers for most of the 1990s. Drexler played 12 seasons in Portland, averaging 20.8 points, 6.2 rebounds and 5.7 assists per game.
Unfortunately Bill Walton only got to play 209 games over the span of four seasons with the Trail Blazers because of injuries. However, his mark on the organization was huge.
Porter was on the 1990s Trail Blazer’s teams that made the NBA Finals and was as consistent as a Portland Blazer can be. He played 10 seasons with the Trail Blazers from the years 1985-1995. And he averaged 14.9 points per game and 7 assists per game.
Damian Lillard is not in 7th season as a Portland Trail Blazer. In his first six seasons he averaged 23.1 points per game and 6.2 assists per game. He also made the All Star game 3 times.
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Webber led the NBA in rebounding in 1998-99 and was a four-time All-Star and five-time All-NBA selection with the Kings, finishing fourth in the MVP voting in 2000-01. He was fourth in minutes per game in 1998-99 and fifth in rebounding in 1999-2000, as well.In parts of seven seasons with the Kings,
Jerry Lucas played seven seasons for the then Cincinnati Royals before they became the Sacramento Kings, averaging an eye-popping 19.6 points and 19.1 rebounds per game.
Archibald was a three-time All-Star with the franchise, later the Kansas City-Omaha Kings and Kansas City Kings, and was a four-time All-NBA performer.He led the NBA in minutes per game, scoring and assists in 1972-73, a rare double on the scoring and assisting, and finished third in the MVP voting.
Oscar Robertson was the only player in NBA history to average a triple-double over the course of a full season, a record that stood from 1962, when Robertson accomplished it with the then Cincinnati Royals, to two seasons ago when Russell Westbrook broke it.
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San Antonio Spurs
Tim Duncan is the big fundamental. He is one of the greatest San Antoinio Spur players of all time and arguably one of the greatest big men to ever play the game. Duncan joined the Spurs in 1997-1998 and over his 19 year career San Antonio never won fewer than 60 percent of their games.
“The Admiral” David Robinson averaged 21.8 points, 11.0 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 1.5 steals and 3.1 blocks per game over a 14-year career with the Spurs.
You can’t tell the story of The San Antonio Spurs without talking about Greg Popovich. Pop is one of the best coaches of all time. He has been the architect of the San Antonio Spurs dynasty.
George Gervin is a hard pick over Manu Ginobili, and Parker. Gervin “The Ice Man” joined the NBA, along with the Spurs, as they transitioned over after the ABA merger. For nine seasons in San Antonio, he was one of the most potent scorers in the NBA.
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Vince Carter didn’t get out of Toronto on the greatest of terms but he is undoubtedly one of the greatest Raptors in franchise history.
Chris Bosh hit the peak of his career with the Miami Heat but what he did at the beginning for the Raptors definitely deserves recognition.
The Toronto Raptors were not Kawhi Leonard’s preferred team when he requested a trade from San Antonio a year ago.
After battling injuries in his first season, Lowry averaged career-highs at the time in points (17.9 points per game) and assists (7.4 assists per game), helping the Raptors win the Atlantic Division. Lowry’s progression continued over the next few seasons as he made his first All-Star Game in the 2014-15 season.
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Karl “The Mailman” Malone is the only player in Jazz franchise history earn NBA MVP honors. He was a 14-time All-Star in Utah and a two-time All-Star Game MVP, winning in 1989 and sharing the honor with teammate John Stockton in 1993.
John Stockton was one of the greatest point guards of all time. Stockton made the All-Star game 10 times in career.11 All-NBA selections and was picked All-Defensive five times. John Stockton was the ultimate point guard.
Pistol Pete Maravich
His career ended early but he was a smooth passer and crazy shot creator who played a brand of basketball well ahead of his time. He was showtime like know one has seen before.
Adrian Dantley was a great wing scorer, twice leading the NBA in scoring during his seven seasons with the Jazz. In all, he averaged 29.6 points, 6.2 rebounds and 3.7 assists for the team, making six All-Star appearances. Only Stockton and Malone have scored more points in a Jazz uniform.
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Wes Unseld was small for the center position but made up for it with his skilled passing and aggressive physicality. He averaged 10.8 points, 14.0 rebounds and 3.9 assists per game over this 13 seasons with the Bullets organization.
Elvin Hayes was crazy strong in the interior paint, averaging 21.3 points and 12.7 rebounds per game during his nine seasons with the team.
Malone played for the Washington Bullets from 1983-90, where he dropped 20.2 points, 2.8 assists and 2.7 rebounds in 458 appearances.
John Wall is the good Wizard player during this decade. He’s been the best. He’s played his entire 8 -year career for the organization and led them to their best record since 1979 last year. Wall has averaged 18.8 points, 9.2 assists and 4.4 rebounds per game for the Wizards and is already the organization’s all-time leader in steals and assists.
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