10 Best Vertically Challenged NBA Players

Jesse DorseyFeatured ColumnistDecember 30, 2011

10 Best Vertically Challenged NBA Players

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    After the Dallas Mavericks took down the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals last season, there was one player who made a huge impact, even though common sense would say he wouldn't be able to make a splash in a land of giants.

    I'm speaking, of course, about JJ Barea.

    Throughout the history of the NBA, people have been fascinated with the shorter players. They stick out like a sore thumb, and when they succeed, everybody takes notice.

    The annals of the NBA are littered with the likes of Muggsy Bogues, Earl Boykins, Spudd Webb and Calvin Murphy, and people tend to remember them, even if they were just mediocre basketball players.

    These days, very few NBA players are listed below that magical 6'0" threshold, mostly because most NBA players' listed heights aren't accurate and usually skew an inch or two taller (or shorter in some cases).

    One of the most obvious cases of this throughout NBA history was Charles Barkley. Barkley, who was listed at 6'6", was actually closer to 6'4", which makes what he did as a power forward that much more impressive. 

    So I took a look at some of the shortest guys in the league and decided that the cutoff point for a short NBA player was good right at the six-foot mark.

10. Will Bynum

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    Listed right at 6'0", Will Bynum has been a pretty good backup point guard for the past four years. And he is looking even better this season.

    Bynum is probably somewhere closer to 5'11" or less, as he seems to play shorter than his listed height, but that doesn't slow him down much.

    He is definitely one of those guys that could do what Barea did for the Mavericks last year if he were to get on the right team as a change-of-pace guard.

9. Nate Robinson

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    Nate Robinson was waived a few days ago by the Oklahoma City Thunder, but he shouldn't be without a job for too long.

    Robinson, the shortest guy in the NBA, listed at 5'9" (which seems about right), is a good player to have as a fan favorite and an energy guy off the bench. He really gets the crowd and his teammates excited if he can pull off a dunk during a game.

8. Jonny Flynn

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    The 6'0" (A.K.A 5'11") Jonny Flynn spent the past two seasons in the absolute worst situation possible for a young player.

    He was drafted by the unimaginably unpredictable David Kahn along with Ricky Rubio and Ty Lawson (who was then shipped to Denver immediately) after passing on Steph Curry.

    Flynn was then expected to play in a triangle offense with a terrible Timberwolves team, where he had one of the worst seasons ever last year.

    This year, however, I expect him to make a bit of a comeback when he eventually sees some playing time with the Rockets.

7. Kemba Walker

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    That's right, ladies and gents, after playing just two NBA games, I'm ready to put Kemba Walker into the top-ten best short dudes.

    Walker measured at right around 5'11" without shoes, so when he laces up the sneaks, he's a legitimate 6'0".

    Walker, like most young point guards, has been up-and-down with his jumper early, but he seems to have the tools necessary to become a good basketball player sooner rather than later.

6. JJ Barea

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    Whenever I hear people rag on JJ Barea, it's usually to complain about him being more of a novelty act than a good basketball player. Well, he may be a bit of a novelty, but he's a basketball player who actually makes an impact on the game.

    Barea is listed at 6'0" on the Timberwolves website (they also have Luke Ridnour listed at 6'2"), but if he's a six-footer, then I'm 6'8".

    What we saw from Barea in the Finals last season was a basketball player who was able to blow by big guys, get into the lane and contort his body to either lay it in, get the defense to rotate to him where he would kick it back out or draw the foul.

5. Kyle Lowry

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    The Rockets point guard is listed at 6'0", and I would say that he's right around there after you round to the nearest inch. But the interesting thing about him is that he plays like he's 6'3" or so.

    Lowry is not afraid to penetrate, and he's able to rebound like Jason Kidd was once upon a time, making him a very well-rounded player.

    He looks to be a budding star down in Houston as long as he continues to improve.

4. Darren Collison

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    The Pacers played the Bulls in the playoffs last year. And if you really looked at him in comparison to Derrick Rose, he looked to be about two inches shorter than the MVP.

    Now, I don't think Rose is a legitimate 6'3", and I don't think Collison is a legitimate 6'0". I would call him about 5'11" if I were forced to guess.

    Collison is a skilled young point guard for a great Pacers team that is looking to do big things this season, and he's a big part of it.

    He is improving in all aspects of his game; he's getting better at passing the ball, shooting and even on defense.

3. Ty Lawson

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    Listed at 5'11", I would say that Ty Lawson is one of the few players listed at his actual height. He looks to be shorter than 6'0", but not too much shorter.

    Lawson is already coming into his own this season. He has become the Nuggets starting point guard and is turning into a great scorer already.

    Lawson has put up 67 points in just three games already and just had a game last night were he put up 25 and grabbed eight steals. Not too shabby.

2. Jameer Nelson

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    As an integral part of the success of the Orlando Magic, the 6'0" (I would say that's a legitimate measurement) Jameer Nelson is probably the second best guy on the team.

    He is able to score pretty well, is a good shooter and just has a nice all-around game, although he has some deficiencies on defense.

1. Chris Paul

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    Sometimes it's easy to forget how short Chris Paul is because he is so good at what he does. But the Clippers point guard (it still feels weird to say that) measures in at just under 6'0" without shoes.

    As a short man, Paul's ability to see every angle on the floor for a potential pass is even more impressive, as he can seemingly get the ball anywhere he wants on the floor at his own will.

    It's truly impressive to see a man this short excel when there are guys a full foot taller than him running around at the same time.


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