Greatest NBA Veteran Players Without a Ring
When NBA players' careers are over and done with, what's the first thing that comes to mind when we try to define their success?
For a player like Karl Malone, his career will be forever defined by his inability to accomplish the one goal a handful of other superstars today wish they could even come close to—and that's raising up the Larry O'Brien trophy.
Since the term "veteran" is subjective, my list will only include players with at least six years of experience in the league, so that eliminates a few of the great young players from the 2007 and 2008 draft class such as Kevin Durant and Derrick Rose.
This list isn't a power rankings of the current performance of each player, but rather a ranking of current NBA players with the best careers who still have yet to win that esteemed title.
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Carter has had a great career filled with highlights and flashy dunks, but that has never translated into much playoff success. In his seven seasons as the franchise player for the Raptors, he only lead them to the playoffs twice.
He has never lead a team past the second round round of the playoffs, and in the season he made it to the Eastern Conference Finals, it was on a team lead by Dwight Howard. Although he has had his shortcomings like many other superstars in his time, he is still one of the greatest players of the 2000's generation.
He's not in the league right now---which is why he's not on the list---but he definitely deserves an honorable mention. McGrady is another player who hasn't found much playoff success. He only passed the first round once in 2009, and didn't even play in those games due to injury.
In the seven seasons when he was completely healthy, McGrady's individual dominance was only matched by Kobe Bryant. In his prime, McGrady may have even been better than Bryant, but in recent times; however, injuries have slowed him down and he struggled to even stay in the NBA.
From here on out, McGrady will never be able to match his production in the early 2000's even if he does find a spot back in the league again. But there is little doubt about McGrady was one of the most talented and versatile offensive players of his generation.
Williams was in a good situation in Utah, a perennial playoff contender who were good enough to compete, but never could break into the category of elite Western Conference teams like the San Antonio Spurs and Los Angeles Lakers.
For the past 5 seasons, Williams and Chris Paul were the considered 1A and 1B as the top point guard in the league. Now; however, Paul is undeniably the best point guard, and Williams is having one of the worst seasons in his career.
Nothing should be taken away from Williams' accomplishments though, as he still seeks his first championship on a stacked (but overpaid) Brooklyn Nets team.
5. Chris Paul, Los Angeles Clippers
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If this were a list of the best current NBA players, then Chris Paul would probably be first.
Unlike the rest of the players on this list, Paul and his team are built for the long haul with himself and Blake Griffin still young. At 27, it's scary to think that we may have not even seen the best of Paul yet.
Although, he has turned the Clippers franchise around since his arrival and is considered one of the best point guards today. He's still searching for that crucial title to establish himself as one of the greatest point guards in NBA history.
4. Carmelo Anthony, New York Knicks
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Unlike James---who's accomplishments accumulated into his first ever title---Melo and his team have been eliminated in the first round of the playoffs eight out of the nine times he's been there. To add more salt on the wound, Melo has associated himself as the biggest playoff loser in NBA history.
However, if history repeats itself in the playoffs and Melo cannot break through the conference with the best player in the world, he will join an exclusive list with Patrick Ewing, Karl Malone, John Stockton, Charles Barkley and other perennial superstars who have never won it all.
3. Dwight Howard, Los Angeles Lakers
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He hasn't been playing up to his three-time Defensive Player of the Year-self, but there's no doubt he has received numerous accolades ranging from his DPOY's, to All-NBA First Teams, to his Superman dunk that crowned him as 2008 slam dunk champion.
After peaking in the 2009 playoffs and reaching the Finals with a mediocre Orlando Magic team, he has not reached that spotlight again, and is now on a Los Angeles Lakers team that might even miss the playoffs entirely.
2. Grant Hill, Los Angeles Clippers
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Once he joined the Magic in 2000, the duo of him and Tracy McGrady fabricated talks of championship contention for the first time since the Shaquille O'Neal era. Of course, things didn't go as planned as Hill suffered from the worst injuries of his career.
He did have a few decent seasons as a role player with the Phoenix Suns, but he was already well passed his prime and wasn't capable of performing at the high level he could earlier in his career.
At age 40, this Clippers are probably the best team he's been on and there is still hope for that ring but time is running short for the former Blue Devil.
1. Steve Nash, Los Angeles Lakers
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Nash has played in more playoff games than anybody on this list and hasn't missed more than seven games in each of the past 11 seasons, not including this one.
Throughout his illustrious career, Nash has been to the playoffs 11 times and the Western Conference Finals four times, but has never made it past there. He also has more 50-40-90 seasons than any other athlete that has played in the NBA.
Nash signed a three-year contract with the Lakers hoping to secure a ring, but will this Lakers team be able to help him get one?