Comparing Current NBA Stars to Hall of Famers

Andy HuSenior Writer IIJanuary 13, 2013

Comparing Current NBA Stars to Hall of Famers

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    How do some of the topnotch players in the league today compare to some of the all-time greats in NBA history? Whether these current NBA stars want to admit it or not, every player wants to mimic their favorite player on the court and growing up, but only a handful have achieved success doing it.

    This slideshow will compare some of the greatest NBA players today with a former player inducted into the Hall of Fame. The noteworthy aspects of each player's game I've taken into consideration include primary position, style of play, stat distribution and accomplishments.

Carmelo Anthony: Adrian Dantley

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    Surprisingly, Carmelo Anthony is probably the least like any of the previous players that have played in the NBA. The combination of strength, post moves, dribble penetration and shooting ability all packaged into his 6'8" 230 pound body is a rarity indeed.

    Adrian Dantley, a scoring machine in the 1980s, probably came with the closest package of skills that Anthony carries right now.

    Although Dantley was a smaller, 6'5" swingman, his offensive repertoire consisted mainly of post ups and dribble pull ups, as seen in the video. He also averaged nearly six rebounds a game, was a reluctant passer, and mediocre defender, which also correlate to some of Anthony's widely known attributes.

    Dantley was a lethal scorer in the earlier years of his career with the Utah Jazz, but he was perceived as being just a one-dimensional scorer and his lethal offensive competence never guided his teams to any championships, which is strikingly similar to Anthony's whole career thus far.

Dwight Howard: Patrick Ewing

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    This comparison was probably the most difficult for me make. Dwight Howard's style of play correlates to a handful of Hall of Fame players other than Patrick Ewing, but his game is still lacking in some noticeable aspects and I'm not willing to put him with the likes of Moses Malone or Kareem Abdul-Jabbar—who were more renown for their dominant post play on offense.

    Like Howard, Ewing was known primarily as a defensive powerhouse who controlled the paint and anchored his team's defense.

    As a former assistant coach with the Orlando Magic, it's not surprising that Ewing influenced Howard to become one of the most dominant defensive presences in the league. Maybe Ewing should've focused more on teaching Howard how to hit his free throws too.

    Although both big man employ similar abilities on the court, they have completely opposite personalities off the court. Ewing's toughness and demeanor translated into his aggressive play, while Howard's personality resembles a candy cane.

Kevin Durant: George Gervin

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    From his silky smooth shooting touch to his slender physique, Kevin Durant almost identically resembles the "Ice Man" George Gervin from head to toe, and on the basketball court.

    Out of everyone mentioned on this slideshow, there isn't a better match between a current NBA star and a Hall of Famer than Durant and Gervin.

    Although nobody can imitate the Ice Man's renown finger roll and velvety touch around the rim, Durant's fluid, effortless jump shot definitely solidifies himself in a similar category as one of the smoothest scorers of all time.

    Unlike Durant, Gervin's range didn't extend beyond the three point line. He attempted a career 0.6 three pointers a game in the ABA and the NBA and making just 10 percent of them, while Durant hits nearly 37 percent of his treys in over four attempts per game.

Chris Paul: John Stockton

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    There shouldn't be much debate that Chris Paul is currently the best overall point guard in the league today. Before him, there was Steve Nash and Jason Kidd—and if you go even further back in time, there was John Stockton

    Paul's controlled style of play most closely resembled that of the Gonzaga graduate who formed one of the best dynamic duos in the history of sports.

    Both point guards controlled the game at their own preferred pace while preventing displays of careless flash or quickness. Obviously both Paul and Stockton are capable of making the risky, spectacular play, but they are more willing to maintain a steady pace to the offense without risking bad passes and definitely contributes to their consistency.

    Paul is currently second in the league in assist-turnover ratio at an incredible rate of 4.4, which actually trumps Stockton's career rate of 3.8 and emphasizes the basketball intelligence that both of these great point guards possess.

Rajon Rondo: "Pistol" Pete Maravich

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    Even though Chris Paul may be the best point guard in the NBA right now, Rajon Rondo is still a top three point guard today primarily because of his quickness and court vision.

    Rondo most similarly resembles Pete Maravich, one of the greatest guards in the history of basketball. Both of these point guards look to make the spectacular, flashy play while running down the lane during a fast break or hitting a teammate in the half court with a fancy pass.

    Like Rondo, Pistol Pete wasn't an exceptionally fast runner, but his shots near the rim were quick and effective, and his court vision was like none other.

    Out of every player in the league—with the exception of Ricky Rubio who's still developing, Rondo's offensive skill set and court vision resemble Pistol Pete's more closely than any other Hall of Famer.

LeBron James: Magic Johnson

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    Even though LeBron James has drawn comparisons to the great Michael Jordan, it's largely due to entitlement and legacy of their greatness, not because of the similarities in their play.

    To be blatantly honest, there is literally nobody else in NBA with the same skill set and body-type as James. With that said, the closest Hall of Famer that James resembles is most likely Magic Johnson, despite a variety of differences in their game.

    James primarily scores by abusing his otherworldly strength to get to the rim or post-up, while Magic relies more on his dribbling skills and avoiding the defense to get buckets. James' court-vision may be on par with Magic's, but Magic is the better passer by far.

    Both players can play up to four positions on the floor, but James can effectively defend those four positions better than Magic and is considered the better scorer, rebounder and on-ball defender.

    Regardless of these differences, James and Magic will be forever linked because they both broke the barrier of the traditional position and rocketed the NBA into an era where versatility is favored over specialty.

Kobe Bryant: Michael Jordan

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    Kobe Bryant may not be the best player in basketball anymore—even if he still believes he is, but his play, demeanor and competitiveness are all strikingly similar to the man we consider as the greatest of all time.

    The fact is, Bryant has been compared to Michael Jordan ever since he first came into the league, and he will keep being compared to Jordan up until he retires.

    Putting aside the two players' individual accolades, Bryant's style of play, attitude and passion for the game is the closest we've seen to Jordan's out of any other player that has succeeded him. 

    In fact, the Black Mamba has seemingly mimicked and perfected many of the moves that Jordan himself popularized during his own career. Some offensive moves and plays are so strikingly similar that there are a plethora of videos on the web that compare the resemblance between some of them. 

    Although Bryant is unquestionably similar to Jordan on and off the court, there are some parts of his game that are nowhere near the level of the greatest player ever. For one, Jordan's defense at his position is unmatched, while Bryant, despite being a capable defender himself, doesn't quite give his highest level of effort at that end of the court consistently.