Photo used courtesy of Turner.com
Career Stats: 21 points, 12.5 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 1 steal, 2 blocks, 45.2 FG%, 67 FT%
Career Achievements: one-time NBA Champion, 12-time NBA All-Star, one-time NBA Scoring Champion, three-time All-NBA First Team
Elvin Hayes just looked like a superior power forward. His muscular body and rugged look of determination are timeless components to a big man's game. His rookie photos in 1968 look like a guy who could play—and dominate—today.
But beyond his build, the “Big E” also had superb talent. He showed a smooth stroke with his patented turnaround jumper and racked up monstrous garbage points with his work around the rim.
The last rookie to lead the league in scoring, Hayes posted 28.4 points per game and averaged 17.1 rebounds per game in his debut season. He continued his reign of terror on the block until he was 38 years old, good for 16 solid years of service.
During that time, he led the Washington Bullets to three NBA Finals appearances, including winning the NBA title over the Seattle SuperSonics in 1979.
The Big E gives the “Big Ticket” a run for his money on this list, especially considering his durability. Hayes never missed more than two games in a season.
However, his rebound numbers were inflated based on the game speed of the era prior to the shot clock and also due to the level of competition at the position during his era. KG has maintained his status as an elite power forward in the era of power forwards you'll soon read about.
That doesn't mean Hayes is overrated, because, in fact, he seems underrated by most analysts. But the fact that he sits eighth in all-time scoring compared to Garnett (15th, second among active players) and fourth in rebounding to Garnett's 10th-place position says little about KG's in-game effectiveness.
Not to mention, Hayes played many of his finest years alongside fellow big man Wes Unseld, while Garnett dominated with or without All-Stars by his side.