Ranking the Top 15 Third-Best Players on a Single Team in NBA History
It is somewhat odd to think that Chris Bosh would become a third option, or third best player on any team he would play on for most of his professional career.
That time has come now that he is with LeBron James and Dwayne Wade in Miami.
Bosh as the third best player on a team would be a dream for all 30 (or 29) NBA franchises. Fortunately, he is not the first to ever claim that title, or the best.
This list is based on championships won, almost won, or in the next few years. Enjoy the trip down memory lane.
15. Mike Bibby-Sacramento Kings
Very rarely does a team with talent and depth get shunned as much as the Sacramento Kings were in the late 1990's and early 2000's.
Led by Chris Webber and sharpshooter Peja Stojakovic, the Kings were the biggest threat to the dominant resurgent L.A. Lakers. The quarterback of the the purple crush was Mike Bibby.
Without him, the Kings are never that good, and his pocketbook not as large while producing less and less in the present.
Photo courtesy of SI.com
14. Andrew Toney- Philadelphia 76ers
Toney was a scoring threat. plain and simple.
He also was third in line behind Julius Erving and Moses Malone.
Toney also was a solid free throw shooter, which is something Dr. J and Moses could not always say. the early 1980's 76ers were some of the best short term championship threats in NBA history.
13. Derek Fisher- Los Angeles Lakers
One of the ultimate role players in recent NBA history, Derek Fisher has five rings to show for his tenacity and leadership.
12. Tony Parker- San Antonio Spurs
The man from France is a dime machine and has a unique ability to drive to the bucket.
He would be the best or second best player on teams, but during their championship run in the mid-2000's, Manu Ginobili and Tim Duncan led the way.
Photo: Giant Bomb
11. Chris Bosh- Miami Heat
The "Big Three" are set to take on the rest of the league in an attempt to win one or five NBA championships.
Bosh is a great third to LeBron James and Dwayne Wade. This trio could be dangerous in the unforeseen future.
10. Jeff Hornacek- Utah Jazz
One of the ultimate sharpshooters of all-time, Jeff Hornacek was a member of a Utah Jazz club that should have won at least one title in the 1990's.
John Stockton was the smooth operator, Karl Malone was the banger down low, and Hornacek was the icing on the cake from behind the arc.
9. Ray Allen- Boston Celtics
Ray Allen is the least-heralded out of the trio that also included Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce.
Allen shoots daggers and plays pretty good defense despite being at the end of his career. Allen proved that to win in the NBA today, a third man is almost a must.
The "Big Three" that wear the 'C' are still a feared foe and may hav eone last run in them.
8. Wes Unseld- Washington Bullets
Wes Unseld was a major cog in the paint who cleaned up a lot of messes for Bob Dandridge and Elvin Hayes.
A man who got his fair share of double-doubles, Unseld was important in the birth of the Washington Bullets.
7. Horace Grant- Chicago Bulls
The man was a human ground and pound for the first Chicago three-peat. Horace Grant and his goofy goggles cleared the muck down low and was the first major defensive presence for the Bulls in some time.
Grant went on to play for other successful teams, but he was never as good as the number three guy Chicago had.
6. Dave Debusschere- New York Knicks
Continuing the banger theme, Debusschere scored and grabbed boards with Willis Reed and Walt Frazier in the 60's and 70's.
Double 'D' was just that, a double-double machine for some dominant Knick teams.
5. Bob Cousy- Boston Celtics
Cousy was a wizard with the ball, and important for the early Boston Celtics dynasty.
Once Bill Russell and K.C. Jones were signed and drafted, the legacy began with Cousy as the backbone for two of the most dominant players in the early NBA, and arguably ever.
Photo: Marginalizing Morons
4. Kevin McHale- Boston Celtics
Bird. Parrish. McHale.
The other tower down low could shoot well and clean up around the basket.
Once Robert Parrish was brought in, McHale got his act together and blossomed as a post shooter and key member of the Boston Celtics that ruled the NBA with the Lakers in the 70's and 80's.
3. Wilt Chamberlain- Los Angeles Lakers
Yes, he was the third best player on a team at one time.
Towards the end of his career, Chamberlain played for a Lakers club that sported Elgin Baylor and Jerry West.
Even though the best scorer of his era played longer than Baylor in L.A., his presence was not to dominate, but to get the team over the hump.
2. Dennis Rodman- Chicago Bulls
Dennis Rodman is arguably the best rebounder and the baddest man to ever play basketball.
Just like Horace Grant was the grinder for round one, Rodman grinded and cleaned the lane for Scottie and MJ.
His presence was never stronger than when he was winning in Chicago, but the legacy for hard work and hard parting started in Detroit in the late 80's.
Being the third best player suited Rodman on the court, despite being the first sight seen off of it...and sometimes on it.
Photo courtesy of Giant Bomb
1. James Worthy- Los Angeles Lakers
Talented. Leader. Winner.
Third best player.
Hard to believe that James Worthy, a sure-fire Hall of Famer once he retired, could ever be just the third best player on a team.
Enter Kareem Abdul-Jabar and Magic Johnson and you can see why.
Worthy was a perennial 50-percent shooter and a menace for Parrish and McHale during the epic Boston-Los Angeles battles of the NBA's Golden Age.
Calling James Worthy the third best player on the Showtime Lakers is hard to say, but those teams were just that good.