In case you missed Part I, here's a review of the ground rules.
1) I have to remember seeing the guy play. I was born in 1981. 2) Some players were great for a time. I am taking them at their best. 3) I looked at the player without regard for position. 4) I did my best to be objective, but how objective can you really be when ranking players? 5) No player will get an individual ranking.
So now let's get started with Part II. Part III is coming soon...enjoy!
More than any other player in Part II, he is close to being in Part III with the most elite players. But he's not quite there yet.
However, with LeBron James joining him in Miami they could go on to win multiple championships and further cement their legacies as all-time greats. As things stand now, his Finals performance in '06 was one of the greatest singular efforts I've ever seen.
The Human Highlight Film.
Unfortunately, too many people just remember his legendary dunks. He really was a very talented scorer beyond just dunking.
In 1986 he led the league in scoring with a 30.3 ppg average. You can't score that many points just dunking. He was also better than an 80% career free throw shooter, so his game had more substance than he's given credit for.
But his dunks truly were that amazing.
He had an ugly departure from the Suns, as well as having an ugly departure from this year's playoff's, but Joe Johnson can flat out hoop.
From being able to catch and shoot to taking his man off the dribble, there are few who have possessed his all-around offensive game.
Frankly, he is more in the Scottie Pippen-mold where he's better off as a second fiddle, but that does not negate his ability and production.
Sadly, there are kids who only saw Kemp play when he was "fat & old."
People my age and older remember seeing him catch and dunk lobs that looked like they were going into row J. His mix of size, strength, and athleticism made him a nightmare to match up with for opposing defenders.
When he as in Seattle in the mid 90's, he was arguably the best power forward in the game. Even in Cleveland in the late 90's he was still amazing, but he will be most remembered for his days as a Sonic.
You can't bring up the Sonics without honoring both the "Reign Man" and Gary Payton.
Although his nickname was "The Glove" and he played great defense, GP was a great offensive player as well, averaging more than 20 ppg six times in his career.
Aside from his great play on the court, he was also known for his trash talk, but pulled it off without getting a reputation for being a jerk. The Sonic teams of the 90's were so much fun to watch, and that was due in large part to Payton.
Forget about Hill in Phoenix or Orlando. Think about Grant Hill in Detroit, when management lost their minds and went with those ridiculous teal jerseys.
Before he was hurt, he was one of the top fve players in the league. His all-around talent was amazing, and he made the game look easy.
In the open court, he seemed to get to the rim at will, and was a better passer than most point guards. Certainly his career has taken a detour from going down in history as one of the elite to every play the game, but early in his career he was phenomenal.
He could flat out shoot the rock.
He shot over 90 percent for his career from the stripe and over 40 percent from deep.
Beyond just being a great shooter, he was a marvelous point guard who probably would have at least one ring if not for MJ. Look, on the bright side, at least he's not Craig Ehlo.
Please disregard anything you've read about him wanting to take his talents back to South Beach, because that has nothing to do with what a remarkable talent he was.
When he was in Orlando, he was a savage. He had uncanny court sense, and had amazing hops, so his dunks were scary good.
Because of his height, he of course drew comparisons to Magic Johnson. Of course there will never be another Magic Johnson, but legit comparison to him is very, very high praise.
Most men wouldn't rock a dress, a wig, and have an alter-ego named Grandma-Ma, but obviously LJ was a different type of character.
After being selected No. 1 overall by the then Charlotte Hornets, he was an explosive player who helped make the Hornets one of the league's most marketable teams.
As his career progressed, he became a different type of player, but in Charlotte he was a bruising, physical player who at times seemed to do whatever he wanted on the court.
It certainly wasn't the prettiest, but it surely was one of the sweetest strokes the game has ever seen.
Reggie Miller's shot, and perhaps even more importantly his ability to come off screens to get open for the shot, drove people crazy. Of course, we remember the epic battles with the Knicks and his trash talking episodes with Spike Lee to the point where he might have the most highlights from MSG from any player never on the Knicks roster.
Much like Mark Price, had it not been for a certain player wearing number 23, he might have some rings to go along with his other accolades.
You can make the argument for him being the best point guard in the gametoday—and he is moving up in regards to being an all-time great—but I can't quite put him in the most elite group to ever play the game just yet.
His size and strength make him one of the toughest matchups for opposing point guards, but his passing ability (he's averaged 10+ assists the last three seasons) make him tough to double.
It will be exciting to see what lies ahead in his career.
Similar to Magic and Bird, DWill and CP3 will seemingly be connected their entire careers.
Their games are very different, but the desire to win is the same. While Williams's biggest asset might be his strength, Paul may be the quickest player in the NBA right now, and it shows on both ends of the court.
Whether he's playing the passing lane and getting a steal on D or setting up a teammate with a perfect pass on offense, his quickness is unmistakable.
Unlike Magic and Bird though, neither Williams nor Paul has a single ring. Hopefully for both men, that will change with time.
He might be best known for his timeout against UNC when he was a Wolverine, but his NBA career was much more impressive.
For someone with his talent, the played on quite a few different teams, but in the late 90's and early 2000's when he was in Sacramento, he was on the of the best in the game at that position.
Plus, he dated Tyra Banks, so he gets bonus points for that feat.
Jason Kidd has made more money for other guys in the league than their agents by giving them the ball where they couldn't help but score.
Remember how good Kenyon Martina and Richard Jefferson looked in New Jersey? Yeah, that was because of Jason Kidd.
He has put up impressive numbers every place he has been. Much like Dan Fouts in the NFL, though, he legacy is somewhat diminished because he has never won a championship.
Obviously, that's why they play the game, but outside of that, there is not much more for him to achieve in his career.
He was still very good in Houston—and that's where he ultimately got his ring—but Drexler was at his best in Portland.
Clyde the Glide could score almost effortlessly it seemed at times, but his career assist numbers show he was more than just a scorer.
He doesn't want to talk about practice, but when you talk about AI you have to talk about points, right?
Pound for pound aruably the best player the league has seen, AI averaged more than 30 points per game five times in his career. Many people are turned off by his game because of the number of shots he has taken, but his talent is undeniable.
The game of basketball is about more than just points, but the way T-Mac scored was mind boggling.
In the early 2000's when he was in Orlando, he scored going left, going right, jumpers, dunks, you name it.
He has never had much success in the playoffs, but that cannot negate his skill. Again, we are only talking about Orlando T-Mac, and that guy was great.
Because he never won a ring without Duncan, the Admiral doesn't get the credit he deserves for being a great ball player himself.
The year after San Antonio drafted him, it had the biggest turnaround in NBA history.
His athleticism changed the way we look at centers, and he competed during a time when there were great centers in the league. Take a look at his numbers from the early 90's. He was great.