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NBA Power Rankings: The 50 Best Post Players in NBA History

John FrielAnalyst IMay 4, 2011

NBA Power Rankings: The 50 Best Post Players in NBA History

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    They're the last line of defense on any NBA team. They're usually the biggest players on the court who are utilized for their strength and height to deter opposing players from getting the high-percentage shots around the basket. They are the wardens of the league as they keep the opposition from scoring near the basket and sending out a message that anywhere near the rim is off limits.

    Post players are some of the most important on the court, as they can not only provide their teams with offense by scoring easily around the rim, but on the defensive end can also affect/block shots or grab the ensuing rebound. Players who thrive in the post are some of the rarest commodities you can find in the league today, as there seem to be only a handful of players who could score, grab boards and play defense.

    While having a well-rounded post player is a high commodity now, there have been many big, and little, men over the past 60 years that have made their presence felt in the paint as well-rounded individuals. Having a quality player in the post is one of the biggest advantages any team can have and it shows even today with players like Dwight Howard or Andrew Bynum being held in the highest regard.

    It's why Greg Oden might make $10 million a year despite being injured the past two years.

    We took everything into consideration to rank these 50 players. The players' offensive skill sets and their rebounding, shot-blocking and defensive abilities were all put into consideration and it was how we were able to determine some of the best post players to ever play the game of basketball.

1. Hakeem Olajuwon

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    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    Career Stats: 21.8 PPG, 11.1 RPG and 3.1 BPG

     

    There are probably 30 NBA teams in the league today dreaming of having a center with the post moves that Hakeem Olajuwon possessed in his heyday.

    Hakeem is not only the reason for Dwight Howard's recent offensive success, but also for the Houston Rockets' two championships in the early 1990s. He had post moves that could not be replicated in his time and the shot-blocking prowess that no player in the league today could possess.

    Olajuwon led the league in shot-blocking for three years and averaged over four for three different times in his career. He scored over 20 points per game for his first 13 years in the league and led the league in rebounding twice as well.

    His offensive and defensive prowess is what allows him to be one of the NBA's greatest post players in its lengthy history.

2. Shaquille O'Neal

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    Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images

    Career Stats: 23.7 PPG, 10.9 RPG and 2.3 BPG

     

    Aside from Michael Jordan, Shaquille O'Neal was the most dominant player to play the game of professional organized basketball. 

    O'Neal's 7'1" and 325-pound frame allowed him to have an advantage over every player in the league. He was too strong to keep out of the paint and it was too much of a liability to double-team him when he was such an excellent passer too. Shaq was as good as it got when it came to finding the perfect post player and it translated to plenty of individual and team success.

    Shaq led the league in scoring twice and in field-goal percentage 10 times, which explains the career 58 percent shooting. O'Neal averaged 29 points per game twice in his career and set his high for rebounds at 14 in his rookie season with Orlando.

    As for team success, O'Neal was able to secure four titles with the Los Angeles Lakers and Miami Heat. His presence alone was a key component in each team's championship run as Dwyane Wade and Kobe Bryant each took advantage of the defensive double-teams on O'Neal for easier opportunities.

3. Wilt Chamberlain

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    Career Stats: 30.1 PPG and 22.9 RPG


    It shouldn't matter what time period it came in, 50 points per game is still an absolutely phenomenal feat.

    At 25 years old, Wilt Chamberlain averaged that insurmountable number while also averaging 26 rebounds per game. In his first six seasons in the league, Chamberlain never averaged fewer than 34.7 points and 22.3 rebounds per game. He led the league in scoring for seven years and in rebounding for 11 seasons.

    The statistical anomalies only translated to postseason success twice as he won his first championship with Philadelphia in 1967 and then one more time with Los Angeles in 1972.

    Chamberlain's height gave him an advantage over just about every player in the league, as there weren't too many players in the NBA at the time that could match up with his length.

4. Bill Russell

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    Career Stats: 15.1 PPG and 22.5 RPG


    How were broken ankles not a problem in the 1960s? Just look at those low tops.

    Anyway, the man in those low tops was the cornerstone of low-post defense and shot-blocking. The Boston Celtics' Bill Russell won over a decade's worth of titles and was the anchor to all of those teams as he kept the dominant Wilt Chamberlain at bay while being the league's most effective rebounder. He led the league in rebounding on five different occasions and never averaged fewer than 18.6 "caroms" per contest.

    Russell averaged as many as 25 boards per game in the 1963-64 season and also led the league in rebounding for his first three seasons in the league.

5. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

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    Getty Images/Getty Images

    Career Stats: 24.6 PPG, 11.2 RPG and 2.6 BPG


    When you're 7'2" and your signature shot is a hook shot with a release point above the rim, chances are that you're going to score often.

    In Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's case, he was a prolific scorer who was basically unstoppable due to his length and offensive expertise around the basket. He led the league in scoring in only his second and third seasons at 32 and 35 points per game and led the 1971 Milwaukee Bucks to their first title in only his second year in the league.

    Abdul-Jabbar would win six MVPs, two NBA Finals MVPs and six NBA championships, five coming with the Los Angeles Lakers. He is also the NBA's all-time leader for points.

6. Tim Duncan

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    Career Stats: 20.6 PPG, 11.4 RPG and 2.3 BPG

     

    Even at 35 years old, Tim Duncan is still a player that you can't take lightly. His 10' bank shot is just as prolific as ever, as his career wanes down.

    Duncan has emerged as one of the best power forwards to play the game and has the accolades to prove it. With four NBA championships and two MVP awards, Timmy has been the one of the most successful and effective players of the past decade. His fundamental style of play may not be flashy, but it translates to success and that's all that should matter to any player in this league.

    This past year was the first time in Duncan's 14-year career that he did not average a double-double and he only came up a rebound short. He has averaged as many as 26 points per game in the 2001-02 season, 13 rebounds from 2001-03 and three blocks per game from 2002-05.

7. Karl Malone

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    Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

    Career Stats: 25.0 PPG, 10.1 RPG and 0.8 BPG


    He was never able to secure that elusive NBA championship, but Karl Malone has more accolades than most players could possibly dream of. He and John Stockton were the cornerstones to the Utah Jazz franchise as they led the team to two consecutive NBA Finals appearances in the late 1990s. Karl came up short in both appearances, but did earn two MVPs for his troubles.

    Malone was a statistical oddity as he scored over 20 points per game for 17 consecutive seasons, while scoring over 27 points per game for six consecutive seasons early in his career. He averaged as many as 31 points per game in the 1989-90 season and 12 rebounds per game in 1987-88 in only his third NBA season.

8. Bob Pettit

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    Career Stats: 26.4 PPG and 16.2 RPG


    One of the first superstars of the league, Bob Pettit was one of the league's best at scoring, rebounding and having legs that would make Bigfoot jealous.

    Pettit led the league in scoring twice in his career and never averaged fewer than 20 points per game and 12 rebounds per game. He set his career high in scoring in 1961-62 when he averaged 31 points and set his high in rebounding the year before that when he grabbed 20 boards per contest for the first and only time in his career.

    Bob had plenty of individual success making 11 All-Star games and winning two MVP awards, while also having team success when he won his first and only championship in 1958 with the St. Louis Hawks.

9. Dwight Howard

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    Career Stats: 18.2 PPG, 12.9 RPG and 2.2 BPG

     

    What Shaquille O'Neal was to the league in the late-1990s and the early-2000s is what Dwight Howard is in the league today.

    Howard is the top center in the game today and it's not even close. His freakish athleticism and size give him an advantage over any defender he faces today and it has translated to individual success that he has earned over his first seven years in the league. He led the league in rebounding for three consecutive seasons, topping off at 14 twice, while also leading the NBA in blocks per game for two consecutive seasons at three apiece.

    Dwight also recently won his third consecutive Defensive Player of the Year award after averaging over two blocks per game for the fourth year in a row. While he is most known for his defense, Howard has also begun to develop a formidable and dangerous offensive game that is beginning to remind us of Hakeem Olajuwon. He recently just set a career high of 23 points per game.

10. George Mikan

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    Career Stats: 23.1 PPG and 13.4 RPG


    The four-eyed wonder, or George Mikan, as he'd probably like to be called, was the NBA's first superstar and for good reason.

    Mikan only played seven years in the BAA/NBA and saw his best years come at the beginning of his career where he led the league in scoring for his first three years with the league. Mikan averaged 28 points per game in his rookie year.

    He also led the league in rebounding for two consecutive years with 14 apiece and was also the key reason behind the Minneapolis Lakers success.

11. Kevin Garnett

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    Career Stats: 19.5 PPG, 10.7 RPG and 1.5 BPG


    Currently attempting to lead his Boston Celtics to their second title in four years, Kevin Garnett's emotion and tenacity are what have been driving this team since his arrival.

    Even before his arrival, Garnett was an absolute force with the Minnesota Timberwolves and even earned an MVP for his work in the 2003-04 season after averaging 24 points and 14 rebounds per game. Garnett has led the league in rebounding four times between 2003-2007 and also averaged over 20 points per game for nine consecutive seasons.

    Garnett's hard work on defense also earned him his first Defensive Player of the Year award in 2007-08. Kevin is most noted for being a fierce competitor and he has led teams with less-than-stellar supporting casts deep into the postseason. He was finally rewarded for his efforts in 2008 when he led the Boston Celtics to their first NBA title in over two decades.

12. Moses Malone

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    Career Stats: 20.3 PPG, 12.3 RPG and 1.3 BPG


    Six-time rebounding champion Moses Malone was and is still recognized as one of the top post players in the game. He averaged over 20 points per game for 11 consecutive seasons and topped off at 31.1 in the 1981-82 campaign.

    Malone played professionally for 20 years and earned three MVP awards, an NBA Finals MVP and led his Philadelphia 76ers to a 1983 championship.

13. David Robinson

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    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Career Stats: 21.1 PPG, 10.6 RPG and 3.0 BPG


    It just wasn't fair to the other 29 teams in the league when they had to face the San Antonio Spurs frontcourt of David Robinson and Tim Duncan. Luckily for those teams, Robinson was on the downside of his career before Timmy could enter his prime.

    Either way, Robinson and Duncan still won two titles together in 1999 and 2003.

    Coming out of the Navy, the 7'0" Robinson made his presence felt as soon as his rookie year when he averaged 24 points, 12 rebounds and four blocks per game. He would lead the league in rebounding the next year when he grabbed 13 boards per game.

    The year after that he would lead the league in blocks after sending back nearly five shots per contest. Two years later he would lead the league in scoring when he set his career of 30 per game.

    The year after that he would win his first and only MVP after averaging 28 points, 11 rebounds and three blocks per game. The Spurs got the best of both worlds from David as he was able to do just about everything in the post, from scoring to rebounding to blocking any shot that came near him.

14. Charles Barkley

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    Mike Powell/Getty Images

    Career Stats: 22.1 PPG, 11.7 RPG and 0.8 BPG


    He's probably gotten a little too big to suit up in those short shorts anymore, but back in his day Charles Barkley was one of the league's best at doing everything in the post.

    While he came up short a few times of winning an NBA title, Barkley still won an MVP in the 1992-93 season for his efforts after averaging 26 points, 12 rebounds and five assists per game. He averaged a double-double in all but his rookie seasons despite being only 6'6", the common size for a shooting guard. Barkley's wide frame allowed him to out-rebound much taller forwards and centers.

    Charles was able to lead the league in rebounds once in his career when he averaged 15 per game in the 1986-87 season, his third year in the NBA. He also made 11 All-Star games over his 15-year career.

15. Patrick Ewing

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    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Career Stats: 21.0 PPG, 9.8 RPG and 2.4 BPG


    He might not have been able to triumph over Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls or Reggie Miller and the Indiana Pacers for a year or two, but you can't knock Patrick Ewing and the New York Knicks for trying.

    Ewing was the anchor to those hard-nosed Knicks teams of the 1990s and he was also the team leader in scoring and rebounding. He only received one award in his illustrious career, the Rookie of the Year in 1986, but Ewing's worth was measured in his statistics and his defensive presence in the paint. Ewing's career highs include 29 points and four blocks per game in the 1989-90 season and 12 rebounds in the 1992-93 season.

    Patrick was able to lead the Knicks to one game short of winning the NBA title in the 1993-94 season. He earned 11 trips to the All-Star Game as well.

16. Kevin McHale

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    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Career Stats: 17.9 PPG, 7.3 RPG and 1.7 BPG


    By forming the NBA's most formidable frontcourt, the Boston Celtics were able to dominate the 1980s in terms of winning championships.

    One of those members of that frontcourt was Kevin McHale and he was absolutely dominant in the paint when it came to scoring, rebounding and playing defense. McHale is a career 55 percent shooter and led the league in field-goal percentage for two consecutive seasons when he was making shots at a 60 percent clip. It was in one of those years where he also averaged his career high of 26 points and 10 boards per contest.

    McHale won back-to-back Sixth Man of the Year awards as well as three NBA championships with the Celtics. He made seven All-Star games and never averaged single-digit points in his illustrious 13-year career.

17. Bill Walton

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    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    Career Stats: 13.3 PPG, 10.5 RPG and 2.2 BPG


    If not for injuries plaguing him his entire career, Bill Walton could have been recognized as one of the most effective post players in the game.  

    Walton had an unfortunate string of bad luck when it came to staying healthy, as he only played 80 games once in his 10 seasons in the league. Even then, he was still an intimidating figure and earned an MVP for his efforts in the 1977-78 season when he averaged 19 points and 13 rebounds in only 58 games.

    He led his Portland Trail Blazers to a title the year before that. He'd win one more title with the Boston Celtics in 1986 where he won Sixth Man of the Year. 


18. Robert Parish

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    Career Stats: 14.5 PPG, 9.1 RPG and 1.5 BPG

     

    Another member of that formidable Boston Celtics frontcourt of the 1980s, Robert Parish was just as effective as any of his teammates.

    "The Chief" was the center of those championship teams and held down the paint for over a decade for the C's. He never put up the stats that statisticians love and only had career highs of 20 points and 13 rebounds per game, but he was a domineering figure in the paint and he was one of the league's best defenders at the time.

    Parish played until he was 43 years old and still averaged eight rebounds per game in the 43 games that he did play in. He also won a championship in 1997 with the Chicago Bulls in the year before his retirement.

19. Elvin Hayes

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    Career Stats: 21.0 PPG, 12.5 RPG and 2.0 BPG


    You think the frontcourt of Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol is scary today? Just try going up against Wes Unseld and Elvin Hayes in their primes.

    One of the most underrated players to ever step onto an NBA court, Elvin Hayes was one of the most prolific scorers and rebounders early on in his career. At 23 years old and in his rookie year, Hayes led the league in scoring when he averaged 28 points per game to go along with 17 rebounds per contest. He would go on to average at least 25 points per game in his first four seasons.

    Elvin would lead the league in rebounding twice and would set his career high in the 1973-74 season when he grabbed 18 per contest. He and Unseld would also lead the Washington Bullets to their first NBA championship in the 1978 season.

20. Dave Cowens

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    Career Stats: 17.6 PPG, 13.6 RPG and 0.9 BPG


    With all the talk of Paul Pierce, Larry Bird and John Havlicek, people tend to forget that Dave Cowens was one of the Celtics' first superstars.

    Cowens won his first and only MVP award in the 1972-73 season after averaging 21 points and 16 rebounds per game in only his third season in the league. A year later he would help the Celtics win the 1974 NBA title.

    He would never have the same individual success that he had during his MVP year, but he would average double figures in rebounding for his first eight years in the organization. Dave would lead the 1974 and 1976 Celtics to championships and would finish in the top five for MVP voting in four consecutive seasons.

21. Alonzo Mourning

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    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    Career Stats: 17.1 PPG, 8.5 RPG and 2.8 BPG


    A player that puts as much emotion into the game as Alonzo Mourning deserved a championship after all the heartbreak he put up with.

    In 2006, he got his wish when he won a title with the Miami Heat at 35 years old. Even at 35, Mourning played a large part in the Heat's championship run as he shut down the post on defense with his shot-blocking prowess, including having five in the Heat's NBA Finals-clinching victory. 'Zo averaged 3.9 blocks per game in 1998-99 and 3.7 in 1999-00, leading the league in both years.

    Mourning averaged over 20 points per game six times in his career and was the key reason behind the Miami Heat's success in the late 1990s. He was an absolute warrior on both sides of the ball, but mostly on defense where he earned back-to-back Defensive Player of the Year awards after leading the league in blocks per game.

22. Wes Unseld

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    Career Stats: 10.8 PPG, 14.0 RPG and 0.6 BPG


    The best outlet passer to play the game, Wes Unseld had so much more to him than just being able to throw the ball in an exact place.

    To show off just how good of a player he was going to be, Unseld won the MVP award in his rookie year after averaging 14 points and 18 rebounds per game as a 22-year-old. For four more seasons, Unseld would average a double-double and wouldn't average fewer than 16 boards per game. However, after 1973 he would average double-digit points only one more time in his career.

    At 6'7", Unseld is recognized as one of the best undersized rebounders in league history alongside Dennis Rodman and Charles Barkley. He would lead the league in rebounding in the 1974-75 season and would finally win his first championship a few years later in 1978 when he led his Washington Bullets to their first title.

23. Michael Jordan

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    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Career Stats: 30.1 PPG, 6.2 RPG and 0.8 BPG

     

    When you're already the best, there is only so much more you can improve on.

    The post-up game wasn't one of those aspects that Michael Jordan needed to improve on. He set the tone for the modern-day shooting guard finding ways to score around the basket, aside from driving, and is still regarded as one of the best guards to have a post-up game. Jordan's strength in the post allowed him to be so well rounded, as it added another dimension to an already volatile game.

    Michael won six NBA championships, six NBA Finals MVPs and five MVPs during his illustrious career.

24. Bob Lanier

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    Career Stats: 20.1 PPG, 10.1 RPG and 1.5 BPG


    You won't always hear Bob Lanier's name pop up in conversations, but you really should.

    For over a decade, Detroit Pistons center Bob Lanier was one of the most consistent players of the 1970s. He averaged over 20 points per game for eight of his first nine years in the league, while also posting up seven consecutive seasons of averaging double-digit rebounds. He was in heavy competition to be recognized as the best center in the league and would finish in the top five in MVP voting twice.

    Lanier would make eight All-Star games over his impressive 14-year career.

25. Kobe Bryant

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    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Career Stats: 25.3 PPG, 5.3 RPG and 0.5 BPG


    To be a great offensive player in the league, you have to be well rounded and be able to hit shots from just about anywhere on the court. Kobe Bryant is considered one of those great players because of just how good an offensive player he can be. He isn't restricted to solely driving and shooting, but he is also a fantastic post player as well.

    Bryant has developed a post game over his lengthy 15-year career and has become exceptional at it, as he is able to post up just about any guard or forward defending him.

    Bryant's strong suit isn't his post game, but he has won five championships for his troubles on offense either way.

26. Walt Bellamy

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    Career Stats: 20.1 PPG, 13.7 RPG and 0.6 BPG


    The 1960s were a puzzling time for the NBA. Looking back now, you would think that Bill Russell and Wilt Chamberlain were the only two players in the league then.

    It's too bad because there were players like Walt Bellamy, who was also one of the league's most quality post players. "Bells" was one of the first players in the league, joining in 1961, and was already regarded as an elite after averaging 27 points and 16 rebounds in his rookie season, leading the league in field-goal percentage, and taking home Rookie of the Year honors. Bellamy would average over 23 per game for the next four seasons.

    Walt would never match the numbers he had in his rookie year, but he would have a solid career and would average a double-double for 11 seasons.

27. James Worthy

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    Mike Powell/Getty Images

    Career Stats: 17.6 PPG, 5.1 RPG and 0.7 BPG


    When you've earned the nickname "Big Game" James, you know you've done something right in your career once or twice.

    James Worthy was one of the league's most solid role player in the 1980s, as he helped lead the Los Angeles Lakers to three titles and even won an NBA Finals MVP in their 1988 title run. Worthy consistently averaged 20 points and six rebounds for nearly a decade and was a key reason behind the Lakers success for nearly a decade of basketball.

    Worthy earned seven trips to the All-Star Game over his 12-year career.

28. Nate Thurmond

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    Career Stats: 15.0 PPG, 15.0 RPG and 2.1 BPG


    It helps to look scary and have Hulk Hogan-like biceps, but Nate Thurmond had so much more going for him on the court than looks alone.

    Thurmond controlled the paint for nearly a decade with the San Francisco Warriors. He averaged over 20 rebounds per game twice in his career and averaged a double-double for 10 consecutive years. He also completed the extremely rare feat of averaging 20 and 20 for a complete season.

    Nate the Great made it to seven All-Star games and came up a few votes short of winning an MVP award in the 1966-67 season.

29. Chris Webber

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    Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

    Career Stats: 20.7 PPG, 9.8 RPG and 1.4 BPG


    Chris Webber never earned the accolades that most power forwards of his level received, but he did post surprising numbers.

    Webber averaged as much as 27 points per game in the 2000-01 season as a member of the Sacramento Kings and also led the league in rebounding, while also setting his career high at 13 caroms per contest in the 1998-99 campaign. Webber's wide, 245-pound frame allowed him to work against most forwards and centers in the league that held a height advantage over him.

    C-Webb only made it to five All-Star games and only earned one award: the Rookie of the Year award he won back in 1994.

30. Elgin Baylor

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    Career Stats: 27.4 PPG and 13.5 RPG


    Along with Charles Barkley, Karl Malone and John Stockton, Elgin Baylor was one of the best to play the game and not win an NBA title.

    Baylor was one of the most prolific scorers to play the game and averaged as many as 38 points per game in the 1961-62 season. As a scorer, he was able to find ways to score from just about everywhere on the court with the post not coming as an exception. Baylor was extremely athletic for his time and it translated to plenty of individual success.

    Elgin would make 11 All-Star games, but would fall short in his attempts to win an MVP award and an NBA title.

31. Zach Randolph

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    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Career Stats: 17.6 PPG, 9.2 RPG and 0.3 BPG


    While most people are noticing Zach Randolph's expertise in the post now, it turns out that Randolph was putting up numbers just as impressive prior to this year.

    For the past eight seasons, Randolph has been one of the most consistent post players in the league and has averaged at least 18 points and eight rebounds. Zach has been having some of the best years of his career over the past two seasons with Memphis after recently hitting his career high in rebounds at 12 per contest.

    He was criticized for his lack of effort years prior with Portland and New York, but it has all become a thing of the past as people begin to recognize just how well Randolph can use his body around the rim. His wide frame allows him to out-rebound the taller, lengthier players and it has finally translated to some sort of postseason success for the first time in his career.

    Randolph has one award to his name, winning the 2003-04 Most Improved Player.

32. Sam Cassell

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    Elsa/Getty Images

    Career Stats: 15.7 PPG, 3.2 RPG and 0.2 BPG

     

    When you look like E.T., you better have some qualities and advantages that you possess to avoid too much embarrassment.

    Sam Cassell won't win any beauty pageants, but he could win an award as one of the best guards to play in the post. Cassell had a lot of strength, used plenty of trickery, and had a quality fadeaway jumper to hold an advantage over guards that would attempt to defend his post-ups.

    Sam averaged as many as 20 points per game in three consecutive seasons and won three championships, two with the Houston Rockets and one with the Boston Celtics.

33. Oscar Robertson

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    Career Stats: 25.7 PPG, 7.5 RPG and 0.1 BPG


    So you averaged a triple-double, big whoop, wanna fight about it?

    At 6'5", Oscar Robertson held a height advantage over just about every other point guard that attempted to defend him. He was able to utilize this skill through prolific scoring, rebounding and passing, while also using it to become a quality post-up player as well. Robertson translated that success into absurd individual stats, and was finally able to win a title in 1971 alongside Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

    Robertson won the 1964 MVP, two years after he first averaged his legitimate triple-double of 30.8 points, 12.5 rebounds and 11.4 rebounds per game. He came up 0.1 rebounds short in his MVP year of averaging a legitimate triple-double again.

34. Gary Payton

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    Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

    Career Stats: 16.3 PPG, 3.9 RPG and 0.2 BPG


    Having a guard that can post up is a huge advantage for a team because most guards don't know how to defend a player that is exceptional at posting up.

    In Gary Payton's case, he held an ultimate advantage thanks to his size over most other guards and being able to post up as a point guard. Payton was a quality shooter and was a passer and defender more than anything else, but it was his posting up that was one of the most redeeming qualities of his game.

    Payton averaged as many as 24 points per game in the 1999-00 season, nine assists in the same season and the 2001-02 season, and three steals in the 1995-96 season. After failing to win a title with the Seattle SuperSonics for the entirety of the 1990s and the Los Angeles Lakers for a brief period of times, Payton was finally rewarded in the 2006 season when he won it with the Miami Heat.

    He also pulled off one of the rarest feats by being a non-center and winning the Defensive Player of the Year award in 1996.

35. Pau Gasol

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    Harry How/Getty Images

    Career Stats: 18.8 PPG, 9.1 RPG and 1.7 BPG


    After being taken to Phil Jackson's school for grown men, Pau Gasol has emerged as the valedictorian.

    Gasol was a solid contributor in his time with Memphis averaging a career high of 21 points per game in the 2006-07 season, but never saw team success. Upon joining the Los Angeles Lakers, Gasol has looked like a completely different player as his toughness never once again has come into question. He has helped lead the Lakers to three consecutive title appearances, winning two of them.

    Pau has only posted up his best rebounding numbers with the Lakers averaging double-figures for the first time in his career over the past two seasons. Gasol thrives in the post with a wide array of post moves and can even space the floor with a lethal midrange game.

36. Rasheed Wallace

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    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    Career Stats: 14.6 PPG, 6.7 RPG and 1.3 BPG


    Referees wouldn't put Rasheed Wallace in their top 50 anything. Luckily, I am not a referee and I can recognize how good of a player Wallace was without hearing him.

    Wallace wasn't the type of player to put up outlandish numbers; instead he would consistently give you hard defense and a consistent scoring and rebounding output. He never averaged more than 19 points and nine rebounds in his career, yet he was able to help lead a decade's worth of Detroit Piston teams to the Eastern Conference finals.

    'Sheed would make four All-Star games and would help the Pistons win the 2004 NBA championship.

37. Willis Reed

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    Career Stats: 18.7 PPG, 12.9 RPG and 1.1 BPG


    Believe it or not, but Willis Reed actually had a career outside of hurting his ankle and inspiring the New York Knicks to win the 1970 NBA championship.

    Reed had a short-lived career playing only 10 seasons, but was productive in his short time winning two championships and the 1970 MVP after averaging 22 points and 14 rebounds per game. Reed would average as many as 15 rebounds per game twice and could have had several more accolades to his name if not for succumbing to injuries during the prime years of his career.

    Willis would make seven All-Star games and would also win the Finals MVP for the Knicks' 1973 championship.

38. Dikembe Mutombo

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    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Career Stats: 9.8 PPG, 10.3 RPG and 2.8 BPG


    He was never much of a scorer, his career high being 17 PPG in his rookie year, but we look at Dikembe Mutombo as something so much more than a scorer.

    Mutombo created the finger wag, as a means of telling other players to stop attempting shots anywhere within 10 feet of the basket. He shut down the paint for over a decade and averaged as many as five blocks per game in the 1995-96 season after leading the league in blocks for the third consecutive season. He earned four Defensive Player of the Year awards, with one of those coming when he was already 34 years old.

    Deke was a fantastic rebounder as well and he led the league in rebounding for two consecutive seasons from 1999-2001. He averaged a double-double for 11 consecutive seasons before injuries began to deter him. Even with the myriad of health issues, Mutombo was able to play until 2009 when he retired with the Houston Rockets at the age of 42.

39. Neil Johnston

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    Career Stats: 19.4 PPG and 11.3 RPG


    OK, who told someone that short, shiny shorts would go out of style?

    The player sans shiny shorts there is Neil Johnston of the Philadelphia Warriors who was one of the NBA's greats before that shiny Larry O'Brien Trophy was even created. Johnston led the league in scoring for three consecutive seasons from 1952 to 1955, topping off at 24 per game. Neil also led the league in rebounding in 1954-55 when he averaged 15 per contest.

    Neil played as many as 45 minutes per game for two consecutive seasons. He also helped lead the 1956 Warriors to a championship.

40. Shawn Kemp

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    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    Career Stats: 14.6 PPG, 8.4 RPG and 1.2 BPG


    Don't judge him solely on his stats, Shawn Kemp was one of the last post players you wanted to match up against.

    Thanks to his unheralded athleticism, Kemp earned respect on the court as one of the most prolific finishers during the 1990s. He would average over 20 points per game only once in his career, but he was still able to lead his Seattle SuperSonics to a number of title runs. The duo of Kemp and Gary Payton would finally reach its goal in the 1996 season when Seattle met up with the Chicago Bulls to play for the title.

    Shawn would average six consecutive double-doubles at one point in his career. Kemp's legacy gives hope to all community college basketball players everywhere that maybe they too can reach the NBA level.

41. Elton Brand

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    Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

    Career Stats: 18.4 PPG, 9.3 RPG and 1.9 BPG


    If not for a ridiculous array of injuries over the past few years, Elton Brand could easily be recognized as one of the best power forwards in the game.

    Brand did have a bounce-back year averaging 15 points and eight rebounds per game a year after posting up a career-low 13 points per contest. As a member of the Los Angeles Clippers, Brand was one of the better post players in the league and posted up as many as 25 points per game as recently as the 2005-06 season. Brand's career high in rebounds came in the 2001-02 season when he averaged 12 per game.

    After a successful, and most importantly healthy, 2010-11 campaign, Brand could see a few more years of success before his health begins to deteriorate along with his age.

42. Chauncey Billups

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    Elsa/Getty Images

    Career Stats: 15.5 PPG, 2.9 RPG and 0.2 BPG


    The craftiest of crafty veterans, Chauncey Billups has made a career out of abusing opposing point guards from beyond the arc in late-game situations and in the post.

    Billups has had a very quiet career despite winning the 2004 NBA title. He's not the type of point guard that will throw the flashy highlight passes or the quick and agile guard that's going to dismantle a slower guard. Instead, Chauncey's going to beat you consistently over 48 minutes from his comfort zones beyond the arc and in the paint.

    At 33 years old, Billups averaged a career-high 20 points per game. He has averaged as much as nine assists, which came in the 2005-06 season when he and the Detroit Pistons were coming to the end of their tenure as the Eastern Conference powerhouse.

43. Bill Laimbeer

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    Getty Images/Getty Images

    Career Stats: 12.9 PPG, 9.7 RPG and 0.9 BPG


    Bill Laimbeer wasn't going to put up 30 points and 20 rebounds every game. Instead, he was just going to annoy the hell out of you in an attempt to frustrate you and throw you off your game.

    Laimbeer only has one individual accolade to his credit and that was when he averaged 13 rebounds per game to lead the league in the 1985-86 season. It was his defensive and mental prowess that the Pistons looked for from Laimbeer on a nightly basis and it translated to two Detroit Piston titles. His midrange game also helped spread the floor.

    He would play in four All-Star games and would spend all but one-and-a-half seasons of his 14-year career outside of the friendly confines of Detroit.

44. Maurice Lucas

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    Career Stats: 14.6 PPG, 9.1 RPG and 0.6 BPG


    You know you're one bad "mothalover" when you're squaring off with Darryl Dawkins and the referees and every player on the floor wants nothing to do with it.  

    Aside from being the toughest person to ever walk the planet, Maurice Lucas was a quality post player in his time with the Portland Trail Blazers and a myriad of other teams. He joined the NBA in the 1976-77 season, averaged 20 points and 11 rebounds, and led the Blazers to their first title.

    He wouldn't average over 20 points per game for the rest of his career, but he would consistently offer teams a healthy stat line every game. Lucas would also make five All-Star games.

45. Dennis Rodman

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    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Career Stats: 7.3 PPG, 13.1 RPG and 0.6 BPG


    Dennis Rodman was out on the court for three things: rebound, play defense and annoy the hell out of whoever he was guarding.

    "The Worm" only averaged double figures in points once in his career, but it was not from scoring that Rodman proved his worth, it was his rebounding and impeccable defense. Between 1991-1998, Dennis led the league in rebounding with as many as 19 per game in the 1991-92 campaign, as a member of the Detroit Pistons. From 1990 on, Dennis never averaged fewer than 10 rebounds per contest.

    He would earn back-to-back Defensive Player of the Year awards while still with Detroit and would win two titles there as well. He would go on to win three consecutive titles with the Chicago Bulls during their second three-peat.

46. Ben Wallace

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    Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

    Career Stats: 6.0 PPG, 10.0 RPG and 2.0 BPG


    If you got any type of points from Ben Wallace, it was a bonus.

    For a time during the Detroit Pistons' numerous championship runs, Wallace was the anchor to their stifling defense. He averaged over three blocks per game for three consecutive seasons, leading the league with four per game in 2001-02, and also led the league in rebounding for two consecutive seasons as well at 13 and 15 per contest.

    Despite being an undersized center at only 6'9", Wallace was regarded as one of the top defensive centers in the league and in history. He won four Defensive Player of the Year awards between 2001-2006 and helped lead the Pistons to their 2004 NBA title victory.

47. Dan Issel

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    Career Stats: 22.6 PPG, 9.1 RPG and 0.5 BPG


    Who would have thought that not even Dan Issel could pull off the rainbow jersey?

    Either way, Issel could pull off having a quality post game and it translated to plenty of individual success throughout the 1980s. Issel averaged over 20 points per game for six of his nine seasons in the league after spending six seasons in the ABA. He would only average over 10 boards once in his NBA career, but would average at least seven rebounds for seven consecutive seasons.

    One of the more underrated big men, Issel unfortunately saw his best years come as a member of the ABA where he averaged 30 points per game in his rookie season. He also took home an ABA championship in 1975 with Kentucky.

48. Artis Gilmore

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    Career Stats: 18.8 PPG, 12.3 RPG and 2.4 BPG


    It seems that the 1970s were a time for underrated big men. Artis Gilmore was one of those unheralded few.

    Starting out in the ABA as a member of the Kentucky Colonels, Gilmore would join the NBA in 1976 with the Chicago Bulls and would average 19 points and 13 rebounds. At 7'2", Gilmore was unmatched by most players in the league thanks to his height and length. It explains why Artis led the league in field-goal percentage for four consecutive seasons and would top off at 67 percent per game in the 1980-81 season.

    Gilmore would have a solid NBA career averaging a double-double for eight seasons and would play until he was 38 years old.

49. Spencer Haywood

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    Career Stats: 20.3 PPG, 10.3 RPG and 1.1 BPG


    One of the most underrated players in the NBA's history, the Seattle SuperSonics' Spencer Haywood was one of the league's top scorers upon entering the league.

    After averaging 30 points and 20 rebounds in the ABA, Haywood would take his talents to the NBA where he would join Seattle. In only three years, Haywood would average as many as 29 points and 13 rebounds per game. He would average at least 20 points for his first six years in the league before ending his tenure in Seattle to join the New York Knicks.

    He would win his first and only title as a member of the Los Angeles Lakers in 1980 coming off the bench.

50. Vlade Divac

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    Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

    Career Stats: 11.8 PPG, 8.2 RPG and 1.4 BPG


    One of the first Europeans to have a successful career in the NBA, Vlade Divac offered the game so much more than just flopping at the sign of any contact.

    Divac was a quality player in the post and he played the entirety of his career as a solid role player to a number of playoff-bound teams. Divac averaged as many as 16 points per game in the 1994-95 season and as many as 11 rebounds in the 1993-94 campaign.

    Vlade had an array of post moves that he would unleash against defenders that didn't know how to defend it. He would only make one All-Star game, but would help the Sacramento Kings make a number of deep postseason runs in the late 2000s.

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