Comparing Today's Top 25 NBA Players to Past Legends

Faizan Qurashi@@FaizanQurashiAnalyst IISeptember 10, 2010

Comparing Today's Top 25 NBA Players to Past Legends

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    Today's NBA players in so many ways remind us of past players, so let's compare the NBA's top 25 current players with their legendary counterparts.

    There might be disagreements, but bear with me and view the entire slideshow first before making any assumptions. If you legitimately disagree, that's also fine. I will accept constructive criticism. 

    As a side note, I am not in any way stating which players are better. I'm simply just comparing two players with similar playing styles. 

    So, with that in mind, let's begin. 

25. Ray Allen: Reggie Miller

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    Lets start from the bottom and work our way up.

    Ray Allen is no longer a top 10 player in the league, but when he was he could play with the best of 'em. 

    His play most resembles Reggie Miller, another legendary sharpshooter. Both Miller and Allen are lethal three-point shooters that could light it up from downtown. They both were excellent coming off screen and rolls, and immediately shooting the ball before their defenders could contest. 

    Allen and Miller have been neck-n-neck in three-point records with both of them holding the No. 1 and 2 spots on the most three-point field goals made list. 

    In this day and age, our Ray Allen is the past's Reggie Miller. 

    Career Stats

    Ray Allen: 20.5 ppg - 4.3 rpg - 3.7 apg - 1.2 spg. 

    Reggie Miller: 18.2 ppg - 3.0 rpg - 3.0 apg - 1.1 spg. 

24. Kevin Garnett: Hakeem Olajuwon

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    Similar to Allen, Kevin Garnett is no longer the dominant force, a.k.a. "The Big Ticket" that he was earlier in the decade. However, he is still a top 25 player. 

    When looking at his game at the top of his peak, it most resembles that of Hakeem "The Dream" Olajuwon. Although Olajuwon played C and Garnett PF, both are relatively the same height, which allowed them to have a similar skillset. 

    Both Garnett and Olajuwon at one time had the best post moves of any frontcourt player in the league. They had a plethora of post moves that they utilized as well as an above-average mid-range jumpshot. But both of them were AMAZING defenders. They could block shots ferociously and get into their opponents' heads.

    Both have won the "Defensive Player of the Year Award" as well as the "MVP" award. 

    Career Stats 

    Kevin Garnett: 19.8 ppg - 10.8 rpg - 4.2 apg - 1.3 spg - 1.6 bpg

    Hakeem Olajuwon: 21.8 ppg - 11.1 rpg - 2.5 apg - 1.7 spg - 3.1 bpg

23. David Lee: Patrick Ewing

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    In no way am I saying that David Lee is as good of a player as Patrick Ewing, I am simply stating that they had similar playing styles. 

    While Lee is more of a PF than a C, he has played the center position before and excelled at it. Both Lee and Ewing excel at rebounding and finishing around the basket. 

    In terms of comparing their offensive games, Ewing is the better player BY FAR, but Lee has averaged 20 ppg before so it's not as big of a gap as it may seem. Defensively, Ewing is also better as he averaged two more blocks per game during his career. Both players are bangers and hard-nosed ballplayers. It helps that they both played for the Knicks. 

    Career Stats 

    David Lee: 13.0 ppg - 9.6 rpg - 1.9 apg - 0.8 spg - 0.4 bpg. 

    Patrick Ewing: 21.0 ppg - 9.8 rpg - 1.9 apg - 1.0 spg - 2.4 bpg. 

22. Gerald Wallace: Scottie Pippen

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    Both these players are great defenders.

    Make no mistake about it, Scottie and Gerald Wallace are adequate offensive talents, but where they make their mark is on the defensive end. 

    Pippen and Wallace have a tendency to get into their opponents' heads and throw them off their games. While most players go into a game thinking they'll score 30 points, Wallace and Pippen went into games thinking they'll stop someone from scoring 30 points. 

    Wallace is a better shot blocker, while Pippen is a better man-to-man defender and stealer. Both these players are above-average shooters, quality rebounders, and intimidating defenders. 

    Career Stats 

    Gerald Wallace: 13.2 ppg - 6.1 rpg - 1.9 apg - 1.5 spg - 1.0 bpg

    Scottie Pippen: 16.1 ppg - 6.4 rpg - 5.2 apg - 2.0 spg - 0.8 bpg

21. Carlos Boozer: Kevin McHale

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    Kevin McHale was overshadowed by Hall of Fame teammates Larry Bird and Robert Parish most of the time, but he is about as good as it gets in the low post.

    The very same can be said of the newest Chicago Bull Carlos Boozer, who has many strengths in his game, but none better than his well-known low-post abillty. 

    Both Boozer and McHale are excellent post players that were able to overshadow their lack of athleticism by using a variety of post moves to score on their man. In addition they had a very reputable mid-range jumper and a knack for rebounding the ball. 

    Career Stats 

    Kevin McHale: 17.9 ppg - 7.3 rpg - 1.7 apg - 0.4 spg - 1.7 bpg 

    Carlos Boozer: 17.2 ppg - 10.2 rpg - 2.5 apg - 1.0 spg - 0.5 bpg

20. Danny Granger: Chris Mullin

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    I had a difficult time matching up Danny Granger with someone, but after a while of researching, I decided to settle on the smooth lefty Chris Mullin. 

    Both Granger and Mullin excel primarly as scorers. They put the ball in the basket, plain and simple. While other parts of their game are weak, they're still decent at it. Both Granger and Mullin are ample rebounders. Defensively, Granger is a surprisingly good shot blocker while Mullin was an above-average stealer. 

    Career Stats 

    Chris Mullin: 18.2 ppg - 4.1 rpg - 3.5 apg - 1.6 spg - 0.6 bpg

    Danny Granger: 17.7 ppg - 5.2 rpg - 2.0 apg - 1.0 spg - 1.0 bpg

19. Tim Duncan: Karl Malone

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    Tim Duncan may no longer be the top PF in the game but he can still get the job done. He compares well to recent Hall of Famer, Karl Malone. 

    When discussing the greatest power forwards of all time, both these players' names come up undoubtedly. They revolutionized their position and set the bar extremely high for future PFs. 

    It's well known thatDuncan and Malone were offensive monsters, as their post game was second to none. They could also step outside and knock down the 15-footer better than anyone at their position. It was literally impossible to stop these two and they had an unlimited array of moves. They were excellent rebounders and consistently ranked among the top in the league.  

    Unlike most comparisons on this list, where is it quite easy to tell who is the better player, this comparison is by far the most difficult in terms of discussing who is the better player. 

    Career Stats 

    Karl Malone: 25.0 ppg - 10.1 rpg - 3.6 apg - 1.4 spg - 0.8 bpg

    Tim Duncan: 21.1 ppg - 11.6 rpg - 3.2 apg - 0.8 spg - 2.3 bpg

18. Joe Johnson: Mitch Richmond

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    Quiet, Smooth, Silky

    Three words to describe the games of Joe Johnson and Mitch Richmond. 

    In today's day and age, Joe Johnson barely gets mentioned among the top players in the game, even though everyone knows he belongs in that category. The same goes for Mitch Richmond, who went quite unnoticed during his playing days in the 90s. 

    Both these players are 20+ point scorers, season after season, and can score from almost anywhere on the court. They have an excellent shooting touch and a finesse driving game. Outside of scoring, they do every thing else pretty well, as both can rebound and pass well for their positions. 

    Oh and it helps that both wear No. 2.

    Career Stats 

    Mitch Richmond: 21.0 ppg - 3.9 rpg - 3.5 apg - 1.2 spg - 0.3 bpg

    Joe Johnson: 17.6 ppg - 4.2 rpg - 4.5 apg - 1.0 spg - 0.2 bpg

17. Paul Pierce: Charles Barkley

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    While this comparison may seem puzzling at first, it's really not. 

    Yes, Pierce is a small forward and Barkley a power forward, but both have similar playing styles. 

    What's most unknown about Barkley is that not only was he a dominant rebounder, but he also used to bring the ball up for his team time after time as somewhat of a point forward. 

    Pierce is the same way. While Rondo is the Celtics' primary PG, the C's rely on Pierce to have the ball in his hands in crucial moments of the game. 

    Pierce's main talent is still putting the ball in the basket, as he is the Celtics' primary scorer. Barkley was in the same role as the team's first option on offense. Similar to Pierce, Barkley was a weak passer. However, Pierce excels in areas such as scoring, rebounding, driving, and finishing. Barkley excelled in these areas as well. 

    Career Stats 

    Charles Barkley: 22.1 ppg - 11.7 rpg - 3.9 apg - 1.5 spg - 0.8 bpg

    Paul Pierce: 22.5 ppg - 6.1 rpg - 3.8 apg - 1.5 spg - 0.6 bpg

16. Rajon Rondo: Gary Payton

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    It's scary how similar these two point guards games' are. 

    Let's start off with the obvious. Rondo is a quality passer—one of the best in the league—and he's also a first-class rebounder for his position. Add to that his superior driving game and tenacious defense.

    Gary Payton's case is very similar. He didn't earn the nickname "The Glove" for nothing. He was a ferocious, ball-hawking defender and like Rondo was the best defender at his position. Payton also stood out in areas such as passing and playmaking. 

    In the end, defense allows this comparison to be made.

    Career Stats 

    Gary Payton: 16.3 ppg - 3.9 rpg - 6.7 apg - 1.8 spg - 0.2 bpg

    Rajon Rondo: 10.7 ppg - 5.1 rpg - 7.9 apg - 2.2 spg - 0.2 bpg

15. Derrick Rose: Isiah Thomas

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    Explosive, Entertaining, Electrifying. 

    Those words perfectly describe the game of All-Star PG Derrick Rose, as well as NBA legend Isiah Thomas. 

    Rose and Thomas are similar in many manners. First and foremost, Rose's ability to get to the basket is second to none. Isiah Thomas is the same with the way he used to be able to weave to the basket and score. 

    While Rose is a great scorer, he is a standard shooter with limited range (that may change this upcoming season). Thomas is similar as he did not have the range of his shot to be lethal from beyond the arc. Similar to Rose, his main source of points was near the paint. 

    In terms of passing ability, Thomas is superior but hopefully Rose will close the gap in the near future. Both are weak rebounders. These two are very similar players in many aspects. 

    Career Stats 

    Isiah Thomas: 19.2 ppg - 3.6 rpg - 9.3 apg - 1.9 spg - 0.3 bpg

    Derrick Rose: 18.7 ppg - 3.8 rpg - 6.2 apg - 0.8 spg - 0.3 bpg

14. Steve Nash: John Stockton

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    The easiest comparison by far.

    If Steve Nash's game doesn't resemble that of John Stockton's, then I don't know who's game does. 

    First and foremost, Nash is the best passer in the league. Other PGs may be better overall, but Nash is a superior passer to all of them. He is able to pass with both his left and right hand. He can switch directions very easily. His ball-handling skills are also top-notch and he's one of the best point guards in a pick-and-roll offense. His shooting is excellent and his percentages are mind-blogging. His one glaring weakness though is his Swiss cheese defense. 

    Pretty much the exact same can be said for John Stockton. Stockton was the best passer in the league during his playing tenure. He formed the best pick-and-roll duo with his Hall of Fame teammate Karl Malone and his ball-handling skills were simply flawless. He wasn't as flashly as Nash but he could get the job done. 

    The one area where Stockton beats Nash is defense, and it's pretty evident. Stockton is the all-time NBA leader in steals. Other than that, this is about as close of a comparison as there has been. 

    Career Stats 

    John Stockton: 13.1 ppg - 2.7 rpg - 10.5 apg - 2.2 spg - 0.2 bpg

    Steve Nash: 14.6 ppg - 3.0 rpg - 8.3 apg - 0.8 spg - 0.1 bpg

13. Chris Bosh: David Robinson

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    No, I'm not comparing them simply because they're both lefties. 

    While Bosh may have lost some of his fans this summer with his move to South Beach, there is still no denying his talent. He is a multi-talented power forward that has a versatile offensive game. It resembles that of David Robinson, a Hall of Fame power forward. 

    Bosh is one of the best scorers in the post as he showed last year by averaging 24 points per game. His rebounding is not too shabby as well, as he is a consistent double-digit rebounder. Bosh's weakness tends to be on the defensive end, as he isn't that great of a post defender nor is he a dominant shot blocker. 

    Compare that with David Robinson, and it's easy to see why these two are similar. Robinson was one of the best frontcourt scorers, showcasing it in a game by scoring 71 points. He was also a dominant rebounder and unlike Bosh, was a great shot blocker and post defender. 

    Career Stats 

    David Robinson: 21.1 ppg - 10.6 rpg - 2.5 apg - 1.4 spg - 3.0 bpg

    Chris Bosh: 20.2 ppg - 9.4 rpg - 2.2 apg - 0.8 spg - 1.2 bpg

12. Amar'e Stoudemire: Shawn Kemp

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    Amar'e Stoudemire and Shawn Kemp are about as good as it gets when you talk about athletic big men. 

    Let's start with the most obvious comparison. Both players can absolutely jump out of the gym. 

    Amar'e Stoudemire is a beast in pick-and-rolls and his finishing ability is better than any other power forward in the game. He overpowers his defenders on the offensive ends with his ferocious dunks. He also has a consistent mid-range jumper, which is very lethal. However, he isn't that great of a rebounder and his defense is average at best. 

    Shawn Kemp, similar to Amar'e, built his game off his unworldly athleticism. He was the best big man dunker during his prime, period. He could drive to the basket and somehow finish almost every play with a dunk. He made his defenders look foolish. As a rebounder, he was decent for his position. Similar to Amar'e, his shot-blocking wasn't all that great. 

    Career Stats 

    Shawn Kemp: 14.6 ppg - 8.4 rpg - 1.6 apg - 1.1 spg - 1.2 bpg

    Amar'e Stoudemire: 21.4 ppg - 8.9 rpg - 1.3 apg - 0.9 spg - 1.4 bpg 

11. Pau Gasol: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

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    Yes, this is a legit comparison. 

    Lets get the obvious out of the way. Pau Gasol is NOT a better player than Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. However, his game resembles that of Jabbar's to a certain extent. 

    As one of the best big men (arguably the best) in the league, Gasol utilizes a variety of moves to score on his opponents. He is a nightmare for defenders because of his skilled and refined post game. He's got a great hook shot, similar to Kareem. He can also spin off his man and finish, and he has a mid-range jumper to complement his inside game. Defensively, he isn't nearly as talented as Jabbar was but for now, he's OK. 

    Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was literally unstoppable in his prime. His hook shot was at the forefront of his entire offensive game, as he would use it repeatedly over his opponents to score. His post game was based on skill, rather than athleticism, like Gasol. His defense was also fantastic, as he was an excellent shot blocker and post defender. 

    Career Stats 

    Kareem Abdul Jabbar: 24.6 ppg - 11.2 rpg - 3.6 apg - 0.9 spg - 2.6 bpg 

    Pau Gasol: 18.8 ppg - 9.0 rpg - 3.2 apg - 0.5 spg - 1.7 bpg 

10. Brandon Roy: Clyde Drexler

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    Brandon Roy is one of the best players in the league, no doubt about that. He's got a very smooth offensive game. It brings back memories of former Trail Blazer Clyde Drexler. 

    Roy is a very talented player that uses his skills to enhance his game. He's got a very deadly mid-range jumper, and a streaky but consistent three-point shot. His driving ability is decent, as he can finish very well. Defensively, he's average but can get the job done when necessary. Overall, Roy is just an amazing talent. 

    Now lets look at Drexler, who was undoubtedly the second-best shooting guard in the league in his prime after "His Airness." Drexler was about as smooth and calm of a player as you could get. He could drive to the basket with ease and make it seem so easy. They didn't call him Clyde "The Glide" for nothing. His entire offensive game was complete and he was lethal from just about everywhere. 

    Career Stats 

    Clyde Drexler: 20.4 ppg - 6.1 rpg - 5.6 apg - 2.0 spg - 0.7 bpg 

    Brandon Roy: 20.2 ppg - 4.6 rpg - 5.0 apg - 1.1 spg - 0.2 bpg

9. Dirk Nowitzki: Larry Bird

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    This was a difficult comparison to find because there really isn't another power forward in NBA history that could shoot the ball quite like Dirk Nowitzki. 

    In the end, I had to pick someone and I decided on Larry Bird. Nowitzki and Bird both seem to have one thing obviously in common that makes this comparison valid, shooting. 

    Nowitzki can stroke it better than anybody at his position and it's not even close. His post game revolves around his jumper, as he can back his man down and fade-away or face up and drain the jumper in his defender's face. 

    Bird was a more complete player than Nowitzki, but his shooting was the one trait that stood out above the rest. Bird was a 6'9" forward that could shoot the ball better than most guards. Similar to Nowitzki , Bird wasn't as athletic as his fellow NBA players and found ways to overshadow it. Bird was also about as clutch as you could get. He was the complete package. 

    Career Stats 

    Larry Bird: 24.3 ppg - 10.0 rpg - 6.3 apg - 1.7 spg - 0.8 bpg

    Dirk Nowitzki: 22.9 ppg - 8.5 rpg - 2.7 apg - 0.9 spg - 1.0 bpg

8. Deron Williams: Kevin Johnson

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    Deron Williams is consistently ranked as one of the top PGs in the game, and for good reason. The dude can really ball.

    It was difficult to find another PG quite like D-Will but after a ton of research, I decided on Kevin Johnson. 

    Many NBA fans don't remember Kevin Johnson, let alone remember his style of play. It's sad really, because Kevin Johnson was a phenomenal point guard. He was more explosive than Deron Williams and just as exciting. His passing was top-notch as evident by his career average of nine assists a game. Johnson could also score well for his position as he averaged over 20 points for several seasons. Defensively, Johnson was adequate with average stealing abilities for a PG. 

    Deron Williams is one of the most exciting point guards in today's game. He is physically imposing and uses his size to overpower point guards. Similar to Johnson, Williams is a superb passer and great scorer. Williams certainly isn't as explosive as Johnson was, but he has a better stroke than Johnson ever did. Defensively, Williams is on the same level as Johnson, which is average. 

    Career Stats 

    Kevin Johnson: 17.9 ppg - 3.3 rpg - 9.1 apg - 1.5 spg - 0.2 bpg

    Deron Williams: 16.7 ppg - 3.1 rpg - 9.0 apg - 1.0 spg - 0.2 bpg

7. Carmelo Anthony: Dominique Wilkins

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    These two dudes could score, plain and simple. 

    Carmelo Anthony is arguably the NBA's most complete offensive player. There really isn't anything he can do on the offensive end. You name it, inside-outside, mid-range, three-pointer, drive, fade-away, post up, etc. Anthony can do it all. He excels at shooting the ball from mid-range, driving to the hole, and bullying his opponents for ferocious finishes. Defensively, Melo isn't all that great, but the other parts of his game more than make up for it. 

    Dominique Wilkins was a freak of nature, period. He could do just as much as Anthony on the offensive end of the floor as he was always near the top of the league in scoring. Wilkins and Anthony are excellent with their ability to finish, especially Wilkins, who could flat out dunk over anybody that came in his way. Defensively, Wilkins wasn't that great either, similar to Anthony. 

    Career Stats 

    Dominique Wilkins: 24.8 ppg - 6.7 rpg - 2.5 apg - 1.3 spg - 0.6 bpg

    Carmelo Anthony: 24.7 ppg - 6.2 rpg - 3.1 apg - 1.1 spg - 0.4 bpg

6. Chris Paul: Bob Cousy

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    Chris Paul is the best PG in the game, whether you like it or not. So I have to compare him with a PG that was the best at his position during his tenure in the league. 

    Bob Cousy fits the bill. 

    While may NBA players never saw Cousy play, there's no doubting his talent. He was a magical ball-handler on the court, similar to Paul, and he saw plays ahead of time. Cousy wasn't all that athletic but used his smarts to dominate his opponents. He was the primary playmaker, but could score very well when called upon to dominate offensively. 

    Chris Paul is a flat out stud. He is everything you need in an NBA point guard. He's got quickness, driving ability, vision, superior ball-handling, etc., all of which resemble the man who revolutionized the PG position in Bob Cousy. Paul, similar to Cousy, is the engine that runs the team. 

    Career Stats 

    Bob Cousy: 18.4 ppg - 5.2 rpg - 7.5 apg - 1.0 spg - 0.1 bpg

    Chris Paul: 19.3 ppg - 4.7 rpg - 10.0 apg - 2.4 spg - 0.1 bpg 

5. Dwight Howard: Bill Russell

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    I'm sure many of you have made the very same comparison. 

    Dwight Howard isn't all that great offensively, but there's no doubting his defensive talents. 

    So the one player in NBA that best resembles Howard's game is Bill Russell, an NBA legend notorious for his defense. 

    Dwight Howard is a physical specimen. Athletically, there isn't anyone at his position that can match up to him. There may not even be another player in the league (excluding LeBron James) that can match Howard's athleticism. He is simply a beast. Howard uses his Hulk-like strength to overpower his oppenents and dunk on them with ferocity. His rebounding is phenomenal, as he's got great instincts and box-out skills to always get the rebound. Occasionally, Howard uses a post move here and there, but mainly derives his points from dunks, rebounding, and put-backs.

    Defensive is where Howard excels. His shot blocking is second to none in the league. He can block shots from the weak side as well as post man blocking. There isn't a shot that opponents take in the paint which isn't altered in some way by Dwight Howard. 

    Bill Russell is a defensive stalwart. He, similar to Howard, made himself relevant with his defense. Just like Howard, Russell was also the best shot blocker in the league during his playing days. Added to his defense were his inhuman rebounding skills. Russell, similar to Howard, excelled in only two areas, but those two (shot blocking, rebounding) were what made him the legend he is today. Offensively, Russell wasn't as skilled as Howard but could still score to some extent. 

    Career Stats 

    Bill Russell: 15.1 ppg - 22.5 rpg - 4.3 apg - (unknown) spg - (unknown) bpg

    Dwight Howard: 17.5 ppg - 12.7 rpg - 1.5 apg - 0.9 spg - 2.1 bpg

4. Dwyane Wade: Penny Hardaway

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    I know what you're thinking: What? Wade compares to Hardaway?

    Yes he does.

    If die hard Dwyane Wade fans can remember, Wade began his rookie season as a PG and so he knows that position very well and can also play it at a high level if he wanted to. 

    Penny Hardaway was one of the most exciting players to watch in the league, like Wade today. As a 6'7" point guard, Penny could do some exciting things. To start, he was a superb dunker. He could throw it down on just about anybody in his prime and was fearless when driving to the basket, similar to Wade. Penny also had extraordinary passing skills as he could find his teammates just about anywhere on the court. Defensively, Penny wasn't all that great but hey, everyone has flaws. 

    Dwyane Wade has many skills that make him the All-Star player that he is today. However, the ones that standout the most are his vicious drives to the basket and his uncanny ability to throw down facials. Wade can also pass very well for a shooting guard as he's averaged over six assists a game before. In many ways Wade's game reminds fans of Hardaway's in that they both could do some pretty amazing things. Wade is also a monster in the open court, similar to Penny. But unlike Penny, Wade is a great defensive player.

    Career Stats 

    Penny Hardaway: 15.2 ppg - 4.5 rpg - 5.0 apg - 1.6 spg - 0.4 bpg

    Dwyane Wade: 25.4 ppg - 4.9 rpg - 6.6 apg - 1.8 spg - 1.0 bpg

3. Kevin Durant: George Gervin

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    Both Kevin Durant and George Gervin are silky smooth.

    Kevin Durant is an NBA superstar who's getting better every day. While he excels in many aspects of the game, many fans know his greatest talent is scoring. 

    That's also the area where NBA legend George Gervin excelled. 

    Gervin is vastly underrated when it comes to discussing the greatest scorers of all time. Gervin was a four-time scoring champ during his career and could flat out put the ball in the basket. Similar to Durant, his game wasn't built on speed or athleticism but around finesse and skill. Gervin could finger roll any shot into the hoop and shoot over opponents with ease. Offensively, he was unstoppable. Defensively, though he was subpar. 

    Durant, just like Gervin, can shoot over just about anyone in the NBA. He can drive to the hole and finish and is also a great free throw shooter, similar to Gervin. Durant is fresh off a scoring title and will look to repeat as the champ. He can very well do it, as his range is limitless for someone his size. Other parts of his game are improving, such as rebounding and defense, but Durant, similar to Gervin, is known for his scoring and for good reason. 

    Career Stats 

    George Gervin: 25.1 ppg - 5.3 rpg - 2.6 apg - 1.2 spg - 1.0 bpg

    Kevin Durant: 25.3 ppg - 6.2 rpg - 2.7 apg - 1.2 spg - 1.0 bpg

2. LeBron James: Magic Johnson

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    That's right Magic, I'm comparing you to LeBron James.

    Yes, I realize that LeBron James is a SF and Magic Johnson is a PG, but I firmly stand by my comparison. 

    LeBron James is really a PG in a forward's body. He has all the tools to be a great point guard and could, if he wanted to, play the position full time. His passing skills for a guy his size is out of this world. James averaged an insane 8.6 assists per game last year, which was the highest by far for any forward in the league.

    James is a playmaker before he is a scorer, and he can set his teammates up very well and dish the rock better than any small forward I've ever seen. Now with the Miami Heat, he does not have to carry the load offensively, so there is a good chance James will see an uptick in his assists. James is also a superb rebounder and offensively MUCH better than Magic Johnson. 

    The reason Magic is compared to LeBron is not only because of their abilities, but also because of their height. Magic is 6'9" and James is just one inch shorter, yet they play different positions. 

    Magic Johnson is the greatest point guard of all time; there's no denying that. If you thought LeBron could pass the ball, you should see highlights of Magic's playmaking abilities. Similar to LeBron, Magic could see plays one frame ahead, so he would always make the correct pinpoint pass. Magic could not score the ball as well as LeBron but was light-years ahead when it came down to being clutch. Regardless of minor differences, both players are very similar and if LeBron James becomes the unofficial PG for the Heat, we could see the second coming of Magic Johnson. 

    Career Stats 

    Magic Johnson: 19.5 ppg - 7.2 rpg - 11.2 apg - 1.9 spg - 0.4 bpg

    LeBron James: 27.8 ppg - 7.0 rpg - 7.0 apg - 1.7 spg - 0.9 bpg

1. Kobe Bryant: Michael Jordan

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    Who else do you think it could have been?

    Kobe Bryant is the closest thing to Michael Jordan we'll ever see. And there's no shame in that. 

    Bryant is a phenomenal talent. Lets see here, where to start? Bryant has one of the deadliest mid-range jumpers in the game today and is a superbly streaky shooter from beyond the arc. He doesn't have the same explosiveness he once did but has added an unstoppable fadeaway (just like Jordan did in his later years) to his repertoire. Bryant can drive to the basket and still finish strong and draw fouls. Defensively, he isn't on the same level as MJ but is a very respectable perimeter defender. 

    Then there's Jordan. He was the complete package. The Greatest Player of All Time. What couldn't he do? Jordan could shoot the mid-range jumper with his eyes closed and drain it every time. His three-point shooting wasn't as accurate as Bryant's is, but it was still very effective nonetheless. His drives to the basket were second to none and his defense was supremely excellent, as he could lock down any player he desired.

    And then there's also the one biggest similarity between the GOAT (Greatest Player of All Time) and the current best player in the league, which is of course being...clutch.

    No one comes close to these two in terms of clutchness and having the game on the line. No one. 

    Career Stats 

    Michael Jordan: 30.1 ppg - 6.2 rpg - 5.3 apg - 2.3 spg - 0.8 bpg

    Kobe Bryant: 25.3 ppg - 5.3 rpg - 4.7 apg - 1.5 spg - 0.6 bpg

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