Comparing 2011 NBA All Stars to Past Legends

Michael CahillCorrespondent IJanuary 18, 2011

Comparing 2011 NBA All Stars to Past Legends

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    MIAMI, FL - JANUARY 04:  LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat smiles during a timeout during a game against the Milwaukee Bucks at American Airlines Arena on January 4, 2011 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by dow
    Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

    Each year as the All-Star teams are selected, it gives players a chance to pad their resume. Every All-Star selection is a notch on their belt. It’s a chance for them to stack up to players past and present.

    Of course, many of these players don’t need an all-star game to draw comparisons to some of the games greats. The truth is they have been drawing comparisons for years.

    So let’s take a look at some of this years all star hopefuls and see who their game resembles. Some better, some worse than their comparisons, but everyone has one. Let’s take a took and try and determine who will be better when all is said and done.

24. Blake Griffin

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    LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 12:  Blake Griffin #32 of the Los Angeles Clippers and LeBron James #6 of  the Miami Heat wait at during a free throw during the first half at the Staples Center on January 12, 2011 in Los Angeles, California.  NOTE TO USER: User
    Harry How/Getty Images

    Comparison: 

    Shawn Kemp

    How They Compare:

    Both Players are absolutely explosive above the rim. Kemp was a beast near the basket. Blake shows those same traits.

    Both lacked defense at time, but Blake is young. He can get better.

    Who Will Be Better:

    It’s tough to say. Blake has spent half of his career injured(technically). Kemp spent most of his fat. Gut says Blake, but he’ll have to stay healthy.  

23. Kobe Bryant

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    OAKLAND, CA - JANUARY 12:  Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers sits on the bench during their game against the Golden State Warriors at Oracle Arena on January 12, 2011 in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees tha
    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    Comparison:

    Michael Jordan

    How They Compare:

    It’s a tired comparison, but it works. Both guys were great at getting to the rim early, but became outside shooters later in their career. Both are winners. Both can close games.

    If Kobe wins this year he’ll tie Michael for most three peats and have the same amount of rings.

    Who Will Be Better:

    At the risk of rehashing an old argument: Michael. He has intangibles that no other player had….and he never lost a Finals.

22. Kevin Love

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    BOSTON, MA - JANUARY 03:  Kevin Love #42 of the Minnesota Timberwolves grabs the rebound before Marquis Daniels #8 of the Boston Celtics on January 3, 2011 at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees tha
    Elsa/Getty Images

    Comparison:

    Charles Barkley

    How They Compare:

    No flash for either of these guys. Both are 20/10 guys who are capable of dominating the glass any time they’d like.

    Who Will Be Better:

    While many underrate Kevin Love, to say he’ll be better than Sir Charles is a stretch. Barkley is a hall of famer. Love won’t be.

21. Eric Gordon

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    LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 8: Head coach Vinny Del Negro and Eric Gordon #109 of the Los Angeles Clippers talk during the game with the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center on December 8, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. The Lakers won 87-86.  NOTE TO USE
    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    His Comparison:

    Clyde Drexler

    How They Compare:

    Not the easier comparison, but it’s there. They are both fantastic scorers who aren’t great defenders.

    Who Will Be Better:

    Still too early for Gordon, but he’s made big strides to be a much improved player. 

20. Tim Duncan

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    LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 01:  Tim Duncan #21 of the San Antonio Spurs pauses with the ball in front of DeAndre Jordan #9 of the Los Angeles Clippers at the Staples Center on December 1, 2010 in Los Angeles, California.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly ackn
    Harry How/Getty Images

    Comparison:

    Kareem Abdul Jabar

    How They Compare:

    Sheer boredom of their game. They are two of the most dominate big men ever and there is little, if anything that has changed about their game. Kareem had the sky hook. Duncan has the bank shot.

    Who Will Be Better:

    Forgive me for offending, but Duncan. He’s got a complete game and the rings to match up with Kareem. It’s close, but it’s Duncan.

19. Deron Williams

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    SALT LAKE CITY, UT - DECEMBER 8:  Deron Williams #8 of the Utah Jazz drives on Carlos Arroyo #8 the Miami Heat during the second half of an NBA game December 8, 2010 at Energy Solutions Arena in Salt Lake City, Utah. The Heat beat the Jazz 111-98. NOTE TO
    George Frey/Getty Images

    Comparison:

    Tim Hardaway

    How They Compare:

    Better than you think. Williams is a little bigger and a little more physical. Both handle the ball really well. Both can control an offense with penetration and great court vision. Similar assist and scoring numbers.

    Who Will Be Better:

    Williams. He might already be better. He is also far less bigoted. 

18. Kevin Durant

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    NEW YORK - DECEMBER 22:  Kevin Durant #35 of the Oklahoma City Thunder in action against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden on December 22, 2010 in New York, New York.   NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading a
    Al Bello/Getty Images

    Comparison: 

    Larry Bird

    How They Compare:

    Bird was a magnificent offensive player. Durant is the same way. Both tall and lean. Neither explosive to the basket, but they can get there.

    Bird was a better all around shooter, but both are good passers and lack defensive skills.

    Who Will Be Better:

    Bird. He has rings and he did it forever. Durant could go down as one of the great ones, but Bird is on the Mt. Rushmore of basketball. 

17. Carmelo Anthony

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    DENVER, CO - JANUARY 13:  Carmelo Anthony #15 of the Denver Nuggets looks on during a break in the action against the Miami Heat at the Pepsi Center on January 13, 2011 in Denver, Colorado. The Nuggets defeated the Heat 130-102. NOTE TO USER: User express
    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    Comparison:

    James Worthy

    How They Compare:

    Better than you think also. They are both great scorers, without much defense. They move well with the ball and allowed their talented point guards to get them the ball.

    Who Will Be Better:

    Anthony. Worthy might end up with more rings, but Anthony is a better scorer and is a guy you have to double team. 

16. Pau Gasol

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    1985: Bill Walton #5 of the Boston Celtics rest on the bench during a game circa 1985. (Photo by Rick Stewart/Getty Images)
    Rick Stewart/Getty Images

    Comparison:

    Bill Walton

    How They Compare:

    Fundamentally sound players. Career averages in assists, rebounds, and points are the same.

    Neither of these players is a true dominant big man, but both play well in the team concept.

    Who Will Be Better:

    Gasol will be remembered as better. He’s more durable and may end up with more rings. However, in their primes Walton was the better player.

15. Russell Westbrook

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    CHARLOTTE, NC - DECEMBER 21:  Russell Westbrook #0 of the Oklahoma Thunder reacts to a call against the Charlotte Bobcats during their game at Time Warner Cable Arena on December 21, 2010 in Charlotte, North Carolina. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowle
    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    Comparison: 

    Gary Payton

    How They Compare:

    Westbrook is a complete guard, much like Payton was. They can create their own shots.

    Payton was a better defensive player, but Westbrook is no slouch. Career numbers in points and assists are almost the same.

    Who Will Be Better:

    Let’s say Westbrook. He’ll never match Payton’s shut down defense, but in time he can prove to be a more reliable offensive player.

14. Chris Paul

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    DENVER - JANUARY 15:  John Stockton #12 of the Utah Jazz is defended by Junior Harrington #6 of the Denver Nuggets during the game at Pepsi Center on January 15 2003 in Denver, Colorado.  The Jazz won 92-81.  NOTE TO USER:  User expressly acknowledges and
    Brian Bahr/Getty Images

    Comparison:

    John Stockton

    How They Compare:

    Both are pure passers who have a jump shot that makes them dangerous. Stockton gets the edge for durability, and also for sneakiness.

    Who Will Be Better:

    Stockton. Being the all-time assist leader has to count for something. 

13. Dirk Nowitzki

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    NEW ORLEANS - NOVEMBER 17:  Dirk Nowitzki #41 of the Dallas Mavericks shoots a freethrow during the game against the New Orleans Hornets at the New Orleans Arena on November 17, 2010 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges an
    Chris Graythen/Getty Images

    Comparison:

    Scottie Pippen

    How They Compare:

    Absolute nightmare to match up with. Too fast for most centers, too fast for many power forwards, but too big for small forwards. Amazing range and ball handling skills.

    Pippen was the much better defender, but Nowitzki is the better scorer.

    Who Will Be Better:

    Pippen. He has six rings and was maybe the greatest single defender at his position. Dirk isn’t those things. 

12. Lebron James

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    MILWAUKEE, WI - JANUARY 07: LeBron James #6 of the Milwaukee Bucks grabs the basketball against the Miami Heat at the Bradley Center on January 7, 2011 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and
    Scott Boehm/Getty Images

    Comparison:

    Julius Irving

    How They Compare:

    Both possess skills not seen in the league when they came in. Both explosive on the fast break.

    Lebron is the better all around player, but both were unique physical specimens.

    Who Will Be Better:

    Lebron. There is no argument. 

11. Joe Johnson

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    ATLANTA - NOVEMBER 03:  Joe Johnson #2 of the Atlanta Hawks against the Detroit Pistons at Philips Arena on November 3, 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, User
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Comparison:

    Joe Dumars

    How They Compare:

    Lunch pail guards. Nothing flashy about either. They can both create their own shots, but lack true driving ability.

    Who Will Be Better:

    Joe Johnson. Dumars is a hall of famer, but that’s debatable.

    Johnson does everything a little better. 

10. Carlos Boozer

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    CHARLOTTE, NC - JANUARY 12:  Teammates Derrick Rose #1 and Carlos Boozer #5 of the Chicago Bulls reacts after a  play against the Charlotte Bobcats during their game at Time Warner Cable Arena on January 12, 2011 in Charlotte, North Carolina. NOTE TO USER
    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    Comparison:

    Karl Malone

    How They Compare:

    Too easy to compare. Both are terrible defenders. Both are great inside, can post up, and can crash the boards.

    Who Will Be Better:

    Malone. Boozer has carved out a nice career. Hopefully he can get a ring and beat Malone that way.

9. Danny Granger

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    ATLANTA, GA - DECEMBER 11:  Danny Granger #33 of the Indiana Pacers reacts after not drawing a foul from the Atlanta Hawks at Philips Arena on December 11, 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloadin
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Comparison:

    Alex English

    How They Compare:

    English as little size, but both men were just good scorers. Neither rebounded very well, or played much defense, but they were both the guy you looked to who could put up the points.

    Who Will Be Better:

    Granger, but not by much. These guys are pretty evenly matched, and people forget how good English was.

8. Kevin Garnett

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    BOSTON, MA - JANUARY 17:  Kevin Garnett #5 of the Boston Celtics heads for the bench during a time out in the first quarter against the Orlando Magic on January 17, 2011 at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges
    Elsa/Getty Images

    Comparison:

    Elvin Hayes

    How They Compare:

    Both were good defenders who could attack the boards. They logged a lot of minutes on those legs. Both have a ring and both ranked in the top ten for minutes played for most of their careers.

    Who Will Be Better:

    This isn’t even a question. Garnett is a much better player. Hayes was good, just not good enough. 

7. Amare Stoudamire

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    NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 14:  Amar'e Stoudemire#1 of the New York Knicks looks on on the court during the game against the Sacramento Kings at Madison Square Garden on January 14, 2011 in New York City. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees t
    Chris Trotman/Getty Images

    Comparison:

    David Robinson

    How They Compare:

    Robinson was a much better defender, but offensively they are pretty similar. Amare is a bit more explosive, but both guys could back you down or face you up.

    Who Will Be Better:

    Robinson. He was as good a big as the league had and he was far less injury prone. 

6. Dwight Howard

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    BOSTON, MA - JANUARY 17:  Dwight Howard #12 of the Orlando Magic smiles on the baseline as he waits for Shaquille O'Neal of the Boston Celtics to shoot a free throw on January 17, 2011 at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts.  NOTE TO USER: User express
    Elsa/Getty Images

    Comparison:

    Moses Malone

    How They Compare:

    Neither man had a big low post game, but they can bang around with the best. They could rebound, score, and block shots. That’s all they needed to do.

    Who Will Be Better:

    It’s hard to be as dominant as Malone was for a few seasons. However, Howard is one of the best defensive players of all time and comparable on offense. Let’s go with Howard. 

5. Chris Bosh

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    CHICAGO, IL - JANUARY 15:  Chris Bosh #1 of the Miami Heat reacts after a play against the Chicago Bulls at the United Center on January 15, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bulls defeated the Heat 99-96. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees
    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    Comparison:

    Kevin Mchale

    How They Compare:

    McHale was a great inside player with so much skill in the low post and at mid-range. Loved to play face up too. Not a great physical player. Bosh is the same way.

    Who Will Be Better:

    McHale. He’s a better player. 

4. Rajon Rondo

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    LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 17:  Rajon Rondo #9 of the Boston Celtics moves the ball while taking on the Los Angeles Lakers in Game Seven of the 2010 NBA Finals at Staples Center on June 17, 2010 in Los Angeles, California.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknow
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Comparison:

    Jason Kidd

    How They Compare:

    Both can’t shoot a jump shot to save their lives, but both can pass like no one’s business.

    Kidd was an amazing passer who knew how to get the ball out quickly and lead a fast break. Rondo is the same way.

    Who Will Be Better:

    Kidd. Rondo is a great point guard, but he also has an amazing set of teammates. Let’s see how he does when the big three are no more.

3. Dwyane Wade

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    CHICAGO, IL - JANUARY 15:  Dwayne Wade #3 of the Miami Heat drives to the basket against Keith Bogans #6 of the Chicago Bulls at the United Center on January 15, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by down
    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    Comparison:

    Oscar Robertson

    How They Compare:

    They were listed at slightly different positions, but they are both the kind of players that could do it all. Wade is a 25/6/5 guy for his career. Robertson is a 25/7/9.

    They were of similar height and speed. They both have one ring.

    Who Will Be Better:

    Robertson. He was a triple double machine. Wade is not that.  

2. John Wall

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    CHARLOTTE, NC - JANUARY 08:  John Wall #2 of the Washington Wizards warms up against the Charlotte Bobcats before their game at Time Warner Cable Arena on January 8, 2011 in Charlotte, North Carolina. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees t
    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    Comparison:

    Magic Johnson

    How They Compare:

    This is an intangible question. They both have the unique ability to completely control a game. The speed, the intensity, it’s all in their hands. Wall is a special player because of the raw court presence he has. Just like Magic.

    Who Will Be Better:

    It’s unfair to say. Magic is clearly better than Wall, but it’s so early. If Wall lives up to the hype, he can make a case for himself. 

1. Derrick Rose

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    CHARLOTTE, NC - JANUARY 12:  Derrick Rose #1 of the Chicago Bulls against the Charlotte Bobcats during their game at Time Warner Cable Arena on January 12, 2011 in Charlotte, North Carolina. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by do
    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    Comparison:

    Isaiah Thomas

    How They Compare:

    Both are points first, point guards. They possess tremendous ability to get to the rim and both worked to improve a weak outside shot.

    Who Will Be Better:

    Maybe it’s just my bias, but I’ll say Rose. There is no one who can guard him now and he’ll only get better. As long as he stays healthy he’ll be better.

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