View Full Version : MSNBC's 50 Best Players in the NBA

Dr Huxtable
03-05-2005, 07:54 PM
Shaq, Duncan head list
of NBA’s 50 best players
Detroit features 4 players on MSNBC.com’s evaluation of the league’s top talents
Miami center Shaquille O'Neal is the NBA's best player, writes NBCSports.com's Mike Kahn.

By Mike Kahn
NBCSports.com contributor
Updated: 11:46 p.m. ET March 4, 2005

It's always difficult to distinguish between Shaquille O'Neal and Tim Duncan as the game's top player. But considering how Shaq has slimmed down, and helped transform the Miami Heat into one of the teams to beat, he's da man when it comes to singling out the NBA's top 50 players.


Every team had at least one representative except the Memphis Grizzlies, who would have obviously had Pau Gasol on the list, but he didn't make the criterion of having played at least 75 percent of the games.

The defending champion Detroit Pistons have four on the list, while the San Antonio Spurs and Phoenix Suns each have three.

So without further ado, our top 50 players this season:

1. Shaquille O'Neal, Miami Heat
The indomitable one impacts the flow of the game more than anyone, and has made this team title contenders.

2. Tim Duncan, San Antonio Spurs
The most fundamentally sound big man since Bill Walton. He could meet Shaq in the Finals.

3. LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers
Astonishingly, he has proven to be even better than anticipated. At 19, he'll only get better.

4. Kevin Garnett, Minnesota Timberwolves
A sore knee and bad team chemistry are killing him, but for an unprecedented sixth straight year ... 20-10-5.

5. Dirk Nowitzki, Dallas Mavericks
This 7-footer never ceases to be amazing as he hits the boards, handles the ball, runs and shoots from anywhere. Really amazing.

6. Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers
An ankle sprain disrupted his season, but more importantly he still hasn't made his teammates better despite his vast talent.

7. Allen Iverson, Philadelphia 76ers
Fearless Fly continues to lead the league in scoring, is pushing for another steals title and has raised his assist total.

8. Steve Nash, Phoenix Suns
He has a shot at winning the Most Valuable Player award the way he transformed this team into a contender.

9. Jermaine O'Neal, Indiana Pacers
It's been a tough year for J-O and the Pacers, and figures to get even tougher during the stretch run.

10. Tracy McGrady, Houston Rockets
It required three months, but finally Tracy McGrady has meshed with Jeff Van Gundy's system and Yao Ming.

11. Ray Allen, Seattle SuperSonics
His fourth quarter heroics and consistent leadership have catapulted the surprising Sonics into contention.

12. Dwyane Wade, Miami Heat
He's already proving to be a more amenable sidekick for Shaq than Bryant, but can they win titles too?

13. Amare Stoudemire, Phoenix Suns
The addition of Nash has turned Stoudemire into an All-Star with his unerring drive to attack the basket.

14. Vince Carter, New Jersey Nets
All it required was a trade to alter Carter from a dormant state into the exciting All-Star of three years ago.

15. Paul Pierce, Boston Celtics
He's bounced back from a bad year and the return of his buddy Antoine Walker should help him even more.

16. Yao Ming, Houston Rockets
Not the dominant player as predicted, but he is 7-6 and very skilled. Any more questions?

17. Michael Redd, Milwaukee Bucks
Despite the woeful Bucks, he has become one of the top shooting guards — inside and outside — anywhere.

18. Ben Wallace, Detroit Pistons
He's undersized, but he carries his lunch pail to work and remains the most menacing defensive presence in the game.

19. Shawn Marion, Phoenix Suns
Unorthodox and essentially out of position play at power forward, he's still putting up great numbers.

20. Richard Hamilton, Detroit Pistons
A relentless runner, great mid-range shooter and now becoming a playmaker. He's improved every year.

21. Elton Brand, Los Angeles Clippers
Lost with the overlooked Clippers, Brand is a special power forward and an even better person off the court.

22. Chris Webber, Philadelphia 76ers
Only time will tell the effect of being traded from Sacramento, but knee surgery robbed him of his explosiveness. What's left?

23. Manu Ginobili, San Antonio Spurs
One of the game’s rising stars, he's an impact player in all phases of the game, although occasionally out of control.

24. Antawn Jamison, Washington Wizards
One of the great moves of the offseason, he brought leadership, skill and direction to an aimless team.

25. Rasheed Wallace, Detroit Pistons
He's one of those guys whose numbers never reflect how much better he makes a team on at both ends.

26. Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Cleveland Cavaliers
Now healthy, his incredible hands and shooting touch prevent teams from defending James with all five players.


27. Jason Kidd, New Jersey Nets
Back from knee surgery, he doesn't run and jump like he did, but he still pushes the ball and delivers it better than anybody.

28. Rashard Lewis, Seattle SuperSonics
A lot of the Sonics success can be attributed his growth in confidence and expanding from a sweet shooter with a post game.

29. Gilbert Arenas, Washington Wizards
Now healthy and an explosive scorer, if he gets over his selfish streak, he can be a superstar.

30. Steve Francis, Orlando Magic
After a great start, he has reverted back to incessant dribbling and taking bad shots to the misfortune of his teammates.

31. Brad Miller, Sacramento Kings
Without Webber and Vlade Divac, all the Kings' high post offense and back cuts have to run through him.

32. Stephon Marbury, New York Knicks
Marbury suffers from the same malady as Francis and Arenas — no matter how many assists he has, he doesn't set the table.

33. Mike Bibby, Sacramento Kings
He doesn't have the athleticism of Marbury, Francis and Arenas, but he's clever, a great shooter and relentless.

34. Corey Maggette, Los Angeles Clippers
Every season he's gotten better and, like his teammate Brand, his overall game is overlooked because he's a Clipper.

35. Grant Hill, Orlando Magic
His stunning return from four ankle surgeries and a near-death experience from a staph-infection is the best story of the year.

36. Antoine Walker, Boston Celtics
A stunning return to the Celtics at the trade deadline has rejuvenated a lost season for this lost talent.

37. Carlos Boozer, Utah Jazz
Although the Jazz has been disappointing, Boozer's numbers aren't. He just doesn't defend like Jerry Sloan would like.

38. Tony Parker, San Antonio Spurs
He's still so young, he got off to rocky start with self-imposed pressure, but he's now taking over and improving daily.

39. Chauncey Billups, Detroit Pistons
Like the other Pistons, the 2004 Finals MVP has numbers that don't tell the whole story of his game.

40. Zach Randolph, Portland Trail Blazers
His drop in effectiveness is reflective of a franchise with a bad roster and a fluid plan that has no ballast.

41. Peja Stojakovic, Sacramento Kings
He's been hurt and erratic much of the season, but the commitment to him is obvious following the Webber deal.

42. Kurt Thomas, New York Knicks
Overlooked in the Knicks mess is the solid scoring, rebounding and defense Thomas continuously puts out there.

43. Lamar Odom, Los Angeles Lakers
He's the barometer for the Lakers, and until Bryant figures out a way to consistently include him, everyone suffers.

44. Kirk Hinrich, Chicago Bulls
The lightning rod for the improvement of the Bulls, he looks like the second coming of Jeff Hornacek, only better.

45. Carmelo Anthony, Denver Nuggets
Despite the indiscretions, the horrible start and coaching change, 'Melo is still a factor and the Nuggets are on the move.

46. Emeka Okafor, Charlotte Bobcats
Here's another young guy not only of top quality on both ends of the floor, but off the floor, he's a gem too.

47. Jason Richardson, Golden State Warriors
He's finally developing some consistency with his massive talent. Playing next to Baron Davis will help.

48. Al Harrington, Atlanta Hawks
What a letdown as the heart of their rebuilding project. But Harrington does have a lot of skills and the right mindset.

49. Troy Murphy, Golden State Warriors
A relentless rebounder on both ends of the floor, he came back this season with a great 3-point shot too. A sleeper.

50. Chris Bosh, Toronto Raptors
Still too young, too slim and on a bad team, he's a wondrously talented southpaw, a terrific guy off the floor and future All-Star four.


__________________________________________________ ______________

There are some truly questionable choices in there, especially Kurt Thomas. LeBron is also way too high.

Your thoughts?

03-05-2005, 08:01 PM
no ron artest? ron is a top 20, possibly top 10 and he's nowhere on that list. i could see if it's player's playing right now, though.

03-05-2005, 08:02 PM
makes sense.

03-05-2005, 08:11 PM
And like usual, Elton Brand is overlooked.

Putting him at #21 is ludicrous.

Edit: Chris Bosh deserves to be higher.

03-05-2005, 08:21 PM
I don't care. He's still part of the NBA. Dumb list.

03-05-2005, 08:50 PM
Reggie should be number 1!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


03-05-2005, 08:59 PM
That list is horribly out of whack. No Ron? :wtf:

03-05-2005, 09:00 PM
No Prince? :wtf:

03-05-2005, 09:09 PM
No Prince? :wtf:

Yeah, I figured Prince would at least make the top 10...


03-05-2005, 09:11 PM
Redd is too high and Arenas is too low.

03-05-2005, 09:12 PM
15. Paul Pierce, Boston Celtics
He's bounced back from a bad year and the return of his buddy Antoine Walker should help him even more.

Tell my fantasy team that........

03-05-2005, 09:23 PM
No Reggie!?!? Wtf! He is 39 years old and kicking ***! Lets see how Shaq will be at an age of 39!

03-05-2005, 09:59 PM


03-05-2005, 10:17 PM
I also didn't see AK47, though I did see Al Harrington. :eek:

03-05-2005, 10:20 PM
Every team had at least one representative except the Memphis Grizzlies, who would have obviously had Pau Gasol on the list, but he didn't make the criterion of having played at least 75 percent of the games.

...which at least explains why Ronnie isn't on the list.

03-05-2005, 10:26 PM
Same with AK47.

What about Larry Hughes? I haven't checked the amount of games or anything...but I would think he is deserving (if that broken finger didn't keep him out of the race)?

03-05-2005, 10:29 PM
He's missed 20ish games, so he doesn't qualify either it appears.

Okay, that's what I was assuming...

but Kurt Thomas? Geeze...

03-05-2005, 11:41 PM
No Jud Bueschler?

03-06-2005, 12:38 AM
Where the hell is Siggy?

03-06-2005, 12:55 AM
Where the hell is Siggy?

Hasn't played in 75% of the games, which, of course, is why Jeff isn't there.

Now, let's forget about the stupid list and focus on something important. Mike Kahn leaves CBS Sportsline, and is writing for both MSNBC and Fox/Sporting News? :o

03-06-2005, 01:35 AM
No Reggie!?!? Wtf! He is 39 years old and kicking ***! Lets see how Shaq will be at an age of 39!

Please. Age should not matter in a list like this. It's rather irrelevant if he is the greatest 39 year old in the leauge right now, what matters is, is he playing up to the standard of the best players right now?

And the answer to be blunt is no.

I would have liked to see Tins on the list though.

03-06-2005, 02:08 AM
If playing in 75% of the games is the cutoff I'm surprised JO is on the list. I'm not sure he has played in 75% of the games this season. I'm not sure any Pacer has played that many games.

Ron was 3rd team all NBA last season, so he would mostly likely be top 10-15 if he was playing.

03-06-2005, 02:14 AM
The biggest question this list leaves me is:
If Al wasn't playing for the Hawks would Tony Delk have been a top 50 player?