With all due respect to ESPN number-cruncher Kevin Pelton, he made some boo-boos in ranking the Top 100 NBA players of all time.
While the ranking itself is an act of futility, an impossibility across eras, I had a few major issues with how he placed some Miami Heat legends.
His top five overall: Michael Jordan, Wilt Chamberlain, LeBron James, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and Bill Russell. Below is where Heat players ranked who have registered at least three seasons in Miami.
3. LeBron James
Putting LeBron in the top three was a given and he should go down as the most versatile hooper of all time.
7. Shaquille O’Neal
Seventh was perfect for Diesel, the most physically imposing big man in league history. No one put more fear into the heart of a defense.
27. Dwyane Wade
Here’s where the irritation begins. Pelton put Kobe Bryant at No. 11.
Answer this: if Wade played instead of Kobe on all of those great Lakers teams would they have won any less? Doubtful. But to think Kobe could jump into Wade’s shoes and sacrifice his prime for LeBron’s arrival is suspect. I can understand having Kobe ahead of Wade but not by that margin.
Two others who Wade could’ve easily surpassed: Dirk Nowitzki at No. 15 and Kevin Durant at No. 24. Nowitzki was never the two-way dynamo Wade was and Durant has a ways to go.
65. Alonzo Mourning
Zo should not have been behind the one-dimensional stars just ahead of him in Tracy McGrady and Dennis Rodman at No. 63 and No. 64, respectively. While he wasn’t as naturally gifted offensively as other centers in his era like Shaq, David Robinson, Hakeem Olajuwon, and Patrick Ewing, his tenacity and will was unparalleled.
86. Chris Bosh
This one stung more than the others. Bosh’s legacy is essentially penalized for sacrificing individual glory for team greatness. Dave DeBusschere ranked ahead of him at No. 85. Dave DeBusschere! They also had Dikembe Mutombo at No. 73, a heroic defensive player but someone who failed to average double-digit points for his career.
Bosh is today’s prototypical big man in every sense — he spaces the floor, plays solid defense, and is as unselfish as they come. Had he stayed in Toronto and put up a hollow 25 and 12 for his career, he’d probably be much higher on this list. This is a major slap to the best big in the Eastern Conference.