HoopsCritic Hot 50 – #7 LeBron James

HoopsCritic Hot 50 – #7 LeBron James

King James, at only 30 years old, has climbed his way into the seventh highest spot on this list. Remarkable, whether you agree with the ranking or not, it’s quite the statement. James is as dominant as they come, he has made virtually every team he has ever played on a contender. How many players can say that? The biggest knock against LeBron James; is that he and the teams he carried on his back, kicking and screaming the whole way up I might add, didn’t always win. No one in history wins with the 2007 or 2015 Cavaliers, let’s just get that out of the way. He has played 12 NBA seasons, he has gone to the Finals 6 times during that span. This man is fighting for the title every other year. James should have five MVP’s, some would argue he should have six MVP’s. Derrick Rose is fortunate voters were LeBron exhausted, not fatigued, but exhausted. In the 12 seasons James has been in the league, he has finished in the top 10 for MVP voting each and every season. Aside from the four MVP’s already in James’s possession, he finished in the top three on four other occasions. While James’s prime ball may have started its slow and steady roll down the hill, he still has some exceptional years ahead of him. He already sits 25h all time in points, 26th all time in assists, and 36th all time in steals. *Justin Rowan (@Cavsanada has a statement prepared to defend his vote.=, or so he claims. . .) The Resume: First Overall Pick 2003 – Cleveland...
HoopsCritic Hot 50 – #8 Tim Duncan

HoopsCritic Hot 50 – #8 Tim Duncan

  It’s official, in the eyes of this panel at least, Tim Duncan is the greatest player of the 2000’s. Edging out Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant for the post-Jordan honours. The Big Fundamental has it all, the longevity, the team success, and the individual recognition. You’ll never here a ‘what if’ in regards to solely Tim Duncan. No hypothetical’s are necessary, he accomplished it all. Blessed with a healthy career, and the best ran franchise in pro sports, Duncan checked all the boxes. The Spurs have not needed MVP numbers from Tim Duncan in close to a decade. You can attribute that to the franchise surrounding him with talent or Gregg Popovich being the GOAT coach, but let’s not forget Duncan is one of only 14 players to win two MVP awards. Duncan’s numbers at times may seem pedestrian, especially over the past half decade. However, from 1999 through to 2005, few were feared more than Timmy D. From 1998 (His rookie season) all the way to 2005 Duncan was top five on each and every MVP ballot. Let’s not forget, Bryant isn’t the only one chasing the elusive number 23. The Spurs have reloaded and Duncan could be on his way to title number six. Duncan currently sits 8th all time in rebounding, 6th all time in blocks, and 14th all time in scoring. The Resume: First Overall Pick 1997 – San Antonio Spurs 15x All-Star 15x All-NBA 15x All-Defense Rookie of the Year All-Star MVP 3x Finals MVP 2x MVP 5x Champion How did the guys rank him? The Flag Bearer: Justin Salkin (3). The Barn Burner: Matt...
HoopsCritic Hot 50 – #9 Kobe Bryant

HoopsCritic Hot 50 – #9 Kobe Bryant

  Kobe Bryant is as polarizing as they come, a player made for the spotlight, a player that created a cult like following fan base. The percentages can be analyzed a million times and people will still draw completely different conclusions. The fans love the big numbers he put up, the five Championships he helped bring home, and the true alpha dog personality so rarely found in any sport. For myself, the Mamba’s greatest qualities will always be his work ethic, his will to win, his fearlessness with the game on the line. Some people believe Bryant doesn’t deserve the one MVP award he owns, some believe that he deserves two or three more. We can debate that on twitter, but the fact is he won one, and was in the top five voting on 11 other occasions. His longevity is stifling. His resume, track record, and ferocious personality kept him in the league’s elite class for a ridiculously long time. Bryant is currently third all time in scoring, chasing only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Karl Malone for the top honour. Bryant despite often being criticized as a selfish player also sits 30th all time in assists. The 2015-16 season may be the last hurrah of the Mamba; love him or hate him, we all know he has your attention. The Resume: 17x All-Star 15x All-NBA 12x All-NBA Defense 4x All-Star MVP 2x Finals MVP MVP 5x Champion How did the guys rank him? The Flag Bearer: Shane Young (4). The Barn Burner: Jacob Noble (14). How did the other guys rank Bryant: Robert Littal (6), Marc Griffin (6), Will...
HoopsCritic Hot 50 – #10 Shaquille O’Neal

HoopsCritic Hot 50 – #10 Shaquille O’Neal

  Shaquille O’Neal comes under dominant in the dictionary. He had his flaws, most noticeably free throw shooting. That being said, he has a real case for the best Finals performer of all time. In Shaq Daddy’s first four runs to the NBA Finals (95, 00, 01, and 02) he averaged an inhumane 34.2 PPG, 14.6 RPG, 4.1 APG, 2.8 BPG, all while shooting 60%. Those numbers don’t even exist in the modern game. There isn’t a single NBA junky who believes the one MVP awarded to Shaq during his career sums up his impact. Proof of such assumptions; he was voted top five in MVP voting on seven other occasions. While Tim Duncan and Kobe Bryant have their own chalk full camps, many would argue Shaq-fu was the best player post-Jordan and pre-LeBron. Shaq finished his career 8th in points, 15th in rebounds, and 9th in blocks. We will wonder for eternity what could’ve been accomplished had Shaq and Kobe put differences aside, and stayed together. The Resume: First Overall Pick 1992 – Orlando Magic 15x All-Star 14x All-NBA 3x All-NBA Defense Rookie of the Year 3x All-Star MVP 3x Finals MVP MVP 4x Champion How did the guys rank him? The Flag Bearer: Josh Eberley and Justin Salkin (6). The Barn Burner: Adi Joseph (15). How did the other guys rank O’Neal: Justin Rowan (8), Will Reeve (8), Robert Littal (8), Marc Griffin (9), Matt Drappel (10), Shane Young (10), Jacob Noble (11), Brian Geltzeiler (11), Lang Greene (13), James Holas (14), and Justin Termine (14). Average vote: 10.2     #9 Tuesday, September 29th.   Don’t like...
HoopsCritic Hot 50 – #11 Oscar Robertson

HoopsCritic Hot 50 – #11 Oscar Robertson

  1960’s Russell Westbrook was a freak, his numbers are astounding, astonishing even. The only man to average a triple-double. Inflated or not it’s flat out incredible. If those numbers had led to playoff success earlier we could very easily be talking about Oscar Robertson in the GOAT debate. Unfortunately, the Big O’s only ring came as the sidekick to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in 1971. However, his sole title coming as the number two guy didn’t seem to hurt his stock any on this list, he even drew a top five vote from the bizarre James Holas. In his days as a Cincinnati Royal he had seven top five MVP voting seasons, eight in total. Big O sits 13th in points, 6th in assists, and would likely sit on the steals leader board had the stat been tracked during his years. The Resume: First Overall Pick 1960 – Cincinnati Royals 12x All-Star 11x All-NBA Rookie of the Year 3x All-Star MVP MVP Champion Hall of Fame How did the guys rank him? The Flag Bearer: James Holas (5). The Barn Burner: Adi Joseph (14). How did the other guys rank Robertson: Lang Greene (6), Matt Drappel (7), Marc Griffin (10), Justin Rowan (11), Robert Littal (11), Josh Eberley (12), Shane Young (12), Justin Termine (12), Justin Salkin (12), Brian Geltzeiler (12), Jacob Noble (13), and Will Reeve (13). Average vote: 10.7     #10 Monday, September 28th.   Don’t like it? Think we got it wrong? Maybe, just maybe we got it right? Let us know using the #HCHot50 hash-tag. Or give the contributors hell, contact info below. Any tweets with...
HoopsCritic Hot 50 – #12 Hakeem Olajuwon

HoopsCritic Hot 50 – #12 Hakeem Olajuwon

  He went over Michael Jordan in the draft, he swept possibly the greatest Finals performer of all time in the Finals (Shaquille O’Neal), and he didn’t make our top 10. Hakeem Olajuwon might be the best two way player to ever play the game. One, of only two players to win MVP, Finals MVP, and the DPOY. (The other is Jordan). A lesser known, ‘what if,’ for everybody. What if the 96-97 Rockets beat the Jazz in the Conference Finals, forcing a date with the Bulls in the NBA Finals? That Rockets team featured Olajuwon, Charles Barkley, and Clyde Drexler all on their last legs. They also went 1-1 against the Bulls in the regular season that year. Would’ve been something. Luckily, the Dream made it so we don’t have to fantasize. Winning back-to-back in 1994 and 1995. Olajuwon finished in the top five for MVP voting on five separate occasions. He sits 14th all time in rebounds, 12th in points, and 1st in blocks. His 3,830 career blocks is over 800 more than the closest active candidate by the way (Tim Duncan). The Resume: First Overall Pick 1984 – Houston Rockets 12x All-Star 12x All-NBA 9x All-Defense 2x DPOY MVP 2x Finals MVP 2x Champion Hall of Fame How did the guys rank him? The Flag Bearer: Josh Eberley, Adi Joseph, Jacob Noble, Robert Littal, Brian Geltzeiler, and Will Reeve (9). The Barn Burner: Marc Griffin (28). How did the other guys rank Olajuwon: Justin Rowan (10), James Holas (10), Matt Drappel (11), Shane Young (11), Justin Termine (11), Justin Salkin (11), and Lang Greene (12). Average...