NBA’s Best Starting Fives


1. Magic Johnson – 5 rings, 1987, ’89, ’90 NBA MVP, 1980, ’82, ’87 Finals MVP, 9-time All-NBA 1st Team, 1 time All-NBA 2nd team, 12 time All Star, 1990, ’92 All Star MVP

Career: 19.5 ppg., 11.2 apg., 7.2 rpg, 46.6 FG%, 85.6 FT%

Playoffs: 19.5 ppg., 12.3 apg., 7.7 rpg., 50.6 FG%, 83.8 FT%

Directed “Showtime”, one of the most proficient, dazzling fast break offenses the NBA has ever seen. Magic was magical when it mattered the most, in the Playoffs. In his rookie season, he scored 42 points in the last game of the Finals to win his 1st of 5 Championships. Known for his signature “no look” passes, Magic became the prototype for point guards. Large, quick with excellent vision, he retired with Regular season and playoff record for most assists. He still holds the records for Playoff assists, highest assists per game, and for most consecutive seasons leading the league in steals.


 

2.  Michael Jordan – 6 rings, 1988, ’91, ’92, ’96, ’98 NBA MVP, 10 time ALL-NBA 1st team, 1 time All-NBA 2nd team, 1988 Defensive Player of the Year, 9 time All Defensive team, 1985 Rookie of the Year, 14 time All Star, 1988, ’96, ’98 All Star MVP

Career: 30.1 ppg., 6.2 rpg., 5.3 apg., 2.4 spg., 49.7FG%

Playoff: 33.4 ppg

Considered by many to be the best basketball player of all time. For sure, the most dominant guard to ever play, and one of the most unguardable players ever. Jordan’s desire to win is unparalleled. That combined with his work ethic and freakish athleticism made him unstoppable. His fade-away jumper is still unmatched to this day. What’s even more impressive about Jordan, is that he competed against the league’s best and won.


 

3.  Larry Bird – 3 rings, 1984, ’85, ’86 NBA MVP, 1980 Rookie of the Year, 9 time All-NBA 1st team, 1 time All-NBA 2nd team, 3 time NBA All-Defense 2nd team

Career – 24.3 ppg., 10.0 rpg., 6.3 apg., 49.6 FG%, 88.6 FT%, 38.4 3pt%

Larry “Legend” was one of the most skilled, cerebral and clutch players to ever play in the NBA. He was also fairly athletic, contrary to what most people believe. He is one of three players to average 50% FG, 40% 3pt., 90% FT. He dominated bigger, more athletic defenders routinely with preparation, determination, and clutch shooting. Bird won 3pt. shooting titles, NBA MVP’s, and NBA championships. He is one of eight players to win back-to-back MVP’s and one of three to win three consecutively.*


 

4.  Tim Duncan – 4 rings, 2002, ’03 NBA MVP, 1998 Rookie of the Year, 1999, ’03, ’05 Finals MVP, Co-MVP 2000 All Star Game, 11 time All Star, 12 All-NBA  team, 12 All Defensive team

Career – 21.4 ppg., 11.7 rpg., 3.2 apg., 2.3 bpg, .507 FG%

Consensus Number One PF ever. “The Big Fundamentals”, as monikered by Shaq, has been one of the most efficient players in the NBA since he entered in 1997. His footwork is rivaled only by Hakeem Olajuwon and Kevin McHale, two of the most fluid post players ever.


5.  Bill Russell – 11 rings, 1958, ’61, ’62, ’63, ’65 NBA MVP, 3 time All-NBA 1st team, 8 time All-NBA 2nd team, 12 time All Star, 1963 All Star MVP

Career – 15.1 ppg., 22.5 rpg., 4.3 apg, blocks weren’t recorded in his era, if they were, who knows.

The ultimate winner. He has more rings than he has fingers. Russell changed basketball with his defensive and rebounding prowess. The lane was widened because of his acumen for offensive rebounds. He’s responsible for players at the free throw line having to wait until their shots hits the rim before crossing the free throw line; he’d rebound and dunk all his misses.  And he’s also responsible for the inception of the goal tending call.


 

2nd Team


1.  Oscar Robertson – 1 ring, 1964 NBA MVP, 12 time All Star, 9 time All-NBA 1st team, 2 time All-NBA 2nd team, 1961 Rookie of the Year, 3 time All Star MVP

Career: 25.7ppg., 9.5 apg., 7.5 rpg.


2.  Kobe Bryant – 4 rings, 2008 NBA MVP, 2009 Finals MVP, 11 time All Star, 7 time All-NBA 1st team, 2 time All-NBA 2nd team, 2002, ’07, ’09 All Star MVP, 7 time All Defensive 1st team, 2 time All Defensive 2nd team

Career: 25.1 ppg., 4.6 apg., 5.3 rpg., 45.5 FG%, 84.0 FT%


3.  Julius “Dr. J” Erving – 1 NBA ring, 2 ABA rings, 1981 NBA MVP, 1974, ’75, ’76 ABA MVP, 11 time NBA All Star, 5 time All-NBA 1st team, 2 time All-NBA 2nd team, 1977, ’83 NBA All Star MVP, 5 time ABA All Star, 2 time ABA Playoffs MVP

Career: 22.0 ppg., 6.7 rpg., 3.9 apg., 50.7 FG%


4.  Karl Malone – 0 rings, 2 time NBA MVP, 13 time All Star, 11 time All-NBA 1st team, 2 time All-NBA 2nd team, 3 time All Defensive 1st team, 1 time All Defensive 2nd team, 1989, ’93 All Star MVP

Career: 25.1 ppg., 10.1 rpg., 51.6 FG%, 1.41 spg.


5.  Wilt Chamberlain – 2 rings, 1960, ’66, ’67, ’68 NBA MVP, 13 time All Star, 1972 Finals MVP, 7 time All-NBA 1st team, 3 time All-NBA 2nd team, 2 time All Defensive 1st team, 1960 All Star MVP, 1960 Rookie of the Year

Career: 30.1ppg., 4.4 apg., 22.9 rpg., 54.0 FG%, 51.1 FT%


 

3rd Team


1.  Isaiah Thomas - 2 rings, 12 time All Star, 3 time All-NBA 1st team, 3 time All-NBA 1st team, 2 time All-NBA 2nd team, 1990 Finals MVP, 1984, ’86 All Star MVP

Career: 19.2 ppg., 9.3 apg., 1.9 spg


2.  Jerry West – 1 ring, 14 time All Star, 1969 Finals MVP, 1972 All Star MVP, 10 time All-NBA 1st team, 2 time All-NBA 2nd team, 3 time All Defensive team

Career: 27.0 ppg., 6.7 apg., 5.8 rpg


3.  Dominique Wilkins – 0 rings, 9 time All Star, 1 time All-NBA 1st team, 4 time All-NBA 2nd team, 2 time All-NBA 3rd team

Career: 24.8 ppg., 2.7 apg., 6.7 rpg., 81.1 FT%, 46.1 FG%


4.  Charles Barkley – 0 rings, 1993 MVP, 11 time All Star, 5 time All-NBA 1st team, 5 time All-NBA 2nd team, 1 time All-NBA 3rd team, 1991 All Star MVP

Career: 22.1 ppg.,  54.1 FG%, 11.7 rpg.


5.  Kareem Abdul Jabbar – 6 rings, 1971, ’72, ’74, ’76, ’77, ’80 NBA MVP, 19 time All Star, 1971 and ’75 Finals MVP, 10 time All-NBA 1st team, 5 time All-NBA 2nd team, 5 time All-Defensive 1st team, 6 time All-Defensive 2nd team, 1970 Rookie of the Year

Career: 24.6 ppg., 11.2 rpg., 3.6 apg., 2.6 bpg., 55.9 FG%, 72.1 FT%


*LeBron James has now surpassed even the great Larry Bird as the top small forward. He has cemented himself as one the best players to ever lace up a pair of sneakers.


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