I am very happy for Dirk Nowitzki, Jason Kidd, Shawn Marion, Jason Terry, Tyson Chandler and the Dallas Mavericks as a whole. All those players have improved their historical standing to some degree or another but the series MVP, Nowitzki, has been the subject of most conversation about an enhanced legacy. It began in the Western Conference playoffs when Mavs’ coach Rick Carlisle called Dirk one of the 10 best players in NBA history.
There was an immediate outcry about this as it seemed an absurd suggestion on its face. Now, after winning the NBA championship, lots of others are describing Dirk as a top 20 all-time player. ESPN/ABC broadcasters kept repeating that notion. So, being me, I decided to create my list of the top NBA players. This is just tiered, not 1-10 ordered.
Okay, there’s my top 20. Who could be pulled out of this top 20 to make room for Nowitzki?
I’ve left off folks like Charles Barkley, Rick Barry, Bob Cousy, John Havlicek, Scottie Pippen, David Robinson and John Stockton. I’d be hard pressed to say Dirk’s better than any of those folks which puts him out of the top 25. All this top 20, much less top 10, talk about Dirk seems to be little more than a response to his recent, fantastic play. That’s not how players should be evaluated but it’s the easiest way to do it. Easy isn’t always better though.