This is the second of a four part series. In this story, we introduce the all-time greats and further breakdown TAPS rankings.
As we continue to analyze the statistically best plays in NBA history, keep in mind that steals, and blocks were not counted until the 1973-74 season. This addition makes the 1960s roster of players, Chamberlain, Pettit, Baylor, Robertson, Russell, West, even more impressive as they do not have steals and blocks included in their TAPS.
Wilt Chamberlain was dominant and is by far the best regular season player, in an era with many all-time greats. Larry Bird is the only player to average 20-10-5-2.5, any order of points, rebounds and assists plus steals/blocks. Julius Erving was included even though his most dominant years were in the American Basketball Association. LeBron James is included, as he has played 17 seasons and is likely to remain above 40 points, even if his performance drops as he nears retirement.
There are several other players that may be included in an additional Top 20. The great George Mikan (39.3), Allen Iverson (39.0), Rick Barry (38.9) and David Robinson (38.6) would finalize a list of the NBA’s All-Time Top 20. However, the challenge is, where do we stop? Our cutoff is at 40 points. These players represent the Elite 16. Each player has a career Total Average Point Score of at least 40. Again, this is not meant to show the greatest players ever, just statically, the best.
Table 2: Total Points Score (Career, Regular Season)
What about position and size of players? Is a league with 9 teams to be taken seriously? What about rule changes? Is it possible to accurately compare players of different eras? Questions still remain.