By Oliver Sun
Basketball has been around since 1891. From then to now, there have been many great basketball players. There have been many play styles we have witnessed, we've seen defensive dominance, sharpshooting from behind the three-point line, and all-around great athletes. With all these playstyles, it's hard to see who the best player is. Arguments could be made for players like Michael Jordan, Lebron James, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and Bill Russell, all of them are great in different ways. But when deciding on the best, it is still too hard. So, I will be putting them all into groups and subjects. For example, shooting, defense, and so on. So, sit back, relax, and I hope you enjoy it.
Delivering a flashy dunk, blocking shots, and making clutch shots are usually the fastest ways to win people's hearts. But the ball-handling skills of the NBA stars are still the coolest of all time. So that’s why I’ll be showing you the top 3 best ball handlers of all time, starting with:
Everybody should know who Stephen Curry is, if you do, you probably know him for his accurate 3-point shooting. He is considered the most efficient shooters or the best period, he only needs 0.38 seconds to shoot the ball, therefore having the quickest release time in NBA. But stop with the shooting, because his ball handling skills are just as good as his shooting. He has a series of crossovers, size-up dribbles, and some pretty good hesitation moves to surprise his defender. All these moves usually end with a quick step back and a three-point shot. The next thing the defender hears is splash from the rim.
When Allen Iverson was drafted, the 76ers were very weak. So, Allen Iverson immediately took the lead and scored 23.5 points on average, making him the Rookie of the Year and a member of the NBA All-Rookie First Team. That season, he was the only rookie in NBA history to score 40 or more points in five games in a row. “The Answer” literally broke his defenders’ ankles numerous times which include Darrell Armstrong, John Stockton, Stephon Marbury, and even the G.O.A.T. Michael Jordan! On one occasion, Iverson made Antonio Daniels touch the floor not once, but twice in the same play! His small size allowed him to move quickly and change his direction in a matter of seconds.
Kyrie Irving handles the ball straight and is ranked the best. He showed mastery over a wide range of dribbling moves, from crossovers to step backs. He is known as, if not, the best dribblers in NBA history. With such handles in his arsenal, he also adds speed and agility which gives him a big advantage during one-on-one situations. Kyrie also has a very reliable shot from the mid-range (45.4% in career) and behind the three-point line (39%) which helped him to win the NBA Three-point Shootout Contest in 2013. He can find an opening in the defense and use it to his advantage, which usually ends up in him scoring a lay-up. His first NBA All-Star Game in 2013 not only marked a great season for him, but also seals his place as one of the best ball handlers of all time.
Let's face it. Most NBA fans get their satisfaction from watching flashy dunks and players scoring the ball at will. Whatever happened to "Defense wins championships?" All teams in the NBA have players that can put the ball in the bucket and get their team points. But all teams in the league need a balance of good offense and a brick-wall defense on the other side. Sometimes the best offense is a great defense. It is about time to recognize the players that led their teams with great defense and effort every night on the NBA court. Some of these players were not the best at scoring, but were the best at what they do, which is defense.
Dennis Rodman is an NBA Defender that has played for several teams including the Detroit Pistons, San Antonio Spurs, Chicago Bulls, Los Angeles Lakers, and the Dallas Mavericks. He is the only person to have won 7 consecutive rebounding titles. Even though he is a defensive specialist, he has won 5 championships in total, winning three championships in a row from 1996 to 1998 with the Chicago Bulls. He was a member of the All-NBA Defensive First Team seven times and led the league in rebounding and field goal percentage once each.
Hakeem Olajuwon, also known as the “Dream,” brought a new level of athleticism and skill to the position of center when he entered the league in 1984. Averaging at least 3.09 blocks in his career seasons, Olajuwon was one of the few centers in the game who could consistently get points for his team, averaging 21.8 points per game. 12 times NBA All-Star, Hakeem also led the league in rebounding in each of his first two seasons, giving Houston one of the most powerful centers in the league. Olajuwon was the obvious choice for the Defensive Player of the Year award in 1993 and 1994.
We don’t know much about Bill Russell if we’re talking about stats, that is because he played his entire career before blocks or steals were recorded. But even without knowing the exact stats, we know enough. It is believed that Bill Russell would’ve averaged double digits in blocks per game. Add that to 15.1 points per game, 22.5 rebounds per game, then that means he would’ve averaged a triple double his whole entire career! And if the Defensive Player of the Year award had been around then, who knows how many he would've won? There really isn’t anything else to say about the best defender in the NBA history.
Shooting is a very complicated move. While the fundamental idea of putting an orange ball through a white net might sound easy, the methods players doing it so can vary. Take Stephen Curry and Dirk Nowitzki. Look at the nine-inch height difference between them, yet they both fit comfortably under the "greatest shooters ever" ranking. So I'll be ranking the best shooters in the NBA.
If Larry Bird played in this era with so many 3 point shots, he might’ve gotten first on this list. He was so good that he once scored 47 points against the Portland Trailblazers only using his left hand! Saying that the Portland Trailblazers weren’t worthy enough to see the power of his right hand by saying, “I’m saving my right hand for the Lakers.” After winning the first 2 NBA 3 point contests, he walked into the locker room before he won his thrid and asked his contestants, “who’s coming in second?” He wanted to win the event by just wearing his warm-up jacket. Larry was a great shooter everywhere. He led the NBA in free throw percentage 4 times and is one of only 8 members of the 50-40-90 club. Having a 50% field goal percentage, 40% 3 point, and 90% for free throws! After his rookie season, he went to a softball game and injured his finger. So the 3rd best shooter is the injured version of Larry Bird.
The first member of the Splash Brothers, Klay Thompson. You must be a good shooter to be called a “Splash Brother,” and thats exactly why Klay Thompson is one of them. When former Golden State Warrior coach Mark Jackson said that Stephen and Klay were going to be the best shooters in NBA history, people all laughed at him. But turns out, what he said was true, they are now the best shooters in NBA. Klay owns the record of most 3 pointers in a single game with 14. He once only needed 29 minutes and 11 dribbles to score 60 points! Stephen Curry might be a more versatile or better shooter, but nobody is more effecient than Klay Thompson.
This isn’t even a question. Curry is the most accurate 3 point shooter ever with over 43% (3 point) in his career. It’s even more impressive when you see the difficult shots he takes. Curry isn’t just a 3 point shooter, he will kill you in the perimeter or midrange shots, with floaters and lay-ups over giants. His size, agility, speed, and great ball handling skills all are weapons in his arsenal. Like I said before, Curry has the fastest release time for shooting in the NBA, having only 0.38 seconds to shoot. Stephen Curry has changed the game and has inspired many players in NBA. Back then there were hardly any shooters, but look now, players are shooting left and right, and it’s all thanks to Stephen Curry. Really all you need to see how great he is is to watch his highlights, they’re too amazing to even say or write down. There isn’t anything else to say about Stephen Curry, the best shooter in NBA history.
I hope you have enjoyed this article and learned a lot. I have gone through many experts and followers of basketball that I know. They have all agreed with what I have written. These are all of the sources that I have used.
• Best Basketball Players of all Time in all subjects.
• Bruce Wu.
• Charles Sun.