5. Allen Iverson
Back in 2001, AI was taking over. He had Philly in the Finals, was 25 years old with an MVP and the landscape of the NBA was changing. But Iverson never got close again. He struggled to fit in, and in turn caused GMs to constantly rotate the players around him. Very few learned to play, and win, with him. 2001 was like a perfect storm, a combustible mix of crazy and fundamental that was too hard to replicate.
4. John Stockton
Stockton played so hard all the time that what you saw in November was what you would get in May. That hurt him. With no extra gear to press in the playoffs (his regular season-to-playoff splits are almost weirdly identical), Stockton constantly came up short. In fact, it wasn’t until he began to decline that the Jazz finally made the Finals. Everyone knew exactly what they would get out of him in the playoffs (13 and 10 averages), which went both ways.
3. Charles Barkley
Physically, one of the most destructive forces ever, Barkley ended up playing on a lot of average teams. His Philly teams were good, but definitely couldn’t beat Detroit and later Chicago. In Phoenix, they had one surprise run. Besides that, nothing. Later in his career, somehow his years in Houston were disappointments even though he was teaming with a bunch of vets who combined for like 500 years of NBA service. For once, we don’t have to blame MJ (even though Air did take him out in 1993). Chuck just never really had many opportunities.
2. Karl Malone
Was Malone ever really on a team that was good enough to win a title? His Jazz teams that made the Finals were very good. But more than likely, they finally got there just because the West was so down. For his career, Malone was on consistently good Utah teams that couldn’t ever do anything in the playoffs. 11 consecutive seasons they made the playoffs, and it wasnt until the Mailman was 33 years old did they finally break through. It wasn’t really his fault; Malone scored nearly 5,000 career points in the playoffs, a career on its own. And if he didn’t get hurt in the 2004 Finals against Detroit, who knows? Maybe Malone finally would’ve won the jewelry then.
1. Elgin Baylor
It doesn’t make any sense how someone can be this good, and yet never find a way to win a ring. His career scoring average is higher than Kobe‘s, Shaq‘s, even the Answer’s. He made eight NBA Finals, more than Malone, Barkley, Stockton, Iverson, Wilkins, Gervin and English combined. He had a four-year run in the playoffs where his worst averages were 32.6 points and 13.6 rebounds. Imagine if Baylor had won in just half of those eight trips to the Finals?
If Dirk never wins a ring, where would he rank?
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