Debates surrounding the greatest players in NBA history often come down to the question of which athlete is capable of playing all 5 positions on a basketball court. The utility of a player can be determined by his ability to guard positions from 1 to 5. Some of the game's greatest players had the skill to lock down superstars on the opposing teams no matter where they started from on the floor.
5 NBA legends with the ability to play all 5 positions
Versatility is an attribute that sets the top players apart from the rest of the league. Playing 1-5 isn't easy and requires a rare combination of skill, size and speed. Versatile players are highly valued by coaches, as they can help a team run a variety of plays without switching personnel.
LeBron James might be the perfect example of a player who receives lots of praise for his versatility, especially on the defensive end.
Magic Johnson was another star who startled everyone back when he entered the league in 1979 as a 6' 9'' point guard.
In this piece, we list five NBA greats who could play all positions on a basketball court.
#5 Wilt Chamberlain
It would have been a tough task to ask Wilt Chamberlain to run the point guard position while he was averaging 34 points through the 1960s, while making 53% of his field goals.
However, the late, great Wilt Chamberlain was capable of producing at a high clip from anywhere on the court. His athleticism was unmatched and he was exceptionally effective from anywhere on the floor.
In his last two years with the Philadelphia 76ers, Chamberlain sacrificed a little bit of his scoring to showcase his passing abilities. It resulted in two seasons (1966-67 and 1967-68) in which he averaged 7.8 and 8.6 assists per game, respectively.
In 1967, Chamberlain guided Philadelphia to an NBA title, averaging a whopping 9 assists per game in the postseason.
He eventually finished the 1967-68 season as the league leader in assists, which was just a small sample of his well-rounded basketball abilities. Chamberlain had enough tactical acumen to cover any spot on the court.
#4 Kevin Garnett
Unlike Chamberlain, Kevin Garnett was a power forward who never operated like most of the other PF's in the league did back then.
Garnett was a 6' 11' forward who was gifted in all aspects of the game. Unlike many of his contemporaries, the Boston Celtics legend was very comfortable shooting the ball from mid-range instead of using his height on the post.
In his early years in the NBA, while playing as the lone star for the Minnesota Timberwolves, Garnett had to do it all, and unsurprisingly he did better than many expected.
Garnett averaged 18 points, 10 rebounds, and four assists in his NBA career. He is one of five players to win both the NBA MVP and the Defensive Player of the Year award in his career (along with Michael Jordan, Hakeem Olajuwon, David Robinson, and Giannis Antetokounmpo).
He had a streak from the 1999-2000 NBA season until 2004-05 during which he averaged more than five assists per game and even reached a career-high of six. Kevin Garnett was an adequate passer who would have been fine guiding a team's offense during his early days in the NBA.
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