50 Greatest NBA Players ever - 41 to 50 on our Best NBA Players list
Holla! To all of our endearing readers who've followed us through the course of our progress as a significant channel for basketball news, we've got news for you - A Top 50 list of the greatest players in basketball history!
We asked 8 of our writers to name their top 50 players of all time. Giving a weightage of 100 points to the #1 pick and 51 to the #50 pick, we arrived at a list that encompasses much of the storied history of the game of basketball - with all of these players having played out the vast majority of their careers in the National Basketball Association (NBA).
In a weekly series, we will be releasing our ranks of the all-time greatest players of the game, as things stand at the end of the 2017-18 season. Here's the countdown from #50 up until #41!
#50 Walt Frazier
Career averages: 18.9 points, 5.9 rebounds, 6.1 assists, 1.9 steals, 0.2 blocks per game
Shooting splits: 49% from the field, 78.6% from the free throw line
Accolades: 2-time NBA champion (1970, 1973), 4-time All-NBA First Teamer (1970, 1972, 1974, 1975), 2-time All-NBA Second Teamer (1971, 1973), 7-time All-Star (1970-76), 2-time All-Star Game MVP (1971, 1975), 7-time All-Defensive First Teamer (1969-1975)
Records: New York Knicks all-time franchise leader in assists
In an era when combo guards began to increase in number across the league, Walt Frazier was an intriguing prospect drafted by the Knicks with the 5th pick in the 1967 NBA Draft. Frazier slowly rose to prominence following his rookie season, increasing his minutes per game by 15 minutes in his sophomore year. His third season saw him break out to an All-Star level offensively, given that he was already a pretty good defender at his position and had earned an All-Defensive team nod in the previous year.
It was his breakthrough that allowed the Knicks to canter their way to an NBA title in the 1970 playoffs. Although they made it to the Finals the next year, the Milwaukee Bucks swept them in 4 games with MVP Lew Alcindor torching them in the frontcourt. The following season, they were back to the Finals but lost this time to Jerry West and Wilt Chamberlain's Lakers team.
Frazier and Earl Monroe, who joined the team in 1970, finally found a way to break through their Finals barrier, winning the 1973 NBA title in a Finals rematch against the Lakers. It took an all-time great 36 point, 19 assist, 7 rebound, 6 steal performance by Frazier in Game 7 to push the Willis Reed-less Knicks over the line.
Many analysts often rank this as the greatest playoff performance of all time, and most certainly it is the best Game 7 performance of all time in conjunction with a 1988 performance by a player you'll read about later on in this slide.
The Knicks were, however, upstaged in the next couple of years by the resurgent Boston Celtics and a Washington franchise that put together a number of good pieces around John Havlicek and Elvin Hayes respectively. Frazier played 4 more seasons for the Knicks, before joining the Cleveland Cavaliers in 1977 in an offseason trade that met with much outrage among New Yorkers amazed at the trade of their franchise's greatest player.
Frazier retired after 13 years as a pro baller and later on became a color commentator with the Knicks franchise - a role he still plays occasionally. 'Clyde' Frazier is the Knicks' resident franchise overlord and is undoubtedly the most well-respected Knick of all time.