By Michael Terrill @MichaelTerrill on April 24, 2014
With the 2014 NBA playoffs in full swing, it means that the NBA Finals is right around the corner. There are so many talented basketball players who were fortunate enough to win a championship. Then there are the Hall of Famers and other NBA stars who couldn’t get the job done when it mattered most. Check out the 15 players who deserved to win a NBA championship.
Lenny Wilkens is one of five players in NBA history to have at least 20,000 points, 7,000 assists and 5,000 rebounds in a career. It’s true that Wilkens won a championship as the head coach of the Seattle Supersonics in 1979, but one has to imagine he would have thoroughly enjoying receiving a ring as a player. Wilkens the player was one of the best of his time, which is why it’s a shame he only made it to one finals appearance.
Vince Carter is the only person on this list who has a legitimate shot at still winning a ring. In fact, the Dallas Mavericks are currently tied with the San Antonio Spurs at one game apiece in the first round of the 2014 NBA playoffs. Carter has had a huge impact on the sport, but hasn’t had much postseason success to show for it. He just moved past Adrian Dantley to No. 25 on the all-time scoring list, which is quite an achievement.
Speaking of Dantley, the two-time NBA scoring champion dominated the game in the 1980s. He had four consecutive seasons in which he recorded at least 30 points per game while with the Utah Jazz. His scoring ability is exactly why the Jazz retired his No. 4. Dantley only made it to one NBA Finals appearance, which occurred with the Detroit Pistons in ’88.
Artis Gilmore led the NBA in field-goal percentage in four consecutive seasons in the early ‘80s. He was so efficient around the basket that his .599 field-goal percentage still ranks No. 1 in the league all time. He also was a tremendous defender, which played a big part in why he was named to six All-Star games. The Hall of Famer never got to the NBA Finals, but he did win an ABA championship with the Kentucky Colonels in 1975.
George “The Iceman” Gervin was a nine-time NBA All-Star and four-time NBA scoring champion. He’s a member of the NBA’s 50th Anniversary All-Time Team and had his No. 44 retired by the San Antonio Spurs. For all of his accomplishments, Gervin never had the privilege of playing in the NBA Finals.
Steve Nash is technically still eligible to win a NBA championship, but the odds are really stacked against him. Nash is considered one of the best point guards in league history. In fact, he’s only one of four players to record over 15,000 points, 10,000 assists and 800 steals in a career. He’s also one of six players to convert at least 50 percent from the field, 40 percent from 3-point range and 90 percent from the free throw line in a single
Some might be shocked to find out that the great Dominique Wilkins never won a NBA championship. Wilkins in one of five players to record at least 25,000 points, 7,000 rebounds, 2,500 assists and 1,200 steals in a career. He also is probably most famous for his incredible athleticism when it came to throwing down dunks. Like so many others on this list, Wilkins never even made it to the NBA Finals.
If it weren’t for Pete Maravich’s horrible knee problems that forced him into early retirement, who knows what he would have been able to accomplish. The dynamic scorer had his No. 7 retired by two different teams and is a member of the NBA’s 50th Anniversary All-Time Team. Despite all the accomplishments, his biggest regret has to be never getting a shot at a NBA championship.
Say what you want about Allen Iverson’s character, but there’s no question the guy could ball. If the Philadelphia 76ers could have found a way to give him at least one talented player to work with, the point guard wouldn’t even be on this list. Iverson will be remembered for his impressive scoring and ability to steal the ball like nobody’s business. He also was a team player who could rack up the assists.
Reggie Miller’s ability to shoot the basketball is the stuff of legend. He’s one of five players in league history to achieve over 25,000 points, 4,000 assists, 4,000 rebounds and 1,500 steals in a career. He will mostly be remembered for his epic showdowns with the New York Knicks in the ‘90s. Unfortunately, he was only able to get to the NBA Finals once.
Patrick Ewing was on the other side of the Knicks-Indiana Pacers rivalry in the ‘90s. Ewing will forever be known as one of the great big men to play the game. However, there will always be disappointment in New York due to his inability to bring a championship to the “Big Apple.” The 11-time NBA All-Star was a scoring, rebounding and blocking machine, which is something that can never be taken away from him.
How John Stockton and Karl Malone never won a NBA championship with the Jazz will forever stump fans in Utah. Stockton ranks first all time in NBA history with 15,806 career assists and 3,265 steals. The 10-time NBA All-Star and nine-time NBA assists leader came close to getting a ring. Unfortunately, it just wasn’t in the cards for arguably one of the greatest point guards in league history.
It looked like Malone would finally get a championship ring when he joined forces with Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O’Neal and Gary Payton in 2004. However, the Los Angeles Lakers got dominated by the Detroit Pistons, which led to his retirement. Regardless, Malone is considered to be one of the greatest players to ever step foot on a basketball court. His 36,928 career points and 14,968 assists can attest to that.
Say what you want about Charles Barkley, but people seem to forget that he’s one of the most dominant players of all time. Barkley could score, rebound and steal, which made him a huge threat as a power forward. He came close to winning a championship in ’93, but unfortunately, Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls won the series in six games.
Despite the fact that Elgin Baylor was a tremendous basketball player, the biggest reason he’s No. 1 on this list is because he reached the NBA Finals eight times and never won once. The 11-time NBA All-Star is considered one of the best players of his era. The biggest shame was that Baylor was inactive due to injury during the Lakers’ 1972 championship season, his final year in the league.
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