Dirk With A Ring: Better Than The Ringless Wonders, Ewing, Malone, and Barkley?

Does Dirk jump ahead of Patrick Ewing, Karl Malone, and Charles Barkley on the all-time greats list if he wins a ring this year? In other words, does winning a single championship necessarily make one superstar better than another superstar who hasn’t won?   
The Bulls, Lakers, and Spurs have dominated the last 20 years; as a result, some players have been denied rings that they may have won otherwise.  The table below is an attempt to distinguish between the guys who should have won a championship and just had some bad luck and the guy who just didn’t get it done in the playoffs.   I measure them using something called “Consolation Points”; the player who loses to the eventual champion in the first round gets 1 point, second round gets 2 points, conference finals gets 3 points, and NBA finals gets 4 points.  I had to make the “superstar cutoff” somewhere, so I only included guys who had met one of the following criteria:  20,000 career points, 8,000 career assists, a career average of 20 points per game, or a career average of 8 assists per game.  The cutoff could be made at many different milestones, but I don’t think they’re unreasonable.  Defensive stats are conspicuously absent from the criteria; that is because in the context of talking about great players and winning championships, almost all the talk is about offensive players, Bill Russell notwithstanding.

I don’t think Dirk moves ahead of Ewing and Malone if he wins a ring.  I do think he is already of Barkley just by virtue of making this year’s finals; Barkley has lost to the eventual champ only once in the Conf. Finals or later.  However; my eyes, heart, and those Right Guard commercials still say choose Barkley over Dirk.

Some Notables About The Table:

Jason Kidd is third on the list.  I’m rooting the most for him to win this year; he is a winning player.  Nobody was beating the Lakers and Spurs during early 2000s – except for the Lakers and Spurs.

The top seven guys on this list kept running into dynasties; they all lost to the Lakers, Spurs, or Bulls at least once.  Malone, Ewing, Kidd, and Stockton really got hit hard against those dynasties; each of these guys would have a ring if not for Jordan, Shaq/Kobe, or Duncan.

Jordan’s Bulls almost single-handedly prevented 3 all-time greats from winning a ring, that’s greatness.

The guys in this year’s finals; Kidd, James, Nowitzki, and Bosh, each get 4 points for this year.  Obviously 2 of these 4 guys won’t be on this list anymore.

Of the top 10, three of the players really squandered golden opportunities: Malone, Ewing, Nowitzki lost to teams they probably should have beaten, the 2004 Pistons, the 1994 Rockets, and the 2006 Miami Heat, respectively.  In this just-ended 20-year era of dynasties, a player has to take advantage of every opportunity.

Only 38 players met the criteria to make this list; the table lists the top 20 players.  Four of the remaining 18 players have no “consolation points”:  Walt Bellamy, I don’t know enough about him to form a opinion; Gilbert Arenas, not a winner; Tracy McGrady, not a winner; and Chris Paul, it’s too early in his career.
Dominique Wilkins, Vince Carter, and Tim Hardaway have less than 4 “consolation points”:  I was surprised by Tim Hardaway; I saw him as a winning player, but his Miami days were only a small portion of his career.  Vince Carter has never really been thought of as a winning player, no surprise there.  Dominique was never seen as a winning player either and he had many chances to play to the NBA Champ; the Sixers, Pistons, and Celtics won 5 championships in seasons beginning in the 80s.  I have to cut him some slack though; the East was tough in the 80s. In addition to those 5 championship teams, he had to deal with the early to mid 80s’ Bucks and the mid to late 80s’ Bulls.

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13 Responses to Dirk With A Ring: Better Than The Ringless Wonders, Ewing, Malone, and Barkley?

  1. SportAholic says:

    Nice post. I've always said that its hard to blame Barkley, Malone, and Ewing for being in the great career no ring club. Thats why I give MJ so much credit becasue he didn't let anyone get a ring as long as he playing in his prime. Hopefully Dirk can get his because this may be his last shot. This is just the begininng for Miami. Great work your doing here man keep it up.

  2. Pastrami says:

    Without that two year "break" Jordan took, Olajuwon might be on that list.The thing about a list like this is it makes you wonder where you might put Robert Horry if you were measuring him against the guys on this list.

  3. admin says:

    Watch Dallas vs Miamihttp://bit.ly/imEGXg

  4. Deron says:

    @SportAholic: I agree with you about Barkley, Malone, and Ewing. I'm going for Dallas too; I want Kidd to get his ring. Thanks for commenting.@Pastrami: I think you're right about Olajuwon( My second favorite player of all time and the best center I've ever seen BTW). Robert Horry was a contributor to 7 championship teams, but he isn't nearly as good as most of the guys on this list. He played with all-time great players and did his part.People overstate Robert Horry's overall playing ability because of his clutchness. I've seen him play at the peak of his athleticism, I remember that Christmas Day game in his rookie season when he had about 8 or 9 dunks against Phoenix, but he was ordinary player who rose to the occasion when his team needed it.

  5. Deron says:

    Thanks for commenting, Pastrami; keep'em coming.

  6. Deron says:

    @Pastrami: Sorry, I should have checked those stats before posting, that Horry game against Phoenix that I was referring to was in his second season, 1993-94.

  7. I'mperfect says:

    No love for Iverson?

  8. Deron says:

    Hi I'mperfect:Iverson is on the extended list. There were 38 guys who met the criteria and I only put the top 20 on the table. He was number 24 on the list with 5 "Consolation Points". However, I probably should have mentioned him in the "Notables About The Table" section. Thanks for commenting.

  9. Deron says:

    Thanks for checking out this post. Steve Nash is number 9 on the list. He lost 3 times in the conference finals to the eventual champ; he kept running into the Lakers and Spurs. He had a golden opportunity in 2006 against Mavs.

  10. D. Whet says:

    Yes, I would rank Dirk better because he's faced a lot of adversity since he came in the league. Plus, he'll win playing against a team loaded with a Kobe, a Jordan, a low budget Olajuwon and Pat Riley.

  11. Cory says:

    Even if the Bulls, Celtics, and Lakers have domininated the last 20 years, you can't say that Karl Malone and Patrick Ewing would have a ring. That's ridiculous. How can you make an excuse for a guy not winning a title?Check out my blog:http://corytellallsports.blogspot.com/

  12. Anonymous says:

    Hi Cory, I'm not making excuses for anyone, I'm just trying figure what ringless stars have actually lost to the eventual champs. But even with that said, you have to agree that Jordan is a once in a lifetime player that stopped many otherwise capable guys from getting their ring. Thanks for commenting.

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