The NBA 75 list was just previously announced, listing the top 76 players from the NBA's 75-year history (a tie in voting resulted in 76 players.) Many notable names joined the list, including Michael Jordan, LeBron James, Larry Bird, Steph Curry, and many more. But with any list of the greatest of all time, certain players will inevitably be left out for whatever reasons. Six notable players stood out for me as being snubbed from the list, most of which being from recent memory.
Accolades Include: 1x NBA Champ, 5x All-NBA 1st Team, 8x All-Star, 3x DPOY (in a row), 4x All-Defensive First Team
Howard is by far the clearest and obvious snub from the NBA 75 list. Although nowadays Howard is known more for his role-playing on high-level teams, there was a point in which Howard was one of the most dominant forces in the whole league and could easily be compared to other dominant bigs such as Shaquille O'Neal and David Robinson. The first ten years of Howard's career had him being compared to LeBron James as the best player in the league. Howard even led the Orlando Magic to a finals appearance. In a time when the game was slowly starting to shift toward small ball and deeper shooting, Howard stood out as a big man. He also plays a pivotal role off the bench later in his career, helping the Lakers to a ring in 2020. Howard deserved to be on this list for his first 8-10 seasons alone.
Accolades Include: 7x All-Star, 2x All-NBA 1st Team, 3x All-NBA 2nd Team, 2x All-NBA 3rd Team, 2x Scoring Champ, 1x Most Improved Player
The main reason as to why McGrady wasn't included in the NBA 75 team had to be due to injuries, but his peak offensively matches up against almost any player in NBA history. McGrady had an offensive BPM of 9.8 during his '02-03 season, second all-time to Steph Curry in '15-16 in his unanimous MVP year (10.4). He averaged 26.3 points per game with over six boards and 5 assists over an eight-year span, with a plus 3.4 when he was on the floor between 2000 and 2008. Even with his injuries and an early retirement, he finished top 75 in points and ranks 30th all time in career wins over replacement, a heavily overlooked stat line.
Accolades Include: 4x NBA Champ, 2x All-Star, 1x NBA Sixth Man of the Year, 2x All-NBA 3rd Team, All-Rookie 2nd Team, 218 career playoff games
Manu Ginóbili was a part of the 2000s Spurs dynasty that only saw one player make the NBA 75 team (Tim Duncan). Regarded by many as the greatest sixth man in NBA history, Ginóbili served as a backup for much of his career, but still ranks 23rd in career BPM. To put Ginóbili's impact into perspective, the Spurs were +12.2 per 100 possessions when Ginóbili was on the floor with Duncan compared to only +7.5 without him. In a system that focused heavily on fundamentals under Gregg Popovich, Ginóbili incorporated a bit of flare and spunk into the offense and provided a great defensive presence at the same time. His unpredictability and chaos-creating ability was a massive part of the Spurs' four titles with him on the roster.
Accolades Include: 2x NBA Champ, 6x All-Star, Rookie of the Year (2001), 2x All-NBA 2nd Team, 2x All-NBA 3rd Team, All-Rookie 1st Team
The simple reason that Pau may not have made this list is because he was never a number one option on his teams – overshadowed through his prime by Kobe Bryant. He played 18 seasons in the league at a consistent rate, which puts him in the top 50 all-time in points, rebounds, and blocks. He also ranks third all-time in assist percentage for players above 7' tall. Although he was never the flashiest player and never one to steal the spotlight, he was an integral part of two championship runs for the Lakers. He was an influence for players today such as Nikola Jokic and Bam Adebayo to play as a 'point center' of sorts – a big man actively looking to help others. If he was able to win a ring without Kobe and be less selfless, he probably would have made the list.
Accolades Include: 4x DPOY, 8x All-Star, 2x Rebounds Leader, 3x Blocks Leader, 1x All-NBA 2nd Team, 2x All-NBA 3rd Team, 3x All-NBA Defensive 1st Team, 3x All-NBA Defensive 2nd Team, All-Rookie 1st Team
With a career total of 3,289 blocks, Mutombo is one of the greatest defensive threats in NBA history, plain and simple. The easiest reason to understand why Mutombo was snubbed is that points per game matter more to a majority of people than rebounds and blocks. Although Dennis Rodman was incorporated for the same reason, he has numerous titles to his name. Mutombo is 20th in career rebounds, second in career blocks, and 44th in career games. He's tied with Ben Wallace for the most DPOY awards in history. The eight-time all-star deserved to make the NBA 75 list for his defensive presence, but as can be seen with the rest of the list, the voters simply preferred offense to defense, as shown with players like Damian Lillard and James Harden making the list and players like Ginóbili and Mutombo being left out.
Other Notable Snubs:
- Kyrie Irving
- Vince Carter
- Tony Parker
- Chris Bosh
- Joe Dumars
- Yao Ming
- Artis Gilmore
- Grant Hill
- Bernard King