When we think of franchises like Celtics, Lakers, Rockets they all have legend players who retire long ago. But there are some players that we see on the court every night and they are already best in their franchise's history. We present you 5 players that are going to hang their jerseys on the roof of the arenas where they gladden their fans many times in latest years.
LeBron James - Cleveland Cavaliers
The man who brought 1st NBA Championship in Cavaliers history, the man who marked Cleveland on basketball's map(before him they were punching bag for many teams in NBA), the man who is alpha and omega in Cleveland's history. When you think of Cleveland Cavaliers you can't think of LeBron James. There were some nice players throughout their existence like Ilgauskas, Daugherty, Carr, but LeBron is and will be always the Cavs legend.
He is a leader in points, assists, and steals in their history. He needs 1100 rebounds to become the top rebounder and he will do that in the upcoming seasons. Kyrie Irving can come close to LeBron and maybe overpass him if he stays the whole career in Cavs, but it's a tough mission in front of Uncle Drew. I will venture to say that it's almost impossible. But miracles happen.
Dwyane Wade - Miami Heat
Some NBA fans will say that LeBron can also be a player that is the best in Heat's history. With his arrival, they won 2 NBA Championships, but before LeBron and when LeBron was there and after him, there was one guy! Dwyane Wade. The Heat's leader in points, assists and steals. Miami will always be The Flash's land. Alonzo Mourning was also one of the best players in their history. He played for Miami 11 years and together with Wade and Shaq brought first NBA Championship to Florida in 2006.
Personally, I think that Heat's management and GM never really appreciated the effort, time and blood that Wade gave to Miami. He has never been a highest paid player throughout last 13 years. Paying players like Eddie Jones and Jermaine O'Neal more than Wade was a disrespectful act by Pat Riley and Micky Arison. D-Wade left the "Magic City" and went to the Chicago, but in the hearts of Heat fans, he will still be there.
Dirk Nowitzki - Dallas Mavericks
"Dunking Deutschman" is the legend of Dallas Mavericks. Playing 18 years for them he was MVP in 2007, led them to the Finals in 2006, where they lost from Miami Heat, and in 2011, where they got their revenge against Miami. He was 2011 NBA Finals MVP averaging 26.0 points and 9.7 rebounds. He plans to play for at least two more seasons, so we will see more magical fadeaway shots.
Nowitzki is one of the best shooters for his size. He shoots 88% from the free throw line, almost nearly 40% from the downtown and almost nearly 50% for 2 points.
“Probably the most unstoppable shot ever is the sky hook. I guess you put Dirk second,” James said. “You have a seven-footer fading away off one leg. There is no one that can block that shot.”
When the stakes were at the highest he never disappointed. He has had 14 elimination games, where he scored 30 or more points, which ties him with Jerry West for most all time. Of the top 100 elimination game performances in the last 20 years, Nowitzki has had the best performances in 8 of them, more than any other player in the NBA in that same time frame.
Kevin Durant - Oklahoma City Thunder
The most hated player these months in Oklahoma is actually their franchise's best player in history. Sad but true. I won't include Supersonics because I don't find these franchise's related. Yes, Seattle Supersonics relocated to Oklahoma and continued their existence as Oklahoma City Thunder, but for me, those are two different franchises. In Supersonics history the best player is, of course, Gary "The Glove" Payton. But in Thunders history that is Kevin Durant.
I know that he is a villain right now, but that's true. Russell is near, very near, but KD is better by an eyelash. He could become the face of the franchise for the decades, but he chose the instant fame and the ring. Did he choose right? It's debatable, but I think that 90% NBA fans will say that he is a traitor and a coward. I agree with that. LeBron went to Miami and that was like an earthquake, but this is more than that. Hurricane plus earthquake. Total catastrophe and disaster.
Dwight Howard - Orlando Magic
This is a case where I must think twice. Not twice, it was like eighty times. Shaq and Penny Hardaway were the best and the most loved players in Orlando in the 90s. In the beginning of the 2000s, there were T-Mac and Grant Hill. But in the second half of the 2000s was only one man. Dwight Howard. Dwight Howard was in the Orlando where they played the best and they achieved best results in their history. During 8 years when Howard was in Orlando, they played 6 times in the playoff. Later results were left behind, reaching the NBA Finals only once, but those were the golden years of this franchise.
He won DPOY 3 times and those were the best years of his career. Every NBA fan will agree with them. Despite his similar numbers in Rockets and Lakers those were the best plays from Dwight. He achieved the most accolades in his career in Orlando. Slam dunk contest champion, 3-time DPOY, 4-time rebounds leader, 2-time blocks leader.
Watching his trainings this NBA offseason I believe that he can come back to that level in Atlanta, but we will see this. Anyways, he is the best in Magic's history so far.
Stephen Curry - Golden State Warriors
Two-time MVP, leader of the Warriors in the last 2 years, won one NBA Championship with them in 2015 is very close to this spot. I won't list him as the best because he is the third best for me. Better than Curry are Wilt Chamberlain and Rick Barry. The gap between all of them is very small. Curry isn't far from being the best in Warriors' history.
Rick Barry won one NBA Championship and was ROY in 1966 with them. Wilt never managed to win an NBA Championship with them, but he was an icon of ABA. He was so dominant that he averaged in one season 50.4 points. Of course, there was a different era of basketball, but it's still impressive. Steph is on a great way, but future will tell more about this.
Vince Carter, Chris Bosh, and Demar DeRozan - Toronto Raptors
Toronto Raptors are founded in 1995 and since then they made only 8 times to the playoff and in last season they first reached the Eastern Conference Finals. Watching all that info, I could list Demar DeRozan, but Vince Carter's impact on Toronto was more important to the organization and to the country. He sparkled the Canadian basketball movement and made most of the exciting moments in Raptors basketball.
Chris Bosh, still active, is individually and statistically on the same level as Vince Carter in Raptors history. They are both at the top of almost every statistical category. With the extension of the contract with the Raptors, Demar DeRozan made it into this elite club and with some great individual and team plays he can overpass them.