Shoots left: top 5 left-handed NBA players in history


eddie-johnson-talkFormer NBA player Eddie Johnson, who played for Kansas City Kings (Sacramento Kings), Phoenix Suns, Seattle Supersonics, Charlotte Hornets, Indiana Pacers and Houston Rockets during his NBA career, has a lot of interesting stories to tell.

He recently presented his personal top 5 best left-handed players in NBA history. The list does miss Chris Mullin, a superstar in his own right, but nonetheless, is just great.

Johnson, a right-hander himself, who won the 6th Man of the Year award in 1988-98, played a total of 1199 NBA games (started 479), scoring over 19,000 points and nearly 5000 rebounds. Johnson averaged double figures in 12 of his 17 seasons, reaching carer high 22.9 ppg in 1984-85. Johnson holds career averages of 16 ppg, 4 rpg in 27.2 mpg.

Johnson’s countdown goes as follows:

#5 – LENNY WILKENS
“Lenny Wilkens will probably go down as the smartest basketball player that has ever played in the NBA. On the court, he was unbelievable. He could manipulate your defense, and he could find a way to go left, although you tried to make him go right.”

Hall of Famer Wilkens played 1077 NBA games, averaging 16.5 ppg, 6.7 apg in 35.3 mpg. He also participated in 9 All-Star games.

#4 – WILLIS REED
“Willis Reed was the first player in the history of the NBA to win the regular season MVP, MVP of the all star game, and Finals MVP in 1969-70. Willis Reed was 6’9, a powerful player, had a pretty left-handed shot at mid-range.”

Reed, a Hall of Famer, spent his entire 10-year NBA career with NY Knicks, averaging 18.7 ppg, 12.9 rpg in 35.5 mpg. He played in 7 All-Star games and led the Knicks to 2 NBA championships in 1970 and 1973.

#3 – NATE “TINY” ARCHIBALD
“Tiny Archibald – when we talk about small guys playing in the NBA and dominating – Tiny was that player. He led the NBA in scoring and assists one year – how complicated is that?”

Archibald, a member of the Basketball Hall of Fame, as well as a six-time NBA All-Star, member of the NBA 50th Anniversary All-Time Team, and NBA Champion, led the NBA in scoring, assists and minutes in 1972-73, averaging career high 34.0 ppg, 11.2 apg and 46 mpg. He appeared in total of 876 NBA games, holding career averages of 18.8 ppg, 7.4 apg in 35.6 mpg.

#2 – DAVID ROBINSON
“David Robinson – one of the most polished players ever to play in the NBA. He went to the Navy academy. He came in and he was the powerhouse right away for the San Antonio Spurs, led them to multiple championships during his career, won an MVP as well. And most importantly – one of the greatest people off the court.”

Hall of Famer Robinson, “the Admiral” for attending the U.S. Naval Academy and serving in the Navy prior to his remarkable Hall of Fame NBA career, played his entire 14 year career with the Spurs and helped them to two NBA Championships in 1999 and 2003. Robinson, was the 1994-95 NBA MVP, as well as 1991-92 NBA Defensive Player of the Year, 1989-90 NBA Rookie of the Year and earned 10 All-Star appearances. Robinson holds career averages of 21.1 points, 10.6 rebounds and 3.0 blocks per game, in 987 NBA games (985 started).

#1 – BILL RUSSELL
“David Robinson – one of the most polished players ever to play in the NBA. He went to the Navy academy. He came in and he was the powerhouse right away for the San Antonio Spurs, led them to multiple championships during his career, won an MVP as well. And most importantly – one of the greatest people off the court.”

Russell won 11 NBA championships in 13 seasons with the Boston Celtics, being the most prolific winner in major U.S. team sports. Russell played center from 1956 to 1969, also serving as player-coach for three seasons. He was a five-time MVP, 11-time NBA champion and 12-time All-Star in his 13 seasons with the Celtics.

He played in 963 NBA games and holds career averages of 15.1 ppg and 22.5 rpg and 4.3 apg in 42.3 minutes of playing time. He never averaged below 18.6 rebounds per game in his career, and did not average double figures in scoring in only his last season as a pro. He also led the NBA in rebounds per game five times in his career. Russell was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1975.


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