The GOAT Ladder Part 4: #235-231

Who is the greatest NBA player of all time? I will be seeking the NBA GOAT in a series of posts featuring wide-ranging descriptions of the top 250 players in league history. For an explanation of what the stats I’ll be using mean, read the five-part intro starting here and continuing in Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, and Part 5. For each player on the ladder, from #250 to #1, I’ll be including three key graphics (plenty of other views will appear throughout, but these three will be in every write-up):

  1. Grades – Percentile values for the player’s rank among all players in NBA history. They are explained further in Part 5 of the intro.
  2. ON_GOD – A per-game expression of a player’s impact on both offense and defense. ON_GOD is described in Part 4 of the intro.
  3. Z-Scores – A score that standardizes a player’s contribution to allow for comparison across eras. Part 3 of the intro explains D_SCORE, and Part 2 outlines O_SCORE.

Above these graphics, I will report two measurements for each player: his GPA (the average of his grades from the “Report Card”) and career awards. I have gone through and retroactively assigned awards for every NBA season since 1952-53 (the first season for which data is relatively complete). The awards listed here are a record of who I think should have won them, not a record of who actually won them.

If you’re curious about comparing these players with others, you can find both basic box score stats and my suite of advanced stats from the Stats page, or simply by using the “Stats” dropdown menu at the top of the page.

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The Best Defenders in the NBA this Season

What Have You Done for Me Lately?

The NBA is a right now league. Each game can change in a moment. Every season’s trade deadline brings about substantial team restructuring, and the offseason free agency and trade market has become an event unto itself. Change happens quickly, and the team that wins the championship is often the team that becomes the best version of itself at just the right moment.

Many of the most important questions deal with which player or team is the best right now. “What have you done for me lately?” is the unspoken question on the minds of everyone in and around the league. In previous posts, I’ve used the defensive matchup data at to create a model for defensive performance since 2013-14. The entire dataset is now features prominently on the homepage, and you can pull any player card for any season from the Google Sheets tool.

But what about this season?

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