NBA players who did more with less


Muggsy Bogues made the most of his skills despite limited size. Rasheed Wallace did the opposite. (Frank Gunn/AP)

What about the players who have made the most with the least talent or physical skills?

What about those that turned one elite skill into a solid career?

Lightweight Division

Muggsy Bogues: One of my favorite Bullets growing up and the shortest player in NBA history at 5-foot-3. Poor Muggsy didn’t even qualify for a Napoleon Complex (at 5-6 or 5-7 Napoleon could have posted up Muggsy). To his credit, Muggsy put together a solid 14-year NBA career (including nearly 10 years as a starter), and during one stretch he finished in the top five in assists per game five times in six years. He ended up 17th in career assists (ahead of Stephon Marbury, Kevin Johnson and Sam Cassell), and averaged a steal and a half per game over his career (mostly because as my father used to point out, no matter how short he was, his opponent still had to dribble the ball past his hands).

In Over Your Head Division

Chuck Hayes: Talk about having to raise your game, on any given night, the 6-6 Hayes was giving up anywhere from 2-4 inches at power forward, and on the rare occasions he got slotted in at center, sometimes a half foot or more. Despite that built-in disadvantage, he averaged over 8 rpg last year and finished fourth in offensive rebound percentage among forwards.

Shawn Kemp Division

Calvin Murphy: Despite being 5-9, he was an unstoppable scorer both on the court (averaging 20 points per 36 minutes played 11 times in 13 seasons) and off the court (fathered 14 children by nine women). The only Hall of Famer under 6-feet who played after 1960, he also surprisingly (at least to his untraditional family situation) won the NBA’s citizenship award in 1979.

Redwood Division

Mark Eaton: Sure he was tall, but there have been 18 NBA players who started at least 50 games in a season who were at least 7-2 (Eaton is 7-4), and of their 97 cumulative seasons, Eaton had six of the 10 highest blocks per game seasons. He’s first in career blocks per game and while he wasn’t good at much else (never averaging more than 9 ppg and only twice averaging double figures in rebounding), Eaton found the one thing he was truly great at and excelled in it.

XREP:PRIMARY NODE

Success! Check your inbox for details. You might also like:

Please enter a valid email address

See all newsletters

Comments
Show Comments
Most Read

XREP:PRIMARY NODE

Success! Check your inbox for details.

See all newsletters