Several unsung players throughout the early part of the NBA should be highlighted, especially Bob Lanier. This man was as dominant as could be. From 1971 to 1980, he scored around 20 points per game each season. 5 times he scored 24 points per game and up. This allowed him to become a popular player, resulting in Lanier becoming an 8-time NBA All-Star.
Lanier was also a great rebounder and defender, averaging around 2 blocks per game 5 times and having 10 or more rebounds a game 8 times. He’d have 12 rebounds per game or more 6 times. Bob played for both the Detroit Pistons & Milwaukee Bucks, both of which ended up retiring his No.16 number. Sadly, he never won a ring. Thus, he’s one of the best players who never won an NBA Championship.
Known as “Pistol” Pete Maravich for most of his career, he was one of the greatest players in NBA history. However, like others, he came up during a time of dominance with other teams. Yet Pete did not lay down and take crap from anyone. He was a scoring machine, putting up 20 points or more per game for 9 seasons in a row (1970-1979).
He even led the league in scoring during the 1978-79 season. He’s a 5-time NBA All-Star and landed on the All-NBA First Team twice as well as the All-NBA Second Team twice. He was just as deadly a scorer in the playoffs as the regular season, so he was very close to being a champion several times. However, he never accomplished it. Putting him on our list of the best players to never win an NBA Championship.
Tim Hardaway is considered by many to be one of the greatest shooting guards in NBA history. He entered the league as a nearly unstoppable scoring machine. He averaged over 20 points 5 different seasons and even averaged a double-double for the season 4 times over the years. Due to his crossover-dribble, Tim was nearly impossible for defenders to stop on a drive.
Hardaway was a deadly shooter from the three and especially mid-range. Yet he was also an incredible passer. While he has a career average of just over 8 assists per game, he has averaged 9 assists per game for 5 different seasons. Heck, he even averaged 10 assists 3 different seasons too. Not to mention, he was a defensive nightmare. Hardway was able to steal the ball better than most too, averaging around 2 steals a game most of his career.
There are very few men like Sidney Moncrief. He was not only one of the most gifted defenders who ever lived but he’s also a terrific offensive player too. Moncrief began his career as a good defender but quickly proved he could be a great scorer, proving this when he averaged 20 or more points per game for 5 seasons in a row during the 1980s.
He’s a 2-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year, appearing 4 times on the NBA All-Defensive First Team 4 times in his career and once on the All-Defensive Second Team. Moncrief appeared on the All-NBA First Team once but appeared on the All-NBA Second Team 4 times. This is on top of being a 5-time NBA All-Star. Guys like Sidney could have been a massive use on a great NBA team that made the Finals, but he could never achieve his goal of getting a ring.
If you want to know about a scorer that was nearly unstoppable his entire career, Adrian Dantley is your man. He has an average of 24 points per game for his entire career of nearly 15 seasons. For the first 4 seasons of his career, he averaged somewhere near 20 points per game. However, he ended up becoming unstoppable from 1980 to 1984 when he averaged 30 points per game.
During this period, he led the NBA in scoring twice! He also led the league in minutes during the 1980-81 season with 42 per game. From 1985 to 1989, he still averaged around 20 to 25 points per game. Dantley was also one heck of a defender, as he averaged near 1 to 2 steals a game most of his career.
Despite his dominance, he only made the All-NBA Second Team a few times. Most scoring champions make the First Team, which makes you wonder how Dantley never made it. However, he was a 6-time NBA All-Star.
Artis Gilmore is what we like to call a “technicality.” He was actually a champion but it was in the ABA in 1975. He is also a 5-time ABA All-Star and a former MVP of that league in 1972. Gilmore landed on the All-ABA First Team 5 times as well as the ABA All-Defensive First Team too. He was clearly an insanely impressive player, so he was going to be an easy pick-up after the merger.
He did end up becoming a 6-time NBA All-Star during his time here but was never exactly the player he was in the ABA due to being 6 years into his pro-career by that point. However, he averaged around 18 points-per-game from 1976 to 1983, to start his career.
Though he averaged 15 rebounds a game in his ABA career, he was also impressive on the boards in the NBA too. For his first 10 years in the NBA, he averaged 10 rebounds a game. He even started out with 12 to 13 per game in the first few years. Artis was also a deadly assassin in the playoffs for both the ABA & NBA but sadly never got it done in the latter enough to get a ring.
Nate Thurmond is one of the greatest Centers in NBA history. This is not even debatable. He was also one of the greatest rebound artists in the history of the league as well. From 1963 to 1975, he averaged around 11 to 12 rebounds a game for each season. He had two years where he averaged over 20 rebounds per game too!! This is on top of a few years of averaging 17, 18, or 19 per game.
He was a great scorer too. From 1964 to 1974, he had at least 16 points per game. For 5 of those seasons, he put up 20 or more points per game as well. At one point, he pulled down 42 rebounds in a game. This is something only Bill Russel and Wilt Chamberlain bettered.
Nate is also credited with being the first man in NBA history to record a quadruple-double in a game. This only proves how amazing this all-around great was. Sadly, he never won the big one. Thus making him one of the greatest players who never won an NBA Championship.
Carmelo Anthony is “technically” still playing in the NBA. However, unless he gets lucky and lands on a title team that he can ride to an NBA Title, it is unlikely he’ll earn a ring before he retires. Despite this, Melo’s greatness should never be overlooked. He’s an assassin on the court and known to be one of the greatest scorers in league history.
The man averaged 20 or more points per game every season from 2002 to 2017. That is absolutely insane and only a few men have been able to put numbers like that up for that long. Melo was the NBA’s Scoring Champion during the 2012-2013 season with around 28 points per game. Anthony is also a 10-time NBA All-Star who landed on the All-NBA Second Team twice and the All-NBA Third Team 4 times during his career.
Although Anthony put up numbers, he never could get a ring. He has attempted to do so in recent years, traveling to Oklahoma City and Houston in his attempt. Sadly, no such luck.
From one former Thunder player to a current one. Russell Westbrook is still one of the best players in the NBA. His ability to put up legitimately amazing numbers cannot be overlooked. He has put up 20 or more points every season since the 2010-2011 NBA season to today. Twice in this time, he has been the NBA’s Scoring Champion (2015, 2017) with 28 & 31.6 points per game respectably.
Russ also led the league in assists twice (2018, 2019) and thus became the only man to lead the league in points and assists two times each in NBA history. He was the only man to average a triple-double for an entire season since Oscar Robertson. Now he has done it the last 2 seasons in a row, giving him 3 years of a triple-double average. He is the only player to do so.
Westbrook has the record for triple-doubles in a season with 42. He’s an 8-time NBA All-Star with an NBA MVP Award won in 2017. Sadly, he plays in the West that has been dominated by the Spurs and Warriors for most of Westbrook’s career. Most feel that despite these teams doing well, the Thunder have failed early in the playoffs.
The “Iceman” George Gervin was always one of the biggest threats on the court during his time. He played for both the ABA & NBA. He averaged around 20 points in his early ABA career but when he moved to the NBA, he showed how truly dominate that he was. Once in the NBA, he was able to put up no less than 21 points per game on average from 1976 to 1985.
4 times during those years, he was the NBA Scoring Champion. Including three years in a row from 1977 to 1980. Those years he scored 27.2, 29.8, 33.1, and 32.3 points per game each year respectably during his scoring title runs. Throughout this time, he was also a 9-time NBA All-Star, 5-time All-NBA First Teamer, and a 2-time All-NBA Second Teamer. While he still was unstoppable in the playoffs, he just couldn’t get it done. Thus making him one of the best players who never won an NBA Championship.
Dominique Wilkins is one of the most popular players in NBA history. This was not just because he was an amazing player but also because he was an amazing dunk artist. That led to two different Slam Dunk Contest wins. As far as on the court, he was one heck of a scorer. From 1983 to 1994, he averaged at least 21 points per game.
In fact, for three years in a row from 1985 to 1988, he was able to put up 30 points per game on average. This led to him becoming the NBA Scoring Champion in the 1985-1986 season. Wilkins also averaged near 2 steals a game nearly every year of his career in the NBA. He sadly never won a title in the NBA, but he didn’t stop playing after his NBA career was over. He went over to Europe and even won the EuroLeague Championship in 1996.
Bernard King was absolutely amazing during his time period. The 1970s and 1980s were absolutely incredible for King as he literally could score on any defender. From his rookie year in 1977-1978 to the 1990-1991 season, he was able to score at least 21 points per game. Of course, this is barring the three seasons he was injured.
He was so impressive as a scorer that he managed to become the NBA Scoring Champion in the 1984-1985 season, with 32.9 points per game. King also managed to become a 4-time NBA All-Star during this point. It seemed like King was unstoppable even in the playoffs but he sadly still never won a ring. That lands him here on the best players who never won an NBA Championship list.
Shawn Kemp was one heck of a player during his time. He mostly played during the 1990s and ended up retiring in 2003. However, when Kemp played with the Seattle SuperSonics, they were rarely out of contention for a Western Conference Title the entire time. Teaming with Gary Payton, Kemp was never asked to be the top scorer for the team.
However, he put up a ton of points and still managed to do everything else perfect. In fact, from 1991 to 1997, Kemp averaged a double-double with at least 10 rebounds per game as well as an average of around 18 points per game. He also averaged around 2 blocks and 2 steals a game for around ten years! While he did end up in the NBA Finals in 1996, Kemp sadly ran into the Michael Jordan-led Chicago Bulls. Despite this, Kemp was always impressive.
Vince Carter has been in the NBA now for 20 years. It seems like he may never stop playing so we may need to amend this eventually. During the height of his career, Carter was nearly unstoppable regardless of where he played. He originally started his career with the Toronto Raptors and eventually moved on to the New Jersey Nets. During his time with those teams, he was able to put up some great numbers. He even managed to become an NBA All-Star 8 times.
From 1999 to 2009, he was able to put up 20 to 21 points per game on average. Though he’d have averages of 24, 25, 26, and 27 points per game in different seasons. He’s also a relatively good defender and usually could secure a steal or two per game as well as a block per game on average most of his career. Carter bounced around the league after his time in New Jersey and now he’s pretty much a bench player at best around the league.
Chris Paul is still in the NBA, just like Vince. However, he is one of the single best all-around Point Guards in history and has yet to even make it to the NBA Finals. As a scorer, he has put up at least 16 points per game every year of his career in the NBA, where he has been since 2005. He led the league in assists 4 times, twice in back-to-back seasons.
From 2007 to 2016, he averaged at least 10 assists per game too, allowing him to become a threat every time he touched the ball. As a defender, he can steal the ball better than most. He has a career average of 2.2 steals per game and even led the league in steals 6 times in his career. He’s the only man ever to do so.
Paul is a 9-time NBA All-Star and to this day, he still ranks as one of the best statistical playoff players ever, having huge numbers in steals, assists, and points per game. He’s also top ten all-time in career assists (currently #7) and career steals (currently #9). Chris Paul is a Basketball Hall of Famer when he’s done, but without a ring in upon retirement, he’d be among the best players who never won an NBA Championship.
Alex English was a scoring machine back in the 1980s. In fact, from 1980 to 1989, he averaged at least 23 points per game but still put up good numbers before and after this. At one point, he even managed to become the NBA Scoring Champion in 1983.
He was such a dominant scorer that he landed on the NBA’s all-time leading scorers list. He is currently number 18 all-time with 25,613 career points. English also managed to become an 8-time NBA All-Star and he even landed on the All-NBA Second Team 3 times. Finally, he was able to be inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in 1997.
Dwight Howard, at one point, was the second coming of Shaquille O’Neal and became just as dominant as the Big Diesel. Even though the league has changed, Howard is still able to contribute to this day in the NBA. This is likely why he is still playing in the league. However, at one point the man was nearly unstoppable.
He has averaged at least 10 rebounds a game for every season of his career barring the 2018-2019 season when he averaged just under that at 9.2 per game. Howard was so dominant on the boards that he led the league in rebounds 5 times, including three seasons back to back to back. He’s also a skilled defender, allowing him to average 2 blocks a game from 2006 to 2014. In that time, he also led the league in blocks twice. Howard is currently Top 20 in career blocks & rebounds in NBA History too.
The 8-time NBA All-Star did play in the NBA Finals once in his career as a member of the Orlando Magic back in 2009. Sadly, despite putting up good numbers, his team did not help much and the Magic lost. Thus, Howard landed on this list of the best players who never won the NBA Championship.
Steve Nash is one of the greatest point guards in NBA history, mostly because he could do anything on the court. Known originally for being a gifted passer while with the Dallas Mavericks, he soon proved he could be a threat as a scorer when he ended up with the Phoenix Suns. However, from 2001 to 2010, Nash was able to put up at least 16 points per game on average during those seasons.
Nash is an 8-time NBA All-Star who has led the league in assists 5 times in his career. He has a career average of around 9 assists per game with an exact 8.5 average according to ESPN. Steve Nash is also a 2-time MVP, winning it in back to back years during the 2004-2005 & 2005-2006 seasons. While Nash balled out most of his career in the playoffs, he sadly never won a ring nor competed in the NBA Finals even once.
Tracy McGrady was incredibly popular during the 2000s when he was at the height of his career. Mostly known for his work with the Toronto Raptors & Orlando Magic through the early part of his career, he made the most impact as a member of the Houston Rockets alongside Yao Ming. However, McGrady was nearly impossible to stop as a scorer from 2001 to 2009.
During this time, he averaged around 22 points per game. Despite making a bigger push toward a ring with the Rockets, he was an insane scorer with the Magic. This allowed him to lead the NBA in scoring twice in back to back years (2002-2003 & 2003-2004 seasons). Sadly, his last season in Houston was injury-filled and this remained an issue for his last few remaining seasons. Sadly, it resulted in no rings.
Elgin Baylor is what many NBA statisticians call a “technicality.” We’ll explain that in a second. Baylor is an 11-time NBA All-Star who landed on the All-NBA First Team 10 times throughout his career. He was mostly known for his work during the 1950s & 1960s. Baylor was an impressive player who was known for his absolutely incredible athleticism.
During a time in which this was not really as common as it would become, it excited fans. This allowed Baylor to be one of the game’s greatest scorers. He regularly averaged 25 points a season. However, from 1960 to 1963, he averaged 34 points a game with one season averaging 38. Elgin was also nearly impossible to stop as a rebounder, averaging 12 or more rebounds from 1958 to 1965.
Baylor is a career 27.4 points, 13.4 rebounds per game player. He sadly could never win a ring when he played. However, his last season he only played 6 games at the beginning of the season. Funny enough, his team, the Los Angeles Lakers, actually won an NBA Title that year. Baylor was given a ring by the team in honor of his work but he certainly did not win a title in his active career. Thus, the technicality.
Patrick Ewing is one of the greatest Centers in NBA history. His numbers prove this but the dominance he had during his career more than shows that he should have at least won one ring. Sadly, he never did. However, Ewing is an 11-time All-Star for a legitimate reason. Numbers-wise, he was able to run roughshod through the league from his rookie year, on.
From 1985 to 1998, the man averaged 20 points per game with an average of 24 from 1989 to 1995. Ewing was also a skilled rebounder and defender. From 1989 to 1999, he averaged 10 rebounds per game and from 1985 to 1999, he averaged 2.4 blocks per game. He had a few seasons of 3 or 4 blocks per game as well. However, he never made the defensive first team.
Despite this, Ewing did play in the NBA Finals before his career was up. Sadly, his team, the New York Knicks, did not win.
“The Mailman” Karl Malone statistically, is the most dominant Power Forward in NBA History. He is still 2nd all-time in career points and 7th all-time in career rebounds. He began his career with the Utah Jazz and played there most of his 20-year career, with his last season being played in LA with the Lakers in a bid for an NBA Title that never came.
Malone averaged 25 points per game for his career, regularly putting up 27 or more per game in 8 different seasons. In fact, during his career he was a 14-time NBA All-Star, earning All-NBA First Team honors 11 times. He was even an NBA MVP twice (1997 & 1999). Malone did compete in the NBA Finals before his jump to LA for a year. However, his Jazz team ran into those impressive Michael Jordan-led Chicago Bulls in the two times the Jazz appeared there (1997, 1998).
Allen Iverson, also known as “AI” or “The Answer” during his career, is one of the NBA’s greatest scorers. Though barely being 6 foot, he played shooting guard most of his career. Heck, he even played that role when he was technically the PG for a team. The one thing everyone loved about AI if nothing else was that he never wanted to leave the court, he was a true ironman.
This led to Iverson leading the NBA in minutes 7 times in his career. Of course, he also led the league in scoring 4 times and still put up insane points per game in the years he didn’t win the scoring title. Despite his impressive scoring ability, the man was an amazing defender. This led to Iverson leading the NBA in steals 3 times in his career. He has a career average of 2.2 steals per game.
Iverson is also an 11-time NBA All-Star who won the NBA MVP award in 2001. Iverson did make it to the NBA Finals but played against the high-powered Los Angeles Lakers squad. He was able to deliver one win, still remembered as one of the greatest NBA Finals performances in history. Sadly, AI retired without an NBA Title.
According to most NBA historians, John Stockton may very well be the greatest pure Point Guard in NBA history. It is surely hard to argue that point too. Stockton played for what seemed like forever. During his time, Stockton was always a threat to score but the real danger was his passing. John could dart the ball over to anyone, anywhere on the court, at any time.
He was also insanely tough and creative, giving him almost endless possibilities with a ball in his hands. This led to Stockton leading the league in assists a record 9 times in his 20-year career. In fact, all 9 were done in consecutive seasons. He’s also one of the greatest steal artists who ever lived. From 1987 to 1995, he averaged around 3 steals a game.
The 10-time NBA All-Star played his entire career in Utah and did well in both NBA Finals appearances he had. Sadly, the result with no ring just like Malone.
From the day he entered the league, “Sir” Charles Barkley was a stud. He could score on anyone and he was always amazing as a rebounder. He originally began as a part of the Philadelphia 76ers where he balled out for years, but he became a huge star when he joined the Phoenix Suns in 1992. In fact, he won the league MVP in 1993.
He averaged 20 points from 1985 to 1996 and he usually had around 11 rebounds a game. Though he led the league in rebounds in 1987, yet put up stud numbers there yearly. Barkley is an 11-time NBA All-Star who made the All-NBA First Team 5 times and the All-NBA Second Team 5 times as well.
He did play in the NBA Finals when he joined the Houston Rockets for a small spell, yet he ended his career ringless. This makes Barkley one of the best players who never won an NBA Championship.
Reggie Miller is one of the most prolific scorers in league history. Known for his ability to shoot the three better than most, he could also shoot from mid-range and go inside. He averages just over 18 points per game for his career but regularly had season averages of 21, 22, and 24 points per game. Miller also made the All-NBA Third Team 3 times, yet was an NBA All-Star 5 times.
Miller still ranks as #2 all-time in total three-pointers made for a career, but he’s likely to be passed eventually. Despite this, he was a first-ballot Basketball Hall of Famer. Like many on this list, he played for only one team in his career, the Indiana Pacers. He also did appear in the NBA Finals with them, but sadly he ran into the Los Angeles Lakers and didn’t get a ring. Now he’s one of the greatest players who never won an NBA Championship.